South sidewalk, decreased revenue topic at GIBA quarterly meeting

August 21, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority Quarterly Board meeting was held on Tuesday, August 18, virtually and in the offices of the Authority.

The Members of the Authority were updated on the traffic and revenue figures for 10 months to date for the 2020 fiscal year. The closings of the beach and businesses by State of Florida and Lee County mandate for the months of March, April and May created a reduced toll revenue by comparison with same months in 2019 of -17 percent in discount passes and -32 percent in cash (non-discounted) tolls. The revenue loss for these months was $395,000.

It was also reported that beginning in late May after the beaches had reopened the revenue has resumed to its normal levels.

The Finance Committee report included a review of the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget. With the revenue numbers beginning to return to standard expectations and finalized through July 31st, the Board reviewed the values of all the expense categories and approved the budget for the next fiscal year beginning October 1, 2020.  In addition, Suplee, Shea, Cramer, and Rocklein, P.A. were approved as auditors for 2020.

The 2021 approved budget continues to reflect the Board’s priority to designate sufficient funds for all recognized bridge and causeway improvements, as well as a reserve for unexpected maintenance.  A second priority confirmed by the Board is to continue the advanced payments for the outstanding bridge construction loans.

The Engineering Committee reviewed the temporary jack assembly that would be used in case of an end lift failure as well as a reserve for unexpected maintenance such as the lightning strike that happened on July 19th and caused damage to the generator electronics.

The Governance Committee reported on the long-term staffing of the administrative office and commended current staff for their additional efforts during the search for a new customer service representative who started July 26th.

The Board reviewed the status of the construction process for the addition of the sidewalk to the southern roadway and expect to have a contract finalized with construction to begin in early fall.  The completion date is expected to be by December 31st. The construction company and their timeline will be provided in the next few weeks.

The annual financial report can be found at https://apps.fldfs.com/LocalGov/Reports/