It’s a Federation of Longboat Key Condominium tradition: The Longboat Key town manager attends the group’s first fall meeting to provide insight into the latest town news.
Town Manager David Bullock gave his first post-summer briefing to the Condo Fed Saturday, Oct. 20. Here’s what he had to say:
A 2013 prediction from the town manager: The year will most likely bring new sand to severely eroded hot spots to the south of the Islander Club, to the south of the Yonkers seawall and at the northern tip of Greer Island, aka Beer Can Island.
The Longboat Key Town Commission reached consensus last month to move forward with the permitting process for two north-end groins, along with a third on the Manatee County-owned Greer Island.
Meanwhile, sand is eroding fast. Tropical Storm Debby took away most remaining sand placed last summer in a $4 million emergency beach project and deposited it on Greer Island.
The rapid rate of erosion could cause the town to consider darker sand, which is coarser than the aesthetically pleasing white sand that is currently the only sand permitted for the Key’s beach, for northern Greer Island, where homes are not located.
One attendee asked:
Why not take the white sand deposited on Greer Island and put it back on Longboat Key’s beach?
The sea turtles are one reason. Once they nest in an area that sand becomes habitat for the endangered species and, as a result, is subject to additional rules and regulations.
The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort
Bullock compared the shuttered resort to the mythical Gordian Knot. But it isn’t the town’s job to untangle it.
The town’s role doesn’t involve navigating the property’s legal mazes.
The Longboat Key Town Commission granted a one-year extension of the property’s tourism use earlier this month, meaning that the property’s 237 units are safe for now.
For now, the town’s role is to enforce its codes.
Bullock said that codes allow the town to eventually demolish a building if it becomes a public hazard. And while mold and structural deficiencies caused the town to deem the mid-rise building where longtime Colony Beach & Tennis Resort owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber lived for the past 38 years unsafe, the building’s condition still hasn’t reached the public hazard threshold.
The building would have to be near structural collapse before the town could demolish it.
Although the town hasn’t had to issue a notice of violation of codes to the Colony interests, Bullock said that the town has been “overly tolerant” of the property’s maintenance.
“The fact that you can’t see most of the noncompliance isn’t a basis for noncompliance,” he said.
Longboat Key Club and Resort
The town currently has no active application from the Longboat Key Club and Resort, Bullock said, and has been asked by the resort not to review the application that is on file.
Earlier in the week, Ocean Properties Ltd. announced plans to purchase the resort.
The town doesn’t have an active cellular-tower application on file.
But, currently, the town is considering how to implement a set of policies that recognize the importance of telecommunications, while minimizing impact on properties.
You thought the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort and beach renourishment moved at a snail’s pace?
Well, you haven’t sat through a collective bargaining session.
Bullock proposed freezing the town’s firefighter- and general-employee pension plans in May and switching employees to 401(a) accounts for future benefits.
Bullock told the audience that the town is nearing the end of good-faith negotiations with its firefighters and could head to impasse soon. If an impasse occurs, a third-party magistrate would review the dispute and make a recommendation to the town and firefighters.
If they can’t agree, the Town Commission would make a decision that would only be effective through the end of the fiscal year.
General employees, who aren’t currently represented by a union, will vote on whether to form a collective-bargaining unit, with 16 of 42 eligible employees having recently signed cards asking for a union vote. If employees choose to form a union, the town would be required by law to negotiate with that union.
The town hasn’t formally presented proposed changes to the police plan, because contract negotiations with the police union won’t begin until next spring.
The town is required by law to ensure that employees receive the benefits they have already earned, which typically happens by purchasing an annuity for the employee.
What does all that mean for taxpayers, who currently have an unfunded pension liability of approximately $27 million?
“It will come to roost at the taxpayers’ door, probably in the form of a referenda question,” Bullock said.