May 1, 2012
The Marine Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Jeff Marker, Rick Harris, and Scott Mason. Also present were the County Administrator, Hunter Walker and Public Works Director, Avis Whitfield. Jeff Marker called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.
The minutes of the March 6, 2012 meeting were approved.
Mr. Marker opened the meeting for public input. George Engstrom of 5660 Tarpon Court, Milton asked the Committee to request that the Board of County Commissioners implement a “No Wake Zone” or a speed restriction at the east end of Indian Bayou in a channel created by the shore and a small island. He indicated that speeding jet skiers are causing a safety issue for swimmers and fishermen.
Mr. Walker advised that this is an issue that has to be implemented by the FWC but the County can contact the FWC with a recommendation and if they approve the request they will allow the County to place the signage. FWC will only enforce the restrictions if they have approved the placement of the signs.
Mr. Marker said it sounds like something the MAC will support but he would like to have this item placed on the next MAC agenda to give everyone involved an opportunity to be heard.
Mr. Walker noted that he will add this item to the June 5, 2012 Marine Advisory Committee meeting and recommended that the Engstroms have their neighbors join them in a Petition requesting that this item be considered.
LIVE OAK BOAT RAMP UPDATE
Mr. Walker advised that the Live Oak boat ramp parking lot project was estimated to cost about $201,000 and it has been reported that the cost of the land has been reduced from $130,000 (which was included in the previous estimate) to about $95,000 which will make the project estimate about $167,000.
Mr. Walker advised that FBIP grant funds cannot be used for property purchases but can be used for improvements. Avis Whitfield added that FBIP grant funds could be used for design and permitting this year and construction and improvements next year if the County owns the land to be improved.
Rick Harris asked how much grant money could be used for improvements. Shelia Harris replied that it will not pay 100 percent. The county will have to provide match funding and in-kind services but there is no required match amount. Mr. Marker pointed out that the County might not be awarded the grant. Mr. Walker agreed and asked Ms. Harris if there is anyway to get the grant without owning the property. She replied that you have to have site control of the property.
Mr. Marker stated that he does not feel comfortable taking $170,000 from Boater Registration Funds. Mr. Harris reminded him that only $95,000 is needed for the land purchase. Mr. Marker agreed but noted that we would need the balance for improvements and Mr. Harris pointed out that the purchase of the land and the improvements do not have to be in the same year, giving us time to grow our Boater Registration Funds. Mr. Harris recommended that the property be purchased. Mr. Mason noted that we have a boat ramp at this location already and the property would allow us to add parking that is needed to avoid parking in the street. Mr. Marker noted that it is a conscription type ramp and asked about a second ramp. Mr. Whitfield said a second ramp is included in the estimate.
Mr. Marker asked if anyone had spoken with Commissioner Melvin and would he be willing to make a contribution from his Recreational Funds. Mr. Mason said he had spoken with him but Mr. Melvin did not mention the funding. Mr. Walker also advised that Ms. Cunningham had suggested using Boat Registration Fees to make a park but he reminded the committee that picnic tables and pavilions cannot be purchased with Boat Registration Fees. He also noted that residents do not usually want to have parks that would attract people into their neighborhood who want to use the park for parties.
It was noted that the Boat Registration Fund usually grows by about $70,000 each year and that if the County uses $95,000 to purchase the land $70,000 will be replaced by the next year. Mr. Walker noted that the only project for consideration from those funds at this time is the log jam on Escambia River. He explained that Escambia County will designate half of the required funds from their fees and Santa Rosa the other half. It is estimated that it will cost each county between $35,000 or $40,000. Mr. Walker said that he will discuss the Committee’s concerns about using the Boater Registration Fees with Commissioner Melvin.
After further discussion the Committee decided unanimously to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners their support of purchasing the land and make no recommendation on the funding source.
BOAT RAMP USAGE COMPLAINTS
Mr. Whitfield received a complaint about swimmers blocking access to the boat ramp at the Oyster Pile boat ramp in Bagdad. It was agreed that boaters should have the right of way to the launch and Mr. Whitfield agreed to put up signage at all the boat ramps that advise swimmers not to block access to the boat ramps.
Mr. Walker mentioned that the Escambia River log jam is still an issue and the Board is ready to act when all the permits are in place.
Mr. Harris commended Mr. Whitfield and his crew for the docks at the Archie Glover Landing. Mr. Marker agreed and added that the County has a good group of people doing a good job. Mr. Whitfield noted that the work is done by County crews and Mr. Walker noted that only funding for materials come from the Boater Registration Fees.
Mr. Whitfield reminded the Committee to think about a project for the FBIP grant cycle. The deadline is July.
NEXT MEETING DATE
The next meeting is scheduled for June 5, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.
There being no further business to come before the Committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.