Surprise! Anna Maria changes stance on consolidation
After rejecting a measure that would have placed Island consolidation
on last November's ballot, the Anna Maria City Commission did somewhat
of an about-face at its June 8 meeting, deciding to
ask the other Island cities if they want to spend money to hire a professional
firm to prepare a study on consolidating some services among the three
Commissioner Duke Miller spearheaded the request, saying the study
would be only for consolidating Island municipal services
and would save taxpayers money.
"Forget the past," he said.
What's needed now is an independent study by a professional organization.
don't feel this is a dead
horse. Let's make the offer" to the other cities, he said.
agreed and Miller will send a letter to the mayors
of Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach asking if their cities want to spend
a pro-rata share of the cost to hire a professional firm to do the study.
While Commissioner Linda Cramer suggested
the three cities should discuss "all phases" of consolidation, including
an Island manager, Commission
Chairperson John Quam sided with Miller. The study
should only be about consolidating services.
Mayor SueLynn — long a proponent
of consolidating services — noted that some constituents have told her
they fear Holmes Beach wants to "take over the Island," and are worried
She added that she'd received a request
from Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore for financial, budgetary and administrative
information on Anna Maria.
Whitmore is gathering the information for her own
consolidation report as requested by the Holmes Beach
commissioners, however, decided not to submit the information
to Holmes Beach. The mayor said it would involve extensive staff time
to complete the request. "I
will write a letter respectfully declining to submit the information," she
Informed that Anna Maria
would write a letter to her asking if Holmes Beach
was interested in participating in a study on consolidating services,
Whitmore said she would not support her city's participation.
they want to do it on their own, that's fine. I've tried four or
five times since I've been
in politics to consolidate some Island services and every effort has failed," she
"But I will take the request to the
commission and let them decide," Whitmore added.
She also found it ironic
that in the same breath that Anna Maria wants Holmes
Beach to participate in a study on consolidation, it declined her request
for information that would be part of a Holmes Beach study on consolidation.
"But if they want to proceed on their
own, I will provide them with any information they request," she concluded.
discussion by the Bradenton Beach City Commission last
week, and before the Anna Maria announcement regarding consolidation,
Bradenton Beach commissioners directed Mayor John Chappie to contact
Whitmore regarding the extensive list of documents she had requested
to determine a time frame for compliance.
"We're getting mixed messages," he
In other business, commissioners discussed
several changes to the city's sign ordinance as presented by city planner
The commission agreed that only one sign
will be permitted on a residential lot, with a maximum
size of 4 square feet and no attachments, "riders" or "tubes" will be allowed.
30 days prior to a general election, however, homeowners
could increase the number of signs. The additional signs would have to
be removed the day after the election. During the period from Thanksgiving
to January 1, residential lots could have an additional sign, said Garrett,
to accommodate the holiday season.
The first reading of the amended sign ordinance
will be June 29.
The commission also agreed to SueLynn's
request to prepare amendments to the city's emergency ordinance for commission
Two areas of concern for the mayor are the
amount of money the city is required to maintain in
its emergency fund and staff pay during any declared state of emergency
where the staff works excessively long hours to get the city running
The mayor also asked commissioners to
discuss changes to the city's building code that would include addition
of a "daylight
plane" setback for the third floor of new homes. The suggestion comes after
the mayor said she has observed the look of the three new homes constructed on
Pine Avenue recently.
A "daylight plane" provision
for new construction is on the books in Holmes Beach, on Longboat Key and in
Sarasota, she said.
Commissioner Dale Woodland said changing
the setback requirements could be avoided by just stating
in the ordinance amendment that the third floor could only be a maximum
17.5 percent lot coverage. SueLynn said she would discuss that with Garrett
and city attorney Jim Dye.
gave her the go-ahead to prepare a draft ordinance
for discussion at the July worksession.