Taxes and fees on City Commission agenda tonight

Taxes and fees will be front and center tonight when the Safety Harbor City Commission meets.

Tonight’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: http://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1677

Commission will be asked to approve on second and final reading keeping the city’s millage tax rate the same as in past years at 3.95 percent and to approve the city’s 2020 fiscal year budget of $68,429,850. Commission voted 5-0 in favor of both at its last meeting. 

Some residents have objected to the city’s streetlight assessment because they say they don’t use the streetlights as much as other residents and businesses. ( Scott Long)

The city’s Street Lighting Services and Facilities Charge has drawn the ire of a small portion of city residents since it was adopted in 2012 at an annual rate of $50.97 per EDU, which stands for Equivalent Residential Unit. That’s defined as any building that has the same impact of a  single-family residence, which includes businesses. The rate has dropped over the years, and Commission will be asked to approve an annual rate of $39 per EDU. All Duke Energy public street lights have been transitioned to LED lighting.

Also, city staff is recommending that the rates for slips at the Safety Harbor Marina be increased from the current $87.50 to $102.50 a month, depending on the size of the slip, to $125.20 to $146.60. The last rate increase for the slips was in 2005, and the new suggested rates were chosen after a study of rates elsewhere.  

SECOND READINGS

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

Code amendments concerning breweries and hotels: Commission voted 5-0 on first reading to approve two proposed changes to city code concerning breweries, one of which also included changes concerning hotels. 

ALSO ON THE AGENDA …

Sanitation and recycling rate study: The cost the city pays for disposing of solid waste and recyclable materials are expected to jump drastically in the next fiscal year, as Pinellas County is expected to raise its “tipping fees” – the amount it charges municipalities –  by 6 percent to $39.75 per ton, and to start charging $100 per ton for recycling material, which is being accepted at no cost now. City staff is seeking approval for a $22,455 study of rates in light of the expected charges.  

Ballot initiative for assault weapons: The political action committee Ban Assault Weapons NOW is seeking to get an amendment in the state constitution banning the ownership of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that can hold 10 rounds of ammunition at once. The City of Weston has retained a law firm to help get the measure on a future ballot, and has invited other cities to join with it for a cost of not more than $3,000 each.  

Parks & Recreation Advisory Board appointment: The term of Thomas Gardner on this board that advises Commission on parks and recreation matters is expiring. He is seeking reappointment. Applications also have been received from Jennifer Sedillo, Jody Grutza and Scott Hood. 

Library Advisory Committee appointments: The terms of Mary Haddon Doyle and Michael Moscardini on this board that advises Commission on library issues are expiring. Both are seeking reappointment. Applications also have been received from Sedillo, Camille Christian and Marie Ziegler.

Retirement recognition: Michal Pezzino will be honored on his retirement from the Leisure Services Department as a Tradesman II after 14 years.  

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 agreements for maintenance of city-owned ponds and mowing, approval of the replacement of synthetic turf at the concession stand of Safety Harbor City Park and approval of the annual law enforcement contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Attend the meeting: The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 750 Main St. 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. Come forward when asked by the mayor, state your name and address, and you’ll be given three minutes to address the Commission. For any issues not on the agenda, or any item that is on the consent agenda, residents get three minutes to speak at the beginning of the meeting during “Audience to be Heard.”  

Watch from home: Meetings are live-streamed to the city’s website at http://cityofsafetyharbor.com/557/Streaming-Media. The following day, a video of the meeting is posted for residents to watch.

Contact your Commissioners in advance by leaving them a message at City Hall at (727) 724-1555 or emailing them:

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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