At its regular public meeting Tuesday, the Port St. Joe City Commission unanimously voted to pursue renovations to both Sleeping Beauty and the Eglin House, the two keepers’ quarters adjacent to the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in George Core Park.

 

 

 

At its regular public meeting Tuesday, the Port St. Joe City Commission unanimously voted to pursue renovations to both Sleeping Beauty and the Eglin House, the two keepers’ quarters adjacent to the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in George Core Park.

Included in the projects are plans to construct an ADA complainant ramp onto Sleeping Beauty, exterior repairs to the Eglin House, air-conditioning work on Sleeping Beauty,as well as electrical work.

While commissioners recognized the upcoming need to repaint the lighthouse, they noted that the painting was the last priority at this time.

“I went the other day and looked at the lighthouse,” said Commissioner William Thursbay. “Yes, it does need to be painted but you know it also is a historic lighthouse, it’s not supposed to look brand new.”

The cost of renovation and repainting of the lighthouse was too high for the $125,000 state parks and recreation grant, with the painting itself nearing $200,000.

The whole project hinges on the state allowing Bill Kennedy, the executive director of the Port St. Joe Redevelopment Agency, to act as the general contractor of the project awarding individual jobs to sub-contractors.

An initial bid by a general contractor came in over than the amount of the grant, forcing the redevelopment agency to get creative.

CDBG grant

The city’s struggle with a CDBG grant to complete water line replacement in North Port St. Joe may be coming to an end.

Bruce Ballister, a senior planner with the Apalachee Regional Planning Council, informed the commission that he is simply waiting for the release of funds notification from the state level, which he expects this quarter.

When that notification comes the project will be advertised and bids will be collected.

Ballister noted that the project went through a lengthy environmental review, and stated he hoped for a quick turnaround now that the state has a permanent CDBG reviewer in place.

Due to deadline and paperwork issues, the grant had initially been denied in 2015.

The city carved out North Port St. Joe for water line replacement work in order to apply for CDBG funding, rather than include that sector in the loan-grant package from the State Revolving Fund which funded replacement in other areas on the city lines.

Two resolutions

The commission also unanimously passed two new resolutions.

One urges members of the Florida legislature to oppose House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 1158 in the Florida Legislature, which would remove the powers of cities to adopt new regulations on businesses.

The second states the city’s support for amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which are now being discussed at the national level.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act regulates the federal fisheries and the move by the city follows a similar move by Bay County.

Bay County officials sent a letter to the governor and federal officials urging them to seek amendments to the fishery laws.

Utility permits

After recent problems with the city’s Public Works Department finding outside contractors working on or near city utilities, John Grantland, the city’s Public Works Director, has drafted a Utility Permit application at the commission’s request.

The city will explore the best way to notify contractors that work in the community and the possibility of fees and penalties if not followed.

Commissioner Rex Buzzett was happy with the submitted document but wants the city to pass an ordinance allowing for application of fines if rules are broken.

“I think to make it work we need to put some teeth in it,” said Buzzett. “If they don’t get one of these permits there should be consequences.”

The city will study the fees of surrounding cities to better get a handle on the appropriate amount.