BELLEAIR BEACH - Belleair Beach's new lineup discussed three key questions at Monday's special council meeting.
With new Mayor Lynn Rives presiding (he had been a council member), the key subjects were the future of police service - that is what entity will provide it, what will the new city hall look like, and launching a search for a city manager to replace the departing Reid Silverboard, who has been hired by Treasure Island.
Council members decided to move expeditiously on the police matter.
The Sheriff's Office is already in the running with an estimated cost of some $382,000 (a savings of more than $200,000) to fill in for the city's police department that was abolished by referendum vote March 13.
Also apparently interested in providing police service are Clearwater and Belleair. Those cities are being contacted to give their proposals.
A quick response is hoped for - by next month - so that a decision can be made.
One of the provisions in awarding a contract is that whatever agency is chosen, it will be required to take all the present officers on the Belleair Beach police force.
The city hall will be smaller because what had been earmarked for police space is now greatly reduced. The estimate is that 2,000 square feet less will be required for the new building.
Added good news to that is that the square footage cost estimate has been reduced from about $300 to perhaps about $245.
At the earlier 12,000 square feet at $300 contrasted with the new 10,000 square feet at $245 represents a possible savings of about $1.1 million.
Rob Baldwin, a new member of the council, who is in the construction business dealing with large buildings, will be part of a council committee working with Harvard, Jolley, Cleese, the architects on revising city hall requirements.
Another aspect that may change the procedure as the city hall construction moves ahead is that the city has bought a house on Cedar Drive that could possibly be used for city business.
This would enable the present city hall building to be razed and make all the land on the site immediately available for the new city hall.
An immediate search will be launched to replace Silverboard.
While there was talk that with the elimination of the police department perhaps a city manager is not needed, this was discounted because of the heavy requirements for interaction with the county, state and Southwest Florida water district.
The consensus among council members was that there is just too much to do and the idea of returning to a strong mayor is too fraught with potential problems.