INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The idea of having Largo provide police service to Indian Rocks Beach has clearly fizzled, John Coffey, the city manager, indicated at Tuesday night's commission meeting.
Knowledgable sources knew at the outset because of the range of complexities in such an idea that it was a non-starter.
Largo's police department has its hands full now with its own budget considerations. One of the aspects of the neighboring city policing IRB is that Largo would have to hire additional officers, provide cars etc.
Coffey said that Lester Aradi, the Largo police chief, told him that Largo could make no offer for fiscal year 2005, but that Aradi said he wanted to talk to the Largo commission about the plan possibly for 2006.
Coffey said that Aradi told him that there was "no staffing" for the idea at this time.
Sheriff Everett Rice and his chief deputy and likely successor, Jim Coats, were at the Indian Rocks Beach meeting in late July in support of their continuing the Sheriff's Office contract with the city.
On another front, Andy Salzman, the city attorney said he would have more detailed information next week on the possibility of posing a legal challenge to the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue district's plan for a November referendum to impose a 17 cents per square foot fee on residents in the four cities served by the fire district -- Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shore, Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore -- plus Oakhurst, an unincorporated area on the mainland.
The vagueness of the referendum would be grounds for petitioning a court to throw it out.
This question will probably come up at Saturday's meeting here at 9 a.m. when mayors from the four cities meet to discuss developments with the PSF&R.
The controversy that has blown up in the past three years is probably the most monumental example of bad public relations ever seen in this area. Not only has the fire district discussed imposing exorbitant rates on residents, but some members of the commission have been hostile to the public.
In question is how square footage is defined. Commissioner Bill Ockunzzi said he had spoken with the tax assessor's office about this. He said he was told that the fire district defines the square footage.
Fire district officials have said, on the other hand, that the assessor decided this question. This confusion is one of the predicates for a possible constitutional challenge to the referendum.
In other action, the commission approved renewing the city's contract with the Pinellas Planning Commission.
Dave Healey, executive director of the PPC which gets praise and hosannahs from the jurisdictions it serves, answered questions about the agreement.
Half the question time was taken up with pointless queries (talk for the sake of talk) while the other half was pertinent and informative.
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