REDINGTON BEACH – Town Commissioner Dave Will told fellow commissioners April 15 he is still in the process of fielding potential prospects to handle Redington Beach’s code enforcement cases.
Will said he recently spoke with the Madeira Beach town officials who said they would be willing to share their code enforcement officer with Redington Beach in the event the town is unable to make a decision as to whom it wants to hire.
The most likely scenario, according to Will, would be to hire a code enforcement official on a part-time basis.
Another possibility under consideration is to hire a private company that in addition to providing code enforcement would oversee matters pertaining to the town’s building department.
Another, but more costly, option, under some consideration by the commission, would be to hire an officer from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. It has been noted that compliance on the part of violators tends to be swifter when a police officer issues a warning.
Will said he plans to have more definitive findings next month and will present them at the commission meeting.
Currently, the town contracts with the county for the issuing of building permits and the like while relying on Public Works Director Mark Davis to enforce the rules governing code violations.
Davis, however, announced his retirement earlier this month. It is expected that the current assistant director of public works, Grant Allen, will take over much of the day-to-day responsibilities. However, he currently lacks the proper certification to act as a code enforcement officer.
In the wake of two separate pedestrian deaths both of which occurred on Gulf Boulevard in North Redington Beach and St. Petersburg Beach, Commissioner Tom Dorgan, who heads the town’s public safety department, as well as other officials from communities up and down the beaches, recently met with members of the Sheriff’s Office in a round table discussion.
The purpose was to determine what action might be taken to prevent further fatalities.
“What it boiled down to is that we want more police presence on Gulf Boulevard,” Dorgan said.
Evidently, the Sheriff’s Office was of the same mind, according to Dorgan who said the recommendations included such methods as placing unattended police cruisers at various spots along the street, which might serve to slow down speeding vehicles.
In the past, during busy times of the year, special deputies have been assigned to patrol traffic along Gulf Boulevard.
“My problem with special deputies,” Dorgan said, “is that they are hard to manage. They are volunteers. They can be desk officers or detectives. The last Fourth of July, they used trainees to cover the shifts because they didn’t have enough resources.”
Dorgan said he was told that going forward the Sheriff’s Office agreed to deploy only those deputies certified in traffic enforcement and trained in radar surveillance.
Dorgan also informed the commission that the cost for police protection service provided by the sheriff’s office in 2015 will go up 2.46 percent to $233,000.
“If we can get some additional sheriff’s personnel out here during times when they feel it is necessary to have somebody out here it is certainly well worth the 3 percent increase,” said Mayor Nick Simons.
In other news …
The Town Commission voted unanimously to pay $2,690 to hire Live Wire Electrical Services for additional electrical work that will be needed in conjunction with the installation of the new air conditioning system in Town Hall. The commission, earlier this month, awarded a contract to Bridges Mechanical Services of Redington Beach for just under $17,000 to replace its aging 7.5- and 5-ton split system.