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Date of Issue: March 25, 2009

Commission appoints mooring committee, OKs grant quest

Bradenton Beach city commissioners appointed five people to the mooring committee that will help write the final draft of the city’s recreational boating plan.

The appointees include Rick Curd, Joseph Lorenczi, Michael Harrington, Wes Waldrope and Connie Drescher.

The commission previously appointed Bill Shearon to the committee and likely will appoint others.

Earlier this year, the commission adopted an ordinance authorizing the creation of the committee, with members serving two-year terms and tasked with making advisory recommendations on rules, regulations and policies pertaining to the mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

Curd lives near the mooring field and said, “I know quite well some of the issues surrounding the present use of the area. As a longtime boater, I also understand how important such a facility can be to boaters.”

Lorenczi is a retired alternative energy consultant and a “full-time cruising sailor.”

Harringon lives on Church Avenue and is retired from law enforcement.

Waldrope is a sailor and physician.

Drescher is a former mayor, lives near the pier and serves on the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency and ScenicWAVES advisory committee.

Shearon is a former city commissioner and present member of the city’s planning and zoning board.

The commission also approved a resolution directing city project and program manager Lisa Marie Phillips to proceed with a grant application to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the recreational boating project.

The grant, which would require matching funds from the city, would provide for a kayak launch at Herb Dolan North Park, estimated to cost about $20,000.

The grant also would provide money for the design, engineering and installation of the mooring field, including mooring tackle, and a pump-out station for disposing of boaters’ waste. The mooring field work is estimated at $126,000 and the pump-out station estimated at $100,000.

Phillips estimated the city’s “hard cash” contribution at about $56,500, adding that the city also would provide “in-kind” contributions.

“If we get all of these amenities for $56,000, I think we should consider ourselves lucky,” Phillips said.

The city’s contribution would be built into the capital improvements plan and would need to be approved through the budget process.

She also said the project probably would be funded in phases.

“We’ve been talking about doing it,” said Police Chief Sam Speciale, who has been involved in the project, as well as the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier. “It’s going to cost, obviously, the city some money.… It’s just time for us to do it.”

Prior to the unanimous vote, Commissioner John Shaughnessy, enthusiastically backing a funding commitment for the project, said, “It’s either do or die now.”

After the vote, Commissioner Janie Robertson said, “Oh good, here we go. This is exciting.”

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved declaring a Chevy Blazer with a “blown engine” as surplus property.

“Basically its been through so many storms,” said Speciale, adding that he inherited the gold-colored SUV.

• Approved the hiring of an assistant in the administrative office, with the money to come from reserves, to cover for the absence of Christina Irelan, who is pregnant.

“In reviewing job responsibilities, it would be an undue burden on existing staff to assume extra tasks for six weeks,” said city clerk Nora Idso. “Considering some of these tasks include bank reconciliation, bank deposits, payroll and accounts payable it could potentially interrupt financial accuracy.”

Mayor Michael Pierce said, “It’s going to be hard to find someone who’s as well trained as the staff you have right now.”

Idso said she planned to buy a newspaper help-wanted ad.

Robertson asked about the rate. Idso said the pay would be “$11.25 to $12.50 an hour, depending on qualifications.”

• Discussed a proposal from the Lions Club/Jaycee’s to set up and maintain benches at certain locations in the city.

The club has previously provided benches in the city, as well as other locations in the county.

“They told us they’d put them wherever we want,” public works director Tom Woodard said referring to a conversation with Lions Club/Jaycee’s representatives.

However, the commission questioned whether the sign ordinance allowed for advertising on the benches because signs in the rights of way are prohibited.

“I don’t want to open up a can of worms here,” said Shaughnessy. “Is it part of the agreement with the club that benches have to have advertising on them?”

Woodard said the benches would have some form of advertising, which led building official Steve Gilbert to say, “The commission can amend the sign ordinance.”

But commissioners seemed reluctant to go that route. Also, Robertson said the ScenicWAVES advisory board should review the idea.

Pierce concluded, “It doesn’t look like we’re going to make a decision today on this.… I think we should do some more investigating.”

• Approved letters of “no objection” for state permits for minor developments at 109 13th St. S. and 2200 Gulf Drive N.

The 13th Street South project involves an addition to a single-family residence. “The proposal is to add an additional partial story on the top,” Gilbert said. “It does not change the footprint.”

The Gulf Drive project is at the Seaside Resort and involves the construction of a swimming pool on the south side of the building.

The letters will go to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which must sign off on the projects as part of the review process.

• Accepted a low-bid repair estimate from Anthony’s Heating, Cooling and Refrigeration for $2,937 for replacing parts in the city hall air-conditioning duct system.

• Approved a proclamation for Autism Awareness Month in April.

• Approved payment of invoices for $1,935.20 and $1,137.84 for repairs to sanitation trucks.

• Approved payment of an invoice for $5,656.26 from M.T. Causley Inc. for building department services.

• Approved placing the consent agenda near the top of the commission agenda at future meetings.

The commission’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

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