BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The mayor and commission made its way through a three-hour work session agenda Monday night that ranged over a variety of issues.
Possible changes in the fire fighter pension plan were touched on, and that situation will clarify - with even a possible move to the state retirement system - with money expected from Belleair next year.
A suggested increase in the pension formula was discussed as well.
Pensions for police and fire fighters in Florida are an expensive deal because they are defined benefit plans. That is, unlike private industry where pensions can be subject to the ups and downs of investment instruments and payouts can be affected, defined benefit plans are the equivalent of a no-cut, guaranteed contract.
The commission agreed that under its new code enforcement plan that the special master (a person yet to be appointed) not have the latitude of setting into motion any foreclosures but that this power go through the commission to be authorized.
In picking a special master, the plan had been for the mayor so submit a name to the commission which would then approve the person.
Mayor Chris Arubtine has nominated several candidates for the job, none of which the commission liked, so the appointment will be left to the commission by majority vote.
Evaluations of department heads was held up because the system suggested by Commissioner Troy Krotz last year was not implemented.
Confusion in evaluations was supposedly overcome by the Krotz plan where commissioners would submit evaluations on the department head to the particular commissioner for the department who would then make a recommendation and submit that to the mayor.
The mayor would make an evaluation and if it was at odds with the commissioner's recommendations the two figures would be averaged and then submitted to the commission as whole which then could take any action it wanted.
The commission also reviewed articles on "nuisances" and "penalties" and made adjustments - taking into account repeat offenders and making punishments more in line to fit the offense.
A planning workshop - probably more properly called a "visioning session" - for the city will be held January 20 with input from residents expected. A facilitator will run the meeting.
Other items addressed were roll off dumpster prices from Waste Management, Inc., the holiday tree light and decorating contest (it will be held December 4 at 6 p.m., beautification at the city's main intersection, Indian Rocks Road and West Bay Drive, and the appointment of a representative to the Fire Pension Board.
Dave Finan's term is up on the fire board but he is willing to stay on. As is the custom, the commission keeps the position open pending any applications from citizens who might want to serve. In the absence of any, Finan would definitely be re-appointed.
Three fire fighters were recognized for 20 years of service. They are Chuck Barlett and Joe Martin, both lieutenants, and Steve Langer, a fire fighter.
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