CLEARWATER — Pinellas County commissioners unanimously approved an interlocal agreement on Oct. 20 that ensure that work to improve Gulf Boulevard will continue.

Since 2007, the county has acknowledged that a Gulf Boulevard improvement program is of countywide importance and is eligible for funding with Penny for Pinellas surtax money.

The county and Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Clearwater, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Shores, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island entered into an interlocal agreement on July 10, 2012 to pay for improvements.

However, that first interlocal agreement expired Sept. 30, 2019 and work was not yet complete. So, in August of that year, the county approved a resolution to continue provide funding through Sept. 30, 2021.

The bulk of the $35 million in Penny IV dollars approved on Oct. 20 is allocated toward undergrounding utilities. The city of Clearwater and town of Indian Shores paid for undergrounding of utilities in the early years of the program and thus will receive money for other eligible projects. Clearwater will receive $750,000 and Indian Shores will get $500,000.

The money spent on undergrounding or other eligible projects per Florida statutes will be done on a reimbursement basis. The new agreement ends on Sept. 30, 2026.

Fire and lift station project

The commission also approved as part of the consent agenda, the ranking of firms and agreement with Wharton-Smith Inc. for professional design services for the North Redington Beach Fire Station and Lift Station replacement project.

The cost of the contract was $527,783. The contract will commence Phase 1 of the project, which will consist of architectural and engineering design as well as construction documents and permitting.

The contract included five small business enterprise firms or about 51% of the contract amount.

Staff will return to the commission for approval of a lump sum guaranteed maximum price for Phase 2 — construction services.