Belleair, Struggling to Fight Deficit, Ups Trash Collection Fee
By Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR - The Town Commission at its meeting Tuesday night, in an attempt to correct trash collection costs that have been running at a loss, voted to increase the collection fee.
Residents will pay about $28 a month, 10 percent more than the current fee, in a move to get out of the red.
The commission also passed on second reading an ordinance that will regulate the maintenance of properties that are not occupied - through foreclosure or abandonment.
This is a problem that has plagued some of the local municipalities since the economic crisis which has hit so hard at residential properties.
Belleair will hold whomever or whatever is listed as the legal owner responsible for upkeep and safeguarding of a given property. Belleair Beach is instituting a similar ordinance.
Also passed on second reading and now incorporated into the town's laws is an ordinance on establishing seven months as the minimum amount of time required for leasing a residential property.
As part of the flap over Patrick Competelli, who had been fire chief in Belleair Bluffs, Chief Mike Wallace, the Largo fire chief, whose department now supplies fire service to Belleair, told the commission Tuesday night that Mike Cooksey, fire coordinator for the county, will be watching the situation and supervising.
Town Manager Micah Maxwell and Mayor Gary Katica met with Competelli, Commissioner Suzy Sofer of Belleair Bluffs, a fire fighters union representative and Stan Sofer, a Belleair Beach council member, over the Competelli controversy.
Except for Maxwell and Katica, who offered the courtesy of a meeting, none of the other parties had any official capacity in so meeting.
For any representative of a municipality to meet on such a matter, it must be authorized. The Sofers and Competelli had no such authorization from their respective jurisdictions.
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