Saying it was irresponsible for the Anna Maria City Commission to wait four months or longer to elect a commissioner, Chair John Quam announced he would change his vote at the Nov. 29 commission meeting for former Commissioner Gene Aubry to take the seat on the dais vacated when the commission voted SueLynn to be mayor.
The vote was unanimous among the four commissioners.
The deadlock over a replacement commissioner began at the city’s Nov. 15 organizational meeting when SueLynn, then a commissioner, was elected chair. Since no one ran for mayor in the Nov. 6 election, the charter requires the commission chair to act as mayor.
That left just four commissioners to nominate and elect her replacement. The mayor has no vote on the commission.
Aubry, a former commissioner, and Carl Pearman, a member of the city’s planning and zoning board, were both nominated and seconded Nov. 15. Each vote ended 2-2, with Quam and Commissioner Dale Woodland favoring Pearman, and Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter voting for Aubry.
None of the four commissioners said they would change their vote. Webb then asked city clerk Alice Baird to check into the cost of a special election for a commissioner.
But city attorney Jim Dye reported Nov. 29 that the earliest special election date was March 26 and it would likely cost the city a maximum of $5,000.
Quam said he was not prepared to wait four months to elect a commissioner or spend the money.
“This can’t go on. Someone has to compromise tonight,” Quam said, adding that for $5,000, the city might just as well wait until November 2013 for the regular election.
After asking both candidates if they wanted a special election and further discussion, Quam said he was going to “break the tie” and vote for Aubry.
Aubry was a commissioner from September 2010 to November 2011, but did not seek re-election.
Aubry was immediately sworn into office and the full board of five commissioners took up city business on the meeting agenda.
Building official Bob Welch proposed new hours for construction work in the city.
The proposed hours are until 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and no construction allowed Sunday.
Welch noted these are the same hours used by the other two island cities for construction work.
“But the ordinance still needs some work,” he said.
Quam said it must be clear to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies at the Anna Maria substation about what is unacceptable noise and what is a nuisance.
Welch said all the deputies are trained and all officers, including code enforcement officers, have discretionary powers to issue a citation or warning.
If a property has two or more violations in one year, the city can get an injunction that would halt future rentals, Welch said.
If the property owner was making all the noise, he or she could be issued a citation and be required to appear before the city’s special magistrate.
Welch said a code enforcement officer could issue a citation to the tenant, rental agent and owner of a property. He proposed a $100 fine for a first noise or nuisance violation.
SueLynn said MCSO deputies have a cellphone to call rental agents or property owners when they go on a nuisance or noise complaint.
“Getting a phone call to the appropriate agent, owner or manager is really important on these complaints,” she said.
Commissioners agreed and Welch will have the ordinance ready for the Dec. 13 commission meeting.
The commission also dealt with a code violation against Mary Lease of the 100 block of Palmetto that dates back to 2004.
Commissioners agreed to reduce the $8,200 fine she received from the code enforcement board to $4,100, but were not willing to waive the full amount.
The code board had found Lease guilty of not hiring Waste Management Inc. for weekly garbage and trash collection, which is required by city ordinance.
At that time, Lease did not have Waste Management Inc. service. The code enforcement board voted for her to become current with WMI or face a $100 per day fine.
Code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon said she didn’t think Lease understood the severity of the penalty at that time.
When commissioners turned to amending the parking ordinance to place “no parking” signs on some streets, they agreed to remove Tarpon Avenue and Jacaranda Street from the “no parking” list.
Webb said commissioners should first observe those two streets and, if they see a problem, they could amend the “no parking” ordinance.
SueLynn said some people on those streets live close to Pine Avenue and when there’s a crowded event, people park their cars in their driveways and on their lawns.