Clearwater, Florida -- As of this week, 12 cities and 10 Chambers of Commerce have offered endorsements to Greenlight Pinellas, but there's an outlier.
The City of Seminole recently voted 5-2 not to endorse Greenlight, making Seminole the first city to publicly voice dissent.
Pretty much all of the residents who showed up to voice opinions did not support Greenlight Pinellas, saying that the City of Seminole did not stand to benefit. What was interesting is that they mostly referenced the rail portion.
One of the two council members to voice support for the initiative was Patricia Plantamura who sent 10 News this statement:
"We have many retired people in my community, so I look at the lower costs for people who are aging, where they may choose to stay in their own homes, versus the much higher costs of institutionalizing people."
Her point was that the increased bus service would help seniors stay mobile and self-supporting. The average age in Seminole as of 2012 is 53 1/2.
10 News took a look at the demographics of all of the cities who have made some sort of public statement about Greenlight. Of all of the non-beach cities, the median income in Seminole is the highest, so the need for increased public transportation may not seem as great, but the problem could also be confusion surrounding the Greenlight message.
PSTA's Chief Development Officer Cassadra Borchers explained that the whole Greenlight Pinellas campaign has centered around the bus coming first. She also said that Seminole has one of the primary rapid bus routes right on Seminole Boulevard.
Greenlight Pinellas would eliminate the Pinellas County ad vallorem property tax that supports public transportation in favor of a one-cent sales tax increase, taking the county's sales tax to roughly 8 percent.
It will be up for public vote in November.
If you have questions or concerns about Greenlight Pinellas, there are two telephone town halls that you can be a part of this week: the first is Tuesday night at 7:15. Participants will include PSTA CEO Brad Miller and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
The second meeting is this Thursday at 7:15 p.m. That meeting will also include Mr. Miller and Largo Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier. The call-in number is 1-877-229-8493 and the PIN is 19878.