Will all of Longboat be undergrounded?

Editor & Publisher

Longboat Key voters will decide on Tuesday if they wish to see all of the power lines buried on Longboat Key.

The question will specifically ask if the town can issue bonds not to exceed $23.85 million to bury utilities and add fiber optic cable within the key’s neighborhoods and side streets.

Town Manager Dave Bullock said if the vote passes, every overhead line on Gulf of Mexico Drive and on every side-street and property, would be buried within five years.

Voters last November, approved burying power lines on Gulf of Mexico Drive and the question posed on Tuesday will allow the expansion of that project to include the rest of the key. The addition of the dark fiber optic cable will be buried along with the utility lines and will be run also to every home and condominium that already has undergrounded utilities. In essence, the dark fiber optic will allow seamless telecommunication connectivity that could allow and enhance everything from the transmission of medical data, to WiFi and numerous other network capabilities.

If approved, each parcel of property on Longboat Key will pay an assessment toward the project that has been calculated by the town based on a method that measures the general and specific benefit each property receives. The specific cost will depend on bond rates and whether a property owner wishes to pay up front or to have the cost amortized over 30 years. The estimated assessment can be found on a link of the homepage of Longboat Key News, www.lbknews.com or at the town’s website, www.longboatkey.org

If the vote passes on Tuesday, the next step is the town will use surveyors to map the entire project.

Then, FPL will design the system and all of its elements and provide a cost as if they were to provide the work. Next, the project will go out to bid, using the specs specifically stated by FPL.

Bullock said the project will be built in phases so residents will have seamless service provided.

Sarasota County residents must vote by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road. Manatee County residents will cast their ballots at Longboat Island Chapel, located at 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

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