BELLEAIR BEACH -- The Belleair Beach City Council revealed at it regular meeting Monday night its rapacious appetite for money -- greed, in short -- as a proposal to install parking meters in the city was advanced but then quickly ground looped.
The discussion of the subject exposed the abysmal ignorance of council members in regard to beach renourishment commitments made years ago and to two pending grants coming to the city from the state.
The "discussion on parking meters" item on the agenda for the meeting had a few of the citizenry in attendance scratching their heads wondering where such meters would go in a city that decrees it illegal to park on any street.
It turns out the proposed location for parking meters would be at the Morgan Street Park and Bayside Park, adjacent to the city hall.
There then ensued a discussion that developed the informatin that anyone ticketed for parking illegally at Morgan Street Park has been the victim, evidently, of an illegal act.
In bargaining to get beach renourishment, the city had to pledge 20 spaces at Morgan Street Park for the general public.
Then the idea of charging non-residents while residents would park free was explored and Paul Marino, the city attorney, was instructed to look into the "legalities."
Marino can save his time, apparently, because in two grants from the state -- one for Morgan, the other for Bayside (which specifically is to build tennis courts) -- the city pledged in the grant applications that the facilities would be open to the general public.
The upshot of the Morgan Street Park parking subject was that signs restricting parking there should be removed.
In another aspect of the parks situation, Presiding Officer Lynn Rives was in high dudgeon over the decrepit condition of parks in the city.
He said he had walked the parks that very day and submitted a laundry list of complaints, including non-compliance with the law in the playground adjacent to city hall.
Mayor Mike Kelly tried to defend the condition of the parks (a complaint that was cited as well by two residents in the citizens comment portion of the meeting) but Rives was relentless.
The abysmal condition of the city parks is reflective apparenlty of the city's having fired its long-time boss of public works, Buell Vann, whose tenure never brought a complaint.
It appears the two public works employees on the city payroll are working without competent supervision, which was probably the corollary of Rives's complaints about the condition of the parks.
In attempting to mollify Rives, Kelly said he was aware of Rives's concerns and finally squelched Rives's tirade by saying, "Why don't you and I talk about it this week?"
One citizen during the public comments revived the issue of the educational credentials of the city's police chief, Ernie Armistead.
He gained a pledge from the council to show a video he had of a news program on the subject done several years ago.
Frank Tricarico said his purpose was to enlighten new members of the council (Councilmember Marvin Boehm said he knew nothing of the subject even though it was written about as recently as a year or so ago) and new city residents.
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