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St. Pete charter amendments will pass, poll suggests

Two proposed charter amendments in St. Petersburg appear poised to pass this election, according to the latest St. Pete Polls survey.

More than half of those surveyed said they voted in favor of a lease extension for the entire pier area, for a longer lease for the Harborage Marina in downtown.

Both amendments are innocuous. The pier amendment would increase leases from five years to 10 years on the entire overwater structure area of the new pier.

Tampa Bay Watch, the nonprofit group that will operate the pier marine education center, requested the change to protect its $2 million investment and provide some longer-term assurances for potential donors to fund the project.

Overall 47 percent of survey respondents said they planned to or already had voted for the change with 58 percent who already voted favor the amendment and 37 percent who planned to vote expect to cast a ballot for the lease extension.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents were undecided.

The other amendment would allow Harborage Marina to increase its current five-year lease to a 30-year lease over submerged lands at the property. The change would allow the marina to build a 200-foot dock, update its electrical system and increase the number of boat slips available for public use.

The charter amendment change would not cost the city anything. Supporters say the change is necessary to accommodate more boaters in a marina that is currently over capacity, which would result in more economic development for the city.

Only 23 percent of survey respondents indicated the would or had already voted against the change while 51 percent said they would vote or already voted in favor. Twenty-six percent of those voters were undecided.

The survey also asked respondents whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Mayor Rick Kriseman. Voters are nearly split on that issue with 44 percent approving of the mayor and 38 percent disapproving. Another 18 percent didn’t have an opinion.

St. Pete Polls conducted the survey Thursday with 716 likely voters. The sample of voters was taken at random with results weighted for political party, race, age and gender. Voters who said they did not plan to vote were not included in results.

The poll has a 3.7 percentage point margin of error.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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