BELLEAIR BEACH -- With some added developments divulged at Monday night's City Council meeting, it appears that the cost of the new city hall could be well above $2 million.
In the last go-round, Bert Cutler, then on the council and a main driving force for the city hall, had pared back plans to a projected cost of about $1.5 million. But City Manager Reid Silverboard came up with two propositions Monday night that will, if accepted (and they were initially), boost the cost by more than $700,000.
Silverboard proposed that the city buy property adjacent to the present city hall that would give the city extra space for the future. The possible cost of that land is pegged at $348,000.
The other idea was that the present plans for the new city hall be enlarged by 2,000 square feet. At an estimated cost of $180 a square feet, mentioned by Councilmember Stan Sofer, that would be $360,000.
At this stage, that would bring the cost of the new city hall to more than $2.25 million.
The cost of the 868 square foot property next to city hall would be funded by folding the price into the bond issue that will fund the city hall.
In other action, Silverboard made a convincing enough argument, backed by all the members of the council present except Sofer, to persuade the council to allow him to have an assistant.
Silverboard stressed that the job was not one of a clerical nature but was a "professional level administrator."
"This is not an administrative assistant, but a professional who will deal with other governments at their level of knowledge," Silverboard said.
Sofer was unalterably opposed to the idea. He was of the idea that the job styled assistant to the mayor would be subsumed into the city manager job when the council was contemplating the implementation of the new form of government last year.
But Mayor Rudy Davis pointed out that many tasks are being imposed on the city by other government requirements. Silverboard said, "It is just too much. I can't get to it all and some of these tasks are time sensitive. Deadlines by law must be met."
Councilmember Lynn Rives cautioned against "micro-managing" and urged that Silverboard be allowed to do his job. Jeff Coulson also joined in backing Silverboard's request as did Donna Durante.
Paul Marino, the city attorney, clinched the argument when he said that in actuality all Silverboard was requesting of the council was a change in name and classification of the job.
"The job is there already," Marino said. "It is funded. The manager is being courteous to the council to have this discussion. It is within his authority to fill the job."
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