BELLEAIR — Several Belleair officials and residents took time to recognize the Belleair Police Department during the monthly Town Commission meeting May 16 as the force, led by Chief Rick Doyle, received praise for its dedication to the community during National Police Week, May 14-20.
Three-year resident Tom Galvin kicked off the public comments by stating, “In the five states I’ve been an active resident, I’ve never seen a police force that epitomized community policing like Belleair’s does,” he said.
He cited “everything from checking on houses when residents are gone for the summer to establishing a presence late at night” as areas in which BPD officers excel.
“I think it’s appropriate during this time to give a moment of appreciation for the amazing and remarkable job they do,” Galvin said. He thanked Doyle for his leadership of a small-town department that handles a fair amount of traffic, crime, and special event details, including the annual LPGA Pelican Woman’s Championship and a surprise appearance by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy last December.
“We certainly appreciate our men and women in blue in Belleair,” said Commissioner Coleen Chaney, whose husband, Randy, is a BPD lieutenant.
Deputy Mayor Tom Kurey added, “Just echoing all the positive comments about our terrific police department during National Police Week.”
Tangible proof of Belleair’s appreciation for its police department can be found in Tackett Park, a picturesque pocket park adjacent to Town Hall that serves as a memorial for BPD Officer Jeffrey Tackett, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on June 13, 1993.
Recycling contract approved
The commission also addressed several items of note during the May 16 meeting, including the approval of a contract with Waste Pro of Florida to handle the town’s recycling services.
In March, the commission approved the purchase of an automated side loader recycling vehicle at an estimated cost of more than $332,000 with the intention of ending the town’s contract with the city of Clearwater and finding a new place to bring Belleair’s recyclable materials.
However, difficulty locating an acceptable municipal recycling facility (MERF) forced staff to look into piggybacking a contract for solid waste and recycling services that Madeira Beach recently entered with Waste Pro. “We could not find one (MERF) that was easy to get to go that would not require to be off site and out of the area for a considerable amount of time,” said Town Manager Gay Lancaster. After consulting with Largo officials and studying the Madeira Beach contract, the town believes believe piggybacking “is the best way to go.”
Lancaster said the move would be “pretty much the same financially.” It’s not inexpensive, she said, but Waste Pro has shown itself to be a reliable company.
Management Analyst Katherine Bleakly said a key to recommending the contract was the transparency Waste Pro officials agreed to provide, a critical subject for many commissioners and residents with the prior service provider.
“Transparency has been a really big concern for us as staff, where do our recyclables (go) and how do we handle that. Waste Pro was more than willing to invite us to their MERF, more than willing to show us where things are going and how they are being manufactured and handled and bundled,” she said.
Residence will have the same bins and pickup days, Bleakly said.
Earlier, the commission approved an ordinance related to amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan that passed on first reading, 4-0, with Commissioner Tom Shelly absent. The commission also unanimously approved a resolution instituting a neighborhood traffic calming program that, according to Town Attorney Jay Daigneault, allows for “significant resident and public input” in the process but “does not put us into the never-ending vortex of traffic calming we can never seem to escape.”
Lancaster said a significant amount of time and wide-ranging community input went into crafting the policy. Wilkinson commended everyone involved for their effort on something he called “a long time coming. I think this is a good guideline for us to have and I’d also like to see it up on our website so resident s have access to it.”