INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The Indian Rocks Beach City Commission has adopted a resolution objecting to and opposing the Pinellas Planning Council's budget and work program.
The resolution was followed by a sharply detailed letter from Mayor Bill Ockunzzi to John Morroni, chairman of the County Commission, which approves the PCC budget.
Indian Rocks Beach in the resolution points out that 83 percent of PPC's budget is funded from countywide revenues while the work the council provides is directed to individual government entities.
In brief, IRB officials are saying, why are we paying for something we don't get; subsidizing the costs for other government entities?
Ockunzzi points out in his August 16 letter that the IRB commission feels that individual government units should pay PCC for its services as it requires them.
Such a scheme, the argument goes, would then reduce the countywide millage rate that supports the PPC and thus reduce taxes for Indian Rocks Beach residents.
"The Indian Rocks Beach City Commission recommends that the PPC convert to a user-based fee for the majority of its funding, thus lessening the tax burden on individual citizens who neither request nor receive any benefit from the PPC," the resolution says.
One proposal in the IRB resolution is that the County Commission abolish the PPC and assume all countywide planning responsibilities. This is a proposal advanced by Commissioner Susan Latvala a couple of years ago.
In his letter, Ockunzzi points out that governmental entities using PPC services are charged twice for overhead -- once in tax dollars paid by property owners and again as part of the hourly charges for assistance.
He says that "one government entity sould not make a ‘profit' at the expense of another."
One inequity cited by Ockunzzi is that the beach communities make up about 3.5 percent of the population of Pinellas County but provide about 12 percent of the ad valorem revenue.
Ockunzzi does, in the letter, say that "we do recognize that the PPC staff is very well qualified and professional. The comments (in the letter) are meant to express our dissatisfaction with PPC policy."
He sounds what has been a consistent theme -- "Indian Rocks Beach and other beach communities are overtaxed, under represented and under served."
Ockunzzi feels that the county should pay part of the costs for beach upkeep. Tourists and visitors come to Pinellas County for mainly one reason -- the beaches. The IRB mayor feels the beach communities should not have to bear the upkeep cost alone.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition