Penny for Pinellas open house draws county staff & politicians, few citizens

The second “Public Input Open House” on Penny for Pinellas renewal was held by Pinellas County government last night in Gulfport. County voters will be voting on whether to renew this 1% sales tax on November 7th. Penny for Pinellas (PFP) was first levied on January 1st, 1990.

In its invitation to the meeting, the county asked citizens for input on “the most important areas to invest future funds.” However, neither the meeting displays nor the county PFP survey asked “do you want to renew the tax?” A recent poll showed that fewer than half of voters support Penny for Pinellas renewal.

The meeting ran between 6 PM and 8 PM and was lightly attended. The Guardian estimates that no more than 50 citizens attended.

The picture shown on the right was taken at the mid-point of the meeting, at exactly 7 PM. At that point, no citizens were in the room. In other words: every person in the picture is a county employee.

County staff told the Guardian that about “a dozen surveys” were completed at the event, yet only two were found among all survey responses that were time-stamped during the event. This could be a sign of a technical problem, and staff is looking into it.

County residents can take the county survey online, and we encourage them to do so. The county PFP website has background information on past usage of the revenues, and opponents argue that the funds have not been well-spent.

The third and final PFP “Public Input Open House” will take place on March 29th at the Pinellas County Extension, located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo. The official invitation gives a map and more details on the event.

As always, the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.

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