PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Penny for Pinellas tax is funding road improvements on a stretch of Starkey Road near Park Boulevard to the tune of $13 million or 1.3 billion pennies paid by Pinellas taxpayers if you want to count it that way. But recently, some neighboring residents have started questioning why they aren’t seeing any work on that project.
“I haven’t seen anybody working for the past two weeks maybe three weeks,” said Larry Bailey who owns a condo at The Boulevard Club which faces Starkey Road.
When we visited the job site Monday there were no crews actively working with the exception of three men sitting on the side of the road eating lunch around noon.
“That could be a misperception,” said Pinellas County Senior Engineer Gregory Cutrone. “You may not see them building anything of major activity but they do work at night as well.”
The project engineer for David Nelson Construction which has the contract for roadwork insists workers are on the job every day–regardless of what Bailey sees or doesn’t see. “There are ebbs and flows to every project,” said Tom Woodward.
Bailey and his wife Meridith are concerned about another ebb and flow they’ve been experiencing lately – flood waters that start at the condo complex entrance and flow for two blocks to the rear where they reside. The Baileys insist that after every heavy downpour the road leading into Boulevard Club Condominiums becomes impassable the water fills their parking lots.
“Like a river,” said Meridith Bailey. “It’s flooded both streets are flooded and around the complex is flooded.”
Cutrone says this is the first time he’s heard about that problem but insists that the filters that construction workers have placed around storm drains on the road project are supposed to strain pollution out of the water, not to block it from draining.
“You brought this to our attention this morning we’ve got our staff out there going out there to take a look at it to determine what is going on because quite frankly we don’t know,” Cutrone told 8 On Your Side Monday.
Woodward says his construction managers toured the site Monday in response to the flooding concerns and denies any responsibility.
“There’s nothing we’re doing that would impact the Boulevard Club Condos,” Woodward said.
Pinellas County engineers aren’t so quick to concede what the problem is and said they were still investigating late Monday photos of the flooding taken by the Baileys during recent rain events.
According to Pinellas County spokesperson Josh Boatwright , the Starkey Road improvement project is due for completion between October and December of 2017 as contractors transform sections of the roadway from four lanes to six to enhance major intersections near Park Boulevard. The Baileys can’t wait.