Belleair Shore Okays Rate of Less Than One Mill
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Belleair Shore's Town Commission, as expected, approved a budget September 5 that will call for a .5256 millage rate.
The rate of little more than half a mill is even lower than the rollback rate - the rate needed to raise the same amount of ad valorem income in the current year - which would have been .5486.
In all, the tiny town will spend $89,400 in its fiscal 2008 budget, very much lower than the $100,000 or so that used to be the standard outlay in the town.
The budget and millage rate will have final action at the second hearing scheduled for September 19.
In other action, the commission moved ahead on approving itself as the Local Planning Agency, a procedure that had lapsed.
An LPA as part of the Comprehensive Plan is required under Florida law. The rub is that in Belleair Shore there are no public areas. All of the property along the west side of Gulf Boulevard for one mile north of the Indian Rocks Beach city line is privately owned.
But to conform with state law, the town will establish an LPA although there is no functional need for planning in the real sense as applies in other jurisdictions.
Another wrinkle in the law that has been straightened out because of the unusual status of the town is the dispensation the Legislature made in the law that requires municipal legislative bodies to meet within the borders of their city or town.
There is no public place to meet in Belleair Shore. In the past, commission meetings were held in a home of a mayor or commission member.
That procedure was unworkable as well being obviously fraught with liability and potential problems. For example, as a public meeting, a huge number of people from anywhere could have shown up at a private home and would have to have been legally accommodated.
To solve this, the commission some years ago made arrangements to meet in Belleair Bluffs. Nearby Belleair Beach, right across Gulf Boulevard, was out of the question because of the feuding that was going on at the time.
As happens in life, the chief proponents of that feuding, who lived in Belleair Beach, have moved on, one way or the other.
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