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CITY COMMISSION DIGEST

The Clearwater City Commission took the following actions Thursday night:

Approved hiring Public Enterprise Group, a California company, to explore and negotiate corporate sponsorships with large companies, such as Bank of America and Coca-Cola, to bring in new revenues for the city. The city agreed to pay $12,000 for the company to develop such public-private partnerships.

Approved a 10 percent tax refund to a national hospital company whose name was withheld, to encourage the creation of a financial service center in Clearwater and the hiring of 100 employees over the next two years. The city will pay up to $30,000 in incentives for the business, splitting the costs of the benefits with the county and state.

Passed on the first of two readings to have Pinellas County water restriction rules apply to Clearwater, eliminating dual sets of rules that have confused residents. Internally, city officials have even been debating eliminating the city's water conservation enforcement program, to help with needed budget cuts this year.

Approved construction of a police substation in the Wood Valley neighborhood for an estimated cost of $163,900. Police officers currently have a desk in the area's recreation center, police Chief Sid Klein explained to commissioners this week. The space is inadequate for conducting police investigations, he said.

Okayed spending an additional $47,997 for testing the site of a former landfill located at St. Petersburg Junior College's Clearwater campus. The city wants to build a new spring training stadium for the Philadelphia Phillies at the site. Total cost of the project is $97,997.

The costs of testing have risen, officials say, because of concerns about piercing a cap under the fill, which could allow toxic garbage (if it exists) to contaminate underlying groundwater. The city is planning in two weeks to approve a resolution to seek state and county funding for the new stadium, estimated to cost up to $26-million by city engineers.

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