1. Florida Politics

Know Your St. Pete Ballot: Penny for Pinellas and other decisions

ST. PETERSBURG — City voters will choose more than a mayor and new city council members in November.

They'll also decide several outstanding issues, including an amendment to the city charter, two referendums and, most important of all, whether to renew the Penny for Pinellas 1-cent sales tax for another decade.

Here's a breakdown of what else is on the ballot:

Penny for Pinellas: Pinellas voters will once again be asked to approve the Penny for Pinellas 1-cent sales tax for another decade, just as they approved earlier rounds of the tax in 1989, 1997 and 2007. It adds one penny to every dollar spent in the county, capped at $5,000 per purchase.

Officials from the county and its 24 municipalities have already laid out how they intend to spend the $2 billion the tax is projected to raise from 2020 to 2030. About $225 million would go toward countywide investments such as economic development, affordable housing, land purchases and jail and court facilities.

The county would get $915 million on top of that, while the cities would split $853 million.

Ballot Language: Ten (10) Year Extension of the Penny for Pinellas One-Cent (1¢) Infrastructure Sales Surtax. Shall the levy of the Penny for Pinellas one-cent (1¢) local infrastructure sales surtax be extended for an additional ten (10) years to finance county and municipal projects, including roads, bridges, flood and sewer spill prevention, water quality, trails, parks, environmental preservation, public safety facilities, hurricane sheltering, vehicles, technology, land acquisition for affordable housing, capital projects supporting economic development (pursuant to section 212.055(2)(d)3, Florida Statutes), and other authorized infrastructure projects?

Vinoy Referendum: The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is undergoing a three-year, $50 million upgrade. A $10 million phase of that plan calls for building a one-story parking garage with 270 spots and eight tennis courts on top. But city voters must approve that phase.

That's because the resort acquired the 4 acres from the city in a 1984 swap of waterfront land that is now part of Vinoy Park. Voters still have a say over any improvements to that land.

The new garage would be built over the tennis courts behind the resort on the south side of Seventh Avenue NE, near the corner of Bayshore Drive NE. The garage would take up 2.3 acres and the tennis courts would move to the top of the new building. The Vinoy already has four tennis courts atop an existing one-story parking garage.

Voters approved similar projects in 1997 and 2007. The Vinoy is paying for the referendum, which is estimated to cost $75,000 to $100,000. The project will not cost taxpayers anything, Vinoy officials have said.

City of St. Petersburg No. 2 Referendum Question: Partially releasing restrictive covenant on former City property now part of The Vinoy Renaissance Resort After referendum approval in 1984, the Vinoy Park Hotel Company conveyed the City a waterfront park parcel in exchange for the Baywood Park and Edgewater interior parcels, subject to certain restrictions. Shall the City now partially release those restrictions for approximately 2.3 acres of that property to permit The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort to construct a one-story parking garage with elevated tennis courts, subject to conditions set forth in ordinance 290-H?

Walter Fuller Baseball Park Lease: Voters will be asked to approve giving the St. Petersburg Baseball Commission a 10-year lease for Walter Fuller Baseball Park with the option of renewing it for another 10 years. In exchange, the commission will agree to spend more than $300,000 to maintain and improve the baseball fields at 7891 26th Ave. N.

City of St. Petersburg No. 1 Referendum Question Language: Authorizing agreement not exceeding 20 years for management of baseball complex at Walter Fuller Park. May City Council approve an agreement regarding the management and operation of the portion of Walter Fuller Park currently known as the Walter Fuller Baseball Complex under conditions set forth in ordinance 289-H? These conditions include: term not exceeding 20 years; continued use for primary purposes of baseball, other sports, and related activities; no change to current boundary; limits on additional structures; and manager commits to fund minimum of $300,000 in upgrades and improvements.

St. Petersburg Charter Amendment: Voters are being asked to amend the city charter to allow City Council members to express their opinions about city staffing issues, such as management or non-professional management jobs, changes to boards and commissions and the hiring and firing of council staff. The current charter bars council members from asking for the appointment or removal of all city employees save senior managers.

City of St. Petersburg Charter Amendment Language: Modifying prohibition on Council Members expressing opinions concerning certain decisions on employment and board membership The City Charter currently prohibits Council Members from directing or requesting the appointment or removal of City employees except senior management employees. Shall the Charter be amended in accordance with ordinance 288-H to allow Council Members to express opinions concerning creation of new positions classified as management or professional non-management, changes to membership on boards or commissions of the City, and appointment or removal of City Council Office staff?

Ballots were mailed out Tuesday, and Election Day is Nov. 7. To see what's on the ballot St. Petersburg voters, click here.