Pinellas County Voters are being asked to approve a law (The GreenLight Plan) that would provide for an open ended 1% increase in the County sales tax.
You can read a review of the actual law you will approve if you vote yes at Sales Tax (GreenLight) Ordinance Review
Due to pressure from opponents of the Greenlight plan and the Sales tax ordinance, the Suncoast Transit Authority and the Pinellas County Commission found it necessary to develop the Interlocal Agreement before the election to add some direction to how the revenue from the 1% sales tax will be spent and to attempt to add some clarity regarding the suspension of the current PSTA Ad valorem property tax.
The following document is a reproduction of the Pinellas County Interlocal Agreement with the Suncoast Transit Authority approved by the Pinellas County Commission.
The text of the Agreement appears in italics My Comments appear in Bold regular text.
Section 11 Continued:
D) The Parties recognize that certain County Infrastructure may be accessed or utilized by PSTA for PSTA's Greenlight Plan. When necessary to implement PSTA's Greenlight Plan, PSTA agrees to obtain County approval and coordinate any and all activities that will impact County Infrastructure in advance of any such activity. Should it be necessary to alter, construct, improve, develop, or replace County Infrastructure in order to implement PSTA's Greenlight Plan, PSTA shall pay all costs related to such alteration, construction, improvement, development, or replacement of County Infrastructure. PSTA shall require any such alteration, construction, improvement, development, or replacement of County Infrastructure be consistent with any and all then current design standards of the County. Project exceptions or variances from the design standards may be submitted to the County for its prior review and approval. The Parties agree to establish the method and manner of coordinating all such activities impacting County Infrastructure in a separate agreement for each project undertaken in the implementation of PSTA's Greenlight Plan that will, at a minimum, address the following issues:
In this Section he County commits certain infrastructure but puts on some requirements.
( 1) PSTA's notification to the County of any preliminary plans that require the use of County Infrastructure.
PSTA's is required to notify to the County of any preliminary plans that require the use of County Infrastructure. That would be roads, property and right of way.
(2) The County's right to approve plans and specifications and the timing of such review and approval.
The County's right to approve plans and specifications and the timing of such reviewaof County infrastructure and approval.
(3) The County's right to review all bids received and approve the award of the construction project.
The County has the right to review all bids received and approve the award of the construction project. What is missing is where does the approval come from? County Commission? The Agreement carefully does not say that.
The County Administrator? The County Attorney? Not really very clear probably by design.
(4) The County's right to participate in project meetings and receive periodic updates/status reports as requested.
The County has the right to participate in project meetings and receive periodic updates/status reports as requested.
(5) The County's right to inspect the portions of any project impacting County Infrastructure at any phase of construction.
The County retains the right to inspect the portions of any project impacting County Infrastructure at any phase of construction. Here there may be an attempt to get some control over where and how PSTA takes County roads and right of way for the train. Through the inspection process the County can require certain standards be met.
In undertaking the activities set forth in this Section 11.D, the Parties agree to be responsible for their own acts of negligence. However, PSTA shall require any contractor, subcontractor, consultantor subconsultant who performs work on any such project to indemnify the County where permitted by and in accordance with law, and name the County as an additional insured on any insurance that PSTA is also named as an additional insured, using language approved in advance by the County. PSTA shall pay the County for all costs and fees incurred in the review and approval process set forth herein, including without limitation reimbursement for staff time (which shall consist solely of the direct cost to the County of the employee's wages and benefits, prorated to an hourly basis, and not including any administrative or other costs that do not represent direct compensation to the employee), actual fees and expenses of outside consultants or other experts hired by and paid by the County to perform the review described above, and all similar fees, costs and expenses, as specifically provided for in each separate agreement contemplated herein. The County shall not attempt to charge PSTA any permit fees.
In this Paragraph the Agreement waters down the above 5 statements and provides PSTA plenty of options to get around any assertion of County control over the train project.
These five subsections provide the County some control over work done in County owned right of way.
They do not however speak to similar concerns by the local jurisdictions.
If you happen to be a Mayor or Council member or a concerned citizen of any City in Pinellas County where the train will require right of way, you might want to read this Section again and have your attorney become familiar with it.
Note that Permit fees are eliminated.
It will be tough to get any more concessions than these from PSTA in your Interlocal Agreement, and in all likelihood local Cities will be told rather than asked what they are to do.
Watch My Video Green Light - It's a Bad Law before you vote.