BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Once Mayor John Robertson could get his colleagues off the floor where they rolled around in paroxysms of bellyaching laughter, the Belleair Shore Town Commission quickly gave a thumbs down to the county's proposal on cost allocation for the beautification of Gulf Boulevard.
What brought about these howls of unrestrained and prolonged laughter from the otherwise very dignified members of the commission at the May 16 meeting?
The county's figure for what Belleair Shore would chip in is . . . wait, are you sitting down? . . . $2.7 million.
As someone at a recent gathering of officials from the cities who would theoretically be involved in the beautification said, "Obviously they (the county) don't want to do it, so it is making it an absurdity."
Either that, or the sachems on Court Street in Clearwater want to provide amusement and laughs for those elected folks in the cities along the western Pinellas shore.
Break down $2.7 million for Belleair Shore, which is just short of a mile long and the cost would come out at about $530 a foot.
That kind of money would take care of the town's yearly budget for the next 30 years at the current rate.
On top of that, there isn't that much to beautify. The town consists solely of individual homes and those amenities are taken care of by the owners. Belleair Shore is unique as a municipality in that it is entirely privately owned and there is no public property at all.
Robertson thinks that the only way any such plan would work is for the county to get the undergrounding done and let the municipalities on an individual and discrete basis take care of any beautification.
Other business taken up by the commission last Wednesday was an early look at the town's budget review for fiscal year 2008 which begins next October 1.
Expenditures are expected to stay about the same - $90,000 - Robertson said, and there isn't expected to be any change in the millage rate of .51.
A contract with the Sheriff's Office for police service will be reviewed by John Elias, the town attorney. The town will pay $1,700 a month, the same as it had been paying to the Belleair Beach Police Department which will soon be defunct.
Robertson said that the gates and fences at the beach accesses (private property belonging to Belleair Shore) will be painted.