BELLEAIR BEACH – The City Council gave financial approval to the $3 million financial package to fund the new city hall and shot down a measure that would have allowed the city to close the beaches during an emergency.
Under the provisions of the deal with Sun Coast Bank which will provide the funds for the city hall, no ad valorem taxes will be used to pay off the loan.
No ad valorem assessment means money will come from funds already in reserve and Penny for Pinellas tax funds.
Actually, instead of a bulk loan of $3 million, the city has a line of credit up to $3 million that will be drawn on as needs dictate.
As Melanie Neuman, the city’s financial officer explained, the minimum draw down will be $250,000 and all expenses must show proof of purchase or certification. Both ends will be monitored by the city and the bank.
On the beach closing matter, a parade of citizens came to the microphone to speak against the proposal which would allow the police to close the beaches when there was a declared emergency.
Many of the opponents were obviously surf boarders who love the beaches when the surf is up, driven shoreward by storm tossed seas.
Also speaking against it was Bert Cutler, a former council member.
Councilmember Lynn Rives was opposed, calling the proposed ordinance “over broad.” He said, “I think it is another harassment of our citizens.”
Jeff Coulson joined his colleague Rives in opposition, saying that this kind of action reminded him of a “police state.”
Coulson said, “It’s just another way to restrict citizens. Does it mean that people who sell property here have to disclose that there is limited access to the beach?”
Mayor Rudy Davis also was opposed. “I don’t want to be abusive to the residents,” he said. The measure lost 5-1 in the absence of Stan Sofer.
Paul Marino, the city’s lawyer, will be honored by his home town of Baltimore this weekend, with Columbus Day festivities there.
Marino served as chairman of the city’s Columbus Day Commission from 1966 to 1976, succeeding his father who had headed up the proceedings from 1954-66. This was in the heyday of the popular mayor, Tommy D’Alessandro, who also served in the U.S. House.
Marino and his brother, Victor, will be grand marshalls for the parade on Sunday. That word came from Tommy D’Alessandro the younger, who was mayor during the 1970s and is the brother of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House.
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