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Street sweeping to pick up in Bradenton Beach

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Bradenton Beach commissioners July 17 addressed two new issues — street sweeping and emergency electricity — with public works director Tom Woodard.

During initial budget talks that started July 9, Woodard said sweeping costs went up dramatically when he lost his storage yard to the parking lot next to public works. He said without storage, his costs rise from $3,600 to $14,000 annually, “because only one company does both the sweeping and hauling away.”

The expense left the city without street sweeping for the past six months. According to Woodard, the city’s county permit could be pulled if sweeping doesn’t resume.

City clerk Nora Idso suggested a location near Herb Dolan Park at 25th Street and Avenue A.

“There is a basketball court there and in between is city right of way parking,” said Woodard. “It’s shell, dirt and grass, so it’s not a manicured area, and I think we could get back on board” for the $300 monthly price.

Woodard said the city used the location to stage a stormwater project and by using it for swept debris, he could save the added expense.

Commissioner Gay Breuler wondered how neighbors would feel about the area being used as a temporary dumpsite.

Woodard said it would only be once a month, and the debris would “be there a day at the most” before city workers hauled it away.

Street sweeping was not in the proposed budget submitted by Woodard, so he asked for additional funding to meet the estimated $300 a month fee.

Commissioners added $5,000 to department budget, bumping it to $208,080.

“We are making the budget worse, not better,” said Commissioner Jan Vosburgh. “I’m not real happy with that.”

Mayor John Shaughnessy said if Vosburgh had an alternative, he wanted to hear it.

“Nobody wants to go up in costs, but if it’s a mandatory thing then we have to make sure we have enough money to do it,” said Shaughnessy.

Breuler motioned to approve the stormwater budget with changes to reflect the added $5,000. Vosburgh seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

Reserves to fund generator

After discussing how to add an estimated $10,000 not budgeted for 2012-13 to install a replacement generator purchased two years ago, Idso proposed using reserve money to fund the project.

Woodard began the July 17 facilities management budget meeting with a request to add $10,000 to the $133,599 budget.

He laid out two proposals for commissioners to consider since the newer generator can run on natural gas or propane.

He said to install a 500-gallon underground propane tank, run a line and purchase a connection, the price would be $10,000. To run a natural gas line, he said, would be $20,000 and that didn’t include installation.

Woodard said the 500-gallon tank would supply electricity to his department and the police station for up to 10 days in an emergency.

Idso said there is enough money in this year’s budget, after the city eliminated its sanitation department, to pay for the project. Using reserve funding, she said, the project could begin soon.

With no more discussion, Breuler motioned to accept the $133,599 facilities management budget as presented. Gatehouse seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

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

The millage rate determines property taxes paid to the city based on $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. Commissioners can lower but not raise the millage rate after it is set.

Commissioners will hold public hearings on the budget in September.

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