Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Beach passing up holiday lights

ST. PETE BEACH — No, Ebenezer Scrooge does not live in St. Pete Beach.

But some residents could easily think so because the city's traditional holiday street light displays are missing this year, while most other beach towns are greeting the season with the festive twinkle and glow.

"I am so sad there are no decorations. I really would like to see a little holiday spirit," says Toni Burcham, who moved to the city several years ago. "Everybody else has decorations. It's not fair, it's just not right."

She said she did not realize that during budget deliberations last summer the city eliminated the $30,000 needed to rent holiday street lights.

"They have the nerve to say they can't afford to have decorations when they are spending over $300,000 for legal bills. With all the money the city's lawyer is making, how about him putting in some money for decorations?" she suggested.

A survey of other cities in south Pinellas County reveals that although most do have holiday street lights, some don't.

Indian Shores decided not to put up lights this year because officials weren't sure their project to install utility lines underground would be completed in time. The town is planning to erect a banner celebrating the season, however.

Tiny Belleair Shore doesn't have holiday street lights either — but that's because they don't have a street. Gulf Boulevard, which is on the gulffront town's eastern boundary, belongs to Belleair Beach, which decided to forego $7,000 in holiday lights this year in favor of much less expensive banners.

But all other beach cities put up holiday lights, despite similarly tight budgets.

Madeira Beach spent the most: $22,000.

Indian Rocks Beach spent the least for its holiday lighting — nothing. They own their own lights and didn't buy any new ones this year, according to City Manager Chuck Coward.

Treasure Island, a city of about 7,500 people, spent $16,000, while Redington Beach's 1,500 residents spent $10,900 for their lights.

Tuesday, under pressure from residents and the City Commission, St. Pete Beach City Manager Mike Bonfield said the city would consider paying for some holiday street decorations out of about $450,000 in extra revenues found in a recent audit.

It was too late to rent lights, so Steve Hallock, the city's public service director, ordered 90 holiday-themed flags and plans to hang them from light poles on Gulf Boulevard and Blind Pass Road.

It cost $1,800.

"It will be nice with flags," Bonfield said.

On a "brighter" note — city employees, who also saw normal pay increases canceled last summer, will get a holiday bonus this year: $250 for full-time employees and $125 for year-round, part-time employees.

St. Pete Beach passing up holiday lights 12/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2009 5:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead

    Crime

    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  2. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  3. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct'

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  4. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  5. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep

    Environment

    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.