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Date of Issue: February 16, 2006

Goodloe rakes in taxpayer cash while stalling Island

At the same time Goodloe Marine of Apollo Beach was reportedly demanding $70,000 from Manatee County, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach to remove its pipes and equipment from the Island's beaches for the next two months, the company has been hauling in millions of dollars from federal contracts - courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineer records available on the Web, the company was awarded $10.23 million worth of Corps contracts in 2005, including $4.587 million for the Anna Maria Island emergency beach renourishment project that began in early July.

Other contracts were for $1.5 million in Baffin Bay, Texas, and $4.26 million in Mississippi.

Surprisingly, the Corps awarded Goodloe Marine the Anna Maria Island contract, even though Goodloe's bid - the low bid on the project - was about $1 million higher than the official Corps estimate.

On the Baffin Bay project, Goodloe bid $1.5 million but was paid $1.98 million by completion.

Goodloe also won a 2004 contract from the Corps to renourish South Padre Island in Texas for $1.495 million. That project was to renourish the beach with 377,000 cubic yards of dredged sand.

The cost for South Padre Island pales in comparison to the $4.6 million in taxpayer dollars the company is due for just 400,000 cubic yards of pumped sand on Anna Maria Island.

And there were "issues" with the South Padre renourishment project, according to South Padre Island City Manager Dewey Cashwell and City Planner Kate Bell.

"This last renourishment took longer than hoped for. Goodloe Marine faced some ‘challenges,'" said Cashwell, who also said he understood it was Goodloe's first beach renourishment project.

Bell said there were problems between Goodloe and the Corps over paperwork and permits along with bad weather. A dispute between the city and county over where the pumped sand would be located also contributed to the delay in completion.

She said Goodloe also halted renourishment during the 2004 Christmas season, but resumed in early January. "Ultimately, it went fine," she concluded.

Corps records for 2003 and 2004 were unavailable online, but according to Corps online records for 2002, Goodloe obtained three USACE contracts that year for a total of $5 million.

Goodloe began the Island's renourishment project in early July and was expected to finish by Nov. 1.

But the company claimed foul weather in the Gulf of Mexico caused innumerable delays and Goodloe had only completed about 60 percent of the renourishment by mid-December. At that time, the company halted further dredging operations, claming it did not want to interrupt the Island's tourist season.

But Goodloe kept its pipes and equipment on the beach, apparently intending to resume the job later.

Strangely, while Goodloe Marine was saying the weather had slowed the project, the Longboat Key beach renourishment effort being done by Manson Construction and Engineering has continued during the same period, even through the winter season.

Although the Corps has made no official announcement on when renrourishment on Anna Maria Island will resume, or even if Goodloe will be allowed to continue, Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore said Goodloe was asking for $70,000 last week to remove its equipment from the beach until the job starts again.

Whitmore said that Goodloe wanted the money from Manatee County, which in turn asked for financial assistance from the affected Island cities. According to Whitmore, once the Corps learned of Goodloe's demand, it said neither the county nor the Island cities should pay Goodloe any money.

According to the online USACE records, Goodloe has only been paid $350,000 by the Corps for Island renourishment.

Efforts to reach Goodloe Marine for comment about its current and prior contracts with the Corps were unsuccessful.

The Corps declined to comment about any prior contracts with Goodloe.

 

Nothing moving on beach

Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann said on Monday that the county expected an answer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by Tuesday on the future of the beach renourishment project.

According to von Hahmann, the Corps told Commissioner Joe McClash it was forwarding county and Island concerns about the project to "higher-ups" and the Corps would speak to McClash on Monday.

"So, either we're going to send them a congraturatory letter on Tuesday, or again ask them what's going on," she said Monday.

Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore said late last week she understood Goodloe Marine was to begin moving pipes and equipment on Friday, Feb. 10, for storage at Coquina Beach until the renourishment project resumed.

But no equipment was moved from the beaches last week and efforts to confirm Goodloe's removal with the Corps were unsuccessful.

The Corps has been non-committal about the future of the project, when the equipment will be removed, and if Goodloe will continue as the contractor.