BELLEAIR — The sale of the Ahlf properties should happen soon, Town Manager J.P. Murphy told commissioners Nov. 19.

Longtime resident Bob Ahlf died in April. For those seven months the property he willed to the town has been in limbo. Now, Murphy said, the end is in sight. The property could be worth millions.

Ten years ago, Ahlf made a deal with the town that he would will his 2 1/2-acre waterfront property if they would pay the property taxes as long as he lived. In April the deal was completed.

Murphy said he plans to have the rules for purchase before the commission by Dec. 3. The top three bidders should be chosen by Feb. 18 so negotiations for the sale can begin. He hopes to have the deal finalized and closed by March 3. All dates conform to commission meetings.

Ahlf was known for more than his property ownership. He was a fierce defender of the bluff in town, and Mayor Gary Katica said on several occasions that Ahlf convinced him that the bluff didn’t need to be rebuilt.

New police vehicle

Commissioners unanimously agreed to buy a new vehicle for the police department. Murphy told the commission that the vehicle, a Ford Explorer, was needed to take some of the stress off the rest of the fleet.

He explained that the normal life of such a vehicle can be up to seven years, but in Belleair it is only five years because of what he called “hot seating.” He explained that the Belleair vehicles are used nearly around the clock.

“When one shift is finished the next shift takes over right away,” he said.

Hardly giving time for the seat to cool down, thus the term “hot seating.”

While there was little discussion over the $58,000 price tag for the vehicle, there was discussion over the color.

Belleair’s police fleet is painted in several colors. Murphy explained why.

Belleair, like most Florida police departments, buys its vehicles through the Sheriff’s Association at a negotiated price. Occasionally, one of the department will renege on its deal, which leaves a vehicle that can be obtained at an ever further reduction. The catch is the owner has to take what is available, color and all.

Murphy said police chief Rick Doyle has told him that he prefers white but said he would take what he can get.

“White vehicles are more clearly visible,” said Murphy. “Black is also preferred because it is easier to sneak up on someone at night.”

FEMA comes through

Town Manager Murphy said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has come through and paid all the money owed to the town for the Hurricane Irma cleanup.

“They have paid the $600,000 that was promised,” he said.

Murphy said there is still $100,000 outstanding from the state for the Irma cleanup. He said it will take a while because the state reviews every submission again.