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Historic Bridge Street Pier budget approved

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Updating the operating system on the Historic Bridget Street Pier tower clocks will wait a year. Commissioners determined the clock a low priority. Islander Photo: Mark Young

Bradenton Beach commissioners unanimously approved a proposed $34,300 budget for the Historic Bridge Street Pier, which does not include community redevelopment agency funding for the upcoming reconstruction project.

The bulk of the pier budget approved July 17 consists of $9,000 for utilities.

Public Works director Tom Woodard requested an additional $5,385 to upgrade the controller system for the pier’s clock.

“Right now it has two separate controllers, so it’s not in sync,” said Woodard. “As you know, the bell was donated by the Norman family, and it was our agreement to maintain it and it is taking some salt air damage.”

Woodard was asked if the clock’s control system was a high priority, and he said it was not.

“The clock has not stopped working, but we did have extra maintenance calls for it, and both companies are out of state, so we have to fly them in and put them up,” he said.

Commissioner Ric Gatehouse said he would like to see the city get another year out of the system.

“On the list of priorities, this is obviously not real high,” he said. “Since this is a low priority, I would say to put this off until next year, when maybe we have more to work with.”

Commissioners and Mayor John Shaughnessy agreed.

“We have enough in our pocketbook to contend with now,” the mayor said. “We need so many other things and we can’t do everything this year.”

Commissioners also suggested that Woodard seek estimates on what it would cost to paint the pier. The proposed budget has $5,000 in professional services, and an additional $3,000 in the building and repair.

They discussed whether public works should repaint the structure or a professional painter with knowledge of painting structures near saltwater.

Commissioner Gay Breuler motioned to approve the pier budget. Vice Mayor Ed Straight seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

Streets, roads

Woodard told commissioners the city’s Christmas decorations were aging, and he asked about adding funding into the streets and roads budget for holiday banners on Bridge Street for Christmas and July 4.

Woodard said the decorations are not a priority, “but they are five years old and getting in really bad shape.”

Commissioners liked the idea of banners, but will not fund anything not deemed a priority in the coming fiscal year.

Breuler suggested a committee to boost interest and get the public to be more involved in decorating Bridge Street during the holidays.

Commissioners budget $500 for the Bridge Street Merchants and Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said that money is primarily used for Christmas on Bridge Street.

Breuler volunteered to chair a committee to see if citizens would get more involved, and Vosburgh also agreed to serve.

The streets and roads budget rose from $180,016 to $191,401 for 2012-13.

Operating expenses, salaries, retirement contributions and audits are the bulk of the increases.

Breuler motioned to approve the budget as presented. Gatehouse seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

Commissioners will set the tentative millage rate at a 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 25, meeting at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

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