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City Commission set to approve millage rate, budget


The Safety Harbor City Commission will take its first vote to approve this fiscal year’s millage rate when it meets Wednesday night, two days later than usual because of the Labor Day holiday. Commission also will appoint the seven members of the city’s Diversity Advisory Board.

Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Here is the link to the agenda, with additional material, known as “backup,” available via the hyperlink on each item: https://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1803. The meeting will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a meeting of the city’s Audit Committee, which consists of the Mayor, Commissioners and two members of the city’s Finance Advisory Board. The agenda and backup material for that meeting is available at https://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=2036.  

All city meetings through September will be held via the Zoom video conferencing app. Details on how residents can watch and participate are at the end of this article. 

In August, Commission voted 5-0 to set the maximum millage rate at 3.95. Wednesday will be the first of two hearings to approve the rate, which can not be higher than 3.95, but can be less, though that is extremely unlikely. Also Wednesday, Commission will be asked to approve the city’s $73 million budget. 


At its last meeting, Commission agreed to individually rank their seven choices from the applicants who have applied to serve on the city’s new Diversity Advisory Board. City Manager Matthew Spoor tabulated the rankings to help give Commission some direction as they appoint members, however Commission is not bound by the rankings and can appoint any of the applicants it wishes. The Commissioners’ individual rankings are available on the backup material in the agenda link posted above, but the seven who scored the highest in the scoring were, in order, Lewis Ponds, Cheryl Williams, Vincent Smith, Adrian “AC” Blevins, Priscilla Velez, Juanita Frazier and Sandra Mejicano. Eight other applicants were included on Commissioners’ rankings.


Ordinances or changes to city code require two hearings before the City Commission. 

Rezoning of 367 Grand Central Ave.: At first reading, Commission voted 3-2 to approve Frank Vasallo’s request to change the zoning for his property from Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Conditional Mix Residential (R-3), which would make it consistent with the zoning of all other properties on the block. The city’s Technical Review Committee had no issues with the request and the Planning & Zoning Board recommends approval. 


Audit Committee meeting: At its last Audit Committee meeting, the committee voted to hear proposals from the eight companies that are seeking to provide auditing services to the city. The committee will rank the eight after the meeting to aid in selecting one firm at its next meeting.

Sidewalk waiver requests: In two separate votes, Commission will be asked to approve sidewalk waivers requested by Cary and Donna Linkfield at 530 7th St. N and Adam Simison at 2850 Philippe Parkway. The city’s Technical Review Committee has no concerns with either request.

Planning & Zoning Board and Board of Appeals appointment: At its last meeting, Commission voted to remove chairman Victor Curti from the board that reviews planning and zoning requests and hears appeals. Steven Wurst is the alternate member, and applications have been received from Colin Young, Marion Lindsay, Jacob Burnett, Andrew Pappas, Negueil Hicks, Joe Rezendes, Vincent Smith, Lewis Ponds, John Richardson, Heather Norton and Ali Schaaff.

Code Enforcement Board appointment: Andy Steingold has been removed from the board that hears code enforcement cases for missing three meetings in the past 12 months, two of them since meetings were moved to 5 p.m. and online during COVID-19. Scott Hood is the alternate, and applications also have been received from Jacob Burnett, Joe Rezendes, Tonie Wyatt, Vincent Smith, Lewis Ponds, Juanita Frazier, Cheryl Williams, John Richardson and Heather Norton.

Fire Department calendar proceeds presentation: The city will present the money raised from this year’s Fire Department calendar sales to the Humane Society of Pinellas.

Consent agenda: Items expected to have little debate, such as approval of the last meeting’s minutes and most contracts, are included en masse in the consent agenda, though any Commissioner can ask for any item to be considered separately. This meeting’s consent agenda includes awarding of a contract for water main replacements in the Espiritu Santo Springs and Washington Brennan subdivisions and awarding of a contract to replace air-conditioning compressor units at the Safety Harbor Community Center. 


The meeting starts at 7 p.m. via the Zoom video conferencing app. Meetings typically run from 1.5 to three hours. Residents are given the opportunity to speak on all agenda items, except for presentations and consent agenda items. For all other issues, including items on the consent agenda, residents can speak during the “Audience to be Heard” portion of the meeting. Residents can watch, listen to and participate in the meeting in these ways:

  • Online using Zoom Meeting ID #936 3325 0905 or going to https://cityofsafetyharbor.zoom.us/j/93633250905.. Residents can also watch online, but not participate, at https://www.cityofsafetyharbor.com/557/Streaming-Media
  • By phone toll-free by calling 1-888-475-4499 or 1-877-853-5257.
  • In person at City Hall and overflow areas at 750 Main St., though Commissioners will not be in person.
  • Email comments to pcomment@cityofsafetyharbor.com or mail comments to City Hall, Attn: Public Comment, 750 Main St., Safety Harbor, FL 34695. Emails or letters of 500 words or fewer will be read aloud during the meeting. Longer emails and letters will not be read but will be shared with Commissioners.

Contact your Commissioners:

Mayor Joe Ayoub – jayoub@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Vice Mayor Cliff Merz – cmerz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Carlos Diaz – cdiaz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Andy Zodrow – azodrow@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Nancy Besore – nbesore@cityofsafetyharbor.com

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