REDINGTON SHORES – A sewer system that is more than 50 years old and showing its age is becoming a costly drain on the town’s finances.
The Town Commission voted Nov. 14 to pump another $90,000 into repairing the aging sewer lines as part of an ongoing manhole rehabilitation project.
Vice Mayor John Branch said the sewer system had its faults when originally constructed. When the lines were constructed in the early 1960s, “they took any piece of pipe laying around, stuck it in and used it,” he said. As a result, the pipes did not always fit the holes they ran through.
Ground water seeping in eventually wore out the underlying shelf rock and caused cave-ins throughout the system, Branch explained.
The fix involves “going in with a robot and putting grout in and packing around it” to stop the leakage, he said.
Infrastructure Restoration, Inc. of Palm Harbor is doing the work. In a letter to town building official Steve Andrews, the company estimates the cost of eliminating water infiltration in 15 manholes to be between $65,000 and $75,000, with another $15,000 for manhole bench reconstruction.
The job is a continuation of Phase I of the massive sewer repair project, and includes only the area around town hall and 175th Avenue.
The expense will mount as the rest of the town is done. Branch said the money has been appropriated and is available in the sewer reserve budget. Much of the repair cost will be recouped through lower water treatment bills from the county, Branch indicated.
“The budget has been approved, and we need to go ahead and fix these problems,” he told the commission. The vote to move ahead with the project was unanimous.
Local TV channel off the air
The cable TV channel used to broadcast commission meetings and provide updates on town happenings has become inoperable, Commissioner Casey Wojcik announced. Wojcik said he had received news of the breakdown just prior to the meeting.
A decision on what should be done to repair the broadcast system, which operates on Bright House channel 615, will be made at next month’s meeting, Wojcik said.
Charter amendments approved
All 16 recommended amendments to the town charter passed in the Nov. 6 election, Mayor Bert Adams said.
Adams commended the Charter Review Committee for its work in conducting the first charter review since the 1950s.
A number of the changes eliminated outdated language, including one that replaced “freeholders” with “residents and qualified registered voters.”
The term freeholder was an archaic use dating to the days when only property owners could vote.
In another amendment, a cap of 2.0 on the town millage rate was removed to conform to state statutes.
The rate has been at 2.0 for the past three years.
Another amendment requires persons wanting to run for a seat on the Town Commission to be a town resident for at least a year.
The previous residency requirement was six months.
Charter review committee member Dave Eldridge said the most important amendment, in his view, is one that says town officials and employees cannot engage in personal financial transactions or other activities that conflict with their official duties.
Passage of that amendment was badly needed, he said, considering some past incidents that have occurred in the town.
To avoid another 50-year lapse in reviewing the town charter, Amendment 13 requires the appointment of a Charter Review Committee at least every 10 years.