Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Madeira Beach commission okays news City Hall

MADEIRA BEACH — Encouraged by positive survey responses from its residents, the City Commission has given the go-ahead for planning a $9 million municipal complex that would include a new City Hall, fire station, recreation center and ball fields.

"No one is thrilled with spending the money, but they agree we have got to do it," City Manager Shane Crawford said as he described the results of an online survey.

The commission plans to hold several more workshops to present financing options and tentative architectural plans before making a final decision.

But so far, it appears the commission is in unanimous agreement that the municipal complex needs to be replaced.

More than 90 percent of the 202 residents who responded to the survey appear to agree.

In only slightly lower percentages, the residents also agreed that upgrading recreational facilities was needed, including a dual-use fitness center for firefighters, city employees and residents.

Wannemacher Jensen Architects is proposing a City Hall and separate fire station that would last up to 80 years.

It would feature state-of-the-art technology, flexible office spaces, and a boardwalk along the site's waterfront.

"This would be a signature building representing the city of Madeira Beach, a building Madeira Beach could be proud of," architect Jason Jensen told the commission several weeks ago.

The current City Hall-fire station is about 60 years old and has a severely leaking roof that is causing mold in offices. This has damaged air conditioning and electrical equipment, resulting in flooding and even fires.

During Tropical Storm Debby, carpets in city offices were saturated.

A mold inspector got sick after spending just an hour in the commission conference room.

Recently, an electrical fire broke out in the fire department.

And when workers tried to wash the windows outside the city manager's office, the windows leaked water into both his and an adjacent office.

"We are continuing to throw money at a bad product," Crawford said.

Fixing the existing building could cost $2.5 million — way over the $400,000 FEMA limit that would then require the building to be elevated above flood level.

Instead, during a special meeting this month, Crawford urged the commission and residents to "swallow the biggest financial pill the city has faced in decades."

A new City Hall and fire station will cost about $6 million, while updating the adjacent recreational facilities will cost about another $2.8 million, he said.

Tuesday, Crawford reiterated that the city can easily afford the cost.

It has $3.3 million set aside in a capital projects fund, money it received when it sold its sewer system to Pinellas County in 2007.

The city also has almost another $8 million in reserves.

But Crawford is urging the commission to use the $3.3 million as a "down payment" and borrow the rest, leaving substantial funds in reserves to cover emergencies and other capital projects.

A $2.5 million loan for just the City Hall-fire station portion of the project, called Phase 1, would cost about $255,300 annually to pay off over about a dozen years, according to Crawford.

Those debt payments could be taken out of reserves, paid from transfers from the city's John's Pass Village or parking funds, or paid by increasing revenues.

Crawford stressed, however, that he is not recommending increasing property taxes to pay for the project.

Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 5 hours ago