The More Things Change, The Less They Stay The Same
This month’s Manager’s Minute has a theme – adapt. We adapt to virtually everything in our world. Traffic gets heavy, we take another route or develop more patience. The waiter says they are out of today’s special, we look for something else to eat. That meeting you had planned has to be re-scheduled. No problem, you adapt by getting some more work done in the office and carving time for the meeting later in the week.
Obviously, with Covid-19 we are all adapting these days. Masks, keeping our distance, minimal socializing, etc. Adapting brings new perspectives and alters old ones. As the rules of safe conduct and behavior change, so do our perspectives about situations, relationships, and responsibilities.
Madeira Beach has been adapting a lot lately. In case you have not noticed, there is quite a bit of change happening in our 3-square miles of paradise (including water). We are stepping up our campaign against littering, and not just on the beach. From signage to enforcement, to fines, the message is becoming clear – keep Madeira Beach clean!
Sometimes adapting also requires patience. The residents of Crystal Island, particularly those living on John’s Pass Avenue, Lillian Drive, and Flamingo Drive have been dealing with a lot of construction and inconvenience over the last few weeks. The latest phase of that road and drainage improvement project recently involved installing new curbs, a process that resulted in residents not being able to park in their driveways or in front of their homes.
Public Works and Parking Enforcement staff adapted by offering a shuttle service to those who needed help getting to their vehicles. Living in the middle of one of the most complicated construction projects ever undertaken in Madeira Beach is hard, even when we are trying to help wherever and whenever we can. By adapting, hopefully, we can lessen the inconvenience even if just a little.
Lastly, your city government continues to adapt to our changing world. Summer camp at the Recreation Center continues because staff adapted to keep kids safe. Commission meetings continue being available to the public because staff adapted to new technologies to make them available online. City Hall remains open after we established a policy of everyone, staff, and citizens, having to wear a mask inside the building. Even “Breakfast with Bob”, which resumed in June, has adapted by requiring attendees to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
Our community, our society, and our country have a successful history based on adapting. By changing course so that we can continue to move forward, we learn how to do things differently. When King George told the colonies, they were under British rule, our founding fathers said, no. In addition to dumping the king’s tea into Boston Harbor, they adapted and forged their path forward. Adapting in the face of change is not new, but it is necessary and will lead to us becoming a stronger community. Please be safe and follow the CDC guidelines. Our health and everyone’s health is up to us!
City Clerk Clara VanBlargan reports that as of June 30, 2020, the Board of Commissioners has held 29 meetings in 2020. All meetings are open to the public. During the emergency declaration, for safety concerns, public access to meetings in-person is limited to 30 people. The public can view meetings by webcast or on Spectrum Ch. 640 and public comment is accepted by email in advance of each meeting. Regularly scheduled meetings are held:
Board of Commissioners Meetings – City Hall, 300 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach, FL 33708
- Workshop Agenda Setting 2nd Wednesday @ 5:45 p.m.
- Regular Meeting 2nd Wednesday @ 6 p.m.
- Regular Workshop Meeting 4th Wednesday @ 6 p.m.
Meeting dates and times are subject to change due to holidays, etc.
Community Development Director Linda Portal reports staff was very busy in June monitoring the construction of the Cambria Hotel, streetscaping improvements on Madeira Way, and the completion of the Madeira Bay Condominiums. There are hundreds of details relating to the site work that require oversight and approval, including landscaping, building height, lighting and flood protection, driveway and handicapped access, stormwater, and traffic management, just to name a few.
All aspects of a project must meet construction, environmental, and zoning standards and be completed according to the approved plans before a project receives a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Department.
Work continues on the impact fee study and associated policy amendments. Initial drafts of these items will be discussed by the Planning Commission on July 13, 2020, and at a workshop with the Board of Commissioners on July 22, 2020. The study of possibly implementing impact fees for development in Madeira Beach was initiated by the City Commission last year.
Public Works Director Jamie Ahrens reports that sanitation crews continue to be very busy during the Covid-19 emergency. Plenty of residents working from home, an increasing number of visitors on the beaches, and John’s Pass Village shops and restaurants welcoming customers back have led to more trash to be collected. Crews are on the street early in the morning seven days a week.
Madeira Beach is very lucky to have such a dedicated and hard-working sanitation department. They can be seen walking or jogging beside the garbage truck up and down every street in the city collecting emptying bins into the trucks by hand. Don’t forget, they are doing this in 80-90 degree heat and humidity!
To make their jobs a little easier please remember you must have a garbage can or trash can that is no larger than 32-gallons and must have a tight-fitting lid. Please bring your garbage cans to an easily accessible location for collection the night before your scheduled collection day. It will save the crews a lot of time if trash is in a garbage can and located by the curb.
Please be mindful of the number of liquids that end up in the garbage. Liquid from half-empty beverage containers, cleaning solutions, and other sources splash out of the truck during compacting and ends up on driveways, streets, and sidewalks and eventually into storm drains and the bay. In most cases, this is a violation of the Pinellas County Stormwater and Surface Water Pollution ordinance prohibiting any discharge other than clean water to the right-of-way, drainage system, or receiving waterways. Elimination of liquids entering the waste stream is mandated by both the City of Madeira Beach and Pinellas County.
The Department of Public Works wants to assist businesses in Madeira Beach in minimizing the number of liquids in the garbage that our Sanitation Department collects, transports, and disposes of.
Common practices for reducing liquids in solid waste include:
- Empty ice and liquids into a sink with a drain
- Draining all cups, containers, and bottles into a sink before discarding
- Do not put grease or oils into solid waste, commercial kitchens are required to use and maintain a grease trap/interceptor system
- Keep dumpster/garbage can lids closed at all times to prevent rainwater from entering
City Building Official, Frank DeSantis reports the new Cambria Hotel received its Certificate of Occupancy after passing all inspections that included reviews by building, fire, and zoning officials. The new hotel on Madeira Way began welcoming guests with the top attraction being the rooftop bar and pool area that offers one of the best views of the gulf and our community in all of Madeira Beach.
Other development projects in progress include:
The Madeira Bay Project at 13101 Gulf Boulevard – A conditional Certificate of Occupancy was issued with a punch list of items to be completed before a final Certificate of Occupancy can be awarded. As of the end of the month, outstanding items waiting to be completed include:
- Final inspection on the fire alarm system
- Final pond drainage calculations from the Engineer of Record
The Madeira del Mar Condominiums – 15305 1st Street E. is ready for the third elevated floor slab on the 4th floor. Electrical and plumbing are being installed on the ground floor area. Blockwork is due to start in July. The project is at 35% completion and we are waiting on revised plans from the Architect of Record.
The Gulf Grille project. (Restaurant) 14080 Gulf Blvd. – Roof trusses have been installed. Roof sheeting is currently being installed. Completion for this activity will be approximately July 8, 2020. Roof dry-in will start on July 10, 2020. Grease traps have been installed. Sewer line work continues. Sewer connection has been made to the existing lateral. They are scheduling with Pinellas County Utilities for water and storm taps. Interior framing will start on July 9, 2020. The parcel on the east side of Gulf Blvd. is at the sub-base stage. The City of Madeira Beach has executed the contract for the restroom(s) unit for Kitty Stuart park. They are at 50% completion.
The Harbor at Town Center Condominiums at 212 150TH Ave. – The pilings have all been driven. Foundation/concrete contractor has cut approximately 25% of the piling and placed the pile cap formwork in readiness of the reinforcing. Waiting on revised plans from the Architect of Record.
City Hall Generator Structure, 300 Municipal Drive – The contract for the generator structure was approved to move forward by FEMA and was signed by the Mayor and Contractor. Work will commence upon approval of the permit application. We are waiting for the contractor to apply for the permit.
June Monthly Totals
- 74 different types of permits issued
- $20,254.09 in permit fees collected
- $765,521.00 in estimated value or cost
- 188 completed inspections
- 7 new code compliance cases created
- 3 code compliance cases resolved
- 28 open/outstanding code compliance cases destined for the Special Magistrate
Community Policing and Code Enforcement:
- 8 new code compliance cases opened
- 6 existing code compliance resolved
- 39 code compliance cases remain active
Residential Rental Inspection:
- 1-unit inspection
Recreation Director Jay Hatch reports his staff is continuing its transition back into normal operations as summer camp is in full swing at the Recreation Center. Summer camp took on a different look as many of the favorite field trip locations have limited or no access due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In response to the reduced options, Recreation staff pivoted into creating more activities for the campers to enjoy at the Recreation Center, local parks, and beach locations throughout Pinellas County. The success of this adjusted schedule can be attributed to a well-researched and well-prepared program put together by staff and the cooperation and efforts by the parents and campers to fully integrate the program’s safety protocols.
Outside the doors of the Recreation Center, a couple of youth programs have been operating and will wrap up in mid-July. The Madeira Beach Youth Baseball and Softball Program has been playing a shortened summer season since June 1. Their players, parents, and volunteers have gone above and beyond in their efforts to ensure the safety of all involved.
The Recreation Department also began a Summer Soccer Nights program which has seen success. With temperature checks and proper social distancing, the soccer program has provided an opportunity for a handful of children who have been looking for the friendships and competition they have missed while under the stay at home order. With these activities going on, the Recreation Department continues to research other activities to safely provide once fall rolls around.
For more information regarding upcoming activities and events visit our website.
Interim Fire Chief Clint Belk reports that his department’s search for its newest team member has been successful. Johana Marinello was selected as the top candidate and has accepted the offer to join the Madeira Beach Fire Department.
It’s not an easy road to become a member of the Station 25 team. After all, when you are tasked with protecting and saving lives you need to know your teammates have your back. So, when a vacancy did open up for a Firefighter/Paramedic in February, the list of candidates was long. The first step was to review the list of required criteria to see which candidates qualified.
First, the eligible prospect must be a State of Florida Firefighter as well as a Paramedic, with County Medic Certification preferred. Once the qualified candidates were identified, they were invited to test their knowledge of firefighting and Advanced Life Support skills by taking a written examination. This was followed by a complete a fitness agility test and a swim test. After all of those reviews are done, scores are tabulated, and the top five candidates were invited to interview with Chief Belk and his officers.
It is relatively rare for the Madeira Beach Fire Department to have a vacancy. That can be attributed to a couple of things – the rigorous testing, interview, and assessment process, and a solid team unit philosophy. After all, when you are tasked with protecting and saving lives you need to know your teammates have your back.
The process took a little longer due to so many talented people wanting to join the team and, of course, the pandemic. Madeira Beach Station 25 has a well-earned reputation for being one of the best and I have no doubt the addition of Johana will help to continue that well-earned reputation.