MADEIRA BEACH - In a move that came as no surprise, the city commission approved an employment contract that makes Derryl O’Neal, who has been the city’s fire chief for the past 16 years, the new city manager.
The action came at the Oct. 10 Board of Commissioners meeting. The vote was close, 3-to-2. Mayor Maggi Black voted yes, along with Vice Mayor John Douthirt and Commissioner Nancy Oakley. Commissioners Nancy Hodges and Terry Lister were opposed.
O’Neal, who had earlier been named acting city manager, was the city manager choice of Black and Oakley since discussion on filling the job began in June, after former City Manager Shane Crawford’s termination was finalized.
REDINGTON SHORES - Town officials returned from a recent conference of the Shore and Beach Preservation Association with some good news. Parts of Redington Shores will be participating in the county’s periodic beach renourishment, due to begin in late November.
Commissioner Mary Beth Henderson said at the Oct. 11 town commission meeting that she and Mayor Bert Adams were told at the recent Shore and Beach Preservation conference in Fort Lauderdale that Redington Shores will get at least partial renourishment of their beaches this year.
ST. PETE BEACH - The expense for complying with the city’s ordinance regulating the discharge of fats, oils and grease into the sewer system may become less costly for many St. Pete Beach business owners.
City commissioners passed an amendment to the ordinance on first reading Oct. 10 that establishes alternative methods for measuring discharge into city sewers and sets an easier method for restaurants and auto repair shops to obtain a necessary commercial wastewater discharge permit.
“After we passed the original ordinance, we found there was going to be some major expenditures that some of our businesses might have to undertake in order to meet the requirements,” said City Manager Wayne Saunders. “So we found there’s another calculation that can be used that’s acceptable and we also found there are some other methods that can be used that would meet the intent.”
INDIAN SHORES - Indian Shores police officers are going to be wearing pink badges on their uniforms during October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Chief Terry Hughes made the announcement authorizing the pink badges at the Oct. 3 Town Hall meeting.
Indian Shores Police Major Emily Smoak is a breast cancer survivor. At her own expense, Smoak purchased the pink badges for all her fellow officers to wear in support of efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.
TREASURE ISLAND - In an effort to save the city about $100,000 per year in maintenance costs, Treasure Island leaders are set to begin discussions with the city of St. Petersburg about a possible transfer of ownership of the east end of the Treasure Island Causeway.
The potential deal would serve many purposes.
First, any transfer would hinge on Treasure Island agreeing to install a possible toll gantry west of the bascule bridge. This would allow residents of Yacht Club Estates and Causeway Isles, who live within the city of St. Petersburg, to avoid paying tolls to and from their homes.
REDINGTON BEACH - The disaster recovery team Redington Beach hired in advance of Hurricane Irma has been a “tremendous disappointment,” said Mayor Nick Simons.
Simons made the statement during his report to the Town Commission at the start of the Oct. 4 meeting. Commissioners voted Sept. 6 to select Ceres Environmental of Sarasota and DRC Emergency Services of New Orleans for debris clearance and tree removal in the event Hurricane Irma hit the Tampa Bay area.
MADEIRA BEACH - City commissioners gave the go-ahead to a long-awaited drainage and roadway improvement project on Rex Place in Madeira Beach, approving spending just over $900,000.
The work covers the entire road, from the intersection next to Winn-Dixie to the seawall by the Recreation Center.
The action came at a special emergency meeting on Sept. 25, called to meet a looming deadline for the project to qualify for a matching grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which will pay about half the cost.
MADEIRA BEACH - In a workshop session held Sept. 26, the City Commission decided to move the public comment portion of commission meetings from the beginning to the end of the agenda.
“This needs to be at the end,” said Madeira Beach Vice Mayor John Douthirt. The reason, he said, is that “we want to get residents more involved. And for that to happen, they need to sit through the meeting and hear what’s going on.”
MADEIRA BEACH - Hurricane Irma brought it all close to home. No longer do Pinellas County residents have the luxury of looking at a disaster on TV and reveling in the fact that it was somewhere else. Now it is here, a harsh reality.
That was never the case with a small church group in Madeira Beach. The 200 or so members of the CrossBridge Church on 153rd Avenue have been seeking out disasters for several years so they can pitch in to help. For them it isn’t enough just to say a few prayers or send money. They have to get more involved than that.
TREASURE ISLAND - The cost of doing business with the city of Treasure Island is about to increase slightly.
In an effort to generate additional revenue, city commissioners passed a resolution Sept. 19 that amends the city’s fee schedule. According to budget projections, the increases are expected to generate about $931,000 in additional revenue.
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH - After decades of holding fast to one of the lowest millage rates in Pinellas County, the town of North Redington Beach is raising its millage rate.
The ordinance adopting the new millage rate for the fiscal year 2018 passed unanimously at a budget meeting just prior to the special meeting on Sept. 13.
The new millage rate is 1.0 mills, which is 36.44 percent above the roll-back rate of 0.7329. The old millage rate, which dates back into the late 20th century, was .7511 mills and 6.60 percent above the roll-back rate of the past.
REDINGTON BEACH - This town of Redington Beach may have “dodged a bullet” shot by Hurricane Irma’s dangerous winds, but officials here have relaxed some building restrictions so that residents can quickly repair damaged properties.
Speaking at the Sept. 20 Town Commission meeting, Commissioner Dave Will reported that 13 homes were affected by the hurricane, with eight of them either having their roofs blown off or damaged. His home was among the eight.
Daniel “Danny” Durwood Perry, 67, passed away Aug. 3, 2017 at Bay Pines VA Hospital in Bay Pines, Florida.
He was a 1968 graduate of Colebrook Academy in Colebrook, New Hampshire and served as a helicopter door-gunner and mechanic for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
For 25 years, Danny worked as a letter-sorting machine operator for the U.S. Postal Service in Portland, Maine. He was a member of American Legion Post 273, a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America and a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
REDINGTON SHORES - In the midst of a Town Commission meeting focused on recovery and cleanup efforts from the effects of Hurricane Irma, Redington Shores Mayor Bert Adams had some unsettling news for residents.
The town will not be a part of a beach nourishment scheduled for later this year, or for the years leading up to the next beach nourishment, possibly five years away.
The reason is that not enough residents signed property easement agreements required by Pinellas County’s alliance with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the beach nourishment project.
TREASURE ISLAND - City officials are still holding out hope the Federal Highway Administration will give them the thumbs-up to return tolls to the Treasure Island Causeway.
Commissioners would like to have the endorsement of the FHWA after Interim City Manager Amy Davis recently received an email from Cynthia Eisenmacher, the federal tolling program manager for the FHWA’s Center for Innovative Finance Support, listing five exceptions to a federal statute that restricts the city’s ability to toll Causeway Boulevard.
With that in mind, city leaders moved forward on a proposal by Thornton Williams of the Thornton Law Group to engage FHWA to determine if the city is able to qualify for any of the exceptions and return tolls to the causeway again.
REDINGTON BEACH - Commissioners are mulling a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Redington Beach, even though they agree there are few possible venues for such businesses to set foot.
Banning the stores would require a referendum, the commission was told during their regular meeting on Sept. 6.
During a scheduled discussion, Town Attorney Jay Daigneault noted that in light of recent state law regarding the location and allowable number of medical marijuana dispensaries, some Pinellas County communities were considering ordinances that would prohibit the shops from opening. Seminole has already instituted a ban, he said, while North Redington Beach is considering similar action.