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Police, garbage removal contracts renewed
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BELLEAIR BEACH – Contracts for critical city services were renewed at the Aug. 4 Belleair Beach City Council meeting.

Law enforcement services for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will cost $434,347 over the coming fiscal year, an increase of 2.62 percent over the current contract. The increase of $11,000 is needed to provide a wage increase to members of the Sheriff’s Office, who have not had a raise in the past five years, according to a letter from Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Mayor Rob Baldwin asked Gualtieri about complaints related to problems on the beach. Gualtieri said beach patrolling was being stepped up, using a new Gator utility vehicle.

“We are tracking the deputies’ time at the beach,” Gualtieri said. “They are out there several times a week.” He said the tools are in place for effective enforcement, but the residents’ help is needed.

“People have got to let us know (of problems) and we will address the issue,” Gualtieri said.

City Manager Nancy Gonzalez said the city “is very pleased with our deputies.”

Garbage collection costs in the city will not go up over the next two years, under a contract signed with Waste Management Inc. Under terms of a four-year agreement, the costs will remain at $230,364 for the next two years, and then be subject to an escalation clause based on the Consumer Price Index.

Gonzalez called the waste collection service “fantastic.” Baldwin said Waste Management is “doing a great job.”

Building code ordinances revised

The council also passed a series of ordinance revisions relating to the city building code. These were needed to bring consistency to the code requirements, Baldwin said in a later comment. The ordinances related to such topics as stormwater drainage, retaining walls, sidewalks and driveways in regulated floodways, swimming pool setbacks, installation of utilities, and landscaping requirements.

Changes to elevation requirements for swimming pools would make many of the city’s current pools noncompliant. But Baldwin said the changes are needed to prevent future pool decks from being built at an elevation that could cause drainage issues with neighboring properties.

The ordinances were all passed unanimously by the city council. Council Member Mitch Kratch was absent from the meeting. All of the ordinance changes will require a second and final reading and passage at a future council meeting before taking effect.

Code enforcement not working, resident says

The code is not being enforced in the city as it should be, said resident Charlotte Mason. She said the code enforcement officer works two hours a day, and “that’s not enough.”

Mason said she has called the city about a number of code issues, including “people parking all over their yard.” Also, she said in many cities if someone takes down a tree, they have to replace it, and she asked if that were true in Belleair Beach.

“I call about things, and I rarely get a response as to what action is being taken, if any,” she said.

Mason asked council to consider increasing the code enforcement officer’s time. Council members did not comment on Mason’s concerns.
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