Budget Hot Rocks Cooling Down!
By Kari Jo M. Rodgers
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - At the beginning of the meeting, County Commissioner Karen Seel asked Indian Rocks Beach commissioners if they wanted to participate in a project to build affordable houses in their community. After hearing the request, citizens raised objections. A major objection included not wanting to pay an extra tax in order to have affordable housing in the city. However, many commissioners, including Commissioner Cookie Kennedy, felt that the city should participate. Possible plans for the project will be discussed at future meetings.
The next pertinent issue addressed was the loud noise heard at Cuso's Bar. Citizen Mark Bodine, representing Cameron Cones Resorts, said that he had received numerous complaints from guests that they had difficulties sleeping during the night due to the loud noise level. He has requested that some type of noise barrier be set in place to help take care of the problem. Mayor R.B. Johnson asked if a constant level of noise could be heard, and Bodine answered, "yes." He explained that even with sheriff intervention, the noise level still had not come to a halt. Commissioners agreed that the City Manager should address Mr. Mancuso. It was suggested by Commissioner Mark Wollen that Mr. Mancuso come to a future commission meeting, so that he can be part of the solution on how to make these changes. If changes are not made soon, his permit for the bar may be revoked by the city.
Commissioners also plan on asking the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a grant, so that they can build docks and slips near Keegan Clair Park. Pertaining to the issue, Commissioner Bert Vallery asked if the city would receive money for boater's use of the docks. Commissioner Kennedy agreed that the city should receive money for the dock's use. While Commissioner Daniel Torres suggested pushing the project back due to the tough current budget, other commissioners felt that doing this would be a good way to bring more money into the city.
The commissioners also voted to raise trash pick up fees 30 percent. This would raise the fee for trash pick up at a single-family household from $13.31 to $17.30. When asked by a citizen if this would show that the city is satisfying their debt, City Attorney Maura Kefer said that "it would be a start, and that they did not have to cure the debt, but that they were required to come up with a plan on how they intended to get out of their current situation."
Besides raising trash pick up fees, commissioners also voted to raise sewer rates by 20 percent. This increase would add up to an extra $5 per month.
One of the last issues explored was taking possible steps to televise future commission meetings. Commissioner Vallery suggested that commissioners take a closer look at how their neighbors living in the City of Belleair Beach accomplished this task. He further suggested that they look to the community for volunteers to help work the cameras. The matter will be discussed more in future meetings.
To learn more about how Indian Rocks Beach will continue to "cool off their budget hot rocks," and how other matters will be dealt with, be sure to keep reading the Clearwater Gazette!
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