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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Anna Maria searches for stormwater revenues

Faced with continued budget crunching to keep from raising taxes, Anna Maria city commissioners will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m Friday, Nov. 12, to consider a resolution authorizing a citywide stormwater assessment.

The resolution has to be approved and given to Manatee County by Jan. 1, 2005, to become effective in the 2005-06 budget cycle starting Oct. 1, Commissioner Dale Woodland said.

Woodland and resident Chris Collins worked to put together a stormwater assessment plan and used the Holmes Beach assessment model as a base.

The resolution just signifies the city's intent, Woodland told the commission at its Nov. 4 workshop. The "nuts and bolts" of how much to assess, who pays and why would be decided by the commission in later meetings.

Under the proposed model submitted by Woodland and Collins, a stormwater assessment fee would generate $89,000 annually for a 10-year period. The money could only be used for stormwater drainage projects and the city could either borrow money against future revenues and perform a number of projects in the first two years of the fee, or just use what money it collects each year for projects.

"This is beautiful," said Commissioner Duke Miller. "We'll know every year how much is in the capital improvements budget."

Collins said the model was for 10 years, but the commission could decide on a five-year plan.

Under the Woodland-Collins model, single-family homeowners would pay $61.50 annually for 10 years, duplexes and triplexes would pay $36.90 for each unit, and businesses would pay $73.80 each year.

Commissioner Carol Ann Magill was concerned that she was being rushed to make a vote, but Woodland calmed those fears, stating that passage of a resolution just signifies intent to the county, which would collect the fee for the city. Anna Maria could later decide to drop the entire idea, he said.

If the commission decides to adopt a resolution of intent, the assessment could only be implemented following public hearings.

Business license permit
Commissioners agreed it was time to consider a business-license ordinance.

As Commission Chairperson John Quam pointed out, a strip club could open in Anna Maria if it met other requirements.

Commissioner Linda Cramer will meet with Building Official Kevin Donohue to prepare a draft ordinance for commissioners to study.

Definition of a restaurant
The commission returned to the definition of a restaurant because, according to Quam, the code does not allow outdoor dining (The Islander, Sept. 20).

Quam suggested the commission delete part of one sentence that states "and in which patrons of the restaurant consume food or beverages" and outdoor dining becomes conforming to the code.

Commissioners had indicated at their Sept. 14 meeting that outdoor dining might be a non-conforming use of a restaurant in the city, but such transgressions would be ignored until the definition of a restaurant was changed.

Pilings
The use of a pile-driver last summer to install the foundation pilings for a home on North Shore Drive prompted commissioners to consider making use of the auger-style installation of pilings mandatory in the city.

The commission is waiting on a draft ordinance from City Attorney Jim Dye before further discussion.

City of peace
Commissioners agreed to consider a general resolution at their Nov. 18 meeting brought by resident Diane Canniff that would "support peaceful resolution of conflict."

Canniff said the general resolution is sponsored by the Cities for Peace organization and a number of cities have already approved the resolution.