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Mayor changes policy after Investigators story | News

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Mayor changes policy after Investigators story
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Mayor Bill Foster is demanding more accountability and transparency is the city's real estate process following a series of 10 News reports.

The Investigators first revealed in September that a City of St. Petersburg employee was encouraging higher-than-market value appraisals to fast-track land buys past council.  The city has been paying premiums in recent years to acquire land in the Dome Industrial Park Project (DIPP) to redevelop it and create jobs.

READ: New St. Petersburg DIPP appraisal

Council members criticized the lack of transparency but in the city's most recent proposed purchase, slated to go before council in early March, Foster insisted upon an extra appraisal to get a better idea of the property's true value.  He also had the city's real estate department give specific instructions on how the appraisal should be done.

One council member told 10 News the policy shift was a small "victory" while Foster said Wednesday that he wanted to show his administration was being as transparent as possible.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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