Welcome Back“Welcome back!” It seems strange to offer that greeting when most of us never left Madeira Beach. However, we did retreat into our self-imposed quarantine thanks to Covid-19. As May turned into June, and the governor issued his Phase 2 directives, you could almost feel a sense of relief as residents began returning to their familiar routines. While social distancing recommendations remain in place, shops, restaurants, and pubs are open again. City Hall is once again welcoming residents and visitors and the City Commission meetings have resumed with in-person public commentary.
One year ago, residents of Crystal Island began lobbying elected officials and city staff about the long-awaited street improvement project for their neighborhood. Public meetings were held, a Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued and a contract was awarded. On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the city hosted a Town Hall meeting so residents could learn what to expect when crews began replacing roadways, water, and sewer lines. The chamber was packed as representative of Gibbs & Register (the contractor), and the city engineer walked through the plan and answered questions. So far the project has gone mostly according to plan, but, as with any major capital improvement project, unexpected events occur and flexibility is called for. The project remains on schedule to be completed in the spring of 2021.
Meanwhile, turtle season is once again upon us. Madeira Beach has already seen several nests located on our shore. When you walk on the beach you can’t miss the wooden stakes and signs reminding everyone not to disturb the nesting area. The city is ready to start getting aggressive on enforcing existing ordinances prohibiting littering, beach lighting, dogs on the beach, and removal of beach-related items after sunset.
At the May 7th BOC Regular Meeting, the City Manager read a proclamation proclaiming the week of May 3-9, 2020 as Municipal Clerks Week. Mayor John B. Hendricks presented the proclamation to the City Clerk and Deputy Clerk recognizing them for their dedication and the vital service they perform to the community of Madeira Beach.
The Board of Commissioners adopted by Resolution on May 12th its Board of Commissioners Handbook. The monthly regular meetings were changed from Tuesday to Wednesday and the meeting time of the regular workshop meeting was changed from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
As of May 31, 2020, the Board of Commissioners has held 23 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 continued to work closely with the Building Department in reviewing site plans and building permit applications throughout the month. They also collected data and began analysis for the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan updates and completed and submitted the annual report for the Community Rating System (CRS) as required by FEMA.
Director Portal worked with the city’s consulting land use attorneys to prepare and submit the appeal to the CRS cycle review by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) for FEMA. The ISO missed reviewing several sections of documents in the city’s plan. Staff prepared maps, assisted in the collection of data, and participated in meetings conducted by the consulting planner in preparing the impact fee study.
During May, final work was conducted in preparation for proposed changes the ordinances lowering of marine boating speeds and boating safety. Lastly, Director Portal also participated in the Public Works interviews of firms responding to the city’s Request For Qualifications (RFQ) for engineering services.
City Finance Director Walter Pierce reports during May, the Finance Department focused on gathering all expenses related to COVID-19 in preparation for fiscal information to be presented to the Board of Commissioners at a workshop on May 27th. This information is in the process of being submitted for reimbursement by the federal government, state, and county to the city. While reimbursement for projected lost revenue, which is approximately $663,974 remains unknown, our current focus is on submission of actual expenses incurred during the lockdown which totals $90,324 as of May 8, 2020.
Parking Supervisor Sue Tofthagen reports that with beaches re-opening, Parking Enforcement returned to full-time operations in May. Parking revenue figures for May 2020 totaled $263,001 which is great news as they the May 2019 total ($230,023) by almost $33,000.
Parking Enforcement staff continue to clean and disinfect the parking kiosks every morning. Also, new light bars have been installed on all machines making them easier to see and use.
During May, departments submitted their FY 2021 operational budget requests. This is another step completed toward the information gathering process for budget development. Also, a Draft FY 2021 Budget Calendar was constructed and shared with the Board of Commissioners at the May 27, 2020 Workshop. Feedback is anticipated about budget meeting dates.
Human Resources Coordinator Karen Paulson reports that while most city staff who worked from home during the COVID-19 lockdown have returned, some with pre-existing health conditions periodically work remotely. Meanwhile, applicants and screening for the open firefighter position began in May with several candidates throwing their hat into the ring.
City of Madeira Beach work anniversaries in May included:
Max Michalski – 5 years
Colton Carrier – 4 years
Walter Pierce and Travis Wateska – 3 years
Morgan Pate and Taylor Plympton – 1 year
Employee anniversaries are recognized annually as a group at the January BOC meeting.
Marina Manager Brian Rau reports good progress on their project to improve the aesthetics and organization of the marina. The Marina now has organized dry storage with designated areas for small and large boats/trailers to maximize the available footprint as much as possible. They have also consolidated the available transient wet slips along B Dock to minimize the traffic around the ramp and A Dock.
Unfortunately, they had to remove the beautiful palm trees that had been on the Marina property for several years. During trimming in preparation for hurricane season, it was discovered that the trees were rotted to the point that they would not survive a significant storm.
Staff began gearing up for Red Snapper season which runs from June 11th through July 25th. For those new to fishing for snapper, they are not the pickiest of eaters with sardines, threadfin herring, squid, live shrimp, pinfish, or whitebait all working well. The best locations for fishing are in waters at least 80-feet deep around a hard bottom or ledges. Look for fish marking between 5 to 20 feet up in the water column over the structure and you have most likely located your bounty. If fish seem to be picky you can try putting bait on a 40-50-pound fluorocarbon leader and a ½ to 1 ounce jig head. Vertical jigs can also entice a bite from a finicky fish. There is a limit of 2 per person and 16” size minimum.
Got questions about the places to fish, what your limits are, or even what’s new in the world of fishing? Stop in the Madeira Beach Marina store at 503 150th Avenue for a cold drink and pick our brains before you head out on your next adventure! We are open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week.
City Building Official Frank DeSantis reports that development projects are continuing at a steady pace in Madeira Beach and several large projects are under plan review. The status of the current ongoing projects is as follows:
The Cambria Hotel is currently operating under a 30-day Conditional Certificate of Occupancy (CO) with a list of items that need to be completed before a final CO can be issued.
The Madeira Bay Project at 13101 Gulf Blvd. is operating under a Conditional Certificate of Occupancy (CO) with a list of items that need to be completed before a final CO can be issued. They have a few sidewalks and driveway aprons to pour, and the final fire alarm inspection is pending due to some late plan revisions requested by the Fire Chief.
The Madeira del Mar Condominiums project at 15305 1st Street E has completed site foundations. Framing is in place for the first elevated floor. Underground storm drainage is partially complete, and the retention pond has been graded with mitered end structures installed.
The Gulf Grille project is preparing to assemble and erect for a roof truss. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection work is complete except for the beach access ramp and public restroom location. Underground storm drainage and sewer are partially complete.
The Harbor at Town Center Condominiums project at 212 150TH Ave. has completed driving pilings for the foundations. They are working on a “foundation only permit.” The foundation work is 45% complete.
The Holiday Isles project 555 150th Ave. has seen no changes since the last report. The seawall around the perimeter of the property is completed, they have driven in six test piles for the hotel structure to determine the lengths of piles needed, the access road to the Marina is complete and there is a new sidewalk in front of the Marina (facing 150th Ave.), new fencing and a new gate for the Marina have been installed.
City Hall Generator Structure has been slightly delayed because of a change in the FEMA grant contract. We are waiting on their final approval to start construction on structure. The length project is expected to take about 14 weeks to complete.
- 83 different types of permits were issued
- $55,538.12 in permit fees were collected
- $2,333,975 in permit estimated value or cost
- 146 inspections were completed (average 9 per day)
- 7 new code compliance cases were created
- 3 code compliance cases were resolved
- 28 outstanding code compliance cases are being processed through the Special Magistrate
Community Policing and Code Enforcement processed:
- 8 new code compliance cases were opened
- 6 existing code compliance were resolved
- 39 code compliance cases remain active
Residential Rental Inspections:
- 1-unit inspection
Public Works Director Jamie Ahrens reports that with the state and county slowly re-opening, the beaches have once again become a very popular destination. The increase in people naturally has resulted in an increase in the trash on the beach and in trash receptacles. On an average weekend, Public Works crews routinely remove 15-cubic yards of trash, hitting the beach before the crowds begin to show up. Right after beaches re-opened, with capacity and social distancing restrictions, Public Works crews collected approximately 45-cubic yards of trash, more than double what they would collect on average!
Lately, crews have reported more trash being left on the beach than usual. Items include drink and food containers, magazines, styrofoam cups and containers, plastic wrap, plastic beach toys, chairs, and blankets. Besides being trash that should not be left on the beach, these items present an inherent danger to wildlife, particularly shorebirds and sea turtles. The moral of the story? Please place your trash in the trash can.
Please be aware of the “Leave No Trace Ordinance” which calls for the removal of all personal items from the beach. Do not leave any tents, chairs, or other personal belongings on the beach overnight. Any holes on the beach are to be filled the same day they are created. This will help the sea turtles as well as the Public Works staff.
Finally, please remember:
- Animals are not allowed on the beach.
- Glass containers are not allowed on the beach
- Tents and personal property must be removed from the beach within one hour after sunset
- Holes on the beach are to be filled on the same day they are created
Please help us protect and preserve the beach and the wildlife that depend on this natural resource.