BELLEAIR BEACH -- Lack of a quorum prevented the Belleair Beach City Council meeting Monday night, but citizens in attendance hung around after the abbreviated session. Politics was in the air.
Bert Cutler, a present member of the council and a candidate for mayor in the March election, is pushing for a referendum on eliminating the city's police department.
Cutler has been an advocate of saving the city anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 a year by contracting with the Sheriff's Office for police services.
Rudy Davis, also a mayoral candidate, was presssing some flesh after the meeting.
Under the new city set up that will bring in a city manager, the mayor will be presiding officer of the council; in effect, one among the seven members.
Monday night Presiding Officer Lynn Rives waited 10 minutes before declaring the lack of a quorum. He, Cutler and Marvin Behm were present. A fourth was needed. Rives reported that members Stan Sofer, Mary Jo Henderson and Jeff Coulsen had been excused. Donna Durante was expected to appear but did not.
The meeting is re-scheduled for tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m.
Mary Schoonover, who has been doing videos of the council meetings, is a candidate for a council seat in March, along with Richard Conrath and incumbents Rives and Sofer. Both Conrath and Schoonover were present Monday night.
The big issue in the election two months from now is the police situation. Some citizens who said they previously had been supporters of the city police say they now have changed their minds and are interested in the huge savings by using the sheriff's deputies.
Lombardi says that he, like Cutler, favors going with the sheriff because of the savings.
On the docket for Monday's aborted meeting was a discussion on the three finalists for the city manager job.
One of them, Eric Meserve, had been city manager in neighboring Indian Rocks Beach from 1993 to 1997.
The other finalists are Reid Silverboard and J. Douglas Drymon.
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