The town of Longboat Key’s beach engineer, Boca Raton-based Coastal Planning & Engineering (CP&E), submitted a report last week recommending the town not work toward attaining federal funds for future beach-renourishment projects.
Noting that it takes from eight to 20 years to receive such funds, which aren’t guaranteed, CP&E states that it “recommends that the town not seek federal funding for its beach-management programs and continue with the implementation of the Comprehensive Beach Management Plan using current funding
CP&E lists four reasons why the town shouldn’t seek federal funding.
• CP&E states there is too much uncertainty and volatility regarding monies distributed, and the town might pay for studies to receive federal funds without ever seeing the money.
• CP&E also states that the amount of state funding would be reduced by 7.4%, from 22.5% to 15.1%, if federal monies are sought, and the town would have reduced control over the design and construction of the beach projects that contain federal assistance.
• CP&E notes the town has been successful in attaining $3 million over the last couple of years when its beach has been severely eroded due to hurricanes that have passed by the island.
“If a federal shore-protection project is constructed, the town will no longer be able to apply for damages to the beaches,” the report states.
• A town beach project that uses federal funds might also mean the town will need to add more beach access parking spaces and won’t be able to select the type of sand it wants for its beach projects.
At the end of its report, CP&E, however, lists a variety of recommendations the town should pursue if it chooses to move ahead with beach-project federal funding. Those include hiring a lobbyist and working closely with state representatives.
Longboat Key Commissioner Phillip Younger, who has supported, along with other commissioners, that the town pursue other forms of beach funding, said he found CP&E’s report confusing.
“The report by CP&E seemed to conflict with its recommendations and conclusions,” Younger said. “It needs to be fleshed out more thoroughly.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]
The Town Commission will discuss the topic of beach project federal funding at its 1 p.m. Thursday, April 28 regular workshop at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.
Also at its workshop, the commission will:
• Review presentations about the operations of the town’s Public Works and Planning, Zoning and Building departments.
• Discuss how to curtail some residents’ concerns that there are too many peacocks in the Longbeach Village.
• Discuss how the town can help assist financially the Longboat Library.
• Prioritize goals and objectives for the town in the coming year.
• Review a preliminary budget presentation by the town’s finance director.
• Discuss potential lobbying efforts to promote awareness of the town’s legislative issues.
• Discuss poisonous plants that exist on Longboat Key.
• Review an amended beach ordinance.
• Update pension mortality rates.
• Hear an Organizational Review Subcommittee update.