Looking Forward With Eyes Wide Open Largo Prepares for New Year
By H. Patrick Wheeler
Looking down the road for 2010, the City of Largo, which has a full plate filled with items, some which are interwoven with Pinellas County mandates. On the January 12, 2010 proposed works schedule the second item will certain have all eyes open due to the fact Pinellas has placed a moratorium on the new digital billboards effective November 18th, 2009.
Though in the near future the City of Largo is not entertaining such signs there is negotiations with signboard companies, one of which is Clear Channel and who was saddened by the one-year moratorium installed by Board of County Commissioners (BCC) of Pinellas County. However, there are multiple companies as signatories of this agreement.
Over the past decade signage has seemed to touch all in the City of Largo from the small business owner with the small sign outside their shops to the individuals who march in lock-step saying that the city is, has and will be polluted by signs of any size shape or design. There are approximately 100 large signs in this negotiated agreement.
The current agreement has expired and certainly first and foremost renegotiation of the terms should be considered imperative as both cities and commercial companies on occasion can suddenly change there minds either from economic reason and/or from the complaints or desires of citizens who want the elected officials to follow their instructions. Though these agreements are made for periods of time, the current one was for ten years, there are annual reviews, which certainly allows both sides the ability to negotiate. The absence of agreements is the open door to legal problems and should be addressed in the not too distant future. In today's world of economics legal costs is not something to be sneezed at. Currently February 12th, 2010 ends the 90-day extension and therefore this scheduled works session should bring into shape the new agreements between those companies and the City of Largo.
Being the new boy on the block and covering the City of Largo, I put out a request during the holiday season, after the last meeting of the year, requesting the Mayor and the entire Board of Commissioner to put in a few words on paper, of what their expectations for the city will be. They, similar to all of us, have taken time off for the festive seasons but one brave soul came to the office and submitted an answer to my request to take a moment and put on paper what they envision for the future decade. I would hope when all the other come back to the political nest that they would also send a few words I requested.
Vice-Mayor Woody Brown was as follows:
"I envision that in the next decade Largo will face some significant challenges while continuing the progress that we have seen in the last ten years. Property values have dropped returning some areas of Largo to a level that is once again affordable for first time homebuyers. The city's efforts to establish a network of community streets that are safe for both pedestrians and drivers will continue to make these neighborhoods desirable places to live. This decade I expect public transit will begin to be put in place and Largo is poised to embrace the development that will result. Bringing our wastewater collection system up to standards will continue through the coming decade. IT improvements will help assure that proper maintenance is performed and large-scale mandated overhauls are avoided.From me, your humble writer, I will report about you only what I see through my eyes and what many hours of study brings to the forefront. I wish you all well and a Prosperous New Year!
H. Patrick Wheeler
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