Work on the Indian Rocks Historical Museum is complete and commissioners approved more than $40,000 in cost overruns.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – With little fanfare Indian Rocks Beach Commissioners approved the city’s budget and millage rate for the coming fiscal year.
The millage rate is set at 2.0 for the sixth year in a row. The city will operate on a budget of $7.1 million. As is usually the case, second readings of the budget ordinances usually pass without much comment because of the public process budgets must go through.
Rate increases taken back
Commissioners agreed unanimously to rescind a planned 2.5 percent increase in sewer fees to residents. Back in 2008 the commission approved annual rate increases to help pay for upgrades to the city’s sewer system. A recent study showed that the increases were no longer needed and an increase in sewer rates likely won’t be needed again until 2017.
A similar situation existed for the solid waste fees. In fact Commissioners approved a reduction of 13.5 percent in solid waste fees to residents. That will amount to a $3.94 reduction in a resident’s monthly bill.
“It is always nice to rescind scheduled increases,” Mayor R.B. Johnson said.
Kennedy to be reappointed
Commissioner Cookie Kennedy will be reappointed to the commission once her resignation takes place Nov. 6. Because Kennedy ran for the Democratic nomination in State House District 66 she was compelled by state law to submit her resignation as a commissioner with the effective date being Election Day in November.
The re-appointment was unanimous. Kennedy herself abstained from voting.
Historical museum overruns approved
Commissioners approved the cost overruns in the city’s museum expansion project. That amount was more than $40,000. Total cost of the project was $292,680.
City Manager Chuck Coward said the overruns were caused by unforeseen issues which forced them to upgrade the original building which houses the museum. The structure was built in 1939. Coward said the first surprise was discovering the original building had to be raised to meet flood elevation levels. In addition the electricity had to be upgraded and the entire building had to be re-painted.
Work on the museum is completed and the building has been passed back to the Historical Society, which is in the midst of setting up displays for a grand reopening sometime later this fall.
Golf carts to be studied
IRB resident John Pfanstiehl complained to the commission about the safety of golf carts in the community. IRB allows residents who own golf carts to drive them on city streets. Pfanstiehl however is concerned that the carts “are an accident waiting to happen.”
In addressing the commission he read off a list of seven golf cart related deaths in West-Central Florida. “These aren’t deaths in the United States,” he said. “They aren’t even deaths in all of Florida: they are deaths which occurred in the last two years around here.” Pfanstiehl wants the Commission to enforce safety regulations governing the carts.
Commissioners got into the discussion, with several noting that golf carts must have seat belts, windshield wipers, and rear brake lights, among other things. City Manager Chuck Coward was instructed to ask the Sheriff’s Office to be on the lookout for unsafe golf carts and to ticket offenders. He was also asked to put the entire golf cart issue back on the agenda for future workshop discussion.
Cookbooks for sale
Representatives from the Suncoast Fire and Rescue appeared before the IRB Commission to bring the commissioners up to date on the fund-raising efforts for the 9/11 Memorial to be erected outside the fire hall in Indian Rocks Beach.
Recently the organizers of the fundraising published a cookbook which is for sale at $12 a copy. They say once the cookbooks sell out they should have enough money to pay for the construction of the memorial. The cookbooks are available at various stores around town and at the fire hall.
Commissioner Phil Hanna pledged $500 to the cause.
“It is a good cause,” he said. “We can’t forget where we came from. This means something to me.”
The memorial will include a large piece of steel girder from one of the World Trade Center Towers which were brought down by the terrorists.
Employees to get a raise
The Commission approved a 2 percent wage increase for all full time and permanent part time employees. It has been four years since city employees got a raise.
Parade set for Dec. 2
The IRB Commission set the time and date for the annual Holiday Parade. It will be on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. As in other years the parade will begin at the Holiday Inn Harbor side and will wind its way through the city.