Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin commissioners unclear on fate of Municipal Services Building

DUNEDIN — The Municipal Services Building, opened in 1958, has not exactly aged well.

The city center where locals pay their water bills has cracked walls, a crooked floor and a leaky roof. And the interior, besides being a bit crowded, bears some odd development features, like the electric service panels found in the men's bathroom stall.

Most at City Hall agree that the Milwaukee Avenue building could use some help. But few seem to agree on what to do, when to do it or how to foot the bill.

Brought before commissioners Thursday night, the options on the table nearly all showed fatal flaws that left the building's future foggier than before.

Building a new structure, commissioners said, would be a money pit. Renting would be too inflexible. And even costly repairs to the building, totaling $1.3 million over five years, would yield only 10 more years of use, tops.

City Manager Rob DiSpirito's top option — leasing 14,000 square feet from the as-yet-unbuilt Gateway project — would have helped the Pizzuti developing firm secure financing and lead to quicker construction at the empty plot downtown.

But commissioners felt the price — about $26 per square foot, or at least $2 million over five years — was too much for a temporary sell.

"I don't condemn Pizzuti for saying that's what they need," Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski said. "But as a government entity, we can't afford to pay that kind of rent."

The biggest obstacle of the night for commissioners was deciding where to get the money. The city's budget, which includes about eight layoffs, has little breathing room for a big project.

"I feel guilty talking about a $5 to $6 million building," Vice Mayor Dave Carson said Friday, "while telling you you don't have a job."

Officials had suggested using Penny for Pinellas funds, the 1-cent sales tax proceeds slated for capital construction. But commissioners worried about adding another debt to a fund already weighed down with payments for the construction of the community center.

Officials are now considering a new idea, DiSpirito said, that would move the municipal services employees next door into a new wing attached to the Technical Services building. Yet there's no promise that commissioners will take it more kindly than they did any of the other ideas.

"I don't see a sense of urgency," Commissioner Julie Scales said. "We really need to look at what is important for us to do, and instead prioritize that. Forget these shell games."

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Dunedin commissioners unclear on fate of Municipal Services Building 08/06/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 6, 2010 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  4. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  5. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017

    News

    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion."