07/27/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — For months, the cost of the city's sewage crisis has been measured in terms of environmental damage, legal ramifications and political repercussions.
Now residents are about to get the bill.
Starting Jan. 1, utility bills could climb between $7.47 and $9.81 a month under the proposed rate hikes unveiled by a City Council committee Thursday.
That's an increase of $89.64 to $117.72 a year for each household, according to the city's calculations, for a typical user of about 4,000 gallons a month....
ST. PETERSBURG — Abdul Karim Ali, president of the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association, announced his support of Mayor Rick Kriseman on Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, 40 Midtown pastors had endorsed Kriseman's main opponent, former mayor Rick Baker.
Ali said he liked former Mayor Rick Baker, but thought the city had evolved since Baker’s tenure 2001-10....
ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker announced Thursday that he has the support of 40 Midtown pastors and religious leaders, evidence he says of his "overwhelming support" in a crucial part of the city.
Missing from the list? Rev. Louis Murphy Sr., who leads one of the largest African-American congregations in the city at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. Murphy hosted the first mayoral forum between Baker and Mayor Rick Kriseman....
ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.
That 2011 decision divided the city then, and still resonates today. Now it's become a political issue in the contentious mayoral contest.
An email sent from Water Reclamaition Facilities manager Charlie Wise to other high-ranking officials in the Water Resources Department in March 2015 ended up in a U.S Enviromental Protection Agency investigative file that provided another chapter in the city's nearly two-year sewage saga.
The email is significant because it shows Wise's concern about higher-than-anticipated flows arriving in the Southwest Plant by Eckerd College as the city gradually shut down the waterfront Albert Whitted sewage plant. ...
Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?
ST. PETERSBURG — When Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker go head-to-head in tonight’s televised debate, they’ll likely tangle over the city’s sewage crisis.
Baker will almost certainly mention the recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission draft report, which places much of the blame for the city's sewage woes on the Kriseman administration....
ST. PETERSBURG — The mayoral race goes into the home stretch starting Tuesday.
More than 64,000 ballots are set to be mailed out to voters. And hours later the frontrunners, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker, will square off in a live televised debate at 7 p.m. at the Palladium Theater.
The debate will be broadcast live by Bay News 9, giving the candidates one hour — and one more chance — to reach a wide swath of the electorate before ballots hit mail boxes across the city....
Last week, AARP Florida was a little ticked off that neither Mayor Rick Kriseman or former mayor Rick Baker had delivered video responses to a voter education campaign.
Now, both Baker and Kriseman have videos up giving their views on affordable housing and public safety. The "You asked, They answered" series features residents asking questions and the two Ricks responding in a planned five-part weekly series. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — A draft report lays blame for the city's sewage crisis squarely on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman and a cascading series of errors that started with the now infamous shuttering of the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility in 2015.
The state report confirmed what many had long suspected: closing the plant was a major factor leading to the release of up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months....
ST. PETERSBURG — City Council member Karl Nurse has endorsed Mayor Rick Kriseman.
That’s welcome news for the incumbent Democratic mayor who is engaged in a tough reelection battle with former mayor Rick Baker.
Nurse is popular among progressives and is a respected voice in city politics. A long stint as a community activist segued into an appointment to City Council in 2008. He has been handily releected to District 6 twice. Nurse is term-limited and his endorsement has been eagerly sought by Kriseman....
ST. PETERSBURG — A state report places much of the blame for the city's 200-million gallon sewage spill crisis on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman.
The 7-page draft report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which was obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, does not name Kriseman or any of his staff. It also starts with the long view, blaming two decades of city leadership for setting the stage for St. Petersburg's massive sewage problems....
AARP Florida wants to educate St. Petersburg residents on Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker’s views on how to make the Sunshine City more livable.
The concept? A resident appears in a video to ask question for the next mayor on topics like affordable housing, civic participation and jobs.
The first resident in the video series “We asked, They answered” was asked by smiling, pleasant woman named “Arlene” who queried the candidates about affordable housing and public safety....
ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.
Last week, St. Petersburg officials learned that the criminal investigation into the crisis — the city dumped up to 200 million gallons of waste from 2015-16 — would not result in any city employees facing charges.
The St. Petersburg City Council is expected to approve a consent order later today that requires the city to spend $326 million on improving its sewer system.
That steep bill comes with a sweetener: no state criminal charges related to the city’s nearly two-year-old sewage crisis.
The city’s top litigator, Joseph Patner, emailed council members last week to inform them that he and City Attorney Jackie Kovilaritch met with state officials June 21 for about an hour. The city attorneys and state officials later had two phone conversations....