Stormwater quality report

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This past Monday, a presentation was given by Al Garza on Storm Water/Surface Water Quality Assessment. The report is below for anyone interested to view:

Surface Water Surface Water Larry B. Johnson


Curbside recycling is on the way!

Tonight the Pensacola City Council will be voting on a plan to bring curbside recycling to ALL of the City of Pensacola.

Since last year 375 East Hill residents have been participating in a pilot recycling program. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

It was determined that most citizens accepted and participated in the program. Through the first 32 weeks, 59.9 tons of recyclables were recovered, for an average of 9.2 pounds per customer each week. This equals a 22% weight reduction of solids entering the landfill.

There was a survey done in December 2008, to which about half of the 375 customers responded. I've attached a presentation below which outlines the survey results.

The presentation also summarizes the potential savings of this program. If we recycle 20% of our garbage waste stream, we can reduce our landfill waste by 4,640 tons and realize a cost savings of $165,000 based on current tipping fees. This savings assumes $0 tipping fee on recyclables. We can realize the savings of over $47,000 in our Transload Contract with Allied Waste. However, these savings might be slightly offset by the increase of city collection trucks having to direct haul to the recyclable process facility.

The presentation also details the financial impact to the City in terms of initial expense as well as the proposed changes to the collection schedules.

Presentation Recycling

If approved by Council, City staff has a target date to start city-wide curbside recycling beginning June 15, 2009.

I am very excited about this historic time in our community when we have finally implemented city-wide recycling. The time for this change is long overdue. In our efforts to increase economic growth and attract new companies to our community, I think this is an important step in showing our community is making a step in the right direction for a progressive green community.

Although glass and Styrofoam will not be collected curbside, we will still be able to drop off glass recyclables at the current drop off sites around the city. City staff is also looking into the possibility of having drop off sites for Styrofoam products.

One of my campaign promises was to implement city-wide recycling and with this vote it will happen. I would like to thank City Staff and my fellow City Council members for working to achieve this goal. I sincerely appreciate all those who have e-mailed and called me to express their support for city-wide curbside recycling. I look forward to receiving my own brown can.


Turtle-Friendly Lighting on Pensacola Beach

Although this is not specifically a city issue, it is an issue that is nonetheless very important to me. Growing up in Pensacola, I long been a lover of our beautiful Pensacola Beach and its sea turtle population. Judging from the turtle license plates I see on the road, many in our community share my passion.

I spoke with Mr. Buck Lee, executive director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, about turtle-friendly lighting.

Turtle friendly lighting is important because bright, unnatural lighting can disortient sea turtle hatchlings and cause them to head inland instead of out to the Gulf. When this happens, it almost always ends fatally for the hatchlings as they are often killed by vehicular traffic etc.

We are all aware of the new Indigo Hotel going up on Pensacola Beach and other projects either under construction or on the drawing board. Mr. Lee has assured me there is an ordinance, which is enclosed, that addresses the issue of turtle-friendly lighting. He assured me that all new developments on Pensacola Beach will install turtle-friendly lighting.

I encouraged Mr. Lee to strictly enforce the ordinance. May 1—September 31st is the sea turtles nesting season.

Mr. Buck Lee's letter to me with ordinance language attached:

Sea Turtles
Sea Turtles Larry B. Johnson

Some more information on sea turtles:

Sea Turtle Pen Bch
Sea Turtle Pen Bch Larry B. Johnson


Bayou Boulevard resurfacing moved up

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Please see the below letter from Larry Kelley, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. In response to a request I made, the FDOT has decided to move up the resurfacing of Bayou Boulevard, which will now happen later this year.

My thanks to City Manager Al Coby and city staff for their assitance in this matter, and to Mr. Jim DeVries, Urban Planning Manager with the FDOT, Mr. Greg Vickery, FDOT District Communications Coordinator, and Secretary Larry Kelley.

RE: S.R. 296 (Bayou Boulevard) from 12th Avenue to Firestone Boulevard
Financial Project No. 416914-1-52-01

Dear Councilman Johnson:

We have received your recent letter regarding the referenced improvement project located in the City of Pensacola. Thank you for the opportunity to provide assistance.

Specifically, you requested the Department to consider advancing the referenced improvement. In an effort to provide assistance, we reviewed our production schedule for opportunities to advance this project. Pursuant to your request, we have advanced the project from a February 2010 letting to an August 2009 letting.

Thank you for your interest in this transportation improvement project. If we can assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


Larry F. Kelley, P.E.
District Secretary

Handled by:
Greg Vickery
District Communications Coordinator
Florida Department of Transportation


Emerald Coastkeeper Gala

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Emerald Coastkeeper will hold its 10th anniversary gala this Friday night, March 13, at 6:30 PM. The event will be held at MySpayce, 212 East Garden Street, and will feature live music, great food, and silent auctions.

See the press release below for more details.

Press Release 03.10.2009


More on green building

The Business Advantages of Sustainable Developments
Lower operating costs, increased employee productivity, and an improved company image are just some of the benefits enjoyed by firms that “green” their facilities.
By Craig Melby, SIOR, CCIM ITRA, Palm Beach (Dec/Jan 09)

In the real estate world, everyone understands what it means to be green — buildings that:
• Are designed and built to consume a minimum of resources and energy both during construction and operation;
• Do minimal harm to the environment; and
• Provide the most comfortable and healthiest possible workplaces in terms of indoor air quality, lighting, and temperature controls.

And thanks to advances in technology and best practices, green buildings produce one more benefit that is green — they cost less to operate than buildings that have not been built or retrofitted to meet the green standard.. These savings not only save the landlord money and make green buildings cost-competitive in the marketplace, but ultimately help the tenant’s bottom line, in terms of lower operating costs that translate into lower total rents.

How Do Buildings Get “Green”?
It begins with more intelligent design and proper materials selection.

A perfect example of a design element is the no-extra-cost orientation of the building to the sun’s path to increase or reduce heat. With a proper north/south orientation, window shading can be designed to increase or decrease the huge amount of heat gain coming from direct sunlight. Ever been in an office building that was always too cold in one spot and too hot in another? Very likely no thought was put into the sun’s path through the sky when deciding to orient the building, and the building’s HVAC system can’t cope with huge heat gain from the sun in one part of the building and none in the others.

Speaking of ways to use the sun, consider the green concept of “light shelves.” These are simply shelves built adjacent to a window — either inside or outside or both — that shade the window below and bounce the like back up into the ceiling of the interior space, pushing natural light further into the building.

Compare the efficiency of light shelves to the20light created by an incandescent light bulb. It’s a no-brainer. Incandescent light produces a massive amount of heat — only 2 percent of the electricity goes to light, while 98 percent of the electricity used is making heat. Ambient light coming thru a north-facing window brings in no heat whatsoever.

Other design options include substituting such no-extra-cost materials as lighter colored paints. Light colored roofs and paint reflect back the sun’s heat. White paint doesn’t cost more than any other color. In cases where a material costs more money — like high-performance windows and high-efficiency light bulbs (LEDs and compact fluorescent) — there may well be savings in another area — like smaller sized HVAC, which will be less expensive to install and cost far less to operate over the life of the building.

What Are the Key Issues?
Here are four key issues to consider when thinking about green buildings:

1. Less overall cost — Contrary to a popular misconception, green buildings do not necessarily cost any more to build — but even when they do, the lower lifetime operating cost makes the extra construction cost well worthwhile. It’s almost always the cheapest option when combining initial cost and operating cost. Would you invest a dollar today to save a dollar in expenses every year for the next 30 years? The answer is an obvious “yes”! It’s important for tenants to remember that when analyzing a new b uilding’s design, they must keep in mind both “initial” cost and “operating” cost. Analysis shows that operating cost far outweighs initial cost every time!

2. Productivity — Want to really talk money? In virtually all businesses, salaries and benefits of employees far outweigh rent, and an analysis of the cash benefits of higher productivity will far outweigh any increased construction costs (if there are any). Purely from a dollars and cents point of view, studies indicate employees are more productive and take less sick days when housed in a green building. Typically the air quality is much better inside a green building, and so is the lighting — much of it full spectrum natural lighting.

3. Image — The “right thing to do” resonates with many employees and customers, who respond to companies that do the right thing for the environment. This is an integral part of the corporate culture many companies are trying to build and will assist in attracting and retaining employees.

4. Global warming — Science indicates the following indisputable facts:
• Increased levels of CO2 are the biggest cause of the greenhouse effect.
• Coal-fired power plants used to generate electricity are the biggest emitters of CO2.
• The biggest users of electricity are commercial buildings.

In fact, mitigating global warming is impossible to do without the cooperation of commercial building users throughout the world. It seems important then for buildings to start using less electricity.

Additionally, since many green buildings generate at least some of their own power, they are more robust with back-up power systems built in. In times of a power shortage, companies will still be able to operate their businesses — a real advantage.

But even if you don’t believe in global warming, go back to items 1, 2, and 3. The cost benefits, workspace improvements, and the good will a company can generate with its workers and clients reap tangible benefits.

Getting on Board
There are many shades of green, and tenants can judge a building’s green performance by its LEED rating, the Oscar award of the green building world. LEED, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (, is a nationwide building-quality rating system that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Buildings are now rated as Silver, Gold, Platinum, etc. Many of the nation’s largest companies now build facilities according to these standards, including Wal-Mart and Ford. If your company hasn’t jumped on the green train, this may be a good time to get on board. 


Green building

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yesterday at City Council's committee meetings I urged my fellow council members to lead the way in green building with the new downtown library, and expressed my hope that any building constructed by the City of Pensacola going forward is built with green standards in mind.

Also check out Mark O'Brien's blog today: "Environmental awareness may be part of new library"

Green Design: Launching LEED for Retail

For retailers, very little other than the product or service being sold can say as much to their customer about their environmental commitment than their retail space. In an increasingly environmentally-aware world, savvy retailers understand how buildings can add value to their brand and are also wary of compromising the brand with greenwashing claims. These retailers are turning to green building strategies and the LEED green building certification system to demonstrate and support their corporate social responsibility commitments, educate their customers and verify their accomplishments through third-party certification.

Green building is not a new concept – but it’s relatively new to the retail market. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, and for the last several years, USGBC has been working with the retail industry and a committee of industry experts to develop LEED credits that are more specific to retail building types. LEED for Retail New Construction and LEED for Retail Commercial Interiors, built on the experience from 95 pilot projects, is currently undergoing member ballot. Once the system passes ballot, it will provide certification paths for both ground-up retail construction and retail commercial interiors.

LEED for Retail is aligned with the new LEED 2009 rating system and is anticipated to be available for use in July 2009. The 100-point scale covers the same key environmental areas as the LEED 2009 rating system. Key technical differences in the rating system include adaptations to account for both employees and customers in transportation and daylighting strategies. Additionally, LEED for Retail addresses process water and energy, both of which now have baselines created with the help of retailers and the food service technology industry.

Despite the economy and the slow-down of construction in the retail market, there is tremendous market transformation occurring within the retail sector. A number of retailers have already built LEED into their standard prototype designs and plan to seek certification on future stores. Since 300 retailers are already in the process of using LEED, the scalability of this market provides huge opportunities to minimize this sector’s environmental impact.

Marc Heisterkamp
Director of Commercial Real Estate
U.S. Green Building Council


Project GreenShores/Hawkshaw Memorial Clean Up

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In conjunction with Clean & Green and Keep America Beautiful we will be hosting a clean up of Project GreenShores and the Hawkshaw Lagoon Missing Children’s Memorial on March 21, 2009 from 8:00 am until noon.

Clean & Green will be providing T-shirts to participants to wear during the clean up so please RSVP with your shirt size.

Please see the attached flyer for complete details.

Look forward to seeing you there!!!

Amy Baldwin, M.S.
Ecosystem Restoration Manager
Florida Dept of Environmental Protection, Northwest District

PGS 2009 GAC Clean-Up Flyer


Bayfront Parkway resurfacing

Friday, March 6, 2009

REF: FPID No. 423057-1-32-01
SR 30 (US 98/Bayfront Parkway) From North End of Bay Bridge to the Bayfront Parkway Split
Escambia County

Dear Councilman Johnson:

This is to advise you that 60% plans for the above referenced project has been sent to Mr. Derrik Owens in your organization.

The purpose of this project is to mill and resurface a portion of the westbound roadway of SR 30 (Bayfront Parkway) from the end of the Bay Bridge to the Bayfront Parkway Split. This section of SR 30 is an existing four-lane roadway with two 12 feet travel lanes in each direction separated by a concrete traffic barrier with grassed shoulders on the outsides. Other improvements will include pavement markings, signal loop replacements, minor drainage improvements, erosion control measures, and sodding of the roadside shoulders, slopes and ditches where disturbed.

The estimated construction cost for this project is $600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand Dollars) and the project design completion date is May 25, 2009.

If you would like to comment on this information, please compile all City comments into one response and submit them to the designer's address listed below.

Gerald Vickery
Fisher & Arnold, Inc.
907 Orange Hill Road
Chipley, FL 32428


Sidewalks in Cordova Park

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Friday I received a call from Helen Gibson from the City's Neighborhood Services department informing me that the placement of sidewalks on Tronjo Road will be flipped from one side of the road to the other.

I picked up the phone and starting informing some of my constituents of the change, and asking them to spread the word around the neighborhood. On Saturday morning, I received phone calls from two very upset families on Tronjo Road, opposing the switch. I informed both families that I would look into the situation first thing Monday morning. I contacted Ms. Gibson Monday morning. Mr. Ed Spears of Neighborhood Services contacted the two families and met with them. They are okay with the project going forward, although they still have concerns, one of which was the lack of notification about the switch.

I have sent an email to the City Manager, Mr. Coby, requesting that all future sidewalk projects notify impacted neighborhood associations to allow them time to give any input and concerns. It would also be a good idea to have neighborhood meetings to discuss these projects before they get underway.

Many in Cordova Park feel that the sidewalks will help ensure the safety of the children who walk up and down Tronjo.


Pensacola tennis great Larry Caton passes

Last Wednesday, one of Pensacola's finest-ever tennis players, Mr. Larry Caton, passed. Larry played for Tulane University in the late 1950s and won an NCAA national championship there. He spent most of his tennis life at Bayview Park's tennis facilities, and was a fixture there, offering free lessons always with a smile.

This past Saturday, I attended a memorial service for Larry. The service was attended by over 200 people. Many who attended shared stories, laughs, and tears for one of Pensacola's tennis pioneers.

The City of Pensacola is in discussions about the proper way for Larry to be recognized. One of the things that is being discussed is naming a court after him at either Bayview or Roger Scott.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pensacola Junior Tennis Association, 4601 Piedmont Rd, Pensacola, FL 32503.


City pension issues

I have received many calls after I was quoted in Sunday's News Journal concerning pensions.

I am looking into and considering ways that the City can adjust its pension plans to remain sustainable and viable for years to come. As I suggested in the PNJ, I will be exploring the possibility of transitioning to a 401K system for new hires. Other considerations are changing the amortization schedule, so that pension benefits are paid out over a longer term, or changing the actuarial assumption rate, or the percentage of benefits that the City assumes the market will pay.

I welcome all ideas and input. Please pass them on to me by email at

It is rumored that Council will have a special workshop on pensions some time in April. I would encourage all to attend and voice your opinions on the issue.


Robert Payne leaving

After 23 years of service, Assistant City Manager Robert Payne is leaving his job with the City.

I heard a rumor over the weekend, and it was confirmed today. Mr. Payne's last today is Friday.

We wish Mr. Payne a very happy retirement and do appreciate his years of service to our City.


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