2023 Citizens' Academy

CitizensAcademyLogo (1)Welcome to the City of Largo's Citizens' Academy! 

Largo Citizens' Academy is your hands-on solution to learning about your government. Led by Largo City Commissioners and Department Directors, the Academy guides citizens first-hand through the myriad of operations that keep Largo running. Academy participants will tour key facilities, learn the challenges facing future development, talk with City leaders about current issues and events affecting Largo, and work side by side with City staff members to learn about the essential functions they serve.

Your Citizens Academy Deans

Diane Bruner, City Clerk
[email protected]
727-587-6710 Ext 7003

Courtney Fogarty, Deputy City Clerk
[email protected]
727-587-6710 Ext 7002

Brandon Graham, Multimedia Supervisor
[email protected]
727-587-6740 Ext 4050 

Julianne Perez, Community Engagement Administrator
[email protected]
(727) 587-6740 Ext 7630

Things to Know

In order to graduate from Largo Citizens' Academy, you will need to attend a minimum of 8 sessions. For the courtesy of your classmates, please arrive promptly. Class will begin at 6pm (excluding the Police Department session). If for any reason you are unable to attend a session, please email Diane Bruner at the email address listed above. Extra credit may be available.

A class agenda is available below with the address of each location. Citizens are encouraged to dress comfortably and wear long pants for facility tours including Environmental Services and Public Works. Closed-toe walking shoes are highly encouraged for the duration of this course.

Week 1 - Sept. 11 - Orientation

Location - City Hall

Welcome to 2023 Citizen’s Academy!

  • Opening Remarks by Mayor Brown
  • City Manager's Overview of City Services
  • Icebreaker Introductions

Break/Dinner Time

Communications & Engagement (and You!)

  • Project Spotlights: Horizon West Bay and Hurricane Idalia
  • Icebreaker Introductions Part II
  • Commission Chambers/Meeting Participation

Closing and Plans for Next Week

**Important Information**
All sessions start at 6:00 p.m. (excluding the Police Department Session), please try and arrive on time as some sessions have tours that require daylight.

Wear comfortable clothes and flat closed toed shoes to all sessions.

We will let you know in advance if dinner will not be served at the beginning of a session.

Surveys will become available immediately after the session.

Surveys are anonymous.

Do not worry if you did not get a question answered or if you think of something to ask after the fact, the surveys have a space for unanswered questions that we will get answers for and send out to the group.

Sessions are standardly 2 hours long but some nights will go over that time, we will let you know in advance for a session that may run long.

Please let us know in advance if you will be absent for a session.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Orientation Session, link below.

Questions from session
I’m curious how business tenants are being pursued for the mixed-use portion of Horizon West Bay?
The Community Development Session on November 6th will be providing information on this. We will let them know about this question so they can answer it through the night.

Why do we have unincorporated and the City of Largo? What services do they receive? Are they taxed differently?
Please see the attached document from our Economic Development Division. It's a fact sheet on annexations and answers the above questions. Annexation Frequently Asked Questions

Citizen and Police relationships? How our taxes are assessed?
You will learn about Citizen/Police relationships at the Police Department Session on September 16th. Taxes are assessed by Pinellas County, please contact the Pinellas County Properties Office for this information. PropertyTaxProcess.pdf (pcpao.org)

Week 2 - Saturday - Sept. 16 - Police Department

Location - Largo Police Department

The Largo Police Department
The Largo Citizen's Academy 
Saturday September 16th, 2023 

0845 Arrival and Light Breakfast Dottie Mazzucco 

0900 Welcome Chief Michael Loux 

0930  K9 Demonstration
Officer Hansen and K9 Bruce 
Officer Vann and K9 Marsh 

1015 Group 1 Start Tour Officer Keith Bowling 

1015 Group 2 to VIRTRA Officer May and Officer Knox 

Tour to Include: 
Communications Debbie Arnold 
SIRT  (Hallway outside POP) Sgt. M. Williams
CSI (CSI Lab) Officer Justice 
TAC Static Display (TAC Room) Sgt. A. Veizi  
Vehicle Display Sally Port  
Police Motorcycle, Zero, Hybrid, MRAP Officer Keith Bowling and Officer Soto 
Holding Cells Officer Keith Bowling 
P.O.P. (All Specialties) Sgt. R. Dulski  
VIP Program Coordinator Jim Curtis 

1100 Switch Groups 

1200 Reassemble in read-off room for lunch and debrief with Chief Loux 

1300  Dismissal 

**Important Information**
The Police Department session is held from 9am-1pm on a Saturday. 

This tour does contain walking, please wear something comfortable.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Police Department Session, link below.

Questions from session
How to request an Officer ride-along?
Call Largo PD and request the ride along. You will need to visit the office and fill out paperwork. The requests then have to go through the Major's Office for final approval.

How do I apply for the Police Citizens Academy?
Revize Online Forms

Week 3 - Sept. 25 - Environmental Services

Location - Environmental Services

Citizen’s academy starts at 6.

Plant tour for about 20 minutes (6:00-6:20)

Reclaimed 10 minutes (6:20-6:30)

Collections 20 minutes (6:30-6:50)

Environmental Control less than 10 minutes (6:50-7:00)

Lab about 10 minutes (7:00-7:10)

Dinner (7:10)

**Important Information**
This tour does contain walking, please wear something comfortable. Please wear long pants for this facility tour.

Dinner will be served after the tour.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Environmental Services Session, link below.

Questions from session

Realizing that water is disbursed from the county, is Largo a part of ongoing area concerns or testing that might be occurring in nearby communities relating to water quality problems that might arise within those communities? I've recently read about 1,4 dioxane and PFAS potential problems in other areas and wonder if our county and Largo would also have similar concerns about our water quality.
That’s a great question. I am glad they acknowledged that we do not run the drinking water system. I was able to find something on the Pinellas County website that discusses PFAS: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) - Pinellas County

The consumer confidence report also shows water quality testing results: Consumer Confidence Reports - Pinellas County

I do not see 1,4-dioxane listed in the consumer confidence report, but this Florida health website says “If your drinking water source is from a public water system you will be notified if they found chemicals in your water above health standards.” On page 3: final-faq-14dx.pdf (floridahealth.gov)

Week 4 - Oct. 2 - Recreation, Parks and Arts

Location - Largo Community Center
RPA Agenda Flyer


What to Expect on your visit with us, October 2, 2023
We‘re going to have you moving all night with a progressive
style dinner and some fun while you learn about how the
Recreation, Parks and Arts Department impacts the community

Arrive at the Largo Community Center by 6pm
you’ll be greeted by our McGough Birds of Prey Display
and served mocktails and snacks
We’ll board our bus to begin the tour

Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center
Overview of the Highland Family Aquatic Center
Tour of the Highland Recreation Complex
Served appetizers

Central Park Performing Arts Center
Served dinner
Tour of the performing arts center
Overview of the Parks Division

Southwest Recreation Complex and Pool
Served dessert
tour of Southwest Recreation Complex
Overview of Southwest Pool
Drive by other facilities on the way back to the Community Center

**Important Information**
This evening will have extensive travel and is crucial you arrive on time.

You will be away from where you are parked on a bus tour.

Do not expect to get back to your vehicles until close to 9:00pm.

Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Orientation Session, link below.

Questions from session
What does someone need to do to be able to utilize the kiln at the community center?
Only our instructors are allowed to use the kiln. When a participant attends an instructional pottery class, the instructor loads the pieces, fires them, and unloads the pieces onto the art racks inside the art studio closet.

How does membership pricing work?
Membership is based on what tax district the participant is in and whether they pay taxes to the City of Largo or not.  Residents pay taxes to the City of Largo and their address is a LA in the property appraiser's website.  Non-Residents are those who live in other cities or who pay taxes to the county. Non-Residents can purchase a 6-month membership for $24 or a year membership for $39.  We look up the address on the Pinellas County Property Appraiser's website to see what tax district they are in to know what to charge them.  Residents pay $10 for a year membership (which is year from the day they apply).  Same time frame for the Non-Residents.  We also have a reciprocal agreement with those who live in a BBL, PP or PPW tax district so that they are also considered Residents (Belleair Bluffs and Pinellas Park).

Week 5 - Oct. 9 - Public Works

Location - Public Works
Public Works Agenda

-Arrive at the Solid Waste Admin Building
-Tour of the back lot and vehicles
**Important Information**
This tour does contain walking, please wear something comfortable. Please wear long pants for this facility tour.

Dinner will be served after the tour.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Public Works Session, link below.


Week 6 - Oct. 16 - Fire Department

Location - Fire Station 41
Fire Agenda

OCTOBER 16, 2023

Dinner 6:00-6:20

Overview of Largo Fire Rescue
Chief Pittman

Staff Introductions

Group Rotations 6:20-7:45
Apparatus Demonstration
Station Tour
Medical code/cardiac arrest demonstration

Q & A 7:45-8:00
**Important Information**
This tour does contain walking, please wear something comfortable.

Expect to stay over the standard 2 hours for this session.
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Fire Department Session, link below.

Questions from session
Does Largo have any female firefighters?

EEO Race Male Female Count   Percentage
White 123 16 139   90%
Black or African American 7 0 7   5%
(Blank) 5 0 5   3%
Asian 3 0 3   2%
Two or More Races 1 0 1   1%
Total 139 16 155    
Ages:     Female 10%  
Under 27 15   Male 90%  
28-33 40        
34-39 28        
40-45 22        
46-51 21        
52-57 24        
58-63 5        

Do firefighters do state-wide/national competitions for driving the trucks or putting on gear? (similar to the public works rodeo competitions); When was the station built and is it hurricane proof?; Is the department tracking information on the types of fire or EMS incidences to see what trends are over time and if incidences are generally increasing or decreasing?

We have our extrication team that goes all over the country and compete (they just were in Long Island and took 1st place in the Limited , 1st place in the unlimited, 2nd place in Rapid , 1st place in Medic, 1st place in incident commander, 1st place in technical and 1st place overall ) We also have our RIT team going to Miami to compete in the NAVRA competition (in the past we placed 3rd).

They can withstand a CAT 2-3, Station 41 is a CAT 4.

We are constantly tracking all our calls to see what trends they are. The information goes to the Federal government. You can see some of our data in the annual report on our website. We adjust and create trainings based off these trends. 

I keep forgetting to ask—can we text to 911 now or is it only phone call?

Call 911 if you can, text 911 if you can't (call is preferred but, in some situations, talking on the phone is not accessible)

Are they considering a Fire Department Citizens Academy.

We are currently not looking to do our own Citizens Academy.

Week 7 - Oct. 23 - Engineering Services

Location - City Hall
Largo Engineering Department 
Citizens Academy

  • Department Overview
  • Department Functions
  • Department Services
  • Sustainability/Resiliency
  • Major Initiatives
  • City Infrastructure Projects Map
  • Service Requests
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Engineering Session, link below. 


Week 8 - Oct. 30 - Largo Public Library

Location - Largo Public Library
Largo Library Citizens Academy


6:00 Dinner is served - salad, pastitsio ("Greek lasagna"), bread, vegetable, dessert, and beverages.
6:15 Remarks from Library Director Casey McPhee with video
            Q & A
6:45 Library trivia 
7:00 Library tour
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Largo Public Library session, link below. This survey will open at 9:30pm on November 21st.


Week 9 - Nov. 6 - Community Development

Location - City Hall
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Community Development Session, link below.

Questions from session

Why is Seminole Square Apartments being built with wood? That's not very resilient.
The City of Largo requires that development projects conform to the Florida Building Code (FBC) requirements and meet resiliency standards regulated by the State of Florida. Currently, the City of Largo does not require projects to be block versus wood frame, but they must meet all FBC requirements. With Seminole Square Apartments being a 100% affordable project with project cost constraints, it was likely determined by the developer to construct as wood frame to make this project feasible to develop.

Are there incentives for mixed use development in the tri-city multimodal corridor?
Yes, the City of Largo provides the Largo Tri-City Multimodal Corridor (LTC-MMC) with incentives to encourage redevelopment in this area. Incentives include higher base densities/intensities (i.e., higher units per acre and floor area ratios), affordable housing bonuses, and green building density bonuses (sustainability/LEED). For example, a maximum density of 50 units per acre may be achieved with bonus options in the LTC-MMC. I'm providing a link to these standards within the Comprehensive Development Code, which shares details on these incentives.


Is 5 feet enough to allow trees to grow and thrive and not become a nuisance?
Five feet is the width for streetscape requirements between the back of curb and the sidewalk in the more urban areas (i.e., activity centers and multimodal corridors) of the city. Street trees are encouraged in this area to provide a shade canopy and small buffer between the walking area and the street. Our Recreation, Parks, and Arts Department has worked closely with the Planning Division's City Arborist/Landscape Planner to recommend tree species to developers that do well in more constrained areas and do not become a nuisance. For more information on this topic, please contact [email protected].

 Are the buildings built above 3 stories inspected under the new law related to the Surfside Condo collapse? Currently all condos built over 3 stories are going to be inspected.
Yes, they are being inspected, however the Largo Building Division does not perform the inspections.

Per State Statue 553.899, the owner is responsible to have the building inspected by December 31 of the year in which the building reaches 30 years of age. The inspections are being performed by Florida licensed Engineers and the reports are sent to the Building Division and attached to the address record in our Land Management Software. The Statute can be found here.

Week 10 - Nov. 13 - Finance and OPB

Location - City Hall
We please ask you to take a moment of your time to complete a brief survey regarding your Finance and OPB Session, link below. 


Graduation - Dec. 5 - Commission Meeting

Population Size


Largest City in Tampa Bay

Acres of Park Land


Largo Businesses