Gulfport Community Update

August 2 – 8, 2020

Pinellas County Hurricane Preparedness Guides are available at Gulfport City Hall, Library & Fire Station. Visit www.mygulfport.us/hurricane-center/ for planning tips, a list of recommended supplies and other useful hurricane-related information. The Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season ends November 30. Be prepared to stay safe.

In an effort to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all public water fountains in the City of Gulfport are turned off for an indefinite period. For more information, call 893-1000.

The City of Gulfport requires face coverings in all City facilities except the Gulfport Recreation Center. Free facemasks are available at the Gulfport Casino every weekday, 1-8 p.m., and at the Neighborhood Center 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. every weekday. Call 893-1000 or visit www.mygulfport.us/covid-19/ for more information.

Residents who are more than two months behind on their Utility Account, and within two weeks of scheduled turnoff are encouraged to apply for the City of Gulfport Residential, Recovery and Resiliency (R3) Program. Gulfport City Council approved the aid for residential customers facing interruption of service for non-payment. Visit www.mygulfport.us/paymentassistance or call 893-1016 for more information or to apply.

For a map of all Pinellas County food pantry & prepared meal distribution locations, visit www.pinellasegis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=649153407ed44e7dbd49f1131611f69f.

COVID-19 testing is available through Community Health Centers of Pinellas and the Florida Department of Health. Find testing sites near you, hours of operation, and more information at www.covid19.pinellascounty.org/testing/.

Virtual Neighborhood Watch Meetings are broadcast “live on Facebook” at 7 p.m. every Wednesday. Check updates for your area and learn about recent incidents related to burglaries, BOLO’s and stolen vehicles. Call 893-1022 or email jwright@mygulfport.us for more information.

City of Gulfport residential water customers are eligible for a rebate of up to $100 after the purchase and installation of a high efficiency water-saving toilet. The application and guidelines are available at www.mygulfport.us/toilet-rebate-program. Restrictions apply. Call 893-1016 for more information.

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Patrol

Dispatch calls for service 148
Self-initiated calls for service 415
Incident/offense reports 31
Arrests 5
Traffic citations 34
Ordinance violations 59
Residence checks 83

Examples of arrests or significant incidents or calls this week:

A resident in the 2800 block of 54th Street reported they received an unsolicited package from Amazon, and determined their credit card was used to purchase the item.

An employee at a business in the 4900 block of 17th Avenue reported that a customer used a credit card to purchase a $400 gift card, and attempted to use it a second time to purchase a gift card in the amount of $500, but the charge was declined. The customer berated store employees prior to leaving. No credit card fraud victims have come forward to date.

Officers were dispatched to a report of a suspected heroine overdose the 5100 block of 15th Avenue on July 31. Upon arrival they observed a man with labored breathing, and turning blue. A woman on scene advised a single dose of Narcan was administered, and an officer administered a second dose, which was ineffective. CPR was performed after he stopped breathing and no pulse could be detected. Gulfport Fire Department arrived shortly after, and were able to resuscitate the man who was then transported to a hospital.

Officers responded to a single vehicle crash in the 5200 block of 18th Avenue on August 20 after a driver crashed into a fence. Upon arrival they detected signs of impairment and initiated a DUI investigation. The driver submitted to a breath test which revealed a BAC of .336/.321, more than 4 times the legal limit. She was arrested.

A resident 4900 block of 10th Avenue reported on August 2 that he observed a man enter his fenced yard. The resident spoke to the man who asked if the resident had any work he could do. As the subject was walking out of the fenced yard he pushed 2 lawn mowers off of the property and began walking down the street. The resident told the man to return the mowers, but he refused, and Officer Sigsbee found him pushing them down the street. He would not stop until Officer Sigsbee blocked him with his patrol car. The man denied stealing the mowers, and would not provide his current address. The victim did not wish to prosecute and the subject was arrested for resisting an officer without violence, but due to Covid he was issued a notice to appear and released to a relative as he seemed to be under the influence of something.

An employee at a business in the 5000 block of Gulfport Boulevard reported observing a customer concealing merchandise while walking through the store on August 3. When she realized police were on the way she ran from the store and was caught by Officer Embry, dumping the items near Gulfport Elementary. She was arrested for felony retail theft due to multiple prior convictions.

Officers were dispatched to the intersection of 48th Street & 27th Avenue after a driver ran a stop sign and struck a commercial truck. She fled before officers arrived, but was identified by an acquaintance, and charges are pending.

Employees at a church in the 5800 block of 15th Street reported that someone created fake checks using the church’s account information and withdrew more than $10,000.

The Marine Unit was on the water for 27.25 hours this week; made 13 boater contacts & 2 vessel stops, wrote 1 report, started in investigation into a vessel burglary, and; received a grand theft case involving a stolen dinghy.

There are currently 23 vessels inside Gulfport City limits including 18 in the mooring field, and 10 outside City limits. Two vessels have been declared derelict; one by the St. Pete Police Department, and another by FWC.

 

Criminal Investigative Section (CIS)

New cases reviewed:             10

Cases currently assigned:      59

Detective Pham conducted follow up investigations and wrote supplemental reports for a child abuse case, a fraud, a sexual battery, and a runaway. He also attended firearms training.

Detective Crowson conducted follow up investigations and wrote supplemental reports for a burglary case, a runaway, and a criminal mischief. She also attended firearms training.

Records Section

Reports reviewed: 13
Supplements reviewed: 101
Public record requests: 21
Background checks: 2
Bike registrations: 3
Fingerprints 0
Subpoenas processed: 2
Citizens assisted: 6

 

Community Resources Division

The following written directive policies are currently in the review process: 320 – Awards and Commendations; 403 – Robberies of Financial Institutions; 645 – Traffic, Boating, DUI & Parking Citations; 709 – Access to and Use of Secure Databases, and; 803 – Automated Records Management System.

Training

13 members completed 8 hours of in-service training regarding firearms, to include annual qualification with the handgun, shotgun and newly issued patrol rifles.

Recruiting and Applicant Screening

Ten police officer applications are being processed. Detective Rossi is performing background investigations on 8 of applicants, the other 2 are complete.

Crime Prevention

Jim Wright hosted a Facebook live event on August 5 regarding crimes of opportunity.

Officer Mills is working on a problem oriented policing strategy regarding retail theft in the 49th Street area.

School Resource Officers are assigned to support the patrol section while schools are closed.

 

MARINA

Assisted with three dockside pump outs, evacuating one hundred ten gallons of waste, and one pump-out boat pump out, evacuating twenty-five gallons of waste.

Pumped six thousand two hundred seventy-eight gallons of gas, and one thousand nine hundred eighty-three gallons of diesel fuel, fueling one hundred sixty-nine vessels.

 

LIBRARY

Upcoming Programs

In an effort to protect customers, staff and event/instructional facilitators, all onsite events are cancelled until further notice.

Visit www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL/ for resources, information & virtual/online programs. You may be prompted by Facebook to login or create an account which may limit your view of the content, but you do not have to setup an account to watch videos or view photos. Previously recorded programs will remain available for 2 weeks. Click on events to see what’s coming up.

Curbside/Parking Lot pick up service is available for borrowing library materials and picking up requested printouts (reemployment forms, IRS tax forms, etc.). Patrons may access Library services and request materials via phone and email for pick up in the Library parking lot Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m, and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit www.mygulfport.us/gpl for information and catalog access.

Public programs streamed:

Monday – Friday, noon – Summer Breakspot for kids 18 and under.

Monday, July 27, 10 a.m. – Grab & Go Painting Kit.

Streamed:

Thursday, July 30, 2 p.m. – Book Club Live.

Upcoming programs:

Check for virtual/online programs, resources, and information on our Facebook page. You may be prompted by Facebook to login or create an account which may limit your view of the content, but you do not have to setup an account to watch our videos or view our photos. Visit  www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL/ and click on videos to see any of our previously recorded programs.  Programs will remain available for up to 2 weeks. You can check out upcoming events.

Staff Activities

David Mather attended Library, Information Technology, and City department meetings to update procedures and to distribute information as directed by the City Manager regarding the City’s response to the COVID-19 virus, and direct planning and procedures during restoration/modification of Library services. He also contacted/followed up various vendors to resolve issues and to initiate new services.

Carol Parker continued to be point of contact for the Gulfport Gateway Grant program, providing local businesses with credits in the amount of $1000 to be applied to their City utility accounts during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is accepting applications and required documentation, answering inquiries and following up with applicants regarding submissions. She also coordinated with Finance Director Cheryl Hannafin and Human Resource Assistant Carmen Soto Torres to review and provide feedback to applicants.

Library Staff notified patrons that items being held are available for pickup; responded to phone and email inquiries and resolved various issues; contacted vendors to update their status and to request/follow-up with quotes for new services; composed and submitted reports; and submitted bills for payment by Finance. Youth Services live-streamed programs. Staff also logged into and participated in various professional development webinars and monitored their City email accounts.

Library Services/Statistics July 26 – August 1, 2020:      

                  Items Circulated   Patrons

Weekly Circulation: 2,816 1,040
Sun. 7/26 Library closed
Monday, 7/27 599 205
Tue. 7/28 550 206
Wed. 7/29 749 157
Thu. 7/30 404 212
Fri. 7/31 265 122
Sat. 8/1 249 138
       

Staff processed 17 Library card registrations.

 

PARKS & RECREATION

Technical Events

  • Updated and emailed weekly Constant Contact newsletter to email distribution list.
  • Posted COVID-19 updates to social media sites.
  • Created press releases for City activities affected by COVID-19.
  • Used Adobe InDesign to create images.
  • Assisted with email responses for Cultural Facilities Department.
  • Updated Trumba Calendar.
  • Distributing free facemasks to residents.
  • Assisting Finance Department with R3 Grant Program.
  • Answered/transferred phone calls for City Hall Customer Service Department.

 

Visit www.mygulfport.us or www.youtube.com/user/cityofgulfport to watch videos of recent City events, or access live & web stream rebroadcasts at www.mygulfport.us/gtv640. Spread the word!

Alert Pinellas Emergency and Community Notification Service for Pinellas County enables the City to provide residents with critical information quickly in a variety of delivery methods. Visit www.mygulfport.us/alertpinellas for more information and to sign up for this FREE service. Visit www.mygulfport.us and follow the prompts to register your email address to receive City of Gulfport emergency announcements electronically.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center is closed until further notice.

The City of Gulfport Telephone Reassurance program is much more than a morning wake-up call. This free service offers Gulfport residents 50 years or older – and their families comfort, security, and peace of mind. Volunteers provide daily phone calls to registered members. If the member cannot be reached, the volunteer follows specific procedures to confirm there are no major concerns. Registration is simple and free. If you or someone you know could use this service, call 893-2237 or stop by the Gulfport Senior Center at 5501 27th Avenue.

Gulfport Extended Mobility Service (GEMS) has resumed limited, essential transportation services offering transportation to grocery stores, medical appointments, etc. for Gulfport residents 55 & older or residents with a disability can take advantage of GEMS door to door service for a yearly membership of $70 plus $2 per ride. For more information, call 893-2242.

The Senior Center participates in the Neighborly Dining & Meals on Wheels program, offering lunches for seniors 60 and older. Call Joe at 344-2111 to inquire about the program or to lend a hand as a volunteer driver.

The Gulfport Senior Center Pantry is in need of peanut butter, tuna, dry cereal, pasta sauce, soups & canned meats. The pantry is open 1 – 3 p.m. every Monday & Thursday for qualified Gulfport residents 50 & older. Applicants should bring a photo I.D., a utility bill or bank statement and proof of income (SSI). For more information, please see Rachel or call 893-1231.

The Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center has many volunteer opportunities available. If you want to make a difference and help your community, join the volunteer program at the Senior Center. It’s a great way to meet new friends and to get acquainted with more than 50 programs, classes and workshops. Volunteers assist as Lobby Receptionist, Fitness Center Attendants, Reassurance Callers, Class/Activity Instructors, Special Events, Food Pantry, Clerical Support, Flea Market, Promotions, Bingo, Card/Magazine organizing, etc. Call Rachel at 893-1231 for more information.

Visit Facebook, You Tube and GTV for virtual Chair Exercise, Chair Yoga & Sound Healing Qigong classes.

Service Stats:

  • Social Wellness Calls to Members: 875
  • Reassurance Calls: 96
  • Neighborly Care Network Meals Delivered: 844
  • Food Pantry Bags Disbursed: 10
  • Wellness Checks/Home Visits: 2
  • GEMS Trips: 73

 

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic all Cultural Facilities events are cancelled until further notice

 

RECREATION CENTER

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic all contractual classes and events are cancelled until further notice

The 2020 City of Gulfport Summer Program for children who have completed Kindergarten thru age 14 has been extended until August 14. Twenty-seven children are registered. The Summer program is operating under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, with one coach responsible for up to 9 children. Program hours are 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Extended care is not available. Registration is limited to Gulfport residents and City employees.

Staff Activities

Recreation Center Staff continues to provide services via phone & email, and to sanitize and disinfect the facility throughout the day.

Marivel Gutierrez attended an R3 Program meeting on Thursday.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT

Calls for service:

  • 51 Emergency Medical Calls
  • 2 Structure Fires
  • 4 Fire Alarms
  • 4 Vehicle Crashes
  • 1 Gas Leak
  • 2 Electrical Hazard

Life safety:

  • 11 Fire inspections
  • 2 Plans review
  • 3 C.O.s
  • 1 Fire final
  • 2 Site plans

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) meets at 7 p.m. every third Monday of the month. Call James Wright at 893-1022 for more information.

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Building Maintenance

  • Repaired AC & lights, and fabricated and installed security fence at Senior Center.
  • Installed flag pole base covers at Veterans Park.
  • Patched and painted wall on Theater loading dock.
  • Brought mail to Post Office.
  • Disinfected City Hall lobby.
  • Repaired door handle and fence at Recreation Center.
  • Installed trash receptacle at Tomlinson Park.
  • Delivered mail to main post office for Finance Department.

Parks Maintenance

  • Sanitized open public facilities hourly.
  • Picked up palm fronds at Wood Ibis Park.
  • Replaced fence posts and irrigation controller at Veterans Park.
  • Replaced sand in Recreation Center sand box.
  • Mowed City complex, Clymer, Caldwell & Veterans Parks, dog parks, Trolley Market Square, 14th Avenue median, Pasadena entrance area, and Senior Center & Library green spaces.
  • Trimmed, weeded, cleaned & mulched Beach & 49th Streetscapes and Clymer Park, and raked around benches & beach pavilions.
  • Repaired irrigation at City Complex.
  • Cleared leaves and debris from lake fountains screens at Wood Ibis Park.
  • Cleaned & sanitized event trashcans.
  • Greased mowers, sharpened blades and repaired reel mowers.
  • All City park trash and cigarette waste containers were emptied.
  • Cleaned all City playgrounds.
  • Cleaned restrooms at Little League, beach and outside Casino.
Streets & Sanitation
  • Completed billable work orders for pick-up of brush, electronics & appliances, trash & furniture, and items requested for pick-up by Code Enforcement.
  • Picked up residential bagged leaves as requested.
  • Delivered/replaced residential recycling bins with information sheets.
  • Assembled & delivered new automated trash containers and replaced broken containers as requested.
  • Continued distribution of free facemasks donated by Pinellas County.
  • Performed alley maintenance at various locations throughout City.
Water      
  • Daily chloramines sampling at points of connection to water distribution system, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Daily inspection and read of Wholesale meters, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Daily inspection and recording of rainfall, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Daily check of ground water levels, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Completed routes 9, 10, 11 & 12 of monthly meter reading schedule.
  • Disconnected water service at 33 locations for non-payment of service.
  • Completed 8 non pay rechecks to confirm water services are still off.
  • Completed 77 miscellaneous service orders generated by customer service staff.
  • Completed 13 Sunshine One-Call, Call before You Dig Utility Locates.
  • Reviewed permit applications for fences, driveways and irrigation.
  • Replaced 5 water meters with Pro-Coder R900i meters.
  • Repaired water leak at 2901 57th
  • Continued annual water system flushing and fire hydrant testing.

Sewer

  • Daily preventive maintenance and service to Lift Stations #1 and #2.
  • Daily rainfall checks and documentation, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Daily ground water elevation recording (includes Saturday & Sunday).
  • Weekly generator exercise and preventive maintenance check on Lift Stations #1 & 2, Fire Department/Garage, Police Station/City Hall, and Senior Center.
  • Collected bay water samples at Gulfport Beach, Clam Bayou & Marina for quality testing.
  • Televised sewer lateral at 1026 64th
  • Replaced ring covers on 7th Avenue, and at Beachway Mobile Home Park.
  • Cleaned sewer main at 53rd Street & 26th

Storm Water

  • Cleaned storm drain inlets throughout City.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Performed preventive maintenance and various minor repairs on City vehicles.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

TEMPORARY INSPECTION PROCEDURES DURING COVID 19: IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN INSPECTION RECORDS ALL INSPECTIONS MUST BE SCHEDULED ON THE INSPECTION LINE 893-1057 AS USUAL. THE CUT-OFF FOR INSPECTIONS REMAINS THE SAME.

The Building Division is still operating; however, the permit counter is closed to the public.

All over the counter permitting is conducted via e-mail at permits@mygulfport.us. Questions about submitting applications may be emailed to permits@mygulfport.us or by phone at 893-1024. All payments must be made by credit cards over the phone.

Outside inspections will continue and should be phoned into the inspection line at 893-1057.  Please call 893-1024 for information regarding interior inspections.

Mechanical equal change outs, water heater replacements and roof over inspections for occupied buildings are on hold until further notice, permits that expire due to this restriction will be extended without fees.

Door and window replacements (size for size, no structural), provided photo of location w/permit placard in photo, photos of shim and fastener installation and window manufacture stickers in place on windows, photos of interior and exterior calking and sealing. Provide a notarized letter of compliance (complies with manufactures approved installation specifications and Florida Building Code, Sixth Edition (2017)

Re-roof, provide photo of location w/permit placard in photo, photos of in-progress installation (underlayment, drip edge and flashing, ridge or box vent openings, roofing material identification and shingle or roof covering fasteners, etc.), photos of completed roof. Provide a notarized nailing affidavit and a notarized letter of compliance (manufactures approved installation specs and FBC, Sixth Ed. (2017)

Other inspections that may be done by providing photos and compliance letters include: drywall/tile backer, minor electric/plumbing/mechanical, non-structural framing, etc. These inspections must be pre-arranged with the inspector or building official.

All photos must be clear and legible and contain enough detail to show compliance for the inspection to be passed, they must be emailed to inspections@mygulfport.us on the day of the scheduled inspection, the subject line shall include the location address, permit number and type of inspection requested.

Inspection by affidavit or private provider must be pre-arranged with the building official and must comply with FBC-Building, Sixth Edition (2017) Section 107.6 and Florida Statute 553.791.

Property owners should be made aware of temporary inspection procedures and if on-site inspections are preferred by contractors or property owners for any of the above inspections, accurate contact information must be provided for advanced notice, the inspection will be at the inspector’s discretion and every attempt must be made by inspector, contractor and property owner to maintain 6 (six) foot social distancing.

Building Division

Before embarking on home improvement projects give us a call at 893-1024 to discuss your plans and see what permits and inspections may be necessary, and code requirements to help you through the process. Whether it’s deferred maintenance or new improvements, many elect to do these projects themselves. Building Division staff tries to take extra time to work with homeowners embarking on these do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.

On anything other than small and simple DIY projects we recommend homeowners consider using a licensed contractor. Unless you are very handy and have the necessary skills to take on more complex construction projects, larger jobs can quickly overwhelm those less skilled in construction practices and management.

Don’t take chances with unlicensed contractors

Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board helps guide homeowners in hiring a licensed contractor for home improvements

Hiring an unlicensed contractor can put residents’ homes in jeopardy, produce safety hazards and cost extra money to homeowners when work is not done correctly.

The function of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board is to regulate construction and home improvement contractors practicing in all Pinellas jurisdictions.

The licensing board can tell you if a contractor has a license. They must be licensed by the board or the state of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and be registered with the board. Licensed contractors have passed a competency exam and perform electrical, plumbing or structural work in compliance with the building codes.

The state requires licensed contractors to have workers’ compensation and liability insurance and the board monitors their insurance coverage. Without these, if a worker gets injured on the job or damages property, the homeowner is liable. Many insurance policies will not pay claims if an unlicensed contractor was doing the work.

When selecting a contractor, remember:

  • Talk to friends and neighbors for recommendations.
  • Home improvement contractors of various skills must be licensed with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. The license number must be displayed on advertising as well as on contracts. You can verify a contractor’s license number and check any complaints by contacting the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board at 582-3100.
  • Check with the Department of Justice and Consumer Services at 464-6200 to determine the number of complaints against a business.
  • Ask the contractor for references and follow through with verifying them.
  • Ask the contractor for proof of insurance.
  • Never deal with anyone who solicits or appears at your home unannounced.
  • Obtain a minimum of two bids for the work to be done.

When signing a contract, make sure:

  • All work should be specifically stated in the contract.
  • An approximate starting and completion date should be included.
  • All warranties including labor and materials should be addressed.
  • A payment schedule should be contained in the contract.
  • Do not give a large deposit before the beginning of work and do not pay the balance until completion.
  • A three-day right to cancel rarely applies to home improvement contracts.
  • Do not sign a blank contract or one containing blank spaces.
  • Watch for non-refundable deposits and non-escrow accounts. In new home construction, part of the purchase price must be escrowed (this can be waived).

For more information call the board at 582-3100 or visit www.pcclb.com.

Business Tax Receipts

A Business License is good from October of the current year through September 30 of the following year. For questions regarding business tax receipts, call Lisa Giddens at 893-1063.

Thinking of starting a new business? Checkout out the City’s website for the City of Gulfport New Business Checklist at www.mygulfport.us under the Community Development Building Department tab in the Information & Regulations section. Call Lisa Giddens at 893-1063 for more information.

Call the Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development at 464-7332 or visit www.pced.org/entrepreneurs for information, including a number of workshops on starting a new business. They also offer personalized business consulting to help you become successful with your startup business.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, Code Enforcement will focus primarily on life/safety issues.

Because the City has one inspector who focuses on one section at a time, we depend on residents to call in violations when they see them. We will inspect within one working day of a complaint to verify violations. Please call 893-1061 if you see violations. If the inspector is unavailable, leave as detailed a message as possible to help us find the violation. Complaints can be anonymous, but if you want a follow-up you will have to leave contact information which means the complaint is no longer anonymous. Any personal information you provide becomes part of the public record, which any other citizen has the right to review. E-mail correspondence is considered a public record. If you wish to make a complaint, e-mail communications are not anonymous.

Planning & Zoning COVID-19 Precautions

We ask that questions be directed to staff via telephone or e-mail. Please do not come into the office for inquires. Inquires can be directed to 892-1087 or to permits@mygulfport.us.

The zoning map can be found on the City website at www.mygulfport.us/community-development/. The Zoning Code (Chapter 22 of the Code of Ordinances) can be found at www.library.municode.com/fl/gulfport/codes/code_of_ordinances.