City Commission to discuss clean energy strategy Monday

More than 15 months after it signed the Ready for 100 Initiative pledge to get the city using 100 percent clean, renewable energy by the year 2050, the Safety Harbor City Commission will have its first substantive discussion on how to do that when it meets Monday night.

Commission also will be asked to consider changes to city permit and inspection fees and choose non-city agencies for city funding Monday night.

Monday’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=1805.   The meeting will be held via the Zoom video conferencing app. Details on how residents can watch and participate are at the end of this article. 

When Commission approved signing the Ready for 100 pledge in June 2019, it also said it would establish a timeline by 2021 on how to accomplish that goal. Since then, the city has helped create and participates in the Pinellas Sustainability and Resiliency Network, which includes a group of sustainability coordinators from around Pinellas County, and also registered for Duke Energy’s Clean Energy Connection program which, if approved by the state, would provide 40 percent of the city’s energy needs. Also, Commission this summer voted to add language to the original resolution to ensure low-income residents benefit from the city’s future clean energy initiatives. 

During this summer’s budgeting, Commission included $200,000 in the current budget for clean energy initiatives. Monday night, city staff will look to receive direction on how Commission would like to spend that money.

Among ideas being presented to Commission include hiring a sustainability coordinator as five other Pinellas County cities and the county itself have done, and establishing an environmental board, as four other Pinellas County cities have done. Commission also has been provided Oldsmar’s one-year sustainability timeline and Clearwater’s energy savings proposal for consideration.

ALSO ON THE AGENDA …

Non-city agency funding requests: Each year, the city invites non-city agencies to request funding from the city. This year, Commission has $85,000 budgeted for such requests, with 211 Tampa Bay Cares Inc. ($3,000), Family Center on Deafness ($5,000), Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center ($45,000), Neighborly Care Network ($15,000) and the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce ($15,000) requesting funding. Additionally, the city earmarks $2,000 of that $85,000 to support Paint Your Heart Out Safety Harbor. 

Permit and inspection fee changes: In 2018, Commission approved a minimum permit fee to make sure the city received a fee for its time if a planned project never came to fruition. Since that time, city staff has said most projects are being finished, making the minimum permit fee no longer necessary. Additionally, this resolution would establish a plan review fee of 20 percent of building permit fees for inspections done by private providers and a plan review fee of 50 percent of the building permit fee for inspections done by non-private providers. In a separate vote, Commission will be asked to remove the minimum permit fee from the city’s Land Development Code.

Front-yard setback waiver request: The company that owns the vacant residential property at 254 3rd Avenue N is requesting a waiver to reduce the front-yard setback requirement of 15 feet to 10 feet so it can build a new single-family home of less than 18 feet tall on the property. 

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 approval of a joint-use-of-facilities agreement with Pinellas County School Board to share each other’s facilities.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., with the Audit Committee meeting starting at 6 p.m., both 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 #951 8011 3398 or going to https://cityofsafetyharbor.zoom.us/j/95180113398. 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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