Holmes Beach applauds progress

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Police Chief Bill Tokajer
JT Thomas
Clerk Stacey Johnston
Mayor Bob Johnson
Treasurer Lori Hill
Committee member David Cheshire

The Islander asked six Holmes Beach city officials to look back on 2017 and name their top news stories.

“Good news” was the theme of all responses.

For example, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said the island was safer in 2017 than in 2016.

“It appears to me we’re going to have a reduction in crime, which we’re very pleased with,” Tokajer said. “Another big story for the HBPD is we’re pleased the commission approved hiring two additional officers.”

Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson focused on the big picture.

“I think the city is doing pretty well,” Johnson said. “We’ve got some things to take care of but we’re moving forward and not standing still. That’s progress.”

Holmes Beach government committee chair David Cheshire said the city could take on a new form of government in 2018, but the present format is doing well.

“I think the city is and has been doing a better job of addressing multiple issues,” Cheshire said. “We’ve been dealing with an aging population, short-term rentals, parking and infrastructure costs. We’re in much better shape than we were.”

Holmes Beach code enforcement officer JT Thomas said city government officials have been making good decisions for decades.

“I want to give a big shout out to the building codes enacted in 1998 to make construction better,” Thomas said. “We would have had more damage to private property from Hurricane Irma without it. We didn’t have a lot of structural damage. We had tree damage.”

Stacey Johnston, Holmes Beach city clerk, cited a December improvement.

“We finally upgraded the Holmes Beach City Commission’s audio system,” Johnston said. “It’s been long overdue. We’re also getting a projector. It’s all computerized.”

Lori Hill, the Holmes Beach treasurer who just became one of 453 certified government financial officers in the state, said the bottom line was 2017 was a good year.

“It was our fifth perfect audit in a row,” Hill said. “That means everything we did all year was correct. It’s a major goal and we accomplished it.”

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