Tampa City Council reverses Administration on Bayshore Generator by Mitch E. Perry

08/17/06

Feeling heat from Bayshore residents, the Tampa City Council today voted to direct City staff to find funding to move a proposed emergency generator away from its current location along Bayshore Boulevard.

Currently an 8 foot concrete enclosure sits along a median on Bayshore, in front of the Monte Carlo condominium tower. The generator that would fit inside that is scheduled to be installed within the next month. But since the enclosure was installed earlier this summer, neighborhood opposition has been building to have it moved. Tampa Utilities Administrator Steve Daignault told the City Council that because of sewage spills in the area, the City is obligated under a consent agreement with both the state and Hillsborough County to fix that problem. That meant upgrading pumps at a nearby pumping station, which requires an emergency generator. (roll tape#1 o.q.�hidden from view�)

In responding to neighborhood complaints that the site of the generator could be moved, Dagnault disagreed, saying it would be far too expensive, at a cost estimated to be between $360 and $520,000.

Councilman John Dingfelder, who represents the district, said that an alternative site had been located, behind the Monte Carlo building.. He said the it was a bad decision at a wrong location (roll tape#2 o.q.� at its best�)

But having said that, Dingfelder was prepared to put the issue on the agenda to come back in a year, after shrubbery had potentially grown around the structure, making it more aesthetically pleasing.

But then several citizens spoke went before the Council to denounce the placement of the generator in their neighborhood.

Bernice Ross stood with a petition that she said had been signed by over 600 people (roll tape#3 o.q.� and it must be rectified�)

The City of Tampa is contemplating establishing an Overlay District for the Bayshore, which would establish guidelines in order to preserve the residential and scenic section of town. But Grace Weller says the generator makes a mockery of that (roll tape#4 o.q.�and preserve�)

Al Pacayo told the Council that placing the generator along the Bayshore was simply a mistake. He said the City should pay the hundreds of thousands it would cost to move it to another location, because that would still be cheaper than paying court costs from citizens who will sue the City (roll tape#5 o.q.�the third one�)

After those people and many more complained to the Council, Councilman John Dingfelder had a change of heart, and said spending up to $500,000 to move the generator really wasn’t that much money to appease angry Bayshore residents (roll tape#6 o.q.�I think that’s reasonable�)

At that point, other council members fought about how quickly they could find the money in the City’s budget to pay for it….These are councilmember Mary Alvarez, and Rose Ferlita (roll tape#7o.q.�it done now�)

The Council voted to have the Budget Department work with the Utilities Department to see what the impact would be on taking $500,000 out of the waste water department.

A second motion would be to have the Council urge the administration to not install the generator until after the September 14th meeting budget meeting.

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