The Oldsmar City Council recently agreed to pay a consultant $50,000 to develop a multi-modal transportation plan.
The Oldsmar City Council recently agreed to spend $50,000 to have a consulting firm develop a multi-modal transportation plan, although the decision was not unanimous.
On Tuesday, January 20, the council voted 4-1 in favor of entering a contract with Kimley Horne and Associates that calls for the consultant to “identify high priority projects that help integrate all modes of transportation including roads, transit, pedestrian and bicycle facilities with the intent of making travel easier, safer and more efficient.”
Oldsmar City Council member Jerry Beverland.
Council member Jerry Beverland reiterated his opposition to the study, which he initially expressed when the item first came before the council in May.
“The only input is what I said before—to me, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said in response to a question from Mayor Doug Bevis.
The longtime local lawmaker then went on to “expound” on the reasons behind his disapproval of the plan.
“We’re gonna devise a transportation modal plan for what?” Beverland asked. “For what? How to get out of Oldsmar or how to get into Oldsmar? It doesn’t make any sense if you’re not working with other units, other governments. And the other governments can’t get together to decide what they’re’ gonna do because they have no damn idea what to do and they’re an embarrassment.”
Beverland added that although he understands Bevis is an advocate of the plan, he’s convinced it won’t work without the full cooperation of surrounding counties.
“It’s great to have faith in it, but Pinellas County and Hillsborough County and Pasco will never get together on it,” he said.
Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.
Bevis, a member of the PSTA and Forward Pinellas boards, disagreed with Beverland’s assessment.
“I have a different opinion being active on some of these different boards,” he said. “I think there are other things we can do within Pinellas County that this can fit into their plans moving forward.”
But the mayor did accept a challenge that his fellow lawmaker laid down.
“Bring to me…whoever from Pinellas County and convince me that they’re gonna work with us,” Beverland said. “Convince me that they’re gonna work with us and I would vote for this.”
“In the not-to-distant future I’ll do that, how about that?” Bevis replied.
Council member Eric Seidel then asked City Manager Bruce Haddock for clarification as to why the project was being outsourced rather than being handled internally.
Oldsmar City Manager Bruce Haddock.
“It’s going to be pretty comprehensive in what they look at, both in the modes of transportation to include automobile and truck,” Haddock said. “Longer range, there’s also the CSX rail and how that would play into public transit potentially in the future.”
“The other (element) is how you put all the pieces together and make the connections with our other neighbors, meaning Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and the City of Safety Harbor.”
Haddock said due to the amount of time that would need to be devoted to the study, it wouldn’t be practical to use city employees to handle it.
He also noted the study could help the city acquire additional transportation funds in the future.
“I think one of the other things that this plan will do for us is increase our likelihood of gaining additional funds, because we’ll have this as a document,” Haddock said.
“I think hopefully we can leverage this into some financial projects down the road.”
Ultimately the item passed by a vote of 4-1, with Beverland casting the lone dissenting vote.
“And I can’t tell you how happy I am to be on the tail end of that 4-1!” Beverland added after the final roll was called.