IRB voters likely to consider new library, eminent domain issues: Bellaire (FL) Bee, 7/19/06

By Jared leone

The [Indian Rocks Beach] City Commission is poised to leave a couple of decisions to voters at referendum.

Voters could be determining the future of a new city library and a city code adopting a prohibitive eminent domain amendment in the Nov. 7 general election. Commissioners will have to work fast to meet requirements to get both items on the November ballot. The commission plans to have a straw poll ready by its Tuesday, Aug. 1, meeting.

“We are the last community of our size without access to a full service library,” Vice Mayor R.B. Johnson said.

The commission has talked about constructing a 6,000-square-foot library. Commissioners speculated the extent of costs for the proposed library and staff.

“We are looking at a couple of million dollars for our library,” Commissioner Jim Palamara said.

Other costs to factor in are the $64,425 salary for a librarian and costs of membership to the Pinellas County Library Cooperative. Johnson said costs to be part of the co-op could be as much as $179,000 per year. Commissioner Jose Coppen noted that the referendum for the library should have all the costs laid out.

The commission also brought up the idea of putting a prohibitive eminent domain law on the November ballot. Mayor Bill Ockunzzi said the amendment should be modeled after an ordinance passed by the city of Dunedin.

Dunedin residents voted in March 2006 for an amendment that would allow the city to take private property only if it would then be used for a public purpose. The city would be barred from seizing private land if it would be used for another private commercial, financial, retail or industrial purpose.

Bellaire Bee: http://www.tbnweekly.com/pubs/belleair_bee