Indian Shores bids farewell to Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District chief

Mike Burton, center, Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue district chief, retires on Dec. 3. Flanking him at Indian Shores Town Hall are, from left, council members Mike Petruccelli and Bill Smith, Mayor Patrick Soranno, Vice Mayor Mike Hackerson, council member Diantha Schear, and Police Chief Rick Swann.

INDIAN SHORES — Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District Chief Mike Burton gave his last monthly fire department report at the town’s Nov. 9 meeting. Burton officially retires on Dec. 3.

After serving as fire chief for the last four years, Burton leaves PSFR with the last few months clear of COVID-19 related personnel absences. The entire Town Council came out from behind the plastic-covered dais to formally thank Burton for his service to the town and to wish him well in his retirement.

At next month’s town hall meeting, Indian Shores Fire Commissioner Larry Schear will be introducing the new fire chief, Jeff Davidson, to the council.

Parking lot project advances

A contract for the municipal parking lot upgrade was awarded to Acerbo Inc. by unanimous vote of 5-0. Acerbo’s proposed cost is $15,805, whereas a competitor, Kloote Contracting Inc., came in at $28,723, nearly $13,000 higher.

Price was not the only consideration. Town administrator Bonnie Dhonau said that Acerbo has been a vendor for the town on other projects over the last few years, so the town is familiar with their work.

Three parking spaces will be added in the new municipal parking lot configuration. Acting Town Engineer Jerry Dabkawski explained that redoing the parking lot was not primarily to add only a few spaces. “There were curbing problems in the original design,” said Dabkawski. These problems have led to some slippage towards Gulf Boulevard that will be addressed in the upgrade.

The new municipal parking lot construction is scheduled to begin in January.

Monument details approved

The Tiki Gardens monument project continues to move forward. The council unanimously approved concrete finishes for the monument’s plaza and preferred etching as the laser option under the arch.

The Legacy Vacation Resort concrete stamp design and placement was also unanimously approved. The resort’s logo is encapsulated in a triangular design leading to the beach and appears in every other 6-foot sidewalk blocks for a total of eight logo imprints over the entire sidewalk. Legacy is offering $10,000 toward construction of the sidewalk.

Beard challenge under way

No-Shave November, the Indian Shores Police Department’s holiday fundraising event, is in its third year of raising money for needy children while “boosting morale and the Christmas spirit within the Indian Shores Police Department,” said Police Chief Rick Swann.

The event allows officers to go without shaving for the month of November with a donation to the kitty for charity. At the end of the month, there is a competition for which officer has the “best beard.” All participating officers get a professional shave at Stefanec’s Barber Shop in Belleair Bluffs courtesy of the police chief — once the winner is announced.

The first year this charity event had three competitors, a goal of raising $1,500 and sponsored two Christmas Angels. By the second year the event had four competitors, $5,500 in donations and sponsored three angels.

“This year we have six competitors, including Capt. Smith, Cpl. Goettel, and me,” said the chief. “After seeing all our gray hair, we are considering the creation of an ‘Old Guys division!’”

All the officers, not just those in the No-Shave competition, donate toys, clothing and other items to the Christmas Angels. “Last year in addition to the cash we raised, we collected enough items to sponsor an entire family in addition to the three we originally agreed to,” said Swann.

This year, Mayor MaryBeth Henderson of Redington Shores challenged Mayor Patrick Soranno of Indian Shores to meet her town’s donation of $1,100 to the No-Shave November event. The Indian Shores Town Council voted unanimously to donate $1,200 to the event this year.