Despite an email from former District Two Commissioner Jim Parent suggesting a 196% price increase, the St. Pete Beach City Commission voted May 13 to approve installing stamped concrete in parts of Pass-a-Grille.
Initially, the commission’s agenda included the vote on sidewalk and curb replacement as part of its consent agenda, which would have meant the commission would have voted on the approval without any discussion.
District One Commissioner Terri Finnerty asked the approval for the $54,000 sidewalk and curb repair and replacement be moved off the city’s consent agenda and onto the regular agenda to satisfy concerns voiced by one of her constituents. District Three Commissioner Greg Premer said he had received similar emails.
“I don’t think the intent was to have pavers throughout Pass-a-Grille,” Public Works Director Steve Hallock said of the expense. He explained the city started using stamped hexagonal patterns on some concrete walkways in Pass-a-Grille after the city opted not to replace the historical hexagonal pavers with the same. He also explained the stamped concrete added $6,000 to the total cost and that he chose the area in most severe disrepair to spend roughly $50,000 on sidewalk replacement every year and that, for the current fiscal year, that area was parts of Pass-a-Grille.
Mayor Maria Lowe criticized Parent for his email, although he was not in attendance at the meeting
“Mr. Parent…would be able to talk about this instead of sending emails if he was still sitting here,” Lowe said.
District Four Commissioner Melinda Pletcher, who represents Pass-a-Grille, stopped short of calling Parent out by name, but did say that “obviously a very disgruntled person” sent a “sensational” email “to everyone.”
After the public comment on the issue, Lowe called Greg Nicklaus, owner of the Sirata Beach Resort, to the podium, telling him she knew he had sent an email as well. He told her he was “happy to be part of the solution.”