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Palm Harbor, East Lake getting their face time

Tonight's meeting will let residents ask county officials for more local services.

By ELENA LESLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published August 30, 2007


PALM HARBOR - Some residents in greater Palm Harbor say they're not getting what they pay for.

With an estimated 100,000 residents and some of Pinellas County's most affluent neighborhoods, taxpayers in Palm Harbor and East Lake contend that they make a robust contribution to Pinellas County's property tax collections.

Yet, those like Jim Kleyman say residents are being disproportionately shorted on local services.

"We don't feel we're getting our fair share of the tax dollars back," said Kleyman, 57, a Palm Harbor resident who is the president of a medical equipment and service company.

So Kleyman and other members of the Greater Palm Harbor Community Coalition have organized a town hall meeting tonight where locals can discuss this year's budget with county commissioners and other officials.

Organizers say confirmed panelists include state Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, County Commission Chairman Ronnie Duncan, as well as representatives from the Tax Collector's office and the Pinellas County Office of Management and Budget.

The nonprofit coalition came together last year to lobby county officials to include more Palm Harbor and East Lake projects on the list of things to be paid for with revenues from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax.

Kleyman said speakers will explain how this year's budget process affects Palm Harbor, and residents will have the chance to ask questions and express their opinions.

"The county shouldn't make cuts without bringing us to the table," he said.

While commissioners have pinpointed a number of areas to cut, they haven't voted yet. Kleyman hopes community input might sway them on several issues.

In particular, Kleyman would like to see a $250,000 county grant restored to the recreational department. "That's just a drop in the bucket for them," he said.

Elena Lesley can be reached or 727 445-4167.

If you go

Town hall meeting

The Greater Palm Harbor Community Coalition will host a town hall meeting on the county budget and how it affects North Pinellas from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight at Harbor Hall, 1190 Georgia Ave.

[Last modified August 29, 2007, 22:15:41]

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