Belleair Beach Sets Meeting Next Week to Set Millage Rate
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - The City Council remains in a wait and see position until it gets firm figures from the Property Appraiser's Office in order to proceed with its fiscal year 2008 budget.
The council at its meeting Monday night approved scheduling a special meeting next Wednesday, July 11, hoping to set a tentative millage rate at that time.
Estimates are that the millage rate will be just under 2, possibly at 1.98, with a reduction of about $190,000 from the current budget.
A long discussion was held on the city manager situation.
Nancy McCollum, the city clerk who has been serving as interim city manager, has made it clear that she does not want the city manager title, rejecting the idea of some council members.
She has explained that she is currently pursuing certification as a master city clerk and does not want to jeopardize her situation.
"It is impossible," stated Paul Marino, the city's lawyer, "for her to serve both as city clerk and full-time city manager because the two jobs are charter positions. Thus she can serve only on an interim basis."
At the same time, the council cannot modify in any way the method by which the city is run because the charter explicitly says that the City Council "shall" appoint a city manager. So, sooner or later, that must happen.
The search committee for a manager has whittled a list of about two dozen candidates down to two. The city has set a pay rate of $60,000 to $65,000 as a salary for the manager, but the candidates now in place want $70,000 or more, although no negotiations as such have taken place.
There is a chance that more applicants may be sought or the city may avail itself of the "Road Ranger" program offered by the International Association of City Managers. That is a plan where a temporary manager is supplied.
Although the discussion on the manager situation was long, the council made no determination.
The council approved an agreement with Welch Tennis Courts, Inc., to resurface the tennis courts, lighting and refurbishing 460 feet of fence. The listed cost is $70,700 and the city has a $50,000 grant that will defray part of that cost.
Under the terms of the grant, the work must be completed by September 30.
Also approved was a plan to tape and re-broadcast Board of Adjustment meetings. The virtue in this, it was pointed out, was the educational benefit for citizens who might in the future appear before the board. By seeing it in action, they will be apprised of the procedure.
The consensus of the council in regard to a code enforcement officer, which will be called a "Community Improvement Officer," was to make the position part-time to begin with.
An agreement with Dolphin Marine to do dock replacements at 2nd and 7th Streets was approved at a cost of $21,900. The work is expected to be completed in 30 days.
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