LARGO -- Largo's City Commission put to rest at its meeting Tuesday night one apect of its feud with Pinellas County that has been festering for a year.
The solution has been in the works for the past month, with the commission holding out for the county dropping a lawsuit as the key to the city granting the county the right to purchase part of some property that Largo controlled.
PSTA property on 49th Street was the focus of the scenario.
The PSTA land deal with the county was a long and complicated process over the past year.
It began in September 2003 with the Largo commission approving the purchase of 13 acres of PSTA property on 49th Street, just north of where the county jail and criminal courts complex is located.
The city and the county then got into a fracas over Largo's annexation of the property and filed suit to stop Largo's action.
Because the county wanted to buy eight of the 13 acres of the PSTA parcel, the city and county began bargaining. The result is the current settlement and memorandum of understanding.
By amending its purchase agreement to allow the county to buy the eight acres, the county in return agreed to drop its lawsuit with prejudice (which means it cannot bring it up again).
Alan Zimmet, the city attorney, reviewed proposed charter changes with the commission.
Among the proposed changes that will be voted on in a March referendum and already approved by the City Commission is a change to allow the commission to borrow money by resolution instead of an ordinance.
That method would not require a public hearing and has opposition from some citizens. A former commissioner, Marty Shelby, spoke out against it in the August "town hall" meeting where the public was invited to give its views.
Up for more discussion by the commission are commissioner and mayor salaries, to hold city elections in November, allowing a candidate for office to qualify by paying a $1,000 fee instead of requiring petition cards, requiring charter review every seven years, require department heads to live in the city and change the name of the City Commission to City Council.
The board actually is more properly a council than a commission. In a commission form of government, each commissioner has charge of a city department.
Clearwater saw the wisdom of this and changed the name of its governing body to council from commission earlier this year.
Police Chief Lester Aradi, with his deputy, John Carroll, on hand fresh back from the FBI Police Academy in Quantico, Virginia, swore in seven new officers who are recent graduates of the local Police Academy.
The new officers are Patrick Vann, Michael Garasic, Sascha Guilbe, Richard Tindall, Lance Moore, Lauren Bailey and Donald Duffy.
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