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Longboat Key Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 4 years ago

Beach project could be delayed one year

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

The Longboat Key Town Commission might delay its island-wide beach renourishment project by one year.

But the town could still ask the voters to approve the beach project on the March 8 ballot.

At its Thursday, Nov. 18 regular workshop, the commission mulled its options that included a sand-only beach project and placing rock-like breakwaters and/or pier-like groins on the island’s severely eroded north end.

But after an hour-long discussion, the commission appeared to be leaning toward delaying the entire project.

Mayor George Spoll proposed that it might be best to ask the voters’ permission on the March 8 ballot to fund an approximately $45.2 million beach project that includes the cost of sand and north end structures to help hold a beach there.

“We should go for the whole ball of wax and realize we might be able to economize,” Spoll said.

Town Manager Bruce St. Denis told the commission it would cost approximately $40 million for the sand if the town waits one year and approximately $5.2 million for north-end structures.

The town still has the possibility of receiving a $5 million beach project credit from Port Dolphin LLC and using $3 million in Sarasota County infrastructure surtax funds. If the town does both, the beach project price tag could cost approximately $37 million.

Finance Director Tom Kelley told the commission it wouldn’t be uncommon to ask the voters to approve the bond in March and then begin paying for the project’s approved bond before the project begins.

In addition, the commission is leaning toward delaying the project until November 2012 because an inlet management pass study being performed now with Manatee County will be finished and could help show what kind of structures are best needed to hold sand on the north end.

The commission will wait until its Monday, Dec. 6 regular meeting to make a final decision on the beach project.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

 

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