INDIAN SHORES — Town Council has done some tweaking to the Florida Department of Transportation sidewalk design on the north end of town.

The council unanimously agreed in a 5-0 vote on March 8 to end the town’s north boundary sidewalk at the Narrows on the east side of Gulf Boulevard and at the town border on the west side. The move is subject to Police Chief Rick Swann’s approval after walking through that area with FDOT to determine the end of the Narrows.

Indian Shores is considering a combination of pathway, guardrail and handrail for pedestrian and bicycle safety. The chief said he was opposed to guardrails at the segment of the Narrows because of safety concerns.

The town is undergoing an overhaul of Gulf Boulevard sidewalk design as part of a pedestrian/bicycle safety and drainage effort that could ultimately result in raised sidewalks and curbs/gutters throughout the town. The council is trying to have the project included in FDOT’s five-year work program for 2023-2028.

Service animals defined

An ordinance clarifying the difference between animals as pets and as service animals passed unanimously 5-0 on its first reading. At issue is beachgoers bringing animals onto the sand.

The ordinance identifies a service animal as a dog “that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability” in accordance with Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An animal whose sole purpose is to provide comfort, emotional support or criminal deterrence does not qualify as a service animal.

A service animal is allowed to accompany its owner provided it is housebroken, under its handler’s control and does not interfere with the safe operation of a facility. 

Police budget 

The commission unanimously passed a $1.84 million budget for the Indian Shores Police Department. The budget includes substantial increases in police salaries and benefits. Council members commended the chief on his professionalism over the last three years since taking the helm.

Indian Shores will collect a $543,479 service fee from the Town of Redington Shores for providing law enforcement services to that town.

The council unanimously approved the promotion of Officer Michael Hansen to position of master patrol officer and authorized his MPO annual salary of $56,347.90 effective May 7.

“Officer Hansen has been with the dept. for three years and will be taking on the additional duties of accreditation manager,” said Swann.

A dispatcher position was reclassified to records and accounting specialist/receptionist by a unanimous vote by the council. A pay grade change and approval to recruit and hire for the new position were also approved.