Arbutine Strongly Defends Commission Members Targeted by Belleair Bluffs Citizen
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - All it takes is one busybody who is out in left field to create controversy and produce exercises that are a colossal waste of time.
That was proven once again at Monday night's City Commission meeting here, where circumstances involving two members of the commission are going to be scheduled for a public hearing.
As it is, the two - Dave Shimkus and Troy Krotz - are charged with the sort of thing that could put them out of office and that is exactly the title of the agenda item - a public hearing for consideration of "forfeiture of office."
The busybody is Wally Witham, a former commissioner, who lost earlier this year in an attempt to regain office, but who, nevertheless, plays the role of a "bleeding deacon" and is a constant critic of those who do hold office.
The complaint with Shimkus, who has given stellar service to his city for years, is that he is "not a resident." With Krotz, who has also given superior service, the issue is that he has missed four meetings within a year.
Because his house is undergoing some rehabbing, Shimkus, his wife, and infant child, have been forced to live in temporary quarters outside the city.
He pays taxes in Belleair Bluffs, he is homesteaded, he says that Belleair Bluffs is his residence. Leading cases decided by courts of appeal favor his position. Basically, a person's "residence" is where he or she says it is. Intent most often is the governing factor.
Mayor Chris Arbutine stoutly and strongly defended Shimkus and Krotz, pointing out that to say that Shimkus is not a resident is an absurdity and making the point in the case of Krotz as to how a year is counted.
Arbutine says he marks the beginning of a year with the election of the person in question. He went on to show that Krotz had missed three meetings, not four, when a year is counted from the time of a person's election.
Following his long policy of allowing full citizen input, Arbutine indicated that the commission will proceed with a hearing on the matter involving the two commissioners.
In other business, the commission set Saturday, June 30, as the date for a special planning workshop that all residents are invited to participate in.
A look at the city's future and what citizens want will be looked at in terms of what kind of city Belleair Bluffs should be.
Also plans were reviewed for the annual 4th of July celebration which has always been a big event on the Belleair Bluffs calendar.
The festivities will take place on the actual day, Wednesday, July 4, and will feature food, refreshments, and entertainment.
Discussions of the fiscal year 2008 budget and associated subjects was put on hold pending the determination by the Florida Legislature on the tax formula it began work on this week.
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