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Council OKs vehicle financing, re-ups Charter board members

By Staff | Mar 26, 2012

Despite the objections from the mayor and a councilman, the city council finally gave thumbs up to the financing of new police cars, buses and a fire pumper at its weekly meeting Monday at City Hall.

The council also approved the reappointment of two members of the Charter School Governing Board, but not without some dissent.

Council voted 6-2 to authorize the city to get financing to buy 20 police cars as well as 15 buses for the charter school system, which the city was able to get at a rate that is less than what the city makes on its investments.

However, Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz objected to what he termed “gunnysacking” three purchases into one bill.

“If broken up, I would have supported it. This forces us to vote in one direction, and I can’t support it,” Leetz said.

Mayor John Sullivan equated the ordinance with something Congress would do.

“The federal government does this all the time with earmarks that usually have nothing to do with the actual bill,” Sullivan said.

On the other side of the dais, Kevin McGrail praised the bill.

“The charter schools were pleased to hear 1.67 percent when they budgeted for 3 percent,” McGrail said, who is a member of the Charter School Governing Board.

Financial Officer Victoria Bateman reminded council the city earned 2.16 percent on its return of investments, better than the 1.67 it would pay out in interest.

City council also approved the re-appointment of Kevin Colpoys and Marilyn Stout to the Charter School Governing Board.

Colpoys was approved unanimously to the education post, while Stout’s citizen-at-large position was much more tenuous, as she was reappointed only after Darrell Teblum was rejected by council in a 4-4 vote.

A motion was then made for Stout, who was approved 5-3.

In the end, many on council decided an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to a system that has been lauded by resident and education professionals.

In other business, council approved 7-1 an ordinance to amend the capital budget to decrease total revenues and expenditures by $3.36 million dollars.

It also unanimously confirmed a resolution to authorize a Preliminary Delinquent User Fee Roll for lot mowing and liens to be placed on certain properties.

It also unanimously confirmed the three-year contract for canal dredging to Gator Dredging of Pinellas Park.