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County commissioners invite residents to meet in person and online | Community Spirit

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County commissioners invite residents to meet in person and online
County commissioners invite residents to meet in person and online

Pinellas County is currently looking at an estimated $11.9 million shortfall for fiscal year 2013. An additional $10.7 million shortfall is projected for fiscal year 2014. The county needs to plan for the future, look at the services it provides and consider potential effects to the budget, such as additional unfunded mandates.

To encourage the public to become part of the process, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners will host a Community Forum on Tuesday, April 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N., Seminole. The forum combines an open house format with an online eTownHall.

Held in partnership with the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, the Community Forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. with an open house at the University Partnership Center.  Residents can speak personally with their county commissioners, county administrator and county staff to find out more about the forecast for fiscal year 2013, which begins Oct. 1, 2012.

After the meet and greet portion of the meeting, the commissioners and county administrator will take the stage of the Digitorium as the panel of the Community Forum eTownHall. The public is welcome to become part of the live audience. The interactive online event will be streamed live online and on PCC-TV from 7 to 8 p.m.

During the live event, residents can blog, tweet, follow the blog and view live video online or on TV. The eTownHall will include a telephone component, enabling residents to call in questions.

As part of the eTownHall format, residents can blog questions from their personal computers on the eTownHall webpage. They can also tweet or call in their questions. There will be 65,000 citizens called and invited to participate. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to write questions on cards that will be collected.

Dick Crippen will moderate the event, with Dr. William D. Law Jr., president of St. Petersburg College, providing an introduction. The panel will comprise the Pinellas County commissioners:  Vice Chairman Kenneth T. Welch, Nancy Bostock, Neil Brickfield, Susan Latvala, Norm Roche and Karen Williams Seel, with County Administrator Bob LaSala. Commission Chairman John Morroni will not be present because of health reasons.

There are five ways to participate in the eTownHall:

  1. Log onto Twitter. Tweets can be considered for the blog by entering a comment in the message field and including #pinellasetown in the message. This alerts blog moderators that a message should be considered for the discussion.
  2. Blog on www.pinellascounty.org/etownhall. The blog opens at 9 a.m. Monday, April 9, for early questions and comments and will remain open through the live event on Tuesday evening.
  3. Call in during the event. To ask a question and to listen to the event, dial (888) 886-6603, then enter conference number 18273. In addition, 65,000 calls will be made at the beginning of the live event to invite residents to participate via telephone.
  4. View the event at www.pinellascounty.org/etownhall. Email reminders will be sent to those who log onto the website and sign up early. The website also has information about the event and includes resources to learn more about the budget process.
  5. Watch the event live on PCC-TV (Bright House Channel 622, Knology Channel 18 or Verizon Channel 44).

In partnership with the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, computers will be dedicated for participation in the eTownHall at three public libraries:

Tarpon Springs Public Library

138 E. Lemon St.

Tarpon Springs

(727) 943-4922

www.tarponspringslibrary.org

Seminole Community Library

9200 113th St. N.

Seminole

(727) 394-6905

www.spcollege.edu/scl

St. Petersburg Public Library

3745 Ninth Ave. N.

St. Petersburg

(727) 893-7724

www.splibraries.org

A computer will also be available at the live event for those who prefer to send a question through the blog or Twitter.

For more information, go to www.pinellascounty.org/etownhall, call (727) 464-3000 or watch a video of one of the prior eTownHall events on www.youtube.com/pcctv1.  Find Pinellas County government on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this event, you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Contact the Office of Human Rights, 400 South Fort Harrison Ave., Suite 500, Clearwater, FL 33756, (727) 464-4062 (V/TDD).

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