MADEIRA BEACH – Replacing the aging Public Works facility at the city of Madeira Beach Marina has been talked about for years. But budget constraints have stopped any move to construct a new home for the workers and fleet of vehicles that make up the sanitation and maintenance departments.
Talk of including the public works building as part of the new civic center were squelched over concerns that garbage trucks and other heavy equipment rumbling in and out would mar its showplace appeal.
A solution was presented when a rental property became available across the bridge near the Bay Pines VA Health Center. City Manager Shane Crawford said it is “a facility that is exactly what we would want to build.”
“Everything we need is there,” he said, including a building and lot to store the sanitation trucks and equipment, a place to repair the vehicles, and some office space. The rent, a little over $2,000 a month, is very affordable, Crawford added.
Crawford said renting of the space is not a permanent fix and the need for a new public works facility still exists. But the rental agreement, which has a three year term with the right to renew for two additional three year options, will give the city some breathing room to complete other major projects before undertaking construction of a permanent, and likely expensive, home for Public Works.
Crawford reassured former Commissioner Steve Kochick, who feared the move was the first step toward outsourcing the garbage collection function, that “under no circumstances are we looking to contract out sanitation.” Kochick said in a comment afterward that he was not totally convinced, as “privatization is a trend that is going on all over the state.”
Moving the Public Works facility out of the city marina also frees up valuable space, which can be put to revenue producing uses such as a high and dry boat storage facility or additional boat slips, Crawford said.
In another Public Works related action, the commission authorized the demolition of a Public Works storage shed at the marina for a cost of $5,000.
Vice Mayor Terry Lister had mixed feelings about seeing the structure taken down.
“I built it 20 years ago,” he said.
Major projects moving forward
The cleaning out of outfall pipes in the sewer system is proceeding, and thus far a number of clogged pipes have been opened. But only two have been discovered that have collapsed and need replacement, Crawford said.
So far, the city’s decision to go with the less expensive option of clearing out and using video to get images of the pipes rather than installing costly pumps and other drastic measures, has proven to be the correct one, he said.
Work on Archibald Park improvements is ready to begin shortly, Crawford said.
He told the commission the contractor is ready to mobilize “and we should see some action there by next week.”
Beach concession vendor picked
The city will receive $10,000 a year as a fee from a vendor who will rent beach chairs and cabanas at the county park.
Sand Dune Beach Services was chosen because the money was guaranteed, Crawford said. The top bidder offered a percentage of sales as payment, calculated at $13,000. But Crawford said the rentals needed to earn that amount would be difficult to achieve.
The company is currently under contract with the county.