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Date of Issue: September 01, 2005

Voters in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach clearly favor referendum vote

Islanders overwhelmingly want the right to vote on whether or not the three cities should proceed with consolidation, according to the results of a survey conducted by The Islander the past two weeks.

That includes Anna Maria, where 87 percent of respondents from that city said the commission should allow the voters the right to express their opinion in a non-binding referendum.

In Holmes Beach, 97 percent of those who responded favored a public vote, while in Bradenton Beach, 92 percent of respondents from that city said the public should be given the right to express their opinion.

Overall, 93 percent of respondents favored a public vote.

Not all of those who want the public to vote are in favor of consolidation, they just want the issue to be decided one way or the other with a vote.

“The old adage that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it certainly applies here,” wrote one Anna Maria resident who favored a public vote. “That way, we’ll be done with it,” said another Anna Maria voter.

Others from Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach agreed that consolidation probably wouldn’t work, but the public should be given a chance to speak.

“My personal opinion is that the three Island cities are too diverse to agree to consolidation,” wrote a Holmes Beach resident who also said the public should be given a vote.

In the same survey, 70.1 percent said Island voters should first be asked to vote on funding of a study on consolidation, while 55.9 percent said Island elected officials could decide on the need for a study and related costs.

The survey was not a vote on consolidation, just whether or not Islanders should be allowed to vote by their respective city commissions on whether or not they want the cities to proceed or not with any consolidation study.

Holmes Beach city commissioners have adopted language for a non-binding referendum on consolidation that will be on the November ballot. Anna Maria’s vote ended in a 2-2, effectively halting the resolution for the moment. Bradenton Beach was to bring the issue to its Sept. 1 city commission meeting.