For more information on the Charter Review Commission’s timeline and past discussion:
The Charter Review Commission is nearly at the half-way point in their work. All referendums must be voted favorably by 8 of their 13 members by early July to end up on the ballot this year. Last week, the commission voted against making all county elections non-partisan and voted against placing recall elections in the charter (it is already covered in state statutes). The next big topics are city and county dual-vote requirements, redistricting reform, and possible term limits (to be discussed at the February 17th meeting). Anyone from the public can speak at the beginning of the meetings for up to three minutes. The next meeting of the Charter Review Commission is Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 at 3:30pm. The meeting will be held at the Pinellas County Utilities Building, 4th Floor Conference Room, 14 S. Fort Harrison Ave. Clearwater 33756.
For more information on the Charter Review Commission’s timeline and past discussion:
United Way Suncoast has been helping people live better lives since 1924. United Way brings the community together to break the cycle of generational poverty by focusing on education, so children learn the skills to succeed; providing financial and employment education for adults to achieve long-term financial stability; and helping individuals and families in crisis through a network of support services. When you LIVE UNITED, you make a difference in our community. When you partner with United Way, you help build a stronger, more caring place to live. Together we can do more.
United Way Suncoast offers free tax preparation for individuals and families who have a household income of $62,000 or less. There are over 40 sites in the Tampa Bay area, with 13 sites located in Pinellas County. Tax payers never pay a single penny to have their taxes done by an IRS-trained tax preparer! The sites open in mid-January and remain open through tax season. Additionally, for those individuals who prepare their own taxes we offer www.myfreetaxes.com. There is no cost to using this software if you are within the income limit.
For more information, visit United Way Suncoast website or call 2-1-1 to find the tax site closest to you.
Chamber members filled the room for the first Public Policy meeting of the New Year, which featured elected officials that actively engaged with members on several important issues. The two featured speakers this month were Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long and State Representative Darryl Rouson.
Commissioner Janet Long engaged in an interactive discussion on the transportation issues that Pinellas County is facing presently and for the future. She stated that 2016 will be an exciting year for the way citizens will deal with transportation in the county and that she will soon be able to announce great news in the near future. Her major concern was the fact that many citizens involved in improving transportation methods are only worrying about the future instead of the present. Commissioner Long also discovered in a recent trip to Washington that there are federal funds waiting to be released in order to fund local transportation projects.
State Representative Darryl Rouson- a very powerful and elegant speaker, as well as the first African American prosecutor in Pinellas County, took time to speak about his past and present activities in regards to Public Policy. Leading an interactive speech, he spoke about education, gaming, transportation and a hot topic for developers and business owners – the state’s business rent tax. Representative Rouson spent time educating members about the ‘Driver’s License Reinstatement Bill’ that he is sponsoring in the House and State Senator Jeff Brandes in the upper chamber. Rep. Rouson stated that the “Driver’s License Reinstatement Bill” is urgent, due to the fact that there are many citizens without valid licenses because many of them can’t afford to pay the hefty penalty fees that come with the failure to pay right away. The end of his speech concluded the fact that he’s very proud of seeing downtown St. Petersburg grow tremendously but wants to see improvements and growth in Midtown as well. Rep. Rouson has filed for Senate- and we wish him the best of luck.
Task Force Updates
· Daryle Hamel, Sustainability Task Force Chair mentioned that St. Petersburg could potentially be the first sustainable tourism city in the United States by the end of the year.
· Ross Preville, Chair of the Downtown Waterfront Task Force explained that the demo on the Pier will be going on for another 3-4 months which exceeds the original plans of finalizing in February 2016. Ross stated that Chamber members can expect to have a presentation from the Pier uplands architect at the end of January or beginning of February.
· Diversity and Inclusiveness Task Force will be conducting minority women owned business focus groups in February to discover what services they need to be successful and if there are opportunities for the Chamber to assist women owned businesses.
· Jim Dickson from the Transportation Task Force mentioned that Ray Chiaramonte, Director of TBARTA will be the Task Force’s featured speaker on January 26th .
· Dr. Kevin Gordon mentioned that after three productive Education Task Force meetings, both he and Chamber President & CEO Chris Steinocher have had several fact-finding meetings with the Pinellas County school district, community leaders and organizations to see if a collective impact model would work in Pinellas County.
The next Public Policy Meeting will be held at the St. Petersburg Chamber on Tuesday, February 2nd at 7:30AM.
As we dive into 2016, we’re focused on programming a value-filled year for our members. We’re introducing new events this year, and we want help our members shine, support them as they grow their network and see their business thrive in 2016.
Member Appreciation Night will showcase our members in the hospitality industry while providing an opportunity for members to build personal and professional relationships. On the 2nd Thursday of each month, you’re invited to meet fellow members and staff at a different location each month to provide opportunities to spotlight our members throughout the community.
Now Trending, sponsored by Shumaker Loop & Kendrick LLP, will keep our members current on trending topics in St. Pete. These quarterly lunches will offer members the opportunity to learn, network and enjoy a great lunch provided by a member business.
Chamber 101 was specifically created for new and existing members as a way to connect the dots and uncover new ways to maximize the value of your membership by reviewing the basics.
Coffee Chats are an opportunity for Chamber members and elected officials to have an informal conversation at a Chamber business. Topics range from current events or upcoming policy issues that impact the economic growth and community vitality of St. Petersburg.
Small Business Week will highlight St. Pete’s small businesses and the impact they make in our community. Our mission is to be the preeminent leader of economic growth and community vitality; and to celebrate our small businesses, we’ve planned a week full of fun networking and educational events during the week of May 2nd that will help our community continue to grow smarter.
Click here to learn about all of the 2016 networking opportunities. If you are interested in hosting, sponsoring or attending and have questions, please contact Natalie Fisher at email@example.com.
Welcome to the Chamber family! Click here to learn more about each of our new members and to visit their directory listing.
1st Downs 4 Life
American Heart Association of Tampa Bay
Century 21 Beggins Enterprises- Michael Noeltner
Craig Seitz- Individual Membership
Currahee Vintage & Industrial
First Unity Spiritual Campus
FreeFab 3D, LLC
Island Gulf Resort
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies
Pinellas County Gator Club
PJ Callaghan Construction
Prime Promotional Group
Remember Honor Support, Inc.
Resort Property Promotions
Tangibly Unique Strategies LLC
Tropic Ocean Airways
Intrinio, a St. Pete financial technology startup has been nominated for the prestigious Annual Benzinga Fintech Awards!
The BZ Awards is a competition to showcase the companies with the most impressive technology, who are paving the future in financial services and capital markets! 115 companies submitted their technologies to the last awards competition, and this year Intrinio has been nominated.
If Intrinio wins, it will help shine a spotlight on the exciting startup and tech scene here in St. Petersburg. We need your support! Please help us out by clicking the link below to vote. It only takes a few seconds. Help us spread the word and secure a WIN for our local startup!
Owned by Pacifica San Diego Management, Alta Mar at Broadwater Apartments is nestled in the quiet Broadwater Community. The complex, located in St. Petersburg offers beautiful one, two and three bedroom apartments with cutting edge amenities including a pool and fitness center. The apartments are in a secluded neighborhood on meticulously-groomed grounds. They are so close to beautiful Gulf beaches, State Parks, Downtown, shopping and entertainment. They make living in a newly renovated home affordable and convenient
Alta Mar at Broadwater Apartments recently celebrated their grand opening of a newly renovated club house and units in July of 2015. The company continues renovate and improve Alta Mar every day. They continue to provide MORE for their residents and will unveil a new fitness facility in a couple months. The team at Alta Mar at Broadwater Apartments are also planning to give back to the community too. In February, they will be having a blood drive as well some other community outreach goals in 2016.
The team couldn't be happier with where their community is at! “St. Pete is as warm and inviting as the Florida Sun! Our community here at Broadwater mirrors that mentality. We invite you to come be a part of our community here but we also have 7 sister properties in the Tampa Bay area”, said Antionette Scott, a Leasing Professional at Alta Mar at Broadwater Apartments.
Member Discount: Take $300 off your first month's rent!
Earlier this year in May, the city listened to the concerns of St. Petersburg’s downtown residents about the level of noise at night in downtown St. Petersburg. While there were only a few downtown establishments causing most of the complaints, a large showing of downtown residents and bar owners attended a lively meeting at City Hall where they provided their input on everything from noise decibels to enforcement. After the May meeting, city staff and Councilman Karl Nurse took the input and looked at comparable noise ordinances around the country, as well as how to make incremental improvements to the noise ordinance rather than one broad sweeping change to the noise ordinance. Councilman Nurse promised the group that the city would invite the group back later in the year to provide input again on the proposed changes.
This week Councilman Nurse and city staff hosted a follow-up meeting on the proposed changes to the noise ordinance, which included:
Proposed Noise Ordinance Changes: Applies to sidewalk cafes in the right-of-way
• Speakers shall be permanently mounted and oriented downwards or directly toward the sidewalk café. Speakers shall be identified on the approved plan for a sidewalk café permit.
• Indoor speakers located within 20 ft. of the doorway which opens onto the street right-of-way shall be oriented away from the doorway.
• No speakers may be placed in the right-of-way unless the abutting business has an approved plan in a sidewalk café permit which identifies the speaker locations.
• Privately owned outdoor places: whenever possible outdoor speakers shall be oriented away from the right-of-way and residential properties
After an hour of thoughtful discussion between Councilman Nurse, city staff, downtown residents and downtown bar owners, it was agreed that requiring establishments to have permanently mounted speakers point downwards or directly toward the sidewalk café was a good starting point, but wasn’t going to be the only change. This week’s meeting was a prime example of how a growing city like St. Petersburg should work to balance an active downtown with the quality of life for residents. The St. Pete Chamber will continue to work with our downtown Chamber members and residents to inform them of future city meetings and changes to the noise ordinance.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Travis Norton at 727-388-0682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last 30 years, there have been many efforts toward improving the wetlands of Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, there has been detrimental loss to the sea grass since 1982. With the loss of sea grass, the shoreline is altered and food is decreasing for wildlife. The major contributor to this problem is the influx of Nitrogen. Indeed nitrogen is necessary for wetlands, but too much equates to an overgrowth of algae and of course a lowering of vital sea grass. Holly Greening, the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program was the featured speaking in today’s Sustainability Task Force meeting at the Chamber. She spoke about the vast efforts towards sustaining the improvements that have been made to preserving our lands.
The Tampa Bay Estuary program was founded in 1990 and its main goal is to restore sea grass acreage. Holly explains that there are approximately 500 different restorative programs in action. One of these actions is that applicators of fertilizers that carry nitrogen must be certified. There is also a ban on buying these nitrogen-enriched fertilizers in the rainy summer months of June-September. This is done to limit the amount of nitrogen pollution from storm water runoff. There is a $5.5 billion CWA civil penalty from the BP oil spill that “must be used wisely and focus on protecting our resources,” said Holly.
Fortunately, Tampa Bay has met its 2015 restoration of sea grass goal. There still needs to be more effort ahead in maintaining these improvements. A healthy bay leads this area to become an economic powerhouse. A clean bay contributes an impressive 13% or $22 billion of the total economic activity in the six counties in the bay’s watershed—Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota. In addition, one in five jobs in the inner watershed are due to the fact that we have a healthy bay. Bay front locations have a tendency to demand premium prices, and
Waterfront property is 2.2-2.8 times that of non-waterfront. A healthy bay will only continue to create economic strength in this area.
Ribbon Cutting Celebration!
Signature Urgent Care is celebrating their grand opening on December 15th at 5:30PM! Support this new member and their business by joining them in celebrating. RSVP here.
Learn more about the story of Faraz Pasha, MD of the new walk-in medical clinic, Signature Urgent Care in downtown St. Petersburg.
"I have been practicing medicine for over 10 years. I received my medical degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan and completed my residency training in Michigan at Wayne State University in Detroit. I practiced medicine in Michigan and Massachusetts but the cold weather was not my thing and I had to come to Florida. I selected Florida, as the weather is similar to my hometown in Pakistan, which is right by the ocean and has a tropical climate. Specifically, I chose St. Petersburg due to it cosmopolitan nature. The city has the best of everything, right size city with a small town feel, ability to walk everywhere, easy access to nature, museums, restaurants and the arts.
Since moving to Florida I have spent weekends in St. Petersburg and when the opportunity presented itself, bought a home in downtown St. Pete in 2012 and have lived here since that time. The idea for the business was always something that I considered however, I wanted to find the city that I planned to spend the rest of my life in. When I moved to St. Pete I found that city and then started on my journey of trying to find a location. No matter where I looked, I kept on coming back to downtown St. Pete as this is where I wanted to live, work and play. When exploring St. Pete, I noticed that in downtown we have access to almost everything except for a walk-in clinic or urgent care. With all the people in downtown and all the visitors, and everyone walking, it made sense to provide this vital service to the community. In doing so, not only would I fulfill my lifelong passion of owning and running my own medical clinic, but I would also be contributing to my community, which is something that I have always wanted to do.
My partner in crime for this business/practice is my wife, Mahmooda Khaliq Pasha. Mahmooda assists me with running the business as the Director of Operations. Apart from working here she is a doctoral student at University of South Florida College of Public Health. Currently, working on her completing her dissertation, she also works as an Associate Director for the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Social Marketing at USF and as Deputy Director of the Florida Prevention Research Center. Mahmooda is a native of Minnesota, however, like myself she has fallen in love with this beautiful city, a place we now love to call home."