BELLEAIR BEACH -- When talk of a new city hall first surfaced in Belleair Beach several years ago the proposal envisioned a two story edifice with a veranda going along a couple of sides of the upper building just outside a restaurant.
With reports that a private group that has struggled to run the city for years now becoming moribund, dreams of a clubhouse have obviously faded.
Even at that, a price of $2 million or so was talked about. Then that pipe dream retreated, but the price advanced and it was up around $3 million before an outcry from citizens recently forced a more realistic stance.
Bert Cutler, the driving force behind the new city hall, took some advice and checked out the Belleair Bluffs city hall built a few years ago for a modest $1 million or so.
As a result, the price of the Belleair Beach product has come down drastically and now a $1.6 million price tag is being talked.
Cutler said that after a visit to Belleair Bluffs his Building Steering Committee came up with a revised square footage of 9,326 a drastic reduction from the 16,000 square feet that had been discussed.
Cutler's committee has gotten down to nitty-gritty details and with this kind of specificity and a lower price tag is probably hoping to sell the idea to reluctant residents of Belleair Beach once it gets another public airing.
While Cutler and his committee never operated in secrecy, residents of the city claim to have very little knowledge of city hall plans and when the subject has come up at City Council meetings there is very little enthusiasm for a new building by the citizenry.
Interestingly, the plans for the main activities of the new city hall will take up some 5,125 square feet, according to committee estimates.
Listed are space for an administrative secretary and reception area, offices for the city clerk and finance officer (120 square feet each), city manager office (180 square feet), 3,000 square feet for the council chamber and a small office for what is called an "administrative work assistant's office."
What that tortured language designates is not known. It does not seem possible in tiny Belleair Beach that the new city manager, coming in March, would retain the questionable services of the present highly paid assisant to the mayor.
There are no spaces listed for a mayor's office or individual council members offices. But plans call for the staff to have the comfort of a shower in its bathroom area.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition