BELLEAIR BLUFFS - With Belleair Beach having chosen to dissolve its police force, Belleair Shore commissioners decided at their meeting here March 21 to wait and see what they will do about police service.
Belleair Beach now polices Belleair Shore under contract. Belleair Beach could opt to have the Sheriff's Office, Belleair or Clearwater provide service.
Mayor John Robertson said that his town would not use any other agency than the Sheriff's Office.
Because the Belleair Shore commission did not meet in February as planned, last Wednesday's meeting was a "catch up session," Robertson said.
The commission heard an audit report from Jeanine Bittinger of Davidson, Jameson and Cristini. Because the town has such a small budget a state mandated audit takes place every three years rather than annually, Robertson said.
Another report was heard from Nancy Smith of Gail Eisely consultants on the state required evaluation that leads to changes in the comprehensive plan.
Comprehensive plans are required of all municipalities in the state, but the extent of the plan is sparse in Belleair Shore. There are no public areas and all property in the town is privately owned.
The commission supported the settlement of the lawsuit between 21 of the county's municipalities and the county government.
Robertson pointed out that the cities pretty much prevailed with the county backing off on ending the dual referendum vote and agreeing to certain changes in annexation rules.
In the dual referendum, cities could opt out of countywide referendums where its citizens turned down the issue.
Annexations have little impact in Belleair Shore, obviously, but are a hot issue in places like Largo and Seminole.
"What I like about the settlement," Robertson said, "is that the court retained jurisdiction for enforcement purposes."
Robertson reviewed with the commission the outcome of the voting issues March 13 in reference to the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue department where voters turned down an increase in the annual fee and also a proposal to grant a cost of living boost each year in the fee.
"There's a lot of dissatisfaction with the fire commission," Robertson said, "and they will have to come back with another plan. I think the situation is bad but not dire."
Robertson said he is encouraged because the fire commission has a new chairman, John Todia of Indian Rocks Beach.
The fire district wanted an increase in the annual fee from $190 to $260.
Robertson and Commissioner John Hayes were sworn in for new terms. Both were returned to office in March's balloting. Both were unopposed.