LARGO - Largo residents who click into the city's on-line web site to keep up on developments (there may be a few in this city which is the apathy capital of the western world) may be in total confusion by now.
The confusion no doubt was preceded by shock, because they were advised that wastewater charges were being raised - some to astronomical levels, as much as 44.5 percent.
But last week, the City Commission, the body which is supposed to be in charge but is notable for shirking that duty, decided nothing doing.
So the ominous heading "Sewer Rates to Take Effect" is scrubbed, because the commission last week is sending the whole scheme back to the staff for re-submission.
Perhaps something needs to be down with the wastewater rates, but no changes are going to take effect for a while.
A case, as far as the web site is concerned, perhaps of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
But when it comes to confusion, that element was highlighted at last week's commission meeting on a subject that came up at Tuesday's meeting this week.
An end run is obviously being pulled on the independent internal auditor idea (don't say those three words around City Manager Steve Stanton or the part time lawyer, Alan Zimmet; they start shaking and looking for the exit door when the words are heard).
Instead, that idea was bent this week into a discussion on hiring a consultant on a case by case by case basis to examine various parts of city operations.
This totally denudes the auditor idea and keeps everything under the pat control of the manager and consequently the commission learns what the administration allows it to learn.
The idea of the independent internal auditor was to have that worthy watchdog operating for the commission without administration control, so that the commission might finally learn what is really going on in city operations.
There are several avenues of interest currently being pursued, one of them the billing with the Zimmet and Company law firm. A public records request has been made for that data, the early look having established that the subject is a complex mass of intertwined loops and knots and dead ends without a clear picture.
The latest chapter in the Zimmet enrichment program took place before Tuesday's meeting (in private, of course) where the commission, manager and the lawyer discussed litigation regarding the county charter amendments (most folks want to stop it, but those who benefit mostly don't).
If the taxpayers find out what began as a mere chump change expense and then was raised to $30,000 and now is at some unknown figure, they might be getting a little hot under the collar. So it's being kept secret for now.
Last week's end-of-the-meeting discussion by commission members also made clear that any ideas the commission has for its own operation has to have the approval of Stanton.
Commissioner Gigi Arntzen, showing more and more independence, suggested more work session meetings to clear up a building backlog of business.
She looked plaintively to Stanton at the meeting, hoping to get approval.
And then Commissioner Mary Black brought forth a subject that she had wanted to pursue but was not scheduled.
It turns out the commission can't discuss anything unless there is a consensus of the body to do so. Stanton made that clear.
Black wanted to have a discussion on a tryout of an independent internal auditor, using John Atanasio, a Largo citizen and highly successful businessman, who volunteered for the job on a $1 a year basis.
Can't be done. Black's colleagues didn't agree. So it is established that the voice of one commissioner means nothing, especially if the others have been co-opted on what is the proper path to take.
One refreshing note from December 12 is that Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier, sitting in for Mayor Pat Gerard. chaired the meeting. For a change it was very business-like, no giggling, snorting, smirking, nervous shaking.
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