South County: Utilities implements additional reclaimed water restrictions due to critical shortage

  • South County reclaimed water irrigation prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.beginning Saturday, April 22
  • Reclaimed water customers are reminded to follow mandatory restrictions to provide adequate supply to all customers

Pinellas County Utilities is taking action to avoid service interruptions or additional restrictions for South County reclaimed water customers in response to continued limited rainfall and increased customer usage. The excessive demand has exhausted the operational supply of reclaimed water in storage.

Beginning, Saturday, April 22, the South County reclaimed water system pressure will be reduced between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day, as well as the 24-hour period on Mondays as needed, to help restore supply for evening irrigation. Customers are reminded that irrigating between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m is prohibited.

South County reclaimed water customers are also reminded that mandatory seasonal reclaimed water restrictions are in effect and they should be following the authorized irrigation schedule below:

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

Pinellas County Utilities appreciates customers’ cooperation as these additional conservation measures are required to maintain operations during this seasonal dry period. These necessary measures will allow Pinellas County to slowly restore normal operating levels and provide sufficient volume of reclaimed water to meet lawn irrigation needs and maintain adequate system pressure for all affected customers during authorized irrigation hours.

For more details about reclaimed water, call Customer Service at (727) 464-4000 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities.

The Pinellas County reclaimed water program underscores a key component of Pinellas County’s Strategic Plan: reducing, reusing and recycling resources including energy, water and solid waste.

Coastal property owners encouraged to attend Sand Key beach nourishment public information meeting May 3

Representatives will be available to discuss easements required for project

  • Public information meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 3, from 6 – 7:30 p.m., in Largo
  • Meeting will provide information about easements needed to ensure project completion
  • Coastal property owners who have received an easement request are encouraged to attend

Pinellas County will host a public information meeting on Wednesday, May 3, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. about the upcoming Sand Key beach nourishment project. The meeting will be held in the Magnolia Room at Pinellas County Extension, located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, in Largo. The meeting will provide an overview of the easements needed to ensure project completion and an overview of the planned Pinellas County Shore Protection Project, a cost-share partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Representatives from Pinellas County and the Corps will answer questions about the easements that will be required for portions of properties located along the coast where the nourishment activity will take place. Easements will allow the work to continue and keep beach areas open to the public.

Beach nourishment benefits the community by providing increased storm protection for property owners and recreational opportunities for beach visitors. It also creates important habitat for shorebirds and nesting sea turtles.

The project aligns with Pinellas County’s strategic plan of practicing superior environmental stewardship to preserve and manage environmental lands, beach parks and historical assets.

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.

Celebrate Earth Day with Mail Art Contest

Pinellas County residents are encouraged to combine their love of environmental conservation with their creative talents to celebrate Earth Day this year. The UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County is currently accepting entries for the 2017 Earth Day Mail Art competition. Participants may mail in their artistic entries for a chance to have them featured on social media.

Contest judges are looking for distinctive handmade entries based on the following themes:

• #ToEarthWithLove: creative art about giving back to Earth by recycling, composting and conserving water
• #LoveTampaBay: art pieces that express love for Tampa Bay’s waters and wildlife
• #PlasticAware: visualize how plastics impact the environment, people and/or communities

Entries in each category will be judged by age groups (12 and under, 13-18, and 18 and over). Prizes include a guided hike of Weedon Island Preserve, gardening-themed prize packs, energy saving kits, a tour of the Pinellas County Solid Waste Facility and more. To qualify, entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 5.

All artwork must be original and must not contain reproduction of existing artwork or images. Submit artwork to:

UF/IFAS Exension Pinellas County
Earth Day Mail Art Contest
Attention: Trevor Ackerman
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774

Artists must include their name, email address, phone number, age and category that the artwork should be judged in. Winners will be contacted by phone or email on Friday, April 21.

All entries will be posted on the Pinellas Extension Facebook page and automatically entered in the “Facebook Fan Favorite” contest. That winner will receive a special prize as well. Vote for those entries atwww.facebook.com/PinellasExtension/.

For more information about the Mail Art Contest, prize information and further details about the rules, email Trevor Ackerman at tackerman@pinellascounty.org or visit http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/MailArt.shtml.

Information courtesy of Pinellas County Government

Pinellas Citizen University Begins New Session April 13

Pinellas County residents can experience an up-close and behind-the-scenes look at the first-class services provided by their county government in this year’s Pinellas Citizen University.

Registration is now open for the 6-week course scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evenings from April 13 through May 17, with a bonus Saturday class on May 20. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at various Pinellas County operations each week and talk to the experts as they explore a wide range of county functions. Classes usually meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

During this year’s six week course, students will learn about the five goals of the county’s Strategic Plan with a focus on how our employees are Doing Things every day to serve the public, improving the quality of life of our citizens and making Pinellas an even better place to call home.

•    Learn about the budget and better understand how the county manages funds, including the Penny for Pinellas.
•    Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Pinellas County Jail and its facility operations.
•    See what it takes to plan a hurricane evacuation in the face of an approaching storm and how to stay safe.
•    Participate in a Touch-A-Truck demonstration of the Public Works equipment that is used to bring you safe, effective transportation and faster travel routes.
•    Tour the Waste-to-Energy Facility at Solid Waste and learn how it processes over 800,000 tons of waste per year, providing electricity to power 40,000 homes.
•    Hear about opportunities to excel after graduation and how to get involved in county government.

These are just a few of the exciting experiences planned for this year’s session of Pinellas Citizen University. Enrollment applications and a complete course schedule are available online at www.pinellascounty.org/citizenu or by calling (727) 464-4600.

Upon completion, each graduate receives a diploma signed by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and a class picture to commemorate the event.

Tuition is $35 and includes a class shirt, all course materials, the graduation ceremony and a diploma. Registration for the limited-enrollment class is on a first-come, first-served basis. First consideration will be given to citizens who have not previously participated in PCU. Upon acceptance, a packet will be emailed to all participants with instructions, meeting places, a list of classes and other session information.

Information and photos courtesy of Pinellas County Government

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.

County seeks input on Penny for Pinellas

On Nov. 7, 2017, Pinellas County voters will decide on a 10-year renewal of the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent sales tax, from 2020-2030. Before the referendum vote, the Board of County Commissioners is seeking citizen input on the most important areas to invest future funds throughout the community.

The public is invited to provide input about the Penny at three open house meetings, which will run from 6-8 p.m. as follows:

Wednesday, March 15: The Centre, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor
Monday, March 20: Historic Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport
Wednesday, March 29: Pinellas County Extension, 12320 Ulmerton Road, Largo

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 and bridges, water quality and flood protection, public safety and environmental preservation.

The Penny is shared between Pinellas County and its 24 cities to fund long-term, capital projects, such as roads, bridges, stormwater projects, public safety equipment, fire stations, parks, land acquisition, public facilities and investments in courts and jails.

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

Penny for Pinellas background  
• 1-percent sales tax paid by everyone who spends money in the county
• One-third is paid for by tourists and seasonal visitors
• All collected Penny funds stay in Pinellas
• Shared between the county and 24 cities
• Funds long-term capital investments: roads, bridges, stormwater projects, parks, public 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.

Animal Services Needs Foster Care Families

In a continuous effort to promote animal welfare, Pinellas County Animal Services is seeking volunteers to join the foster care team. The program, named PACK (Providing Affection, Care and Knowledge), requires a foster application and approval. All foster care parents are required to complete the volunteer orientation class and foster training held at the following dates:

•    March 4, 2017    (Noon – 2 p.m.)     Foster Orientation and Training
•    March 22, 2017     (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.)     Foster Orientation Training

Some of the animals that will benefit from the program include: puppies and kittens too young for adoption, and those recovering from surgery or illness.

Foster volunteers will work directly with the volunteer coordinator and the medical staff.
The foster care training will provide potential foster parents with basic animal cleaning and feeding tips, care specific to the animal(s) being fostered and the shelter’s emergency procedures.

To be part of the foster care team, participants must possess:
•    Genuine concern for the welfare of the animals
•    Willingness to be compassionate to special needs animals
•    Commitment to follow all foster policies and directives as required by the volunteer coordinator
•    Transport foster animals to and from shelter during business hours

“Adoption cannot take place without temporary foster homes for our animals,” said Doug Brightwell, director of Pinellas County Animal Services. “We partner with our residents to provide our animals with additional love and care outside of the shelter.”

Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (727) 582-2636 or sgroves@pinellascounty.org or fill out the application at www.pinellascounty.org/volunteer.

In 2016, Pinellas County Animal Services volunteers fostered 1,060 animals that needed additional time and care.

Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Regular hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and services include adoptions. Rabies vaccinations are administered on Thursdays from 1 – 4 p.m. The facility is closed on all Pinellas County holidays. For information on how to adopt, donate or volunteer, join Pinellas County Animal Services on Facebook. To learn more about the shelter, visit www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices or call (727) 582-2600.

Beware of the “Can You Hear Me?” Scam

Pinellas County Consumer Protection (727) 464-6200

•    Pinellas County Consumer Protection is alerting residents of new robocall scam
•    If you receive a phone call asking “Can You Hear Me?” – hang up; do not say yes
•    Residents advised to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers

The latest scam may sound like a commercial, but it’s not. Pinellas County Consumer Protection is advising residents who receive a phone call asking “Can you hear me?” to hang up and not say yes.

The objective is to get the victim to respond to the question by saying “yes”. That affirmative response is recorded and then used to authorize unwanted charges on a phone bill, utility bill or with a stolen credit card.

To add legitimacy to the transaction, the scammer may have already collected some personal information about the victim. When the victim disputes the charge, the scammer will validate the charge with the recording of the victim saying “yes,” therefore approving the charge.

Remember: the question doesn’t have to be “Can you hear me?” It can be any question that prompts a “yes” response. The best way to prevent becoming a victim of a telephone scam is to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. Residents are advised to hang up if they answer the call.

If you suspect you are a victim of this scam, here are some steps to take:

•    Check your credit card, phone or cable statements for unauthorized charges.
•    Dispute the unauthorized charges with your billing company.
•    If you have been told that you have been reported as approving the charge(s), request proof.

For more information, or to file a complaint, contact Pinellas County Consumer Protection at  (727) 464-6200 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/consumer.