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$4.2 million needed for drainage projects
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Illustration courtesy of the CITY OF TREASURE ISLAND
One of two areas targeted for drainage upgrades by the city of Treasure Island.
TREASURE ISLAND – Public Works Director Jim Murphy told Treasure Island commissioners Dec. 3 that about $4.2 million in unbudgeted funds would be necessary to complete needed drainage projects around the city.

Murphy said the figure includes targeted work to two areas of Sunset Beach and along Lagoon Lane in Sunshine Beach.

“We’re moving forward with what we’re trying to do,” he said. “We just need to put it on steroids.”

Murphy said roughly $900,000 to $1 million would be necessary to complete the 77th Avenue Basin project along Bayshore Boulevard.

It would encompass future stormwater improvements along Bayshore from 79th Terrace to 81st Avenue, as well as a stretch on West Gulf Boulevard from 77th Avenue to 80th Terrace. There would also be a new stormwater pipe installed along 79th Terrace between West Gulf Boulevard to Bayshore.

The 84th Avenue Basin project includes existing stormwater improvements planned for Bayshore from 82nd Avenue to 84th Avenue and future improvements to West Gulf Boulevard from 81st Avenue to the intersection of Bayshore and West Gulf Boulevard.

The project would also include new piping on 83rd Avenue from West Gulf Boulevard to Bayshore.

“I’d say about $800,000 in unbudgeted additional construction money that needs to happen to finish that phase (84th Avenue) out,” said Murphy. “West Gulf Boulevard would be somewhere in the million dollar range.”

Murphy said the Lagoon Lane improvements would be necessary in the immediate future.

“It’s a concrete road with some less than substantial drainage structures,” said Murphy. “I’m proposing the commission and city take a look at this as a drainage basin project and go ahead and tackle it.”

He estimated the cost of that project at about $500,000.

How the city will fund all of this remains the big question.

This year, for example, the city has $300,000 budgeted for work on 84th Avenue project in Sunset Beach. Thanks to a cooperative funding grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the city will be responsible for $150,000 and SWFWMD will put up $150,000.

Murphy proposed raising the current $300,000 per year in spending to $600,000 over the next seven years.

“Will the SWFWMD money be available?” asked Mayor Bob Minning.

“It should be but it has to be tied in with improved water quality improvements,” Murphy said.

“We just don’t know how much longer that (SWFWMD) money is going to last because with all the other government reductions in taxes that took place over the last five years, they were hit also,” said City Manager Reid Silverboard. “Using SWFWMD money makes a lot of sense because we don’t have the match. We would have to double our utility tax.”

City residents in single-family homes currently pay $7.17 a month in city utility tax. Folks in multi-family units pay $6.48 per month.

Commissioner Phil Collins asked if the rates are raised, could they be lowered in the future.

“Theoretically, yes,” said Silverboard.
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