LAKE PLACID — Town Council said thanks but no thanks to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s funds at Monday night’s regular council meeting. The $8,721 came in the form of a grant that was to be used to fix the floating boat dock at the Lake June Park beach area.
Unfortunately, after two years of waiting for the contract from FWC, Town Administrator Phil Williams noticed some red flags. Williams had Town Attorney Bert J. Harris III review the contract. The flag in question was FWC’s demand that the boat dock be in a space dedicated for boating and an area around it be prohibited by swimmers. The wording in the document was ambiguous about the distance between the dock and swimmers
The FWC agreement says, “The Grantee agrees to dedicate the project site as a boat access facility for the use and benefit of the public for the duration of the agreement. Such dedication must occur before any grants funds are reimbursed.”
Because the slow reimbursement history of FWC and the restrictions of the grant, Williams brought it up to council members in March for guidance on whether or not to accept the grant.
The matching funds the town would have to come up with was $970. The council members did not like the idea of “being in FWC’s back pocket as far as what happens to our swimming area,” Harris said in March. The item was tabled so staff could try to come up with better solutions, including fixing the existing dock or building a stationary one with town funds.
Staff did come back with better options and it took very little conversation to waive FWC’s grant and restrictions and say yes to a different solution.
The town had several bids and several options from repairing to replacing the current dock. One company did have to be eliminated because they could not build the dock according to Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We can get that dock fixed for $4,500,” Williams said. “I don’t think that FWC will come in here and tell us we can’t have a boat dock there. I think they are going to insist that we have it dedicated for boating. Now, what does that mean in their terms? The bottom line is for $4,500 we don’t even have to worry about it.”
The council voted unanimously to award Costello Brothers Marine Construction, Inc. the job to fix the dock.