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Pinellas legislative delegation could dissolve contractor licensing board

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Members of the Pinellas Legislative Delegation are scheduled to consider a local bill to dissolve the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

The bill is one of two regarding the PCCLB sponsored by state Rep. Larry Ahern and state Sen. Jack Latvala. A local bill applies to a certain area only, rather than the entire state. In this case, the law would only affect the PCCLB, not any other licensing boards.

The other bill would increase the number of members of the board from 21 to 22 and directs what organizations will be represented on the board.

They will be considered at Tuesday’s delegation meeting.

Ahern, from Seminole, said the measures are designed to give delegation members a choice of how to handle the PCCLB. If members think the problems lie with the membership of the board, they could choose just to change the membership.

On the other hand, if they believe construction licensing and complaints could better be handled under the control of the county, they could vote to dissolve the agency.

Ahern said he believes licensing oversight is needed, but that it might be time to change the way it’s done. One possible advantage to dissolving the board and giving control to the county, he said, is the possibility of using other agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Office, to beef up enforcement.

The proposed dissolution bill would ban the PCCLB from incurring “any additional obligations or indebtedness” and directs it to “avoid wasting its assets.” It additionally gives a deadline for board members to wind up the board’s business: “By Dec. 31, 2017, the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board shall wind down its affairs, including liquidating all of its assets and satisfying all of its obligations and indebtedness.”

The other bill increases the number of members of the board from 21 to 22 and directs what organizations will be represented on the board.

The PCCLB came under fire after a Tampa Bay Times story alleged that homeowners and contractors feel “cheated, ignored and even stonewalled” by the PCCLB. The board has called that story false and misleading.

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