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Anna Maria, MCSO contract down to the wire

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

The Anna Maria City Commission approved the 2012-13 spending plan of $2.3 million with $675,000 for law enforcement services from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

However, Mayor Mike Selby, city attorney Jim Dye and Commission Chair Chuck Webb still plan to meet with MCSO legal attorney Michelle Hall to make sure all parties understand the duties of deputies.

As of last week, Selby had not signed the MCSO contract, which was to become effective Oct. 1. A meeting was scheduled last week between the city and MCSO attorney Michelle Hall of iron out the dispute.

At issue, according to Selby, is that MCSO deputies are required by the contract to enforce the laws in Anna Maria, including city ordinances. He and Webb just want to be sure everyone understands that duty.

Ordinances and codes are the city’s laws, Dye said.

Sgt. Dave Turner, head of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation, said his deputies are not code enforcement officers, but perform their duties as professional police officers.

One main issue is deputies responding to noise and nuisance complaints. The city believes deputies can provide more enforcement for those complaints.

MCSO deputies have responded to noise complaints, Turner said, and have broken up loud parties and issued citations and warnings. They work closely with the city’s code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon, Turner said.

Turner’s problem is that there is usually only one deputy on duty in the city from late at night to early in the morning. The deputy can’t be spending a lot of time responding to nuisance calls while patrolling the streets.

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