Maintaining 'Florida's Best Beach' comes at a cost

Equipment used to rake the beach has outlived its usefulness.
CLEARWATER — The Parks and Recreation Department is asking the city council to declare three old maintenance vehicles as surplus so they can be used to help offset the purchase of new equipment.
Because the value of the three pieces — a Barber beach rake ($14,000) and a pair of John Deere tractors ($26,000) — exceeds $5,000, the council must declare them as surplus in order for them to be used for trade-ins.
Parks director Kevin Dunbar addressed the matter during the council workshop on Monday, stating that the equipment currently being used to remove seaweed and other debris from the beach has outlived its usefulness and needs to be replaced.
“As council knows, 365 days out of the year we rake Clearwater Beach,” Dunbar said. “These have seen the end of their useful life with us, but they do have some value to trade in. The value is greater than the city manager's approval, so we are requesting your approval so that we can trade these in on the new piece of equipment that we've already been budgeted to purchase.”
Councilman Jay Polglaze asked Dunbar some basic questions about the machines and where they're used. He explained that the daily wear and tear on the vehicles makes replacing them a top priority so workers can maintain the public section of the beach.
“It's a very difficult and corrosive environment that is out there, and what we cannot afford is to have these down for any period of time,” Dunbar said.
He also explained that no property tax dollars are used to buy the equipment; the money comes from the public parking fund.
The council consented to the agenda item and is expected to approve the request during tonight's meeting.

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