INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- Discussion at the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission meeting Tuesday night made it clear that the guns of litigation are leveled at the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue commission.
The meeting time was moved up two hours, from 7:30 to 5 p.m., as part of the current panic situation in the area over a hurricane that never endangered this area, is not coming here and is, in fact, many miles away.
The change in meeting time caught Mayor Bob DiNicola short. He was traveling home from a trip and anticipating to be at the meeting at its regular time.
Mayors from Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore and Indian Shores were present at the meeting to give support on the fire district subject.
None of the municipalities can actually bring suit because the fire district does not serve cities as such, it serves the residents.
Therefore, plaintiffs in the action need to be citizens who are in the fire district.
Andy Salzman, the city attorney, who had been asked by the commission to look into legal remedies to take against the PSF&R commission, which is generally regarded as inept, outlined Tuesday night what could be done.
He said that a declaratory judgment asserting that the language of the referundum, which asks the voters to approve a 17 cents per square foot assessment, is vague and ambiguous and that the reason for the assessment oversteps the bounds of the fire district.
Another count would ask the court to remove the referendum from the ballot on much the same bases.
The suit may also assert a violation of the public records law. Apparently, PSF&R officials have said that requests for public records must be in writing.
This, of course, as another municipality has found out, is completely wrong. Any citizen may seek information under the public records statute and need not give a name or a reason.
The next step is to get some plaintiffs together and once this is done a motion for consolidation would probably be made and the suit would proceed.
The meeting was opened with an appearance by John Morroni, a county commissioner, who then heard from IRB commissioners and members of the public who apparently were silly enough to think that their complaints regarding the county would do any good.
IRB Commissioner Bill Ockunzzi, sitting in as presiding officer for the absent DiNicola, summed up the plaint of the beach communities by pointing out to Morroni the key identification the beaches give the county as well as the revenue generated by visitors and tourists and the short shrift the beach cities get from the county.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition