Haas-Martens’ connection to citizens runs deep

Sandy Haas-Martens, 63, has been a retired banker for 15 years.

“But I’m too young to sit at home and watch soap operas and eat bonbons,” she said.

And Haas-Martens is so connected to her community it only makes sense she’s running for a sixth consecutive term on Holmes Beach City Commission.

She’s held elected office on the Island since 1992 and has run many other campaigns,

Haas-Martens spent 28 years as a bank manager and officer, 26 of which were on Holmes Beach.

In 1969, at 22 years old, she came to the Island to work as the main teller at Island Bank, now a Wachovia, and First Federal Savings Loan in Manatee County.

“The Island people always have been good to me,” Haas-Martens said. “I was their banker and I try to give back because if the Island people didn’t like me, when I was a banker, I wouldn’t have been there as long as I had. And so I went from one bank to another.”

Haas-Martens said her banking background and involvement with citizens has made her deeply aware of issues Island citizens may be facing. And she also is experienced at dealing with budgets.

Haas-Martens remains involved in the community. She has been involved with the Manatee County 4-H Foundation board since 1999, the board of intergovernmental relations committee for the Florida League of Cities, Take Stock in Children, Manatee School District programs, Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island, Manatee County Tourist Development Council. She also is the Island liaison to the county’s emergency operation center.

Haas-Martens said each citizen may have some sort of complaint about how the city is run.

“They want to have better traffic in the winter, but it’s tourist season so what are you going to do?” she said.

Haas-Martens said she thinks citizens are happy how the budget has been handled. For this fiscal year, the budget included no tax increase.

“Unfortunately, there’s only so much we can do about the economy,” she said. “We’re at the low end of the totem pole.”

Besides her work in multiple local and state programs, Haas-Martens enjoys reading, embroidery and making blankets.

“I still wake up and walk for 30 minutes, or mow and do yard work,” she said. “Or take care of other people’s lawns. I go home after a walk and have breakfast and read the paper. If I don’t have to be at a meeting, sometimes early, before I get going, I get a crossword done in the morning. Or (a) jumble.”

Then, she goes to work on the Holmes Beach improvements she’s so proud of, such as canal dredging, street paving and drainage.

“I enjoy what I do,” she said. “I enjoy working with the staff and working with the citizens and being involved.”

RESIDENCY:  464 63rd St., Holmes Beach
OCCUPATION: Retired savings and loan/banking industry after 28 years.
OFFICE SOUGHT: Holmes Beach City Commission seat.
FAMILY: Widowed, eldest of 12 children.
INTERESTS: City government, 4-H, outdoors.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: City commission, Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island, Manatee County 4-H Foundation, Take Stock in Children board, Great Outdoors Conservancy, Island Rescue, chamber of commerce.
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “Stable city government.”

Commission chair seeks return to dais

An Islander Q & A with Sandy Haas-Martens, who is seeking re-election to the Holmes Beach City Commission Nov. 2.
The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Sandy Haas-Martens: To continue to give back to the citizens who supported me during my 28 years of my business career. Plus, I have the time and interest to devote to city business.

The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
SHM: I’ve served on the city commission since March 1998 and am the current deputy mayor/commission chair. I’m on the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, the Florida League of Cities Intergovernmental Relations Committee, the city liaison to the Manasota League of Cities, a board member of numerous groups, a former fire district commissioner and a former president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.

The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
SHM: To continue to bring the stable government that the citizens have come to expect from elected officials and to deal honestly and professionally in handling the finances and policies for the city.

The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
SHM: Two or more elected officials may not discuss any subject that could come before their board/commission outside of an open meeting.

The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
SHM: At the moment, I can’t see this happening. I also fail to see a monetary benefit to the citizens of Holmes Beach.

The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off track? Wrong track? Explain.
SHM: Right track. We are working with citizens in trying to resolve issues they bring to us.

The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
SHM: Experience.

The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
SHM: Unfunded mandates imposed on the city by the state and federal governments. We elected officials need to work with our local legislative delegation by conveying our citizens’ wants and needs. We need to impress upon the legislators that when they come up with the measures and orders, they also need to provide the funding.

The Islander: Local governments are beginning a new fiscal year. What is your view of the local budget/tax situation? And how do you approach government finances?
SHM: We live within our means — just like I do with my personal finances.

The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
SHM: I will continue to bring the stable government the citizens have come to expect from their elected officials.

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