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Beach Beacon
Redington Beach awards bid for AC work
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REDINGTON BEACH – Tying up loose ends and voting on several ongoing matters was the order of the day at the April 1 Redington Beach Commission meeting.

With the Florida summer just weeks away, attention has been turned to Town Hall’s aging air conditioning system.

After receiving several bids that were, according to Mayor Nick Simons, “all over the place” in terms of cost and the scope of work proposed, commissioners agreed to award the contract to Bridges Mechanical Services for $16,900.

The plan is to replace the current 7.5- and 5-ton split system with one that is similar in size and configuration.

It appears the space, above the bathroom, housing the current 7.5-unit was built after the system was installed making replacement awkward and difficult without possibly having to cut a truss or two – something the commission wants to avoid.

Kris Bridges, owner of the company, was at the meeting, said he thought it possible to first dismantle the unit and then install it without the need for the advice of a structural engineer.

Fitting a 40-foot coil in the cramped space, however, could pose a problem, according to Bridges.

“You really won’t know that until you have the coil in hand,” he said. Should that prove to be the case, the services of an engineer would be required.

A potential problem is that in order to fit a new 7.5-ton unit into the existing space, a truss might have to be cut complicating matters plus additional costs. The commission said it hopes the 7.5-ton unit can be done without having to cut into any trusses.

The commission would like the new system to be up and running by the time summer arrives. The installation would ideally be completed over the course of a weekend or over a three to four day period when the building can be vacated.

Public Works director retiring

After 36 years of service, Director of Public Works and Code Enforcement Officer, Mark Davis, tendered his resignation in a memo to the commission.

His final day at work will be July 2.

Davis, who participates in the Deferred Retirement Option Program that allows some state employees to retire without terminating employment by freezing contributions in an employee’s pension plan which accumulate in a separate account.

When that period expires, the employee must terminate employment. In Davis’ case, his DROP period ends in December.

The employee receives the funds as a lump sum along with a pension under the normal pension payout schedule.

Davis has worked for the town for 36 years which he described as “a most challenging and rewarding experience and career.”

“I told him we will keep his cell phone activated for 60 days,” joked Simons.

Grant Allen, the current assistant public works director, is expected to step into Davis’ position and assume many of the day-to-day responsibilities.

However, he lacks the training and certification to act as a code enforcement officer. As such, the town must hire someone who can assume those duties.

Currently, the commission is looking into the possibility of contracting for those services with a private agency or perhaps, as do other local municipalities, with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

To that end, Commissioner Dave Will has been gathering information and contacting various entities. He said he has received several viable proposals and will present them for discussion at next month’s board meeting.

Simons suggested work-shopping the matter shortly thereafter.

Will said he envisions a 30-day break-in period for whoever is hired to work alongside Davis for that period of time.

Commissioner Tom Dorgan cited the need for having a plan of action by the end of May in advance of Davis’s departure date.

Simons observed that if no suitable contenders emerge from the short list, he would solicit North Redington Beach Mayor, Bill Queen, about sharing his town’s code enforcement officer on a temporary basis until a more permanent solution can be found.

Drain work to proceed

As expected, the board voted unanimously to hire Keystone Excavators, Inc. to remove and replace storm drains at two different locales. The project will cost $55,500.

The larger of the two projects where work will begin first is at 15508 First St. and will include the construction of a proper seawall at a cost not to exceed $31,700. The other site is at 16109 Sixth St. with a cost not to exceed $22,800.

The drains have been a longstanding problem for some time in that they no longer function effectively.

The First Street drain, in particular, is undersized, crowded out by mangroves that are protected by law and has no seawall to support the pipe.

As of yet, no start date has been set although work is expected to begin shortly.

Fireworks on the beach

The commission also granted approval for a permit allowing a private fireworks display to be held on May 3, at 9 p.m., on the property of resident Robert Klingel, who lives at 15530 Gulf Blvd.

Klingel has had the fireworks at his beachfront home in previous years and employs a professional company, Fireworks Displays Unlimited in Tampa, to oversee the activity.

In a memo from the fireworks company, seeking the board’s approval, the company’s director of operations noted he had been in contact with the Madeira Beach Fire Department having worked with it previously regarding the display at the same address but was told it would require the board’s approval.

Simons made mention that the Klingel family is “active” in the community and “good citizens of Redington Beach.”

“I think it’s great, and the town enjoys it,” said Commissioner Mark Deighton.
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