ST. PETE BEACH — Sometime next fall, library patrons from Treasure Island may become part of a cooperative utilizing the newly renovated St. Pete Beach Library.

During staff comments at the St. Pete Beach commission meeting Aug. 25, City Manager Alex Rey said he has been contacted by Treasure Island Mayor Larry Lunn to test the waters on whether St. Pete Beach would be amenable to allowing their residents to use the St. Pete Beach Library, as part of a joint agreement.

Rey said Treasure Island would agree to the same cost-sharing plan that it now has with the Gulf Beaches Library, at 200 Municipal Drive in Madeira Beach.

“We could work out an agreement and the influx of funding would defray our costs; it’s a win-win for their residents and our residents,” Rey said.

Commissioners voiced favor with the concept. Mayor Al Johnson, who said he too was approached about the idea, said “it will improve service their residents who much rather come down here, and we will have new library.”

Commissioner Chris Graus said the influx of library patrons from Treasure Island will also be good for the Corey Avenue business district, because it will bring more visitors into the area

Contacted by phone, Treasure Island Mayor Lunn said the idea is just in discussions, especially since he learned his city’s contract with the Gulf Beaches Library requires a three-month cancellation notice before the new fiscal year. He surmised Treasure Island pays about $145,000 a year to belong to the Gulf Beaches Library.

Lunn added Treasure Island commissioners will have to approve any change, which could not happen until next budget season. He noted an agreement to use the St. Pete Beach Library would be more convenient for Treasure Island residents since the St. Pete Beach Library is closer than the Madeira Beach repository.

Lunn said City Manager Garry Brumback will bring up the topic for discussion with his commission at the appropriate time, but a lot can change in a year.

In other items of interest to both cities, St. Pete Beach Mayor Johnson noted Treasure Island will consider imposing a seven-day, no-wake zone on its side of Blind Pass, rather than only on weekends. “We already have a seven-day no wake on our side of the Pass; hopefully, they’ll match up with ours.”

City revises building permit fees

City commissioners unanimously adopted an ordinance on first reading to set flat fees for certain building permits. The move is in order to provide a more direct relationship with the effort made by city staff to inspect and approve projects, rather than basing the fee on the cost of the project.

“This modification will provide immediate relief to our residents,” Community Development Director Wesley T. Wright said

The change “ensures that building permit fees accurately reflect the cost of administering codes and conducting inspections,” the ordinance states.

Johnson noted under the new formula the city is getting reimbursed for its administrative effort “and not price of the project.”

Commissioner Melinda Pletcher said this is “a game changer” when it comes to the cost of reinvestment, which some say is too expensive due to the cost of permitting. “We appreciate people reinvesting and want them to pull permits.”

Commissioner Doug Izzo said someone should not be penalized for using quality material.

Under the current scenario, a building permit costs $50 plus $16 per $1,000 of project valuation, placing the focus of the cost on the value of the materials installed; for example, a permit for a more expensive sink and faucet, or spa, would cost more to than the average variety.

Under the revision, those seeking a permit for a residential reroof will pay a flat fee of $300, while a commercial reroof permit will cost a flat fee of $625.

A permit to install a residential pool or spa will cost a flat fee of $600, while a residential bath remodeling building permit base fee will not to exceed $1,350.

A residential kitchen remodel building permit base fee will not to exceed $1,200; a residential bath and kitchen, when done together, will incur a building permit base fee not to exceed $1,500. Commercial bath remodel building permit base fee will not to exceed $1,750.

Rey said changing the permit structure on reroofs, pools, spas, bathrooms and kitchens is just the beginning of the city’s desire to refine its permit fee structure to charge residents for just the city’s administrative costs, with more changes to come.

Determining permits for “new construction is harder to get a handle on, but we will be doing that in the future. … We wanted to get something out of the gate.”

Wastewater service fees increase 7%

Commissioners approved the second of three successive 7% wastewater service fee increases on first reading, with another increase scheduled next fiscal year.

Assistant City Manager Vincent Tenaglia said fee increases, needed to fund current and future maintenance, debt service, and capital expenditures, have been spread out over three years to have a lesser financial impact on residents. The increase, which will take place Oct. 1, will increase wastewater fund revenue by approximately $500,000.

Under the proposed increase, the residential base rate will rise from $36.28 to $38.82 for the first 3,000 gallons of potable water used per residential unit. The residential excess rate will go from $11.97 to $12.81 for each 1,000 gallons used by the customer in excess of the residential base rate.

The commercial base rate will go from $36.28 to $38.82 for the first 3,000 gallons of potable water. Commercial excess rate will rise from $11.97 to $12.81 for each 1,000 gallons of potable water used by the customer in excess of the commercial base rate.