REDINGTON BEACH – With only about six weeks left until Public Works Director Mark Davis retires, the search for a code enforcement officer to replace him remains at the forefront and was one of the main topics at the Redington Beach Commission meeting on May 6.
One of the options commissioners are considering is entering into an arrangement with the city of Madeira Beach to share the services of that city’s code enforcement officer on a part-time basis.
To that end, a special workshop was held April 29 that included Madeira Beach City Manager Shane Crawford, who discussed a proposal that addressed the possibility of also providing Redington Beach with building department services.
Following the workshop, Crawford sent an email May 3 to Redington Beach officials, quoting the costs for the code enforcement with the caveat that the town must agree to using the services of the Madeira Beach Building Department – an arrangement he did not allude to initially.
The cost for a code enforcement deputy is $19,000 if Redington Beach handles the administrative duties or $29,000 if Madeira Beach handles it.
Crawford based the annual cost partly on the number of violations (140) issued in Redington Beach over the last year, plus 20 percent of the deputy’s salary based on a 40-hour work week.
Mayor Nick Simons said using that formula, the town would be getting an officer for only about eight hours per week.
“I don’t know if eight hours a week is sufficient for code enforcement for the town of Redington Beach and if it isn’t, then this number is going to escalate,” Simons said.
Several board members said they were uncomfortable with the idea of allowing another town to process administrative paperwork for Redington Beach.
“I would recommend the town handle it and not have another town handle it. I think we need to keep it in-house,” said town attorney Robert Metz. He noted that his law firm also represents the city of Madeira Beach which, in itself, might pose some conflicts in terms of transparency.
Should the town choose to use Madeira Beach’s building department services, an option discussed at the workshop, Crawford said the city would impose its standard 2 percent across-the-board fee schedule on construction costs.
Redington Beach’s construction costs last year totaled about $4.8 million, most of which funnels into the county’s coffers via an intralocal agreement between the two entities.
“Anything we do with Madeira is going to be a learning curve, a trial-and-error experience,” said Simons.
There was also some concern voiced about Madeira Beach’s offer to, in effect, take over the town’s building department.
“They’re not going to do what’s best for Redington Beach,” said Commissioner Tom Dorgan. “They are going to do what’s best for Madeira Beach. We could end up in a situation we don’t want to be in.”
Ultimately, since time is of the essence for getting the matter sorted out, commissioners voted to pursue several different options including placing an ad for the services of both a part-time certified code enforcement officer at a starting salary of $20 an hour for a 20-hour work week five days per week.
Dorgan agreed to approach the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office about the feasibility of hiring a part-time code enforcement deputy.
Commissioner Dave Will said he would contact Crawford to further discuss the proposal put forth by the city and whether it might still be possible to broker a deal for code enforcement without the building department services.
Commissioners also agreed to place an ad for a DPW employee, at a starting annual salary of $12,000, to work alongside current DPW employee Grant Allen.
Simons said he would like to hold another workshop, perhaps at the next regular commission meeting on May 20.