A six-year dredging project along 26 properties on Siesta Key was completed Jan. 24, just prior to two tropical storms that battered the barrier island with above-average rainfall.
Residents concerned about sediment build up from stormwater runoff in the canals along Sea Plume Way will pay about $24,000 less than anticipated for the job, which was fronted with a $104,000 grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District.
Sarasota County commissioners Aug. 22 approved the assessment method used to collect non-ad valorum taxes from the property owners who applied for county help to maintain canal depth. The $240,578 will be collected at the start of 2013 to pay for the $182,437.50 construction costs and remaining county engineering and planning work, which was performed by Gator Dredging.
Sarasota County completed a feasibility study in December 2005 to determine if the area was a candidate for dredging, which involves displacing sediment to maintain waterway navigability. The 2,250 cubic yards of material extracted from the Sea Plume Way canals was loaded into trucks and shipped to east Sarasota County, for use in the Benderson Development mall project south of University Parkway.
Residents typically pay for small-scale dredge projects, said Sarasota County Public Works Project Manager Paul Semenec. The county steps in to do studies and solicit the project, which was bid on by three companies ranging from Gator’s bid of $182,437.50 to $411,600.
According to the study, lawn clippings and leaves funneling into canals were contributing factors to the muck buildup, including the possibility of bringing pollutants into waterways.
Part of the project savings comes from the number of parcels shrinking by one when two plots of land were combined, Semenec said. Also, the county tends to shoot for greater estimates to leave room for unexpected circumstances, said Semenec.
When the project was originally pitched, Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton made the only comment, noting that the fill be placed in authorized areas, and there were no comments during the latest commission action.
Because the Aug. 22 commission approval was only for the method to calculate assessments, there is a possibility that the amount could change slightly before it is adopted during budget hearings in September, Semenec said.
Sea Plume Way Project Timeline
Project: Phase Date
Petitions requesting project received: January 2004
Feasibility study completed: December 2005
Petitions in support of project construction received: October 2006
Municipal Services Benefit Unit created via ordinance: January 2007
Florida Department of Environmental protection approves project: September 2007
Construction begins: September 2011
Construction complete: January 2012
(Timeline provided by Sarasota County Public Works)