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HB commissioners seek re-election, mayor unsure

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Two Holmes Beach commissioners, John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens, following the March 27 city commission meeting, declared their intent to run for re-election in November — more than seven months before the general election.

        Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said he was undecided, adding he still needs to discuss the matter with his wife.

        None of the candidates, however, have officially declared.

        Before their names — or that of any other hopeful — will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, they must “qualify” by an in-person visit with city clerk Stacey Johnston at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, during “qualifying week,” June 4-8, according to Nancy Bignell, assistant supervisor of Manatee County elections.

        The state’s election code requires filing forms entitled, “Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository” and “Statement of Candidate” before candidates open a campaign account.

        To qualify as a commission or mayoral candidate, interested persons must file these and other forms with Johnston, be a voter and resident of Holmes Beach for two years, present a petition of 15 city voter signatures and pay an assessment fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of the office — $120 for the mayor and $60 for commissioner — or file an “undue burden” oath.

        After the proper forms are filed, candidates will be announced on the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website, Johnston said.

        Holmes Beach commissioners and the mayor are elected for two-year terms.

        The commission governs the city with policy decisions. A commissioner’s salary is $6,000 annually.

        The mayor, whose salary is $12,000 annually, oversees the administration and manages the budget. The 2011-12 fiscal year budget is $8,665,109.

        The mayor is a non-voting member of the commission and serves as the chief executive officer of the city. He holds budget and appointment powers, along with the power to veto legislative actions of the commission.

        Bohnenberger has served as mayor since 2006.

        He was first elected as a city commissioner in 1993, and served in this capacity through 1994. He was then elected as mayor 1994-96 and, again as a commissioner 1999-2006.

        John Monetti has been elected twice to the city commission since November 2006. He served as commission vice-chair 2006-11. He also has served as liaison to the Anna Maria Island Community Center and the city’s public works department. He is currently chair of the zoning/permitting focus group to address ongoing multi-story construction and rental issues.

        Sandy Haas-Martens was first elected as a city commissioner in 1998. She served as commission chair and deputy mayor 2003-05 and 2006-11. She currently serves as the commission vice-chair, and also is the chair of the code enforcement focus group.

        Commissioner Jean Peelen, though not up for election this year, has recently been calling for public interest in the next election in her monthly newsletter to voters.

         Peelen wrote in her March 10 newsletter, “There is an election next November. Commissioners Haas-Martens and Monetti and Mayor Bohnenberger (who does not vote, but who has voiced opposition to a moratorium) are up for election.

        “I urge you to participate in our great system and run for office or encourage someone else to run. Republican? Democrat? It doesn’t matter. New to politics? So was I. It doesn’t matter. What is needed is the energy to run and a commitment to your community.”

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