After lengthy debate, the Mexico Beach City Council voted unanimously last week to extend the canal seawall project an additional 85 linear feet towards the mouth of the canal at a cost of $92,466.

The vote came during a Jan. 24 special meeting.

While the entire council could agree that the project is needed, there was lengthy discussion over the matter of the demolition of the existing seawall.

In the end the council decided that they will hold another special meeting to finalize the demolition component of the project after an exploratory inspection of the depth of the existing wall is made by the city’s public works department.

According to Jeff Brittian, engineer from Dewberry-Preble Rish, the steel sheet-pile components had to be ordered by the end of January, to ensure delivery by February, and to secure a completion date by the second week of March, depending on weather and condition of the seawall during demolition.

In closing Mayor Tom Bailey said “We’ve got to order the material, that is the only time sensitive thing right now.”

The $92,466 includes the cost of the steel sheet-piles, as well as insulation of the sheet-piles and a concrete cap. The council we allocate funds for the demolition of the existing seawall after the exploratory survey of the condition of the wall has been made.

Sewer Allocation

The council also agreed unanimously to amend the wastewater treatment contract with Bay County.

The city will add nearly 150,000 gallons to its allocation, taking the new allocation total to 473,000 gallons per day. This increase will cost the city about $77,000 per year.

City Administrator Mell Smigielski believed that funds already in the sewer fund, as well as additions to the sewer fund through new construction will cover the additional costs.

“At this point we don’t anticipate any increases (to sewer bills), but we will have to look at this during our budget season in July,” said Smigielski. “At that point we will make the decision whether it (additional costs) are going to have an effect on it (sewer and water bills).”

“Keep in mind that Farmdale has nothing to do with the need for this allocation; it is something we were required to do even before Farmdale was thought of,” Smigielski added.

The amended contract will now go in front of the Bay County Board of Commissioners on Feb.7, where it is expected to pass.