BELLEAIR BLUFFS -- The issue of sewer rebates from Belleair Beach is still a hot potato with the Belleair Shore Town Commission as evinced at the board's meeting last Wednesday here.
Having received what purported to be an audit statement in regard to the sewer matter, Mayor John Robertson sniffed and said, "It's a joke."
"Totally inadequate," said Commissioner John Hayes. "Ridiculous," he snorted.
"If they were losing money (on the sewer) they didn't have to make it all up from Belleair Shore," said Commissioner Bob Schmidt.
Robertson said there needs to be a meeting with Belleair Beach officials.
Belleair Shore claims a sum greater in rebate than has been offered by Belleair Beach, which provided sewer service. Belleair Beach dumped its sewer service some months ago when Pinellas County bought it.
In getting out from under, Belleair Beach made rebates to sewer users. Belleair Shore makes its claims on the basis of an old agreement between the two municipalities that Belleair Shore says is still effective.
Robertson said that he had spoken to John Elias, town attorney who was not at the meeting, and Elias had said that the town needed to get a true audit.
Schmidt said, "There must be a history of operations. We need to review that."
"We need to see a history," Hayes said.
Commissioner Carl Hilton said, "I don't see any reference anywhere to our original agreement."
The other hot topic taken up at the September 15 meeting was the matter of the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue district assessment that is now scheduled on the November ballot.
PSF&R wants to levy a 17 cents per square foot assessment on householders. The matter is being fought vigorously by the four towns in the district -- Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.
Robertson updated his commission on the action recommended by Andy Salzman, city attorney for Indian Rocks Beach. Salzman outlined a legal plan of action at an IRB meeting September 14.
He said that a declaratory judgment saying the language of the PSF&R referundum is vague and ambiguous and that the district is operating beyond the charter-limited bounds of the fire district.
Another count would seek an injunction, removing the the referendum from the ballot.
The suit would also assert a violation of the public records law. Apparently, PSF&R officials have said that requests for public records must be in writing.
In addition to that, a political action committee to fight the referendum is being formed, Robertson said, in case the referendum does make it to the ballot. He said Bill Ockunzzi, an IRB commissioner, is instrumental in forming the PAC.
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