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.
Irma made landfall at Marco Island on Sept. 10.
Ceres and DRC were on a list of seven vendors contracted with Pinellas County for disaster debris collection and removal. The effective date of the agreement began Aug. 7 and runs to Dec. 31, 2023.
Simons said the experience with the contractors had “been an eye opener.” He advised commissioners to “prepare to do whatever it is through whatever means and mechanisms” to hire people in the event of another disaster.
He praised the removal work done by Brothers Tree Service and Prime-Scape Services Inc. Prime-Scape was hired earlier this year to trim city-owned trees and Simons said they were “doing the best they can.”
Simons added that Commissioner Dave Will had “reached out to a friend with a claw and a bucket” for additional debris removal.
Later, by consensus, commissioners authorized Simons to sign a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking the Corps to reverse its decision not to replace sand in beach communities where all residents of Gulf-front properties had not surrendered their rights of way from the Erosion Control Line landward to their seawall.
Many residents of Redington Shores and Indian Shores refused to sign the waiver by the deadline, and the Corps eliminated those communities from the renourishment project.
Simons said the Corps’ action would have “significant impacts” up and down the beaches.
In the letter, authored by Bob Brotherton, the consulting engineer for Indian Shores, Simons said “failure to re-nourish the beach for its full length will result in premature failure of the re-nourishment work as it will not be laterally supported by sand at the same elevation.”
Simons said 90 percent of the land for the renourishment project was seaward of the Erosion Control Line. According to the letter, that land is state-owned.
In other business, commissioners:
• Unanimously approved, on final reading, an ordinance establishing a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensing facilities. The moratorium would stay in place until March 13, when a referendum on the facilities could be held in conjunction with a scheduled town election. However, commissioners agreed to lengthen the moratorium after Simons suggested the date be changed until the general primary in August. He noted a March referendum would be expensive if no commissioners received opposition in the March election and the referendum would be the only item on the ballot. He said potential changes in the town code might be added to the August ballot that could be voted on in addition to the referendum. Commissioners unanimously agreed to change the moratorium ending date to Aug. 31.
• Appointed James Sommer as an alternate to the Board of Adjustment.
• Contracted with Clifton Larson Allen for auditing services in the amount of $22,500.