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. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday

    Wildlife

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  3. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]