TREASURE ISLAND - The search for a new city manager is going to take a minimum of four to six months longer.
City commissioners decided June 20 against interviewing any of the nine finalists from a national search conducted by the International City/County Management Association’s Senior Advisor program and to spend an estimated $25,000 to hire an executive search firm.
City Human Resources Director Jennifer Poirrier said she would prepare a request for proposal to advertise for a headhunter.
REDINGTON BEACH - Town Attorney Jay Daigneault asked Redington Beach commissioners June 21 how to resolve what he considered an “ambiguity” relating to variance requests for docks that fall outside the town’s building codes.
Language within the construction rules is contradictory and must be changed, he said.
In a memo to the mayor and commissioners, Daigneault said current ordinances allow the Board of Adjustment to grant variances for special exceptions to existing regulations for docks. He noted the existing code states that “all non-conforming dock facility permit requests shall be handled as a special exception.”
MADEIRA BEACH - In a move that surprised many, the city commission narrowly approved an agreement that allows suspended City Manager Shane Crawford and fired City Clerk Cheryl Crawford to depart the city amicably.
The two, who are husband and wife, have faced opposition from three new commission members who took office in March.
The settlement, which was negotiated over the past several weeks by attorneys representing both sides, came at a special meeting at city hall held June 19.
MADEIRA BEACH - The remake of city government continues in Madeira Beach. Since a new commission majority was elected in March, the city’s leadership at the top levels has been upended.
City Clerk Cheryl Crawford was terminated, City Attorney Thomas Trask announced he is not renewing his contract that expires this month, and City Manager Shane Crawford is currently suspended. Last month, the commission named Fire Chief Derryl O’Neal acting city manager. The Crawfords’ fate is being determined by the outcome of a legal settlement their lawyer is negotiating with the city.
At the June 13 commission meeting, a key leadership position was filled. In a 4-1 vote, the commission approved O’Neal’s appointment of Walter Pierce, formerly director of finance in Venice, Florida, to the job.
REDINGTON SHORES - Residents could see a hike in their utility bill next year. Mayor Bert Adams said at the June 14 commission meeting that the town’s sewer system is 50 years old and has lots of problems.
Sewer Commissioner Jeff Neal said recently that ongoing maintenance of the system needs to be speeded up.
The sewer system’s cost to the town continues to rise, Adams said, as costs to maintain and repair the aging system are increasing. Also, five years ago the charge the town pays the county to process the sewage was upped. That cost was never passed on to residents, Adams said.
ST. PETE BEACH - City commissioners voted June 13 to go ahead with a grant request to the Florida Division of Natural Resources that, if granted, would enable the city go forward with upgrades to the Don Vista Building at 3300 Gulf Blvd.
The city is seeking $100,000 that will help pay primarily for stucco work on the exterior of the building.
“We found that we have an opportunity to request a grant from the State Division of Natural Resources that would help with the restoration,” said City Manager Wayne Saunders. “We did an inspection to the building earlier this year and there are a number of things we need to do to help that building.”
INDIAN SHORES - Now that the Indian Shores Police Department has a full-time staff, Chief Terry Hughes is proposing to hire part-time and reserve officers to support the department.
Four candidates were approved for those positions at the June 13 town hall meeting.
With only one part-time officer on staff and the number of reserve officers dwindling, Hughes presented the candidates for hire. The Town Council approved Scott Paul Enser, Rodney Caesar Espinola, Bruce R. Griffith, and Raimondo Attilio DeCunto Jr., pending successful completion of all background testing and screening.
TIERRA VERDE - After a recent rash of car break-ins in the area, the Tierra Verde Community Association invited a deputy from the sheriff’s office to give a presentation on starting a neighborhood watch program at the association’s June 6 meeting.
Pinellas County Deputy Sean O’Brien was armed with a variety of crime prevention and safety-related brochures that he made available to the residents at the meeting.
O’Brien demonstrated the “Lock it up” brochure in particular. Deputies sometimes patrol target neighborhoods, check cars for unlocked doors, and when they find an unlocked door, they place the “lock it up” brochure in the car and lock the door as a warning to the car’s owner.
ST. PETE BEACH - Stay alert and informed this hurricane season with SPB Connect, a new app for the city of St. Pete Beach that allows residents to access their government in a single location.
The app, the city’s official platform, enables residents to find information on public health, safety warnings, evacuation notices, severe weather and major service interruptions as they occur through notifications sent right to your device.
It also lets residents submit, track, and view nearby service requests through their smartphones, online, via phone, and SMS. Residents
REDINGTON BEACH - Commissioners got a peek into the future June 7 as they took a first look at possible and expected increases for the upcoming 2018 town budget.
Presenting fellow commissioners with preliminary figures for the 2018 fiscal year during a workshop, Finance Commissioner Tom Dorgan said new valuations from Property Appraiser Mike Twitty indicated a 7.11 percent increase in Redington Beach property values, which would jump tax revenue to $779,000 from the current $717,000.
Dorgan said the rollback rate wouldn’t be known until July.
TREASURE ISLAND - City commissioners heard plans June 6 for the initial draft of a community engagement project by Atkins North America regarding a long-term financial plan for the Treasure Island Causeway.
Project Manager Tom Knuckey said traffic counts for the causeway are being prepared and he would report back that information soon to the City Commission.
“We’ll be tabulating that data and getting back to you sometime in July,” he said. “I can tell you right now the causeway traffic looks to be about 20,000 vehicles per day, which appears to be a slight increase over previous years.”
TREASURE ISLAND - The city of Treasure Island has been awarded $45,000 in Coastal Resilience grants from the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to address future storm impacts and sea level rise.
The awards, totaling $123,334, are supported by funding from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Other grants went to the city of New Port Richey and the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
Treasure Island plans to use its funding to develop a manual for pre-storm preparation activities as well as a post-disaster recovery plan, develop contracts for storm debris monitoring and removal, and review and recommend development codes to address potential climate change impacts.
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH - It’s that time of year again. Along with hurricane preparations and cranking up the air conditioning, it’s time for appointments and reappointments to various boards at North Redington Beach.
Reappointments to the Planning and Zoning Board as well as the Beach Advisory Board were approved at the June 8 Town Commission meeting during new business.
Reappointment of the Planning and Zoning Board members for the next three-year term ending in 2020 passed unanimously. Doug Taylor and Randy Kountoupis were reappointed as members and Roland Arellano was reappointed as an alternate. Arellano, who was present at the meeting, told commissioners that he was “happy to serve.”
TREASURE ISLAND - City commissioners will consider a list of nine semifinalists for the vacant city manager position following a screening process conducted by a three-man independent committee.
The city used the International City/County Managers Association Senior Advisors program to conduct the initial screening of 43 applicants. Mark Durbin, a former city manager in Kissimmee, chaired the three-man group that also included former city of Tavares Finance Director Bill Neron and former Boynton Beach City Manager Kurt Bressner.
Further discussion on the semifinalists is expected at the June 20 City Commission meeting.
ST. PETE BEACH - Information technology educators and others got a brief glimpse of what may be our transportation future June 2 when an engineering team from Florida Polytechnic University demonstrated the merits of driverless cars at the St. Pete Beach Community Center.
Dr. Dean Bushey, a professor at FPU who teaches a one-semester autonomous car system course, began the demonstration with a presentation on the technical aspects of driverless vehicles before moving downstairs where his students showed off the technology with a fitted 1/10-scale Traxxas Rally Car.
MADEIRA BEACH - Mel Smith, a U.S. Navy World War II veteran, celebrated his 99th birthday May 23 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4256.
Smith joined the Navy in 1944 and served on an LST (a large combat landing craft) throughout the Pacific, including Okinawa, New Guinea and the Philippines. On Jan. 9, 1945, Smith’s LST was among a group of three such landing craft from which Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded on to a beach in triumphant return to the Philippines.
MADEIRA BEACH - Fire Chief Derryl O’Neal, a longtime city employee, has been named acting city manager.
O’Neal had informally stepped in to fill the job following the suspension of City Manager Shane Crawford at the May 4 commission meeting. Crawford has not been terminated, pending the outcome of legal issues surrounding his dismissal, and is still on the city payroll.
O’Neal’s appointment as acting city manager came at the May 23 special commission meeting. The vote was 3-2, a split that has been typical of most actions taken by the commission since the March elections. Mayor Maggi Black, Vice Mayor John Douthirt and Commissioner Nancy Oakley, all newly elected, were in favor, with Commissioners Nancy Hodges and Terry Lister opposed.