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Date of Issue: February 04, 2009

Civic association holds annual meeting

Members of the Holmes Beach Civic Association gathered Jan. 31 at the Island Branch Library for an annual meeting and a discussion on city matters.

Eight people attended the meeting, a number that caused some concern for HBCA board members.

“People are coming and going a little more than they used to,” said president Al Wierdorn.

He then introduced Holmes Beach City Commissioner Pat Morton to discuss a range of topics.

While HBCA members questioned the low turnout for their meeting, Morton said city commissioners often see low turnouts at their meetings, sometimes attended only by the commission, the mayor, the city clerk and the press.

Morton also discussed garbage removal and recycling.

Waste Management, currently undergoing a change of leadership, recently informed city officials that customers in Holmes Beach owe more than $36,000 to the company for trash removal. About $27,000 of the amount owed is more than a month overdue.

A letter from Waste Management to Morton cited several problems: accounts that may need to be written off due to foreclosures, customers who are ignoring their bills and customers who are moving garbage to different locations to avoid payment.

“There are people who are not paying their bills,” Morton said, adding that the company has picked up some garbage cans. “Most of the people were 60 days or more out.… That’s an issue.… A lot people have been ignoring notices for years and we can’t just let it go.”

Waste Management also wants to eliminate the pick up of trash bags left outside the Waste Management containers, which are being put into use nationwide.

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste generated in the city, Morton wants to inspire more recycling, especially in condominium communities.

“I’m really pushing recycling,” said Morton said, explaining that since he’s begun a stringent recycling program at home, he produces just one bag of trash per week.

HBCA members said customers need an update on what types of materials can be recycled, and how best to recycle them.

Morton said he planned to talk with Waste Management soon about that, and he said people can stop at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, to pick up a second recycling bin to hold papers.

“You should have two bins,” Morton said.

The discussion then turned to littering, with an HBCA member asking if law enforcement shouldn’t do more to police littering.

“If they see it, they’ll do it,” Morton said of law enforcement ticketing litterbugs, but, he added, police cannot be assigned to litter patrols.

The discussion also touched on people letting their dogs run free and not cleaning up after pets, flooding in streets, loud music from cars and vandalism, specifically skateboarders using property for makeshift ramps.

Regarding vandalism, Morton encouraged participation in the city’s “no trespass” program.

The Holmes Beach Police Department rolled out the “no trespass” program in February 2007 to make it easier for officers to deal with trespassers in the “after hours.”

To participate, an establishment must register with HBPD, complete an “affidavit of authorization” each year, and display an official trespass warning sign, which costs about $34.

The sign, with a bold “Notice,” states, “For your protection all city of Holmes Beach police officers are authorized to advise any person to leave these premises. Failure to leave these premises after being instructed may result in your arrest for trespassing.…Working to keep Holmes Beach safe.”