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Work begins on Pier 60 renovation
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CLEARWATER – Work began Feb. 11 on a $500,000 makeover of Pier 60. Construction is expected to take approximately six months.

“Pier 60, a Clearwater Beach icon, is a city-owned pier and provides a great place for people to fish,” according to a city press release. “The pier was rebuilt in 1994 at a cost of more than $2.2-million with a bait house and six covered pavilions. It has a bait and gift shop, restrooms, and up-to-date tide and weather information. Pier 60 is open all year long. Last year, more than 183,000 visitors used the fishing pier at the end of Pier 60. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. from Oct. 1 to April 1 and 24 hours a day the rest of the year.”

The construction will include repairing the concrete “wearing surface” along the walkway and edges, replacement of all wooden railings with a long-lasting composite material, and the addition of a walkway around the bait shop.

“While there is no structural damage to the pier, several areas appear to have been hit by lightning and have pieces of concrete missing,” said Gordon Wills in a press release, operations manager for the city’s Marine and Aviation Department. “The wood has been rotated to extend its life, but now it’s time (for it) to be replaced. The new material to be installed is guaranteed to last for 50 years and requires very little maintenance.”

The pier will remain open during the construction, which is not expected to interfere with the daily Sunset at Pier 60 festival or spring break.

Contractor hired to mark buried gas lines
CLEARWATER – The result of a contractor’s backhoe hitting a buried natural gas line could be catastrophic, so Florida law requires contractors, at least 48 hours before digging, to call the Florida Sunshine One-Call Center and request that the local gas utility be given a “ticket” to locate and mark its gas lines in the construction area. In the past, the Clearwater Gas System has used its own employees to do the work.

In 2011, those employees located and marked approximately 33,000 sites. But the experienced CGS employees who perform those functions are reaching retirement age, and training new ones is time-consuming, expensive, and puts a burden on other employees. Therefore, CGS sought, and the City Council granted, permission to outsource the job. Heath Consultants, Inc. was chosen as the contractor. On Feb. 7, the council approved a $300,000 contract with Heath.

City creates retirement plan investment committee
CLEARWATER – At the suggestion of its defined contribution retirement plan adviser, Montgomery Retirement Plan Advisors, the City Council last week unanimously agreed to create a Defined Contribution Plan Investment Committee.

“The purpose of the committee would be to establish and maintain a charter and investment policy statement for the (city’s 401a and 457k employee retirement) plans, select investment options, select investment managers, calculate the plans’ investment performance and recommend investment option changes, and provide plan participant investment education and communication,” a staff memo to the council explained.

The recommended participants in the five-member committee are the city’s finance director, cash and investment manager, human resources director, human resources benefits manager, and a member of the city benefit committee who participates in at least one of the city’s defined contribution retirement plans and is chosen by the other members of the committee. The creation of the committee will result in no additional cost to the city.
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