Electronic billboard moratorium in Pinellas

12/01/09 Mark Anderson
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Today, the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners discussed a proposal to put a moratorium on all new electronic signs in Pinellas County. The commission will hold a second public forum on December 15th, prior to voting on the measure.

Some experts are worried that bright flashing electronic signs distract drivers and lead to crashes. The Federal Highway Administration is conducting a study on billboard safety, due in April 2010. Pinellas County administrators have requested a 12 month moratorium on any new electronic signage, until more is understood about risk levels. At today’s meeting, Commissioner Nancy Bostock objected to including signs at small businesses.

Commissioner Susan Latvala is also concerned about harming small businesses in the county..

Electronic billboards are also an issue in other municipalities. Last month, Tampa settled a long standing dispute with CBS and Clear Channel.

Commissioner Ken Welch is confident that the scope issues can be worked out, and that small businesses will be taken care of.

The signage ordinance will be discussed again at the December 15th Pinellas County Commission meeting.

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Susan Latvala caters to special interests

Since Susan voted to raise our taxes in 2003 (MSTU Millage and Communication Services Tax) and imposed full cost allocation on the Unincorporated Area, she and her fellow commissioners have diverted over $150,000,000 dollars of our population based revenues away from the Unincorporated Area Budget. This has resulted in higher property taxes for property owners in the unincorporated area. The only way for the citizens of Palm Harbor to get their fair share of the revenues from the Penny and Local Government Half-Cent Sales Tax Program is to vote Latvala and the other Commissioners who raised our taxes in 2003 out of office. Ten years of Susan Latvala is enough. Her tenure on the Pinellas BOCC is perhaps the worst thing that has ever happened to Palm Harbor. The accumulated effect of having such a huge portion of one of the major revenue sources diverted from the Unincorporated Area Budget is having a detrimental impact on basic public safety and quality of life in the unincorporated area. Thank God we finally have candidates running against her this time. I hope she gets knocked out in the primary. They say a leopard can not change its spots. But she and the other commissioners could always give us unincorporated area citizens our full allocation of these revenues that they receive on our behalf as our default local government. We are fed up with the current status quo and with most incumbents. John Moronni was the only one in 2003 who voted against raising our taxes in the unincorporated area and he was just recently reelect unopposed. She is running out of time and a lot of us Palm Harbor Voters will be glad to use our votes to vote you and Harris out of office. People living in the Unincorporated Area are not second class citizens, we should be treated equally, we deserve to have our Sales Tax revenues come back to us and our communities.