Bradenton Beach considers WCIND funding request

Bradenton Beach is asking Manatee County to provide funding to regulate the anchorage area adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

The city is applying for a $50,000 grant from the West Coast Inland Navigational District for a lift for the police boat at the Historic Bridge Street Pier and $90,000 for derelict boat removal.

At the May 18 city commission meeting, Vice Mayor John Chappie said the matter was to be discussed at a county meeting May 23 and he is concerned the funding would not be approved. The meeting was after The Islander went to press.

He said the county is looking at a deficit. “The WCIND funds are just scarce,” he said.

The WCIND is a multi-county taxing district that assists local governments in planning and maintaining projects that promote safe navigation in the Intracoastal Waterway.

Chappie said the boat lift is important to safety, as it would more efficiently allow police to regulate behavior on the water.

“It’s all connected with public safety of our community, whether it’s a county facility or not,” Chappie said.

Chappie said much of the county WCIND funding is allotted to repairing boat ramps, including reconstructing a boat ramp at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. The work began in May.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said the accessibility for a police boat provided by the boat lift could reduce the need to remove derelict vessels and suggested the city prioritize the $50,000 for the boat lift, if funding is a concern.

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said funding for vessel removal should still be pursued.

“We’re trying to increase enforcement out there, but until it’s a totally controlled environment, we’re going to have vessels to remove,” he said.

Shearon closed the discussion by saying he would report the county results to the city commission.