Year two Report...from 2007

Robin Saenger
36 Ada St.
Tarpon Springs Fl.. 34689

 I am amazed at how quickly time passes when you’re having fun!  Here is a re-cap of my second year as your City Commissioner, and I’m sure in what seems to be the blink of an eye, it will be time to run for my second term!

  • Tree ordinance was passed, levying significant fines for the removal of our trees, and launching a public involvement process of replanting our tree canopy, also becoming a “Tree City USA”.
  • Created a Public Art Ordinance by working with a citizen committee, City Planner, City Attorney, and Cultural Affairs Director, garnering support from the entire Board of Commissioners. This is now in the final stages of passage.
  • Found areas of compromise when developers wished to increase density of their projects against the wishes of residents living nearby.
  • Brought Peter Kageyama, co-founder of Creative Tampa Bay, to speak abut the positive financial impact of the arts in a community and discuss how arts keep cities vital and growing in a positive sustainable way.
  • Kept open lines of communication by addressing constituent concerns and issues in a timely manner.
  • Through dialogue and meetings with Pinellas County Adult Education and Provost of Education at St. Petersburg College, Tarpon Springs campus, have finally secured a permanent home for our ESOL program. ESOL is a program for legal immigrants who want to learn English, or take citizenship classes, get a GED, and become fully participating members of American society.
    This program was slated to move to Oldsmar two years ago, and I was determined to keep it here. I asked for and received individual support from residents, grants, and funding for the program for the past two years. The City set up a specially earmarked account for funds. The ripple effect of this is immeasurable, affecting hundreds of lives both directly and indirectly.
  • Elected to the Board of the Tarpon Springs Historical Society, volunteered at the Historical tea, and acted as docent at the Historic Tour of Homes.
  • Organized for the second year in a row, a city-wide event to benefit our Shepherd’s Center. This year, we added a “Signature Soup Tasting” at our Historic Train Depot, with participation by many of our local restaurants. We also held an art sale and show by generous local artists.  These events raised thousands of dollars to assist the disadvantaged in our area.
  • Participated in the Great American Teach-In at Tarpon Springs Middle School
  • Attended the National League of Cities Leadership Conference: “Leading Local Government: A Voyage of Endurance."
  • Attended the Florida League of Cities State Conference.
  • Attended Legislative Action Day in Tallahassee to lobby for property tax reform.
  • Arranged and participated in an interview with Rob Lorei at WMNF public radio station with Clearwater Commissioner Bill Jonson, St. Petersburg Councilwoman Rene Flowers, and Oldsmar Vice-Mayor Janice Miller to discuss how the County Review Commission proposed charter changes would affect home-rule by cities.
  • Attended the 2nd  annual “Smart Sustainable Tampa Bay” workshop and seminar where I learned a great deal about the national “green building” trend, through cutting edge development and housing initiatives. This is making a tremendous positive impact on communities throughout the United States.
  • Requested that Jeff Larsen, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Board, and Marleen Gravitz, member of the Heritage Preservation Board, attend  “Reality Check Tampa Bay” to represent Tarpon Springs in a seven county visioning session later this spring.
  • Requested that our volunteer board members be able to send a representative from their board to attend appropriate conferences and workshops when possible, to increase their level of competency, education and share with their fellow board members what they learned.
  • Served on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
  • Began two- year appointment to serve on the Metropolitan Planning Organization where I represent the cities of Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar, and Safety Harbor.

One of my current goals is to increase Tarpon’s recycling participation from its current level of 40% to 100% through outreach and educational programs. This will not only benefit the environment, but will allow us to reap financial benefit from Waste Management as the City receives financial remuneration for this.

I know that fiscal growth and accountability is important in making Tarpon viable and sustainable, but I also know that a City needs more than that.  What nurtures and keeps us here is also the beauty and “soul” of this place.  Our residents tell me over and over again how much they enjoy living in a place that honors the sense of history and has the special qualities that make Tarpon unique.  I will continue my efforts to preserve the charm and beauty of out City as we grow.

Let me know of inspirations, ideas and suggestions you have on how, together, we can make Tarpon Springs an even more enjoyable place in which to live and work.

Yours in service,

 Robin Saenger