BELLEAIR SHORE – Newly sworn in Mayor Robert E. Schmidt Jr. should have no problem navigating Belleair Shore’s politics as he takes over from longtime Mayor John Robertson.
Schmidt has been on the Belleair Shore commission for 18 years, two years longer than Robertson served. In fact, Robertson said Schmidt encouraged him to run for mayor in 1994.
Schmidt is the owner of Boulder Venture South, a real estate development firm. His experience includes running a successful business and knowledge of commercial real estate and fiscal planning. Schmidt said he has led the development of over $2 billion dollars worth of real estate over his career.
In addition to a new mayor, the town of Belleair Shore also has three commission members appointed within the past year. Commissioner Deborah Roseman, who also serves as vice mayor, was appointed last July. Commissioner Jennifer Lindsay joined the commission in September. A new commissioner, Steve Bloom, was appointed to take Schmidt’s position at the commission’s April 15 regular meeting.
At that meeting, the commission also appointed attorney Thomas Trask to serve as special magistrate. Schmidt recommended the town hire Trask right away “and engage him to start resolving the problems that exist here.”
Special magistrates deal with code violations, and several addresses were mentioned as having unkempt property and rental law violation issues.
Pedestrian safety to be a police priority
Police will begin a renewed focus on pedestrian safety and stepped up enforcement of related laws, Roseman said.
Roseman said she had recently attended a meeting held by the Sheriff’s Office on the subject at North Redington Beach town hall.
Drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of the laws to ensure safety, and the police are going to increase enforcement and start issuing tickets to violators, Roseman said.
Motorists are not required to stop at crosswalks unless pedestrians are actually walking in them.
“That makes it incumbent for pedestrians to look both ways before crossing,” Roseman said.
Pedestrians also cannot step into a crosswalk if traffic is “present,” said sheriff’s Deputy Scott Vaughn, who was at the commission meeting. That means the pedestrian needs to give vehicles space to stop before stepping into the crosswalk.
Burned out streetlights replaced
Gulf Boulevard should be considerably brighter at night following the replacement of 11 burned out streetlights in Belleair Shore, Vaughn said. Six of the lights “needed all kinds of work,” he noted.