Long-Standing Problem Solved in Belleair Beach as Browns Offer Settlement to the City
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BEACH - Quickly disposing of the key business of the millage rate and budget for fiscal year 2008 in seven minutes, the Belleair Beach City Council turned to its regular meeting Tuesday night and settled some crucial issues.
One of the bigger ones was the situation with the property of Thomas and Sandra Brown on Harbor Drive which has been a subject of contention for several years.
Much toing and froing has gone on for years and the city was about to implement a severe set of fines when the Browns showed up at the meeting (as scheduled) and offered a settlement that the city accepted.
The Browns offered a payment of $15,000 to reiumburse the city for its legal costs (which amount to something between $7,000 and $10,000) along with a plan to landscape the property.
A certificate of occupancy had been secured for the property which the Browns produced, and this indicated that the house on the property was up to snuff.
One troubling issue concerns the status of Channel 15 which carries the city's council sessions. Bright House Network is preparing to go to digitized channels which will require a box for reception.
Efforts are being made to work with the network to ensure continued viewing of the city channel with a minimum of inconvenience.
Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue officials showed up to ask to use city hall and the adjacent lot for a "fire expo" on Saturday, October 13.
But the council demurred on giving permission feeling that granting an okay on that date might be interpreted as an endorsement by the council for an issue that the fire district has on the November ballot.
Fire officials were told they could have the expo, but after the November election.
The question of renewing a contract with Davidson, Jamieson & Cristini, certified public accountants, to conduct city audits was tabled.
Fees had gone up which raised questions by council members and no representative from the firm showed up.
As expected, a 1.98 millage rate was approved along with the budget for fiscal 2008.
The millage rate is more than 14 percent less than last year.
The city goes into fiscal 2008 with its expenditures cut almost 13 percent and virtually no cuts in services.
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