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UNCERTAINTY TURNS INTO OPTIMISM FOR TAMPA OFFICIALS

     Despite acknowledging earlier this week that it would be
impossible to meet an April 30 deadline to sign a lease for the
ThunderDome, St. Petersburg officials were reportedly
"optimistic" yesterday that they will be able to  meet the
deadline.  St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer:  "We'll have
something.  A lot of things happen in tight deadlines."  Fischer
did admit, however, that he "didn't know how everything would
wrap up in time."  Also yesterday, city officials applied for
state sales tax to cover "about half" of the reported $40M
renovation costs.  According to city attorney Mike Davis, getting
the tax money "should go smoothly."  The other half of the
renovation money is what "poses the problem," though one possible
solution is to get the Pinellas County Commission to raise the 3%
tourist tax to 4% (Neusner & Moncada, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/6).
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