TREASURE ISLAND — It’s not often that a city can save money by buying construction items, but Treasure Island found a way to do just that.

At the Feb. 4 City Commission meeting, Public Works Director Michael Helfrich said the city awarded a contract to C&T Contracting Services in November for just over $1.6 million for the rehabilitation of several lift stations.

The city then decided to bargain-hunt.

In an effort to reduce the contract amount, Helfrich said Public Works requested that C&T explore the option of the city directly purchasing items for installation by the contractor, so that the city can take advantage of its tax-exempt status.

“By having the city purchase large-ticket items, the tax savings is substantial,” he said.

In this case, almost $40,000, he added. The city will spend $651,100 for pumps and save $39,116 in taxes.

The move will reduce the amount of the contract by $690,216.

Under terms of the change order, the city is responsible to pay for the pumps required at the lift stations, including the spare panels.

Mayor Larry Lunn said he is “always in favor of saving money.”

Commissioners unanimously approved the change order.

Raising East Treasure Island Causeway considered

Also on Feb. 4, city officials agreed to look into finding a creative way to raise the East Causeway roadbed and offer motorists relief from tidal and rainwater flooding.

Commissioner Heidi Horvak said she spoke with Assistant Public Works Director Stacey Boyles during a recent climate resiliency conference to ask if the East Causeway could be raised during reconstruction.

“We talked about the opportunity we may be missing to elevate the East Causeway and put some fill in there,” she said.

Boyles said it’s not too late to consider it, but it will be costlier.

Horvak asked fellow commissioners how they felt about asking staff to look into amending the roadway reconstruction project in an attempt to reduce flooding.

“I think the roadbed should be elevated, because it’s always been a problem with water going onto the roadway,” Lunn said. “Of course, it can be excused by the fact that we don’t have adequate drainage, but when we are redoing it would seem to be appropriate to just elevate the roadbed.”

Horvak added, “It is the first line of defense. … That is a really low area and with sea level rise and more intense storms, it is really low.”

Community Improvement Director Paula Cohen noted “there is probably another way to raise the roadbed, but when the new maps are approved by FEMA it will all be in a coastal A area, which is a ‘no fill zone.’ If there is another fashion in which to raise the road then that’s certainly a possibility, but it won’t be from importing fill.”

Brumback said the city will look at options for elevating the road without fill.