A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast.
Mayor's Night Out
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster is kicking off a new program for city residents to meet face-to-face with the mayor and public officials in their own neighborhoods. Foster's “Mayor's Night Out,” is an eight-night series where the mayor, council members, city administrators, police and fire chiefs, and directors will be available.
Mayor's Night Out travels from council district to council district, beginning Feb. 11 in District One. The first two meetings are: Feb. 11, District 1, J.W. Cate Center, 5801 22nd Ave. N.; and March 11, District 2, Sawgrass Lake Elementary, 1815 77th Ave. N. Residents are invited to attend one, any or all of the sessions regardless of their district. For more information about Mayor's Night Out, call (727) 893-7465.
Honore Avenue phase approved
SARASOTA COUNTY — County commissioners approved the construction of the Honore Avenue Phase VI project, the northern 1.2 mile stretch of the Honore Avenue-Pinebrook Road Extension just off S. R. 681. Construction will be completed by Dec. 31.
Ringling arts festival funded
SARASOTA COUNTY — Sarasota County commissioners allocated $250,000 from $1 million in one-time tourist development tax funding for the Ringling International Arts Festival, which held its inaugural event last October. The city of Sarasota has pledged $100,000 toward the festival and Manatee County has pledged $250,000 (half from tourist development tax revenue, and half from general fund revenue).
New PHCC campus
PASCO COUNTY — Pasco-Hernando Community College plans to build a new 60-acre campus at Wiregrass Ranch, adjacent to Wiregrass Ranch High School in south central Pasco thanks to the donation of land by the Porter family to the college.
State funds have been allocated for a new campus in central Pasco, and the college hopes to break ground in early 2012, with doors opening in the fall of 2013.
Governor's budget optimistic
TALLAHASSEE — The state's $69.2 billion budget for fiscal years 2010-11, proposed by Gov. Charlie Crist, relies on the yet-to-be-approved gambling compact with the Seminole Indian tribe, $4 billion in federal stimulus funds and an assumption that voters will go along with legislative proposals to ratchet back the class-size amendment. The budget also proposes a $57.4 million cut in the corporate income tax by lowering the rate from 5.5% to 4.5% on the first $1 million in taxable income. The budget assumes $2 billion more in available revenue, primarily from higher documentary stamp taxes from real estate sales. Last year's budget was $66.5 billion.
The Tourist Development Council bed tax workshop is at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at the St. Petersburg College EpiCenter, Room 2-304, 13805 58th St. N., Clearwater. For more information call (727) 464-6633.
The Tourist Development Council meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the 5th floor assembly room, Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. For more information call (727) 464-6633.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, at Punta Gorda City Hall in the City Council Chambers, 326 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda. For more information contact Bekie Murrill at (941) 883-3535.
The Murdock Village Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, in the Administration Center, Room #106B, 18500 Murdock Circle, Murdock. For more information contact Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.
The county commission is seeking public input on transportation projects that would be funded by a potential one-cent transit sales tax. Recommended projects include transit and non-transit projects, such as light rail, bus service expansion, roadways, intersections and supporting projects. The proposed 1% sales tax would be split 75% for transit and 25% for non-transit.
A series of seven public meetings began Feb. 2. The county and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will hold an open house for the first hour to show maps and information on the proposed projects. Future meetings are:
• 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, at Jefferson High Auditorium, 4423 W. Cypress, Tampa;
• 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Sun City Center Caper room., Atrium bldg., 945 D North Course Lane, Sun City Center, Sun City Center;
• 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Brandon Regional Service Center, 311 Pauls Drive, Brandon;
• 5:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 15, at HCC Plant City Campus Trinkle Center, 1206 N. Park Rd., Plant City;
• 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, Freedom High School cafeteria, 17410 Commerce Park Blvd., New Tampa.
For more information, call Steve Valdez, public works department, at (813) 307-8386.
The county commission meets as the Port Authority, Civic Center Authority, and Community Redevelopment Agency at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the commission chambers, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
The county commission will hold 2010 goal setting meetings at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, and Thursday, Feb. 11, in the third floor conference room, suite 325, 12800 University Drive, Fort Myers. A third meeting will be held if necessary at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at the same location.
The Development Review Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in the Historic Pasco County Courthouse Board Room, second floor, 37918 Meridian Avenue, Dade City.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in the board of county commissioners chambers, third floor, 3301 East Tamiami Trail, Naples.
County commissioners rejected a proposed settlement of a lawsuit against the county alleging violations of Florida's Sunshine Law over negotiations with the Baltimore Orioles to retain spring training in Sarasota. Commissioners agreed to hold a special public hearing on Feb. 19 to discuss all aspects of the spring training project and to consider whether previous actions should be ratified.