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Date of Issue: July 29, 2009

City seeking annexation in 2010

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Holmes Beach officials want to pursue annexation of the Kingfish Boat Ramp area, now in unincorporated Manatee County, during the 2010 legislative session. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Holmes Beach officials hope to ask the Florida Legislature to approve the city’s annexation of the Kingfish Boat Ramp in 2010.

Mayor Rich Bohnenberger formally asked the Manatee County Board of Commissioners to endorse the annexation in April.

But, the mayor said, annexation is more complicated than a sign-off from the commission.

“We need letters of no objection from the county and the DOT,” Bohnenberger said.

Then the city needs approval from Florida lawmakers.

In 2006, a survey of Kingfish determined that the boat ramp was in unincorporated Manatee County to the surprise of Holmes Beach officials, who had long thought the county-operated ramp was within city limits, as is the county-operated Manatee Public Beach.

In November 2006, Bohnenberger asked the county commission to back a voluntary annexation of the property.

The county board rejected the idea of annexation in a letter to Holmes Beach officials.

After the election last November, city officials resumed discussion of an annexation, noting that two Island residents — Carol Whitmore and John Chappie — are on the county board.

In his letter to the county, Bohnenberger said, “Should the commission agree to the annexation, issues such as public safety, maintenance and boat-ramp operations would be agreed upon by interlocal agreement.”

The city’s primary concern is safety and police jurisdiction, which currently falls to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

City attorney Patricia Petruff said the city needs to get its “ducks in a row” this year, so that the local legislative delegation can be asked to present an annexation request next spring.