Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Madeira Beach fights Pinellas County over liability at beach park

MADEIRA BEACH — Unless a legal dispute with Pinellas County is resolved, starting Feb. 16 visitors to the county-owned beach park will be able to park for free, but they won't be able to use the public bathrooms.

The fight is over which governmental body is financially responsible if someone drowns or is otherwise seriously injured while visiting the beach at 14400 Gulf Blvd.

For 26 years, the city has maintained the county beach and collected parking fees from city-owned parking meters. After deducting costs, the city and the county split the profits according to a complicated formula.

Annually, the city makes about a $5,000 profit from the parking meters.

Both the city and the county want a new contract, but can't agree on division of liability.

The city wants its liability capped, as in the past, at $100,000. The county wants the city to assume complete liability.

"I don't care how much income you get out of the beach property. Don't waive sovereign immunity because it could bankrupt you," City Attorney Michael Connolly told the City Commission earlier this month.

"I agree, it would ruin the city," said Mayor Pat Shontz.

City Manager W.D. Higgenbotham Jr. said the "loss of revenue doesn't even approach the potential liability."

Last year, Connolly suggested the agreement be revised to better define the $100,000 limitation on the city's liability at the park. After a series of meetings with county officials, the county rewrote the park maintenance agreement, but did not include the liability language the city requested.

As a result, Connolly has notified Pinellas County that the city will cancel its maintenance contract with the county as of Feb. 16.

At that time, Connolly said, the city will remove all parking meters from the park, cancel all insurance policies covering the beach property, end all janitorial and cleaning services of the bathrooms and public areas, turn off electricity, water and garbage services to the park, and stop maintaining any of the county park property or its facilities.

In a related matter, the commission approved Tuesday a new ordinance that bars city residents from using their free parking passes at the county beach — a change required by the county.

The free city passes can be used at all other city parking lots, however, including at John's Pass Village and the Archibald Memorial Beach Park.

The change to the city policy may be moot, however, if the city-owned parking meters at the county beach park are removed. If that happens, parking would be free for everyone.

Higgenbotham told the commission Tuesday that at the "close of business" on Feb. 16, the city will "lock the rest rooms" and cover the parking meters so they will be inoperative. "It is our plan to cease maintaining the park," Higgenbotham said.

As of Friday, the county still had not responded to the city's letter.

Madeira Beach fights Pinellas County over liability at beach park 01/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 31, 2009 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)