At the request of the Barrier Island Government Council (BIG-C), the Planning Department will be assisting in the installation coordination of supplemental Fish ½ Mile Marker signs. This project will enhance the previous Mile Markers along Gulf Boulevard, incorporating new ½ mile fish signs and bridge markers on the causeway leading to the barrier islands. Your assistance is needed to implement the placement of the signs within your jurisdiction. An aerial graphic of each proposed location is enclosed with the locations marked at approximately ½ mile increments. We are asking each city to verify that the locations chosen in their respective area are acceptable and do not create any sight conflicts. A sample of the ½ mile markers, list of all locations to be installed, and the location map for a bridge marker on Causeway Boulevard are enclosed for your review.
The Planning Department will provide the signs and coordinate with Sunshine for dig approval. We anticipate piggy backing on the previous County permit and utilizing your original resolution regarding installation and maintenance.
We respectfully request your response as quickly as possible in order to expedite the installation of these signs.
Brian Smith, Director, Pinellas County Planning Department
Letter to the Editor:
I attended the public hearing held Friday, February 3, 2006 conducted by the State Insurance Commission and the state run Citizens Property Insurance Company regarding its pending requested rate increases for the homeowners insured by them.
Since Citizens is the insurer of last resort and only insures the riskiest homeowners, it has no choice but to pass on the risk of loss to its insureds. This hearing shouldn't have been about Citizens, there is a more fundamental issue that needs to be addressed by our legislature immediately.
I believe there is a serious flaw between the concept of insurance and the way insurance companies insure their customers. The private sector of the insurance industry offers "insurance" to its customers to spread the risk of loss. But since private insurers are in business to provide the greatest stockholder returns possible, they avoid the high risk customers to mitigate their losses, thus providing these high returns and to attract more investors.
If the concept of insurance is to spread the risk to many to ease the pain of the few, then why are the insurance companies allowed to withdraw from high risk markets? One who lives in California or Ohio might respond by saying, "Why should I pay for losses due to hurricanes in Florida when we don't have nay hurricanes here?" But Floridians might just as well respond, "Why should we have to pay for earthquake, mudslide or wild fire damage in California? Or flood damage around the Ohio River, or the damaging effects from tornados in Kansas?"
If this problem is to be fixed, it cannot be solved the state's taking on only high risk customers through Citizens Insurance Company, a certain recipe for failure. The private sector must be forced to insure high risk customers and spread premiums evenly to all policy holders. It may seem disproportionate at times such as the last two hurricane seasons, but the concept of insurance is sound, spreading the risk so no one individual has to take on the burden of catastrophic losses. Perhaps if the private sector can't get that concept, states where these companies are unwilling to write policies for higher risks should be banned from writing lower risk policies, and not just for homeowners insurance, but life, health and auto as well. If the states implemented this kind of stance with the private insurers and not listen to their lobbyists, it wouldn't take long for the private sector to finally get the concept of spreading the risk of loss so no few victims have to suffer greatly
Frank L. Dame, Clearwater
To: Clearwater Mayor, City Council and City Management
Subject: Mandalay Channel Minimum Wake
With good reason, the Council declared the north end of Mandalay Channel as a minimum wake zone. At the time, the reasoning was it was the safe thing to do. Slowing down prevents potential accidents to people in kayaks and other slow moving traffic and to people getting in and out of their boats along the shoreline. It also lessens erosion to the sea wall and concurring damage to boats and docks along the shoreline. Lastly, enforcing the minimum wake zone enhances the peace and quiet of what is essentially a residential community.
I suggest each of the council members simply drive over the bridge leading into the beach area and, approaching the marina, look north from the bridge. You'll note that the channel narrows substantially on the north side. That visual should be a reminder of how narrow that passage way is and the importance of retaining the minimum wake zone.
Please retain the northern portion of Mandalay Channel as a minimum wake zone for the safety and consideration of those that live there and those boaters who wish to responsibly make use of the channel.
I have lived on the channel for 7 years and also own a boat. I have watched the boat traffic increase. Many times as I have attempted to get my boat up on my lift and out of the water, I have experienced very rough wave action causing my boat to bounce and bang back and forth repeatedly from the wake of boats zooming by.
I attended every meeting last year regarding this issue; therefore, I hope my opinion bears some weight.
Any relaxing of the original approval by the City Council and Fish/Wildlife Conservation Commission would be a grave mistake.
To: The Editor
Subject: More Than A Grocery Store
I am somewhat amused to find myself wondering why the discussion only leads the citizens of Indian Rocks Beach and the media to believe that this is about a grocery store. The Initiative Petition No. 1 is about many issues Traffic. Indian Rocks Beach alone will not be able to support this large commercial development, it will need to pull from Clearwater, Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Shores and Sand Key. Not only is the city going to be faced with additional auto traffic it will experience truck traffic as well, which will be servicing the development, a traffic light on Gulf Boulevard will soon follow.
A massive development in the middle of a residential neighborhood is not compatible with our current city code and plan.
This project includes 24 condominiums and a large parking garage. The biggest concern I have is the fact a precedent will be set, and it will be difficult to stop future density and heigh increases.
If passed, this project will violate 29 provisions of our current city codes including a number of variances.
Indian Rocks Beach has a commercial corridor, why not there? I urge all citizens of Indian Rocks Beach to vote No for Initiative Petition No. 1. Just remember the savings for that gallon of milk will compromise our way of life. Please keep Indian Rocks Beach charm alive and send big developers a message.
Indian Rocks Beach
To: Pinellas County Municipalities
Subject: Proposed Penny For Pinellas 2010 to 2020 Extension
From: Stephen M. Spratt, County Administrator
The Board of County Commissioners has directed County staff to begin planning activities for the public's approval of an extension to the current one-cent Local Government Infrastructure Sales Surtax, the Penny for Pinellas, which sunsets in 2010. The proposed extension would be for another 10 year period, from 2010 to 2020. The Board has chosen early March of 2007 as the time frame for a voter referendum on this issue.
The County will be developing an extensive public information campaign based on the prior accomplishments of both the Cities and the County from the Penny for Pinellas program, and on proposed new projects or programs for the extension period. In order to begin your City's formal involvement in this process, we are requesting that you provide us with a summary listing of your City's previous projects or program type accomplishments from the Penny for Pinellas, as well as projects you plan to accomplish prior to the end of the current Penny time period through 2010. We ask that you submit this information to our Office of Management and Budget by February 15, 2006. We want this to be a joint effort by our respect organizations so that we can present a unified theme and message to our citizens. We also want to provide you with appropriate assistance to facilitate your public information efforts within your community.
August 1, 2006 is another date that is key to your City. This is our requested date for you to provide your proposed new projects/program related to the 2010 to 2020 extension period. Please note the County is not proposing any changes to the current interlocal agreement and sharing formulas, other than updating the agreement to reflect the latest population figures available. The revenue sharing from the Penny is based on the State's half-cent sales tax distribution formula, pursuant of Ch. 218.62 of the Florida Statutes. Tentatively, the set-aside for County-wide Courts and Jails projects has been adjusted to $200 Million which is 10 percent of the projected revenue from the Penny extension. This factor (10 percent) is consistent with the set-aside amount in the original Penny. The development of the Master Plans are underway and will determine the amount required to fund those facilities. Our Office of Management and Budget has already met with many of your Budget & Finance staff, and will provide further direction and assistance for your August 1st submission as that date nears. I will also be keeping the City Managers abreast of issues related to the Penny for Pinellas extension at our monthly consortium meetings.
I think we all know the positive impact the Penny for Pinellas has had on this community. It is a vital revenue source that affects the quality of life in Pinellas County. We look forward to your joining with us as we present our Penny "Report Card" to the citizens, and ask for their approval to continue this important program.
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