REDINGTON BEACH — Town leaders are proposing to trim the times during which residents can legally make loud noises, such as late-night celebrations or do-it-yourself home renovation projects.
Commissioners voted July 3 to cut back the time period in which such activities are allowed as part of an ongoing campaign to update city codes, many of which have not been reviewed since their passage in the 1980s.
The new time boundaries were approved on first reading of a chapter of the town code dealing with public nuisances, including tree removal, prohibited trees and tree care on public right of way. The changes also introduce new language concerning noise and the distribution of written or printed material within the town boundaries.
The ordinance sets forth acceptable noise levels, while exempting certain activities during specific time frames. Most of the exemptions include lawn care and maintenance of trees and landscaping, mosquito fogging and “domestic power tools.”
Construction and use of construction equipment was originally proposed to be allowed between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The panel accepted a recommendation by Commissioner Dave Will, himself a contractor, that construction hours be limited to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Commissioner Tom Dorgan questioned the definition of “domestic power tools.”
“Is that like a dishwasher? Or a vacuum cleaner?” he asked.
Town Attorney Erica Augello said the distinction would be between commercial use and private homeowner usage.
Will said a proposed 10 p.m. cutoff time for residential work activities was “too late,” suggesting an 8 p.m. deadline. Dorgan and Commissioner Tim Kornijtschuk concurred.
All loud noises would be prohibited after 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.
A new section added to the code would restrict unsolicited printed or written materials. It enumerates seven methods by which such materials can delivered, including placement in a receptacle on the property or through a slot in the front door, handed directly to the occupant, or placed between the exterior and interior doors.
Prohibited methods of delivery would include “tossing such materials from vehicles, affixing, tying or hanging such materials onto door knobs, door handles, (and) door locks...” Each violation would be subject to a $200 fine.
The ordinance passed unanimously on first reading.
In a rare split vote, the commission voted 4-1 to approve a new contract with the law firm of Trask-Daigneault LLP, which provides legal services to the community.
The firm’s previous contract expired in June, and the new agreement came with an hourly rate increase of $10, from $165 an hour to $175.
Dorgan questioned how the rate hike would affect next year’s budget, which is now in the planning stage. He noted that fees for legal services were “ubiquitous,” embedded in areas from code enforcement to litigation to routine service provided by the town attorney. Some $35,000 is allocated for Trask-Daigneault LLP in this year’s budget.
Town Clerk Missy Clarke said legal expenses for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year amounted to $21,300 to the town attorney, $5,000 for litigation and $17,000 for a land use attorney and code updates. Last year, she said, the town spent $22,000 on the town attorney and $16,070 on litigation.
Commissioner Fred Steiermann questioned why his fellow commissioners appeared willing to approve the rate increase “without any backup, no knowledge on our part” of what other towns are paying for legal services.
“I’m not saying that it’s too high,” he added. “I’m just staying it’s tough to make a decision without knowing if it’s too high.”
He said that the last survey to find out what local municipalities paid their attorneys was now two years old.
The rest of the commission said they were satisfied with the new rate. Steiermann was the sole commissioner to vote against the increase.
The commission returned to unanimity minutes later when all members voted to approve a new contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, which provides the community with law enforcement services.
The new contract will pay the sheriff’s office $262,788 next year, an increase of 3.13 percent.
A scheduled preliminary discussion on next year’s budget was tabled after Dorgan, the finance director, said information on key items was still unavailable, such as cost of employee insurance and projected revenue.