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First of two candidates forums today in Tarpon

Candidates for City Commission will speak at noon today at one of their two joint public appearances before the city's election on March 9.

The seven candidates will speak at a Tarpon Springs Rotary Club luncheon at Louis Pappas' Riverside Restaurant, 10 W Dodecanese Blvd. The meeting is open to the public. Lunch is $12, but optional. At today's event, mayoral candidates Beverley Billiris and Anita Protos will speak for a few minutes each. City Commission candidates Cindy Domino-Sanner, Peter Dalacos, Spanos Harding, Peter Kapsalis Lloyd and Peter Nehr also will speak.

In addition, Mayor Frank DiDonato will discuss two city land use referendums. One will ask residents whether to allow cell phone tower developers to lease city-owned property for up to 20 years. If the referendum item is approved, telecommunications companies would have to pay the city up to $2,500 a month for the duration of the lease to build towers on city property.

A second referendum will decide whether the city should allow Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital to sell its 5,500-square-foot walk-in clinic in Pasco County. Under the terms of the city's 3-year-old lease with Helen Ellis, real estate owned by the hospital is technically considered city property.

Last year voters reaffirmed a charter referendum stipulating that city-owned land can only be sold with the approval of Tarpon Springs residents.

The Greater Tarpon Springs Democratic Club plans a second forum at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 Walton Ave. S. It will be open to the public.