News-Sun file City Pier Beach has been closed to swimming since a man drowned in the dredge hole in 2008.
published: Friday, December 21, 2012
Council makes a move with dredge hole project
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Sebring council members tackled the drawn out City Pier dredge hole project during Tuesday night's council meeting. City Pier Beach has been closed for a number of years due to the potentially hazardous dredge hole just off the shoreline, voting to move forward on the project to fill the hole.
Bids went earlier this year out for the filling project using the dredge pumping option. The process will take sand from the bottom of the lake and pump it into the hole.
The approval process for the project took quite some time. Before the bidding could even begin, the city had to obtain permission from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the state, the Highlands County Board of County Commission and a few other entities.
The first set of bids for the dredge hole project were unanimously rejected by city staff because the bids came in much higher than anticipated. The project, which was slated to be completed by late May, was started again early in June after four bids came in for more than $100,000, well above the budgeted $80,000.
However, the city along with the Tourism Development Council (TDC) and the Soil and Water Conservation Board continued their agreement to fund the budgeted $80,000 as one-third partners. The three entities will all pony up $26,666 ($2 more for the city) in order to cover the original budgeted amount.
City Administrator Scott Noethlich received the latest bids for the Lake Jackson City Pier Dredge Hole project on Dec. 3. The lowest bid for the project again came in well over the projected cost. Energy Resources sent in the lowest bid at $114,417, a difference of $34,417.
"We've got to fix the hole because we're liable ... we made it. We need to get it moving," council president John Griffin said.
Mayor George Hensley agreed.
"If we have the infrastructure funding, it seems to me like it'd be reasonable to use that and get it done," Hensley said.
"I agree," said Councilman Bud Whitlock. "We need to go ahead and get it done."
Currently, the city has more than $100,000 of "uncommitted funds" in its infrastructure account. The funds could be used to provide the remainder.
Councilman Andrew Fells agreed that leaving the beach area in its current state is not an option; Fells felt that other action should be taken, however, in acquiring the additional needed funds for the project.
"I don't want to drag this out any further," Fells said. "I would like to, at least, quite honestly, ask the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) to put in the $26,666 like the other entities did. Then we'll make up the difference of the $34,417."
Council members passed the motion to move forward with the dredge hole project with a 3-2 vote. Council members John Clark and Scott Stanley cast dissenting votes. Liaisons were instructed to approach CRA for $26,666 that will go toward the balance of the bid at a later date. The remaining $7,751 will be discussed also at a later date but is likely to be taken care of by the infrastructure funds.
You better check on that! (by: I'm watching you - 12/21/2012)
CRA Rule #1: If it isnt in you plan, you can't do it. And you cant say its for recreation and drawing people to the beach either.
(by: Stephanie - 12/21/2012)
Why don't they remove the sand from under the bridge to Little Lake Jackson, fill the dredge hole and solve two problems?
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