$1.37M from FEMA OK’d for city pier

The construction of a new Anna Maria City Pier could start as soon as October.

The pier replacement is nearly fully funded.

City commissioners voted 5-0 Aug. 29 to accept a $1,372,427.50 preliminary offer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the construction of a new pier.

The old pier, damaged by Hurricane Irma and, based on a survey, in need of repair before the September 2017 storm did its damage to the pier, restaurant and bait shop, was demolished over the summer.

For a new pier, the city requested $1,829,903 from FEMA under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, with a plan to complete work by December 2019.

The act provides a means for municipalities to request federal natural disaster assistance, including money for the repair, restoration or replacement of damaged facilities.

Mayor Dan Murphy said commissioners could challenge the offer and possibly receive more money, but he recommended the city accept the FEMA offer and move forward with construction.

“I feel comfortable financially with where we are,” Murphy said at the meeting. “I feel like we could get this done.”

FEMA will now prepare a formal offer, which commissioners can approve or reject.

Murphy said the city cannot start construction on the new pier until it formally accepts FEMA’s offer.

The offer as proposed now, would provide $370,000 more than the $1 million the city expected from the federal agency, according to the preliminary budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

FEMA originally offered $100,000, according to Murphy.

As of Aug. 31, the city had secured $3.23 million for construction of a new pier.

Outstanding is the FEMA offer and a $500,000 contribution from pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder.

Murphy said construction could begin in early October.

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