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Sunday alcohol sales rules extended

Pinellas Park City Council also tightens up dog rules and okays equipment for police and fire departments.

Published November 16, 2003

PINELLAS PARK - The City Council took steps last week to tighten the rules on dogs and loosen the rules on alcohol sales. The council also agreed to spend $800,000 on things ranging from squad cars to video sewer surveillance systems.

Here are the details:

- Alcohol sales. The council relaxed a city rule to allow earlier alcohol sales on Sunday. The change brings Pinellas Park into line with a county revision that allows restaurants, bars and stores to begin selling alcoholic beverages at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. The vote was merely a formality. Pinellas Park has not enforced its ordinance since the county changed its rule.

The change in liquor sales was passed by a 3-2 vote with Ed Taylor and Patricia Bailey-Snook voting against it.

- Loose dogs. The council tentatively approved an ordinance that would tighten city rules against aggressive dogs and those running loose. The proposed changes are in response to an increase in animal attacks against postal carriers by dogs in Pinellas Park. The changes define what constitutes an "attack" and stiffens fines for owners whose dogs attack or those who allow their animals off leash. Fines for a first offense violation would range from $81 to $156. Fines could be doubled for subsequent offenses.

The changes are scheduled for a final vote after a Nov. 25 public hearing.

The remainder of Thursday's agenda, including multiple expenditures, passed largely without comment, save one: Mayor Bill Mischler who did not want to spend $17,997 to buy a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser. City staff members had recommended the car for the city's Management Information Systems Department, which oversees Pinellas Park's computer systems.

"I have a problem with that. I can't support the PT Cruiser," Mischler said. "PT Cruisers aren't the thing used by governments."

Taylor and council member Rick Butler defended the proposed purchase, explaining the car is like a small station wagon and has room for computers.

City Manager Mike Gustafson pulled the item off the agenda before it came up for a vote to allow staff members to find an alternate vehicle.

At the meeting, the council agreed to buy:

- Mobile data modems, $14,360.

- 23 Dell laptop computers, $38,686.

- Software licenses, $446.

- Three 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, $36,057 ($12,019 each).

- Two 2004 Ford F-250 pickup trucks, $40,990 ($20,495 each).

- Seven 2004 Ford Crown Victoria automobiles with police pursuit packages, $139,720 ($19,960 each).

These cars are additions to the Police Department's fleet and will be used daily by officers performing routine patrol/pursuit duties throughout Pinellas Park.

- Eight 2004 Ford Crown Victoria automobiles with police pursuit packages, $159,680.

Each car will cost $40,780, which is the $19,960 cost of the car plus another $20,820 per vehicle to outfit if for police use.

The city is using a lease-purchase agreement to buy these cars. The total cost over the five-year life of the lease is about $336,353.

- Sewer video inspection system, $129,340.

- Nine radios for the Fire Department, $34,924.

- Four thermal imaging cameras for the Fire Department, $48,348.

The council also agreed to sell a vacant lot at 3671 76th Terrace N for $9,300.

The Nov. 25 7:30 meeting will be in the council chambers at City Hall, 5141 78th Ave. N.

Also scheduled for a final vote and public hearing that night are planned revisions to Pinellas Park's travel ordinance.

The proposal would increase the amount of money officials are allowed to spend on meals.

The allowance for breakfast would rise from $3 to $8; lunch, from $6 to $10; and dinner, from $12 to $22.

Officials also want to up the mileage reimbursement from 29 cents to 36 cents per mile.

[Last modified November 16, 2003, 01:34:40]

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