A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast
County administrator cleared, for now
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — County Commissioner Mark Sharpe's call for an investigation of pay raises given to County Administrator Pat Bean, County Attorney Renee Lee and other senior level staff two years ago may still lead to dismissals.
But a county audit last month showed that neither Bean nor Lee violated county regulations or the county charter. The county commission was expected to take up the matter at its Oct. 21 meeting.
A civic activist from Dover has filed a complaint about the pay raises with the state Ethics Commission.
Health care chief resigning
TALLAHASSEE — Holly Benson, 38, head of the agency for health care administration, announced her resignation Oct. 15 from the $18 billion agency that oversees Medicaid and hospital licensing. It has been rumored that Benson, a Pensacola municipal bond attorney, is interested in seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general. Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp of Cape Coral is running for the post. Democrat candidates are Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres and Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach.
City manager retained
FORT MYERS — William Mitchell survived his annual review by city council and was retained for at least another year as city manager.
Mostly positive evaluations came from council members Levon Simmons, Johnny Streets and Warren Wright. The more negative reviews came from council members Mike Flanders and Tom Leonardo.
Priorities for downtown
NAPLES — New priorities of the city's 16-year old community redevelopment agency (CRA) include a pedestrian crossing plan for Four Corners, a grant program for River Park East homeowners, ways to connect all parts of downtown and a lighting and landscaping project on Fifth Avenue South.
The city council, sitting as the CRA, met with its advisory board Oct. 19 as part of a series of meetings aimed at bringing more people downtown. Council and advisory board members also discussed branding the district and possibly expanding it. The CRA is funded by tax increment financing revenues and has a $2.7 million fund balance as of Sept. 30.
Workers' comp rates decreasing
TALLAHASSEE — Workers' compensation rates are set to drop an average of 6.8% on new and renewal policies effective Jan. 1, following a recommendation by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The recommendation was approved by state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty Oct. 15.
The lower rates are estimated to save Florida companies $166 million in workers' compensation costs. Florida's rates are now the 10th lowest in the country after being some of the highest in the country before the 2003 legislative reforms.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the Planning Commission boardroom, 18th floor at County Center, 600 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. For more information contact Linda Ferraro at [email protected] or (813) 272-5940.
The economic development sub-committee of the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership meets at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, 1920 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa.
The Pasco County Commission will hold a business plan workshop at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, at Pasco-Hernando Community College east campus, 36727 Blanton Road, Dade City.
The Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at the Sudakoff Center on the New College campus on U.S. 41 in Sarasota.
The Sarasota County Commission and the Criminal Justice Commission will hold a joint meeting at 1.p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the third floor think tank in the county administration center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
The Tourist Development Council d/b/a Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the 5th floor assembly room, Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Clearwater. For more information call (727) 464-6633.
The county commission will hold a special workshop on Southeast Lee DR/GR (density reduction/groundwater resource area) Studies at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the commission chambers in the Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers.
The county commission will hear departments' strategic plan presentations at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the commission chambers, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers.
The county commission will hold a strategic planning session at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in room 502 of the county administration center, 1112 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton.
The Downtown Development Authority meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the city council chambers, 101 Old Main St., Bradenton.