INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - There is no mystery why tourists and visitors come to Pinellas County. For the sun, sand and water.
So when a municipality asks the county - a huge beneficiary of the influx of people who come here - for help in defraying expenses, any reasonable person, it would seem, would find this perfectly appropriate.
Mayor Bill Ockunzzi asked for such help in a letter July 12 to Ken Welch, the chairman of the County Commission, that was not deemed by any reasonable person as an appropriate request.
Welch finally got around to answering Ockunzzi in a letter dated August 15 which landed in the city hall six days later.
For those who think of the old days of "sleepy time down South" long gone, guess again.
Ockunzzi's reaction last week to Welch's two-pages of rambling discourse on why the county cannot, will not, would not and could not render any more help was to the point.
"I believe (Welch's) response vividly demonstrates the County's arrogant attitude toward and respect (for) their constituents in the small towns that cannot muster up enough votes or money to effectively have a voice," Ockunzzi said.
In other words, "there aren't enough votes in the beach communities to throw big city guys like Welch out of office, so go take hike."
One reason advanced by Welch, who represents St. Petersburg (which has no beach but benefits from the beaches), is that because Indian Rocks Beach has reduced its millage rate for the city must have money available to cover what it seeks from the county.
Ockunzzi rebuts that observation by Welch by pointing out that Welch "conveniently overlooks the fact that right after the county granted St. Petersburg a tax break, (the city) approved a millage rate cut."
Of course, Welch's point is irrelevant and immaterial.
Another point that Welch made is that perhaps the beach cities should get together for a joint request. But this is rebutted by Welch himself in his letter where he emphasizes the individuality of the beach cities.
For the record, the beach communities in Pinellas County make up 3.5 percent of the county population but contribute more than 12 percent to the county tax base.
According to the St. Petersburg Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the attraction of the beaches is the reason 98.2 percent of visitors say they come here.
Indian Rocks Beach is one of the more open and easily accessible beaches.
It is a mystery to most observers why the county government always seems to be in a state of war with municipalities in the county, ranging on issues from annexation to investment in the beaches, the chief reason anyone ever comes here.
Take away the Pinellas beaches and this area might as well be Dixie County.
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