Town of Palm Beach Task Force Looking to Expedite Utility Line Work
One of the goals for the Town of Palm Beach was to have utility lines buried underground to beautify the Town for this upcoming fiscal year. This project is quite an undertaking, and the mandate to do it timely and efficiently requires a lot of preparation.
When first developed, the plan included $85 million worth of work over a period of ten years for construction.The Task Force and community officials are not thrilled about the amount of time this will take. This week, representatives from Jupiter Inlet Colony, Gulfstream and Jupiter Island came to shed some light on their struggles faced while burying their utility lines.
These municipalities brought valuable information for the Town of Palm Beach Task Force, consultants on the project, and the Town Manager. The current 16-stage process that will be simultaneously starting from the tips of the Island and slowly working towards Midtown would be over the course of a decade. Many on the Task Force are not pleased with this plan.
The Town of Palm Beach has stated they are open to bidding the project to esteemed agencies nationwide. They will be invited to the next task force meeting as well. Opening up the bidding process to a multitude of agencies will give the Town of Palm Beach and the Task Force many options for how to best asses this project.
The civil engineer hired by the Town to oversee the process of this extensive project insists that the ten-year timeline was to make the impact of the project less invasive. It is feasible to expedite it, but will create numerous headaches for residents. Year round construction will help the process, but could create more traffic congestion with detours and various main streets closed.
Aside from the timeliness of the project, the 85 million dollars is the next item up for discussion. There have been several proposals; one included making it a bond issue that would be put to vote for by the Town of Palm Beach residents. Most likely a loan will have to be taken out by the Town to fund this project over the duration, and no one can predict unforeseen costs either.
The next Utilities Task Force Committee Meeting is scheduled for August 4th at 9a.m. and will be in the Council Chambers of Town of Palm Beach Town Hall. They are open to the public and are encouraged for all concerned surrounding the burying of utility lines to attend.
Current Members of the Task Force are:
- Jeffery Smith, Chair
- Wilbur Ross, Vice Chair
- Dennis Bottorff
- W. Anthony Dowell
- Susan Gary
- Donald Gulbrandsen
- Thomas Parker