Council of Neighborhood Associations

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June President's Message

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of challenges for our neighborhoods. We have been bombarded with looming tax cuts, looming staff and services cuts, looming high rise condos, looming dissection of a Preserve and on and on.

As we move forward on these issues, let’s take a
moment and B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Yes, I mean, stop what you are doing and breathe in a deep refreshing breath of fresh, wonderful Florida air. OK. Now that we are a bit calmer, here is what I think we need to do to be successful.

Tallahassee and Proposed Tax Cuts

CONA and the neighborhoods have some very challenging days ahead of us. Impending tax cuts from Tallahassee mean counterbalancing budget cuts and possible staff reductions here in our beloved city and county.

Each neighborhood needs to decide what is most
important to them that might be slated for cuts or elimination– and do that very quickly. Once decided, bring those concerns forward to your state representatives, City Council persons and your County Commissioners.

Call, fax and write letters and e-mails. Make certain
your voice is heard. CONA can also help. Check our CONA website for further contact information.

Brooker Creek Preserve

CONA voted at the May meeting to join with our North County neighbors to ask the Board of County Commissioners to “preserve the Preserve.” We need your help to let each of our County Commissioners know that we in south Pinellas County are just as concerned about this issue. It is not just a small group from north Pinellas County – this plan affects all of us. Again, please call, fax and write letters and e-mails to tell them to “please do not disturb the Preserve.”

Inappropriate Development

I would like to see City Council place a moratorium on all site plan requests until the new LDR’s are in place. By trying to squeeze in under the old and outdated LDR’s, some developers are submitting very inappropriate plans that do not reflect the character or the ambiance of the surrounding neighborhood. Within a few weeks, the new LDR’s will be law. These new LDR’s were crafted over the past 7 years with input from everyone and truly reflect what we want to see St. Petersburg become as outlined in our Vision 2020.

CONA CAN – do it ! ! !

In the months ahead as the City and County make their budget adjustments, there will be programs that are reduced or deleted. CONA is asking the neighborhood associations to work in partnership with the city, each other and CONA to help find volunteers, golden angels or whatever it takes to support those programs we want to keep up and running. We do not yet know what they are, but we do know there will be a substantial need for help. Our new motto is going to be – CONA CAN . . . do it. With your help, CONA CAN.

Hurricane Preparation
You heard it all at our May meeting. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE. Neighborhoods, please look at working on a neighbor to neighbor appeal in your areas. The first two to three days you may be on our own until help can arrive. Be safe, but be ready for whatever my come your way.

Barbara Heck
CONA President

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