LARGO -- Say "Penny for Pinellas" around Largo City Hall and the reaction you get is appreciative grins.
And no wonder. Some 11.6 percent of Largo's $120,368,100 budget includes projects funded by the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), the legal name for the popular "Penny" fund.
Chief among the projects is Largo's new library. The $12 million or so that will be derived from Penny for Pinellas to pay for the new building is not coming in one fell swoop.
Under the careful guidance of financial maven Kim Adams, the city will use $1,906,300 of Penny money to repay loan principal and another $299,700 in interest on the total loan.
Adams structured the loan to pay for the library to give the city the least amount of interest paid. Consequently, the total price of the library, interest included, will be something like $23 million (the basic, straight line cost is $20,995,000).
The Community Development Department takes the lion's share of the $13,958,200 in Penny for Pinellas funds being spent in fiscal year 2005.
Channel One construction, McKay Creek construction and Clearwater-Largo Road streetscaping are all million dollar-plus projects. Clearwater-Largo Road is also getting $652,000 in drainage improvements.
Taking a hefty piece of change in the total of $7,765,000 Penny funds in Community Development is the $450,000 for Central Park Drive sidewalk restoration, and the $300,000 being sent to fix up the south parking lot at the city hall.
The Fire Department is getting $1,164,600 in Penny funds, mostly for equipment and the Police Department will spend $871,000, including a new $380,000 elevator in police headquarters. Twenty-one vehicles are included in the police expenditures.
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