BELLEAIR SHORE – Mayor Robert Schmidt and Commissioner Deborah Roseman were re-elected because they were the only two candidates who qualified to run for office.
“I appreciate the confidence the people of Belleair Shore have placed in me,” Schmidt said when his re-election to a new two-year term was announced at the Dec. 18 town commission meeting. That confidence has been longstanding.
Schmidt will have served 23 years on the Town Commission, including the past five as mayor, when his new term begins in March.
Roseman will start her fourth term on the commission. Town Clerk Barb Colucci said the election qualifying period ended Dec. 17.
Elections are rare in Belleair Shore. The last time any candidate for public office faced an opponent was 20 years ago, when longtime Mayor John Robertson first ran for office. He served as mayor from 1998 until 2014 when he resigned for health reasons.
Property easements needed for Gulf Boulevard undergrounding
Plans to underground the wires on the west side of Gulf Boulevard and the wires crossing the Boulevard depend on getting property easements from homeowners in Belleair Shore.
The easements are needed because Duke Energy plans to put transformers and pedestals on private property to allow for the road to be widened, Belleair Beach City Manager Lynn Rives said.
Rives is managing the Gulf Boulevard utility undergrounding project for Belleair Shore. Easements are also needed from some condos in Belleair Beach, Rives said.
Rives said he has gotten about half of the easements needed.
“We have a ways to go,” he said.
The property easements are being required up and down the entire length of the boulevard, Rives said. Plans are to also underground the wires on the east side of Gulf Boulevard when funds are available, he said.
The undergrounding of utility wires on Gulf Boulevard, the beaches’ main thoroughfare, is important, Rives said. It will improve the appearance of the road, along with other planned beautification elements, and also help safety and reliability when it is completed, he said.
The Gulf Boulevard underground is being paid for mostly with county beautification funds, Rives said.
Rives also said there has been reluctance by some property owners to sign off on the easements.
“It is important we get the easements to move the project forward,” Rives said.