Four of the seven Longboat Key commissioners tentatively gave the town manager direction to use a finer, whiter sand for its beach that could cost taxpayers $40 million to $50 million.
The commission made its decision at its Thursday, May 20, regular workshop after hearing from its beach engineer that the darker sand option the commission chose last month was no longer a viable, consistent option.
The finer, whiter sand is also available in a borrow site that Port Dolphin LLC will be running its natural gas pipeline through, which gives the town an opportunity to be reimbursed at a cost of up to $5 million for the sand.
Commissioners wrestled, however, with the cost of the fine, white sand, which will cost about 15% more than a sand that is slightly less white but not nearly as fine.
“The hallmark of Longboat Key has always been it’s sugary, white sand,” said Commissioner Gene Jaleski.
The price for the project, town staff showed, more than triples the cost of a homeowner’s annual price tag for the project on a $500,000 home that sits west of Gulf of Mexico Drive.
Mayor George Spoll and Commissioner Gene Jaleski, Robert Siekmann and Lynn Larson voiced support for the whiter sand. Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioners David Brenner and Hal Lenobel did not support the whiter sand because they wanted more time to think about the two options and poll their constituents.
The close consensus caused Town Manager Bruce St. Denis to request the commission make its final decision by voting on the sand at its 7 p.m., Monday, June 7, regular meeting.
The commission also approved an ordinance on second reading that approves code amendments proposed by The Longboat Key Club and Resort, which club attorneys say make its Islandside renovation-and-expansion project more defensible legally.
Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioners David Brenner and Lynn Larson approved the code changes. Commissioners Robert Siekmann, Hal Lenobel and Gene Jaleski did not support the code change ordinance.
And the commission gave the town manager permission to spend $17,000 to prepare a local response plan in case oil from the leaking Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf makes its way to Longboat Key.
Also at its at its workshop, the commission:
Forwarded to its Monday, June 7 regular meeting:
• An interlocal agreement that represents various local governments and the School Board of Manatee County.
• A resolution that gives the town manager authority to spend funds and take emergency action in the event a hurricane is looming and a quorum of the commission is not available this summer.
• A resolution that allows the town manager to use commission contingency funds for an environmental cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
• A resolution that cancels the July and August workshops and the August regular meeting.
• A request for authorization to execute a fleet maintenance agreement with Sarasota County for the Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department’s vehicles.
Forwarded to its Monday, June 7 regular meeting for first reading:
• An ordinance that changes the start of regular workshops from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Approved at a special meeting:
• A resolution that allows for a budget transfer of $150,000 from the commission contingency fund to the town attorney budget and the other town attorney budget.
• A resolution that reallocates $2.7 million to the beach fund to pay for a $5 million emergency beach project on the north end of the island.
Approved on first reading at a special meeting:
• An ordinance that transfers $800,000 from the phase II infrastructure surtax funds from the utility fund to the beach capital projects fund to pay for a $5 million emergency beach project on the north end of the island.
• An ordinance that transfers $1.5 million from the unbudgeted allocated funds in the beach capital projects fund to the emergency beach project account.
• Preliminary budget information for the 2010-11 fiscal year and agreed to form a committee of three commissioners to discuss how the town operates and decide if some citizens can help assess how the town can operate more efficiently.
• Forming a committee that will consist of two commissioners, two Planning and Zoning Board members and a representative from the chamber of commerce to review and update the town’s Vision Plan.
• Potential economic development opportunities for Longboat Key.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].