Some island elected officials have expressed alarm that Anna Maria Island is losing permanent residents at a rapid rate.
While the 2010 census reported a decline in the island’s permanent population, figures from the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office show the drop in homesteaded properties the past 15 years on the island is not as steep as some assumed.
Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn agreed the numbers don’t spell out the steep decline she thought was occurring, but she still has concerns for the city’s loss of homesteaded properties.
While Anna Maria lost 62 homesteaded properties from 1998 to 2013, and Holmes Beach lost 182 homesteaded properties, Bradenton Beach increased its number of homesteads from 253 to 268 in the same 15-year period.
The property office reported 2,293 homesteaded properties islandwide in 1998 compared with 2,065 for 2013, a decline of 9.9 percent.
“But when it is people I’ve known and expected to retire here permanently, then they leave, it’s a concern,” the mayor said.
The mayor also is worried about the number of vacation rentals in the city.
“It just seems like all new construction in the past few years on a vacant lot has been for a vacation rental,” she said.
SueLynn observed the city has more than 1,100 non-homesteaded properties and 542 homesteads.
She said she anticipates the number of non-homesteaded properties to gradually increase in the coming years.
The mayor noted that while the MCPAO gave her its figures for 2013, the MCPAO said it works one year in arrears counting homesteaded and non-homesteaded properties and determining taxable value.
The figures given SueLynn and for this report were as of Jan. 1, Sharon Barhorst of the MCPAO said. They are the figures used to compute taxable value for the 2013-14 city and county budgets.
“So we could have even more vacation rentals than we believe, and maybe fewer homesteaded properties than we think,” SueLynn said.
The city will get new tallies in January from the property office.
Between 1998-2013, the property office reported these figures for homesteaded properties on Anna Maria Island.
Homesteads 1998 2013
Anna Maria 604 542
Bradenton Beach 253 268
Holmes Beach 1,436 1,254
Island homesteads in slow — not rapid — decline