The Hillsborough County Commission met today. WMNF’s Grace Santos was there.

A much anticipated discussion and vote on a Park at Morris Bridge Road in Hillsborough County was delayed until the next Commission meeting later this month.
The debate has centered around whether to use the park for recreational use for children as Commissioners Jim Norman and Ken Hagen have argued for, or whether it should be preserved as a wilderness area.
Lynn McGarvey is Chairwoman of the Tampa Branch of the Sierra Club. She described her recent trip thru the park. (Cut 1 – Lynn McGarvey)

Commissioner Ronda Storm said she wanted to tour the Park herself and will do so before the County takes their vote.

Other items discussed by the County Commission include the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The Hillsborough Health and Social Services Department has been working on improving low-income families’ use of the earned income tax credit program. At the same time, the United Way and other individuals have come together to bring the Prosperity Campaign, which also encourages the participation in the program. Commissioner Kathy Castor called Karen Byusing to discuss the Prosperity Campaign in Miami.
(Cut 2 - Karen Byusing discussing Miami campaign)

The United Way has made the Prosperity Campaign a national priority. The campaign helps to educate people about the tax credit and gives support by helping them fill out the forms.
Dave Roguff, director of the Hillsborough Health and Social Services Department, said the department is working with the United Way. He discussed the number of people in Hillsborough County who have not taken advantage of the earned income tax credit.
(Cut 3 – Dave Roguff discussing Tampa stats)

Commissioner Kathy Castor motioned to have the County Administrator direct the staff to participate in the Prosperity Campaign.
Rhonda Storms remarked that the staff has already been participating in the project.
(Cut 4 – Rhonda Storms comment on Castor)

Commissioner Kathy Castor responded. (Cut 5 – Castor)

Also today, the Board, by a 5-2 vote, decided to amend Rule 25 of the Board’s Rules of Order to allow the Board to compel a person, who uses profanity or threats during a Board meeting, to leave a Board meeting and not return for two subsequent meetings. The Rule was proposed because of a remark with racial overtones made by a frequent critic at local public meetings – Mark Klutho – earlier this year. Commissioner Pat Frank voted against this decision.
(Cut 6 – Pat Frank)

Also today, Commissioner Pat Frank was the lone vote against the Board’s decision to receive a staff report on the Tampa Bay Water Regional Reservoir Emergency Action Plan. Although the request was just to receive information, Pat Frank voted against the request as a symbolic action to show her objection to the location of the reservoir that was built on Wendell Ave, near 672 last year. She is concerned about the safety of the people living near the reservoir.
(Cut 7 – Pat Frank)

Larry Gispert, Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director, responded. (Cut 8 – Larry Gispert)

Commissioner Frank pointed out that the state has not set any dam standards. She also said the fact that Tampa Water is monitoring the dam, does not comfort her. For these reasons, this issue should not be on the Consent Agenda because there are too many concerns. (Cut 9 – Pat Frank)

Another item on the Agenda was the Economic Development Department’s request for an approval to provide the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce an additional $10,000 to be used in support of the Panama-USA Free Trade Agreement Negotiations to be held in Tampa, August 9-13, 2004.

Terri Neil, a member of the public, objected to this proposal.
(Cut - Terri Neil)

The Board approved the funding with no response to Terri Niel’s comments.

The Commission again meets on August 18th.
For WMNF News, I’m Grace Santos.

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