As Bradenton Beach commissioners continued their budget discussions, public works director Tom Woodard brought forth some issues needing to be addressed that are not in the proposed budget.
Woodard said due to previous budget cutbacks, scheduled hardening of city buildings has been neglected, and the city is required to have that work done.
Woodard also said storm shutters for city hall would not hold up to a major storm.
Commissioners have discussed developing a priority list in budget talks with the department heads, Woodard especially.
“We are going to need to rely on you to let us know what is necessary by priority,” Commissioner Ric Gatehouse told Woodard.
Woodard said two of his top priority items, which have not been budgeted, include the installation of a backup generator at the police department the city purchased two years ago. The generator was purchased to replace the World War II-era generator the city relies on to keep operating during a storm, but funding was never approved for the installation due to budget cuts.
“And now it’s just been sitting in my garage,” said Woodard. “It runs on propane or natural gas, but I have neither one.”
Woodard said it would cost $20,000 to run a natural gas line, but for an estimated $10,000 he could install the generator and add an underground propane tank.
The generator would supply enough power to keep the police department and public works buildings running through a storm. City hall employees would move to the police department to continue city operations, as there is no generator for city hall.
Woodard said the U.S. Department of Defense still owns the city’s old generator and is trying to eliminate it from inventory.
“The second thing is that every year I have to do a report for the state for street sweeping and keep track of how much we pick up,” he said. “Before, I had a storage yard and it wasn’t an issue. Now I don’t. I’ve only found one sweeping company that would haul it away. Every other company requires a place to dump it, but we are looking at an annual $14,000 contract.”
Woodard said he expects to get grief from the state. “I haven’t (had the streets swept) in six months because I have no place to store it. And the other problem is that it used to cost $300, and now it is significantly more.”
Woodard said if something isn’t done soon the city could be pulled from the county’s permit. He said if the city doesn’t use the permit, it will lose the permit.
City clerk Nora Idso said she would look at the budget and try to address need for the $10,000 generator.
“This is about health, safety and welfare,” said Idso. “Even if there is money in the reserves to get some of these necessary things up and running, we need to do it.”