City Clerk Debra Sullivan swears in Joseph Barkley for a fourth term on the Belleair Bluffs Commission. Barkley is accompanied by his wife, Mary Lou Ambrose.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS – Elections this year brought no change to the Belleair Bluffs commission. Commissioners Joe Barkley and Taylour Shimkus were sworn in for new terms at a rescheduled regular commission meeting held March 24. The two were reelected in a race that also included George Lawton.
The vote was relatively close, with Barkley getting 36 percent and Shimkus receiving 34 percent. Lawton trailed with 29 percent.
Mayor Chris Arbutine said he was glad to have both Barkley and Shimkus back on the commission.
“I feel they have done a good job for the city,” he said. “They are very hard working and cooperative, and I’m happy to see them back.”
Barkley was chosen vice mayor by the commission.
The meeting was held at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than normal, but the marquee sign outside of city hall said the time would be 7 p.m. That discrepancy was pointed out by resident Darlene Kavanagh. She called the mixup an attempt by the city to trick people who normally show up at the meeting and ask questions into not coming.
“This is just dishonest and trickery,” Kavanagh said. There was no later word if anyone came at 7 p.m. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes.
Mehlenbacher roadwork done, but not all are happy
The months-long road project on Mehlenbacher Road has finally finished. The job has been marked by delays and construction errors and miscues. Its end brought relief to most, but at least one resident who lives on the thoroughfare is unhappy with the result.
Darlene Kavanagh said her mailbox situation is still unacceptable. She said she has been told the mailbox “looks stupid” because of the angle at which it sits. Also, because the grass area around the mailbox is smaller, residents are locked into one mailbox type, which can never be changed, she said.
“If we want another style mailbox, like a dolphin, we can’t do it,” Kavanagh said. “We forever lose the right to change our mailbox.”
Drainage problems related to the road project have not been fixed either, Kavanagh added.
Arbutine said he agreed with Kavanagh and would have her issues addressed.