Reclaimed Water Restrictions Begin April 1st

  • Seasonal reclaimed watering restrictions in place between April 1 and June 30 during traditional dry season
  • Customers encouraged to follow restrictions year-round
  • Customers have opportunity to take classes and learn more about Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ practices that promote healthier lawns

Pinellas County reclaimed water seasonal restrictions begin Saturday, April 1. The mandatory restrictions are different for North County and South County reclaimed water customers due to the volume of reclaimed water produced by the respective water reclamation facility supplying each area and customer demand on each system. Utilities produces enough reclaimed water on average each day to supply the appropriate amount of needed irrigation for customers, but with excessive demand at an all-time high, restrictions continue to be necessary to help provide every reclaimed water customer with an adequate supply and preserve facility infrastructure.

For Pinellas County Utilities-supplied North County reclaimed water customers located north of Curlew Road, the reclaimed water system continues to be shut down three days a week until further notice due to dry weather and excessive demand. Customers may irrigate two days per week according to the following schedule:

  • Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8) may water on Tuesday and/or Saturday
  • Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9) may water on Wednesday and/or Sunday
  • Addresses with mixed or no addresses, such as common areas associated with a residential subdivision, may water on Wednesday and/or Sunday
  • Irrigation is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on all days

The North County system will continue to be shut down on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. The system will also be shut down from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all days of operation.

South County reclaimed watering restrictions apply to Pinellas County Utilities-supplied reclaimed water customers located south of Ulmerton Road. The restrictions limit reclaimed water irrigation during authorized hours to three days per week based on house number according to the following schedule:

  • Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8) may water Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday
  • Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9) may water on Wednesday, Friday and/or Sunday
  • Addresses with mixed or no addresses, such as common areas associated with a residential subdivision may water on Wednesday, Friday and/or Sunday
  • Irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Irrigation is prohibited on Monday

Violations of the mandatory restrictions may result in a fine. Those who are not Pinellas County Utilities customers are encouraged to check with their water supplier to verify their watering days.

Information courtesy of Pinellas County Government.

Pinellas County Utilities customers are encouraged to follow these restrictions throughout the year to promote a healthy, sustainable Florida lawn and landscape. The dry season also offers customers the opportunity to learn about, and put into practice, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ practices, including watering only when grass and plants start to wilt and, when needed, watering deeply to encourage deep,  drought-tolerant root systems.

Pinellas County Extension offers a multitude of information about creating Florida-appropriate landscapes that are attractive, healthier with less water and are less costly than replacing plants every year. Visit www.pinellascounty.org/extension to view lawn and garden resources and a listing of upcoming classes.

Utilities customers are also reminded that Pinellas County follows year-round conservation measures allowing irrigation using potable, well, lake or pond water two days per week on assigned days based on house address. To verify watering days, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/water-restrict.htm.

For more information about reclaimed water, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/reclaim-irrigation.htm, or call Pinellas County Utilities Customer Service at (727) 464-4000. Customers are advised to monitor the website, as additional restrictions may be implemented if seasonal rainfall is lower than anticipated and the reclaimed water supply becomes limited.

Trust in Pinellas County Continues to Rank Above National Average

Nine out of 10 Pinellas County residents say they have trust and confidence in their local government, a number which far surpasses the national average for trust in government.

This and other insights are the result of Pinellas County government’s 2017 Citizen Values Survey, which was recently conducted as part of the County’s ongoing efforts to engage the public and obtain feedback to guide future services.

Survey results were presented Tuesday during the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners’ regular meeting. The statistically-valid survey, which has been conducted annually for the past six years, reflected a 93 percent approval rating by citizens toward their local government. The number is the highest recorded since the county officially began its citizen surveys in 2012.

The trust and confidence rates in Pinellas County outperformed the national average. According to a Gallup Poll, the national rate is 71 percent for local governments.

“Our residents continue to recommend Pinellas County as a place to live, work, raise children and retire, and that speaks volumes about the things we are doing to serve the public every day,” said Pinellas County Administrator Mark S. Woodard. “It sends a clear vote of confidence in the Board and in our vision to be the standard for public service in America.”

Survey results showed that a vast majority of residents are pleased with Pinellas County:

  • 96 percent would recommend the county as a place to live.
  • 92 percent would recommend the county as a place to work.
  • 92 percent would recommend the county as a place to raise children.
  • 95 percent would recommend the county as a place to retire.

Future optimism also prevailed, with 85 percent of residents projecting the next five years to be better or just as good as the present.

“All of us who call Pinellas County home have a great love for our community,” said Commission Chair Janet C. Long. “We have worked hard and with all of our partners to address the common goals of our community. The fruits of this and of our workforce’s dedication to public service continue to show.”

Residents were also asked what they thought about certain aspects of their community. They reported that their experiences are closer than ever to their expectations, especially in the areas of presence of parks and public spaces, sense of community and cleanliness of public spaces.

“People are telling us they are more satisfied with their county than ever before,” said Woodard. “This is a powerful message and is an affirmation that with partners, we can do more.”

Areas of greater opportunity to close the expectation-experience gap included: traffic flow, pedestrian travel and support services for the homeless.

To view the 2017 Citizen Survey results, visit www.pinellascounty.org/surveys.

Information courtesy of Pinellas County Government.

The Pinellas County “Doing Things for You” app is available for residents to report issues and access useful resources. Pinellas County can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. More information is available on the county website, www.pinellascounty.org, which features LiveChat for assistance. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Share Your Opinion Online for Penny for Pinellas

Citizens may share input on future project priorities online through April 16

  • Referendum vote scheduled for Nov. 7, 2017, on 10-year renewal of Penny for Pinellas
  • Citizens invited to provide input via online survey: www.pinellascounty.org/openpinellas
  • Survey will be open through April 16

To offer citizens more ways to voice their priorities for the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent sales tax, Pinellas County government has launched an online survey to gather input about future project areas funded by the Penny.

The survey can be completed in five or less minutes by computer or mobile device via the county’s Open Pinellas citizen feedback tool at: www.pinellascounty.org/openpinellas.

The survey will be open through end of the day, Sunday, April 16, 2017.

The results of the survey will be considered as the Commission sets priorities for investing future Penny funds, which will be based on broad input, guided by the county’s strategic plan, partner feedback and additional public input. Each city will sets its own priorities; this online survey is focused on Pinellas County government’s future Penny investments. The Penny is shared between the county and 24 cities.

Citizens also have the opportunity to share their input at three open house meetings this month, starting today, Wednesday, March 15, from 6-8 p.m., at the Centre, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor.

More details about these meetings is available at www.pinellascounty.org/penny.

Penny for Pinellas Background

Since it was initially approved by voters, the Penny has helped build a better Pinellas by supporting projects aimed at areas that matter most to citizens, including: improved roads,bridges and trails, water quality and flood prevention, ensuring a safe, secure community, and preserving parks and our environment.

To learn more about the Penny, including an interactive map of past projects, visitwww.pinellascounty.org/penny.

Penny Facts 

  • 1-percent sales tax paid by everyone who spends money in the county
  • One-third is paid for by tourists and seasonal visitors
  • The Penny is collected in Pinellas and builds a better Pinellas
  • Shared between the county and 24 cities
  • Funds long-term capital investments: roads, bridges, trails, water quality and flood prevention projects, parks, public safety facilities and environmental land
  • Not collected on groceries and medications; only collected on the first $5,000 of a single purchase
  • Not a new tax; the Penny has been in effect since 1990

Information courtesy of Pinellas County Government.

Penny for Pinellas Voter Information Session

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce Community Advocacy Quarterly Meeting focuses on the renewal of Penny for Pinellas

Join the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce 9:00 a.m.February 16th at the Madeira Beach Rec Center, 200 Rex Place. Learn why voters should renew the Penny for Pinellas in November. Our guest speaker will explain how Penny for Pinellas was used to complete important infrastructure, beautification and capital improvement projects throughout our communities. The discussion will include a list of future projects projected to be completed if voters approve the renewal of the penny.

Investments from the Penny for Pinellas include:

  • New bridges that span our waterways and neighborhood parks
  • Faster travel with 68 new lane miles, 16 major roads with added lanes
  • Safer communities with more than 20 fire and emergency facilities built or renovated
  • More than 150 projects to enhance our stormwater systems and flood control
  • Protection of natural resources with hundreds of acres of land preserved, upgrades to 21 parks and more than 50 new miles of multiuse trails.

For more information on Penny for Pinellas visit: http://www.tampabaybeaches.com/events.

News: Municipal Elections March 14th

Ever an interesting political environment, the 2017 St. Pete Beach mayors race is proving to be no exception. When Mayor Maria Lowe resigned last summer to join her husband and son on their move to Normandy, the commission selected frequent commission critic Deborah Schechner, out of a field of ten applicants. One of the conditions of her selection was her promise that she would not run for the Mayor’s position in March, as it would give her an unfair advantage to run as an incumbant. Melinda Pletcher, whose vote for Schechner gave her the appointment, said she never would have voted for her had she remembered she had sued the city, especially since the suit was still active. Mayor Schechner has not commented on her broken promise to the commission.

Alan Johnson is the thinking voter’s choice for mayor. A retired engineer who spent  35 years at General Electric. Al has been active as Chairman of the city’s Finance and Budget Review Committee and previously served on the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee. Although this is Al’s first attempt at an elected position in the city, he has been a longtime volunteer and supporter of many city functions. He was founder along with his late wife Wendy Johnson of Motion Sports Management and the St. Pete Beach Classic Race which brings out 2,000+ runners and more than 200 community volunteers each January. Works hand in hand with Sheriffs, city hoteliers, particularly the Sirata resort. If anyone can understand the city’s economic challenges, continue to help mend the rift that exists between some residents and  redevelopment interests to help propel the community forward, it’s Al Johnson.

A third candidate, John-Michael Fleig, is another frequent vocal attendee at city commission meetings. Founder and partner of the Baywaters Inn and the Rita-Terese property Management Agency, Fleig says he has the “pulse of the overall public” in the city, and that his property management experience has taught him the importance of planning. He has not run for office in St. Pete Beach before, but  was a republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District of Maryland in 1990, 1994 & 1998. He withdrew after pleading guilty in a plea bargain to being an accessory after the fact to murder, according to 1997-98 articles from the Baltimore Sun that are available online. Fleig also was announced as a 2014 Republican candidate seeking to represent the 13th Congressional District of Florida but did not qualify to run in the special election by the November 19, 2013 filing deadline.

A press release dated Dec. 24th, from politicalspitfir@aol.com, attributed to Fleig mostly assailed Mayor Schechner for her broken promise to the commission. While he complains she shouldn’t be allowed to run because ‘rules are rules’, it is not clear whether Fleig has even read the rules in the candidate’s handbook that he had to swear he read and understood when he registered to run for office. Neither his recent  “Press Release”  nor a flyer left at our door about his campaign included the necessary political small print, absence of which is grounds for fines or worse if a complaint were filed.

District 2 Commissioner Rick Falkenstein & District 4 Commissioner Melinda Pletcher retained their seats unopposed.

______________________

Christine Anne Brown and Linda Bailey are running for Gulfport Council Seat for Ward 2. Ward 4 is more competitive with 4 contenders: Bobby L. Reynolds, Michael Fridovich Richard Fried and Ernest Stone. Treasure Island candidate registration was open until January 4th, so details in that race were not available at press time. More on the local races in the February issue.  PN

Residents Reminded of Fireworks Ban for New Year’s Eve

  • Ban on the retail sale, purchase or use of fireworks that project into the air or explode
  • Use of sparklers remains legal, but residents are urged to follow necessary safety steps
  • Place pets in a sheltered and escape-proof area of the home during fireworks displays

As revelers prepare to ring in the New Year on Dec. 31, Pinellas County reminds residents of the ban on the retail sale, purchase or use of fireworks that project into the air or explode.

Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services and Fire Administration urges residents to play it safe by enjoying fireworks displays that are conducted by trained professionals.

Resident Safety:

Sparklers and fountains remain legal, but they can be dangerous, reaching temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Only those over 12 years of age should handle sparklers of any type. Youth often get burned by sparklers every year, so responsible adult supervision is necessary at all times. Officials urge extreme caution and advise residents to follow basic safety recommendations:

  • Read and understand all product warnings.
  • Never place any body part directly over a device when lighting the fuse.
  • Use sparklers only as intended outdoors.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • After using these devices, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

Residents who witness the use of illegal fireworks are asked to call their municipality’s law enforcement non-emergency number. A list of law enforcement non-emergency phone numbers is available at www.pinellascounty.org/publicsafety/pdf/Contacts.pdf. Residents should call 911 only in the event of an emergency.

Pet Safety:

Pinellas County Animal Services reminds pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets during fireworks displays as these can lead to animals running loose onto streets and freeways, getting lost or ending up in shelters.

“Pet owners should be aware that some dogs will do anything they can to escape the noise of fireworks,” said Pinellas County Animal Services Director Doug Brightwell. “One of the easiest ways for pet owners to ensure their pet won’t run away is by placing them in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of the home.”

Other safety tips include:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped, license is current and tags are secured to the pet’s collar.
  • Keep pets indoors in a cool, comfortable place with some minor noise distraction such as a radio or television.
  • Do not take pets to fireworks events.
  • If you are leaving town and cannot take your pets with you, make sure you leave them with someone who will be particularly cautious and responsible during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Pinellas Commission Adopts FY2017 Budget

pinellascountyThe Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners adopted the final $2.2 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year at its Sept. 27 final budget public hearing.

The FY2017 budget represents a 6.4 percent increase over the current budget, due to a net increase in personal services, capital and reserves. No increase in the countywide millage rates was required to balance the budget and meet important needs and priorities. The 2017 fiscal year begins Saturday, Oct. 1.

“The adopted budget aligns with the county’s strategic goal of responsibly managing public resources in our delivery of everyday services to our residents,” said Commission Chairman Charlie Justice.

The FY2017 budget carefully and incrementally will restore service levels to meet pressing community needs in a financially-prudent manner. Key areas include:

  • Increased staffing for code enforcement to reduce response times.
  • Health program enhancements including HIV/AIDS educational outreach, dental sealant for elementary and middle school children, and 211 after-hours staffing to reduce call wait times.
  • Establishment and funding for a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in Lealman to enable specific improvements to services and infrastructure as guided by the community.
  • Homeless support to enable rapid re-housing, case management and care coordination.

A comprehensive overview of the budget is available for citizens to review at the Office of Management and Budget website, www.pinellascounty.org/budget/. Residents may also watch a video to learn more about the budget process.

The County Commission held its first public budget hearing on the FY2017 budget on Sept. 14. Earlier in the year, the BCC held a Community Conversation in May, inviting citizen input in person, by phone and on digital platforms about issues important to them. Throughout the spring and summer, the Commission held a series of budget information sessions to review key program areas and develop strategies to better serve the community. At these sessions, the Board obtained information on budget proposals for county departments, as well as budget presentations by independent agencies and elected officials.

The Pinellas County “Doing Things for You” app is available for residents to report issues and access useful resources. Pinellas County can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. More information is available on the county website www.pinellascounty.org which features LiveChat for assistance. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Pinellas: Proposed FY17 Budget

The Pinellas County government budget took center stage during the July 19 regularly-scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting, as county staff presented the proposed FY17 budget and received a national-level award for the county’s FY16 budget document.

The proposed FY17 overall budget is $2,185,397,210 and captures proposed budgets for all of Pinellas County Commission governmental and enterprise services, constitutional officers and other services including fire districts and court support. Citizens may review the proposed budget document online. Moving forward, the Board will hold budget information sessions and public hearings over the next two months in preparation for adoption of the FY17 budget and property tax rates on Sept. 27.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Commission Chairman Charlie Justice presented the county’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the presentation of the county’s 2016 budget document.  This is the 12th consecutive year that Pinellas has earned the award.  

pinellas-officials

“The Distinguished Budget Presentation Award represents a significant achievement by the county,” said Bill Berger, OMB director. “It reflects the commitment of the Board of County Commissioners and our staff to be transparent in presenting our budget, to follow best practices in governmental budgeting and, ultimately, to be responsible stewards of the public’s resources.”

To receive the budget award, the Office of Management and Budget had to fulfill nationally-recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. The guidelines assess how well the budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device.

This accomplishment underscores a component of the strategic plan to be responsible stewards of the public’s resources, which includes ensuring the financial stability of the county.  

The GFOA established the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program (Budget Awards Program) in 1984 to encourage and assist state and local governments to prepare budget documents of the very highest quality that reflect both the guidelines established by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting and the GFOA’s best practices on budgeting. Documents submitted to the Budget Awards Program are reviewed by selected members of the GFOA professional staff and by outside reviewers with experience in public-sector budgeting. 

From the Desk of Sheriff Bob Gualtieri: Vacation Safety

pinellas-sheriff-badgePlanning a vacation this summer? There’s no better way to recharge than to get away, relax, enjoy the sights and spend time with family. But as we unwind, remember to never let your guard down when it comes to safety.

Keeping ourselves, our loved ones and our personal belongings safe must be our top priority, and doing so begins before we even leave home.

Secure your home. Lock your doors and windows. Lock up valuables, such as jewelry. Consider leaving some lights on. Tell a friend or neighbor that you will be out of town, and ask him/her to pick up your mail and newspapers, because a packed mailbox or a stack of newspapers at your front door signals would-be burglars that you are not there. Always leave a number where you may be contacted in case of an emergency.

If you would like someone to check on your home while you are away, contact your local law enforcement agency. If you live in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, call us at 727-582- 6200, and a deputy or Volunteer Patrol member will be glad to a conduct vacation home check.

On the road, keep cash, credit cards, identification, passports, itineraries, cell phones, cameras and other items of value with you at all times. Consider using traveler’s checks and/or credit cards instead of cash whenever possible.

Never leave your luggage unattended. Keep it within visual range, even while you check in at the airport, a hotel, or a rental car station. If you can secure your valuables in a hotel room safe – do so. Once in your room, find the exit routes, and familiarize yourself with the evacuation procedures in case of an emergency.

Try to acquaint yourself with the place you are visiting ahead of time. Make a plan with your family about what to do if you get separated for any reason. Perhaps, agree on a place and time that you will regroup if you get split up.

As you get ready to explore, keep small children close.

Remain aware of your surroundings. Practice the normal safety routines that you would if you were home. Don’t get stuck in an unlit parking lot or a lonely dead-end street, and avoid risks that you would not normally take.

If you are travelling by car, stay on safe, well-travelled roads. Map your drive to avoid getting lost and ending up in dangerous situations. Be aware of construction areas: Adjust your speed, allow time for possible delays, and ensure your vehicle is adequately fueled.

Don’t drive when you are tired. If possible, take turns driving with other family members to prevent fatigue. Prolonged driving can make you groggy and more prone to a traffic crash. Stop periodically for rest. Drive defensively. Make sure everyone is properly buckled up, which includes using the appropriate child safety restraints.

Park your vehicle in a safe location. Don’t leave items in plain view when you leave your car.

Instead, store your items in the trunk or somewhere out of sight. Lock your doors and close your windows to prevent a vehicle burglary. Burglars are generally looking for an easy target, locking your doors will prevent a crime of opportunity.

A little planning, along with a dose of good common sense and judgment can go a long way toward making your summer vacation fun, and above all, safe.

Have a great time being a being a tourist – not a target.

City of St. Pete Beach Commission Mayor-Commissioner Vacancy

spb-city-bannerThe City of St. Pete Beach has a vacancy on the City Commission for the seat of Mayor-Commissioner, effective June 30, 2016. As provided in the City Charter, the City Commission shall fill the vacancy until the next regular election. At their July 7, 2016 Special Meeting, the Commission approved the process to fill the vacancy as follows:

Interested candidates must meet the following qualifications:

1. Shall be a full-time resident of the City of St. Pete Beach for a period of one (1) year prior to June 29, 2016; and
2. Shall be a qualified voter of Pinellas County; and
3. Shall be qualified under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida to hold the office to which he or she desires to be nominated or elected.

Interested candidates must:
1. Submit letter of interest; and 2. Submit a resume (or Curriculum vitae); and
3. Specify the reason(s) you want to serve as Mayor and what specific skills/qualifications you possess that make you the better candidate.

The City Commission will interview candidates in the Commission Chambers prior to the regular City Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. The exact time will be determined.

The Oath of Office will be given to the successful candidate that evening at the regular meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m.

If interested, please provide the documents listed above by 12:00 p.m./noon on Friday, July 15, 2016 to: Rebecca C. Haynes, City Clerk City of St. Pete Beach 155 Corey Avenue St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 727.363.9220 cityclerk@stpetebeach.org No consideration will be given to applicants who submit documents after the deadline.