Tag Archives: 09-04-2013

Busy bees, better environment

There’s a bee nest under the eaves on your front porch and you want to get rid of it. But before you rush off to the hardware store for chemicals or call a pest control company, do something good for bees, contact a beekeeper.

If what you’re seeing are honey bees, the beekeeper will likely remove them for free. If it’s a complicated situation — let’s say they are inside a wall — there may be a fee. By allowing the bees to survive, you’ve done your part to support the nation’s honey bee population, which is declining at an alarming rate.

Since the late 1970s, honey bees have gone “from about 6 million colonies in the United States, to 2.5 million,” said Lynn Osborn, vice president of the Suncoast Beekeepers Association.

Scientists and bee experts still aren’t sure why. They are investigating a variety of possible causes that include a new type of insecticide, diseases, parasites, loss of habitat and pesticide misuse.

Osborn, who recently removed a swarm of bees from a globe that was part of a decorative lawn fountain at a Holmes Beach house, said in that case it was as easy as putting his hand in a hole “and pulling the bees out.”

“In some cases, bees have been in a building for a while and really spread, or they are in an attic or a tough location to get at. In those cases beekeepers will usually charge.”

Osborn and his wife, Karen, keep track of the emails and phone calls about nuisance bees to the association. Usually a couple times a week there are calls that need checking out, said Karen Osborn, who is association treasurer. “We have 88 members we can turn to,” Karen said, so there is often someone close by who can help.

“We have club members all the way down to Venice and up to Tampa,” said Lynn.

Lynn is a retired high school teacher who started keeping bees in 1974 as a hobby and eventually had a thriving side business of honey production. In a few years he was harvesting 10,000 pounds of honey annually in his hometown of Highland Park, Ill.

“I had about 3 million bees in my backyard apiary. None of my neighbors complained and as far as I know, nobody ever was stung, not even my wife,” Lynn said.

In 1999, he established and managed a successful apiary — also called a bee yard — on the 97-acre Heller Nature Center operated by the city’s parks department. It started with a few hives and grew to 25 that produced nearly 4,000 pounds of honey a year, Lynn said. It is still active today and is an educational tool for local elementary schools, while sales of the honey produced there helps promote the educational programs.

After retiring from teaching in 2002, he worked as a regional apiary inspector for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. His job was to monitor apiaries for bee diseases and offer advice to beekeepers. In 2005, the Osborns moved to Coral Shores in Bradenton and at first Lynn thought his beekeeping days were over.

“He’s promised me three times he’s not going to get back into it,” said Karen, but eventually there was a hive in their backyard. Currently, Lynn keeps a few hives at his home and about 30 more at an apiary operated by a commercial beekeeper.

The soft-spoken 67-year-old also got involved in the Suncoast Beekeepers Association, giving presentations at monthly meetings and to other groups, and mentoring beginning beekeepers.

Though he describes himself as being “sucked back into” beekeeping, it’s easy to see how strong his passion is for bees and the wealth of information he has to share about them. He has gone through part of the master beekeeper program at the University of Florida and attended Florida Bee College this spring.

“Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby. It is a unique experience, it’s almost therapeutic. It ties you to a season, it ties you to what’s happening in nature on a weekly basis. The bees can tell you an awful lot about what’s happening as the seasons change,” Osborn said.

It also is hard work. “It’s physically demanding. Each box (in a hive) weighs about 70 pounds,” Osborn said. And then there is the probability of getting stung.

Osborn said he can’t really count how many times he’s been stung. “After a while it doesn’t bother you as much. If you get a stinger out quick it’s not that bad,” he said, although it “always hurts.”

When he’s tending his own hives he doesn’t always wear the beekeeper’s protective white suit and netting over his face. He’s very careful and calm and he inspects his hives with precision and a gentle, slow touch. He does use a smoker, which calms the bees guarding the hive.

“They’re pretty smart. They are hardwired for most of what they do, but they can learn. For example, they can locate a nectar source and then communicate direction and distance and richness of that floral source to other bees,” Osborn said.

There are three kinds of beekeepers: hobbyists, sideline and commercial. Most people are hobbyist beekeepers who keep a few hives on their property. Side-liners have more bee colonies and may provide pollinating bees to farmers as well as produce honey. Commercial beekeepers do both on a larger scale and often travel from state to state, pollinating crops and raising honey.

While some birds, beetles, bats, moths, ants and other bee species also are pollinators, honey bees are known as “super pollinators” because they have evolved to be such efficient collectors of nectar and pollen.

Honey bees are not native to North America, which had about 3,000 species of bees before Europeans brought the honey bee along when they settled the New World. Unlike other species that wreaked havoc in their new environments, honey bees fit right in and now pollinate an estimated 85 percent of U.S. crops annually.

In Florida, crops pollinated by honey bees have a $3.3 billion economic impact, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Because of the honey bees importance in agriculture and the economy, each state has its own inspection program. “Florida has a good inspection program,” Osborn said, and best-use beekeeping practices have helped keep some of the diseases that infect bees in check.

But there are parasites — one called the Varroa destructor mite sounds like it’s right out of a scary movie — and other sworn enemies of bees, which mean a beekeeper has to constantly be on the lookout for problems in the hive.

“We have a number of problems and none of them are solved yet,” Osborn said, but that’s one reason he likes to educate others about bees.

He’s back teaching in a way, trying to get others to recognize that honey bees are in peril and need our help. He’ll take his power point presentation to local groups, including gardeners and environmentalists.

“People need to understand how important bees are and I don’t think they do,” said Linda Jones, chair of the Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club, which has had Osborn as a guest speaker. “We’re concerned about anything like (bee population decline) that would have such a terrible effect on our environment.”

To get involved in bee preservation or for more information on the local beekeeping association, go to www.suncoastbeekeepers.com. The group meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of every month in the Northern Trust Community Room at Lakewood Ranch.

Next week: More on the growing environmental threats to bees.

Cheryl Nordby Schmidt is a freelance writer based in Holmes Beach.


Suncoast Beekeepers assistance

If you suspect you have a bee nest and want it removed, call Karen Osborn at 941-792-2112 or email kosborn7@verizon.net. Someone from Suncoast Beekeepers Association will respond, usually within about 48 hours.


Honey bee facts

Honey bees must gather nectar from 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey.

The average bee will make only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

A honey bee can fly for up to 6 miles and as fast as 15 mph.

A bee’s brain is about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has a remarkable capacity to learn and remember.

Worker honey bees are female, live about six weeks and do all the work.

A queen bee can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs.

The queen is busiest in the summer and lays up to 2,500 eggs per day.

Male honey bees (drones) do no work and have no stinger.

Drones fly out each day looking for a queen to mate with and, after they mate, they die.

The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by humans.

— Lynn Osborn

Forbes includes Anna Maria on ‘prettiest towns’ list

The newest discovery of Anna Maria Island is by the business magazine Forbes, a biweekly that features articles on finance, industry, investing and marketing topics — and lists. The magazine capitalizes on the popularity of its lists, including the Forbes 400, a list of the richest Americans, and others, highest-paid stars, billionaires and more. The motto of Forbes is “The Capitalist Tool.”

The online edition, Forbes.com, recently introduced a pictorial feature on “America’s Prettiest Towns,” and a stock photo of the Anna Maria City Pier, along with an article by contributor John Giuffo. He calls Anna Maria one of the “prettiest little cities in America.”

He said he went looking for “towns seemingly custom-designed for soaking in the sights, with charming main streets, a variety of activities and beautiful vistas. Whether it’s the fresh air, authenticity or lack of skyscrapers, these enchanting locales deserve a spot on your travel to-do list.”

To create his Forbes list of America’s most picturesque towns, he “called on travel experts from Frommer’s, National Geographic, Fodor’s, and Midwest Living magazine,” all of whom shared their selections of America’s prettiest towns.

He admits “prettiest” is subjective, and it would fit many other towns not listed, but the chosen towns, he says, “would not only stand out in a beauty pageant, but also provide great options for your next getaway.”

Giuffo says Anna Maria is a Gulf of Mexico beach town that has “managed to avoid the sort of overdevelopment that plagues similar areas nearby.”

Anna Maria “retains a certain small-town coastal Florida charm. With a high proportion of residences being second homes or vacation homes, Anna Maria tends to be much quieter as well,” the story continues.

He says Anna Maria is well-known to Europeans, but “nine out of 10 Floridians don’t even know where it is. It seems like Floridians have been the last to find out.”

Anna Maria was listed third among 15 cities after New Iberia, La., and Camden, Maine.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said she “appreciated the accolades.

“Hopefully, what we are doing in Anna Maria is worthy of being praised as a pretty little city,” she added.

SueLynn said, however, that Floridians, especially those in the Tampa Bay area, know where the city is. “We have been discovered by Floridians, and we are going to preserve our character as the article described,” she said.

The city is in the midst of preparing a paid parking plan to either deter or accommodate visitors and provide relief to residents.

Giuffo concludes his introduction with New England’s Edgartown, saying, “Small town perfection like this comes at a price though — both financially and in terms of traffic when President Obama is in town for family vacations. Yes, even presidents pine for small-town escapes.

Visit Forbes.com and search “America’s prettiest towns” to view the pictorial.

Anna Maria parking citations decline, city eyes paid parking options

Anna Maria city commissioners plan to discuss a paid parking proposal now being prepared by Mayor SueLynn and staff at a September commission meeting.

The impetus for a paid parking plan stemmed from a Florida Department of Transportation traffic count July 3-9 that found an average of 11,500 cars entered the city each day. The count took place over the July 4 holiday, which included a parade and fireworks celebration in the city. It is the only traffic count study the city has and there is no prior study available for comparison.

SueLynn told commissioners in August that the influx of day visitors was “overwhelming the city’s infrastructure” and parking spaces close to beach accesses are at a premium. She said the quality of life in Anna Maria is negatively affected by day-visitor parking issues.

According to figures supplied by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation, however, the number of parking tickets issued July 1-15, 2013, declined from the same period in 2012.

The MCSO reported 113 parking tickets were issued July 1-July 15 this year. For the same period in 2012, 170 parking tickets were issued.

MCSO Sgt. Paul Davis said deputies are “doing a better job of educating the public” on where and how to park in Anna Maria.

Still, the mayor said a paid parking plan is needed because residents are negatively affected by visitor parking, primarily on holidays and weekends.

At the Aug. 22 commission meeting, SueLynn and commissioners discussed the use of kiosks to sell passes for parking, creating paid parking areas and issuing permits for parking on the rights of way. Vacation rental property managers could either be issued or purchase parking passes for short-term renters, according to the discussion.

The mayor said all those options would be discussed by staff before any are included in the plan.

“Not everyone will like this plan when it’s presented,” SueLynn said. “But at least it will be a starting point.”

Holmes Beach man makes Indy Football Hall of Fame

For Holmes Beach resident Mike Deal, football is not just a sport, it’s a way of life.

A lifelong player, coach and scout of the game, Deal was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame earlier this summer, joining his brother and father in the hall.

“It was a great feeling to be so honored,” Deal said. “And to join my father and brother, and the list of great players already in the hall is something special.”

Players and coaches such as Alex Karras, Fred Williamson and Hank Stram are in the hall, along with many others from Indiana who left their mark on the game.

“I can honestly say football has been my life,” Deal said.

Deal played football at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, and in 1969 was a member of the school’s only team to ever go to the Rose Bowl.

After graduation, Deal coached high school football and became a college coach at Wabash University in Crawfordsville, Ind. In 1982, he coached Wabash to an undefeated season.

He coached at Illinois, Arizona, Texas, Marshall and Kansas State, among other schools, as well as in NFL-Europe before becoming a football scout.

Deal scouted for the Denver Broncos for five years and currently works for a scouting company that tracks high school football players, providing information to collegiate combines, recruiting services and ESPN.

He and wife Nancy moved to Holmes Beach in 2000.

The Deals have one daughter, Tiffany, and three grandchildren. Their son-in-law, Jeff Hecklinski, is an assistant football coach at the University of Michigan.

Chamber banks on luau-style fun

Just for fun, the Hancock Bank annual Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce luau-business mixer brings out the luau attire among members and guests, including two prize winners, Mia Cardon, left, of Driftwood Palms, and the Rev. Charlie Shook. Performing at the Aug. 28 event is Big “Ukulele” Jim Allen, seated, and presenting prizes is Hancock’s Holmes Beach branch manager, Lois Gift. Look for more chamber-Hancock luau photos online at www.islander.org. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy

Big “Ukulele” Jim Allen entertains at the Aug. 28 luau at Hancock Bank.

Lois “Mama Lo” Finley and her husband, the Rev. Charlie Shook, enjoy the luau buffet provided by Hancock Bank and The Feast Restaruant.

Chamber folks have fun with Hancock folks at the annual luau.

County to host Coquina boat ramp meeting

Manatee County officials planned to host a meeting on planned repairs to the South Coquina Boat Ramp at the launch site, 2651 S. Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach.

The meeting was to take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, after The Islander went to press.

Representatives from Manatee County Parks and Recreation, Natural Resources and Property Management departments were scheduled to answer questions about improvements and repairs to the ramp.

Plans include:

• An expansion of the shell parking lot and stormwater runoff system. The number of designated trailer parking spaces would grow from 18 to 49.

• New turtle-friendly lighting and native landscaping.

• The concrete ramp or apron leading into the water will be extended to better serve boaters and to help direct stormwater runoff away from the ramp.

A news release said the county will fund the work with money from West Coast Inland Navigation District and Florida Boater Improvement Program.

Construction dates haven’t yet been identified, but when the boat ramp is closed, boater may use the Kingfish Boat Ramp in Holmes Beach, as well as boat ramps at Warner’s Bayou and on the Palma Sola Causeway.

For more information, call the county at 941-748-4501.

As candidate qualifying ends, campaigns begin

The candidate qualification period in all three island cities for the Nov. 5 election ended at noon Aug. 30 and the races are set.

Nothing changed in Bradenton Beach from the pre-qualifying period other than all candidates who had declared their intention to run qualified and now are officially candidates.

In Ward 1, Commissioner Gay Breuler, recently married, is giving up her seat on the dais and John V. “Jack” Clarke is the only qualified candidate. He is unopposed and will be automatically elected.

Incumbent Mayor John Shaughnessy will face off against challenger and former Commissioner Bill Shearon.

Ward 3 Commissioner Ric Gatehouse will be challenged by former Ward 3 Commissioner Janie Robertson, who termed out of office after six years in 2011. Gatehouse was appointed to the dais in early 2012 when no one stepped forward to run for Robertson’s commission seat.


Holmes Beach has 5 running for 3 seats

Holmes Beach is unique to the other two island cities in that candidates cannot declare with the county until they qualify through the city clerk’s office.

That left the race for three seats on the dais up in the air until qualifying ended. When the dust settled, there was a five-person race for the three seats being contested.

Unlike Bradenton Beach, where commissioners are elected citywide but must reside in their ward, the top vote-getters for the available seats in Holmes Beach win the election.

Commissioners Pat Morton, Jean Peelen and David Zaccagnino qualified to run for re-election.

Also competing for a spot on the dais are Carol Soustek and C. Melissa Williams.

Williams has lived in Holmes Beach for 15 years and said she has grown increasingly interested in taking part in the community through governmental affairs.

Besides owning and operating a graphic design and marketing company in Holmes Beach, she has served at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society for more than six years, including a two-year stint as president of the board.

She has been an active Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce member for eight years, winning the chamber’s Small Business of the Year award in 2009, and in 2011-12, she was president of the Rotary Club of Anna Maria.

“I am looking forward to leading the city into a more balanced and brighter future,” wrote Williams in a prepared statement.

Soustek is a native Floridian, 24-year resident of Holmes Beach and a 22-year volunteer for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, which awarded her its coveted “Sadie” award. She is a retired corporate accountant and served as treasurer and vice president of Save Anna Maria, also known as SAM.

She is a member of the Holmes Beach Parking and Traffic Congestion Committee and a longtime member of the Friends of the Island Library.

“I pledge to continue to fight hard to enforce all of our building codes and ordinances to stop the over development of Holmes Beach,” Soustek wrote in a prepared statement. “Save what is left of old Florida lifestyle. People come first.”

She pledges to continue to address parking and congestion issues, fight for tourist dollars and be an environmental watchdog.

“I will fight for total protection of our shoreline, (sea)grasses, mangroves and the habitat of wildlife,” she said. “I am a Grassy Point advocate.”

Holmes Beach dodged a potential headache by filling all five seats of the charter review committee. Five people qualified and all five will have a seat on the committee.

The members of the charter review committee to be sworn in after the Nov. 5 election are Travis Casper, David Chesire, Bob Johnson, Pam Leckie and James Plath.


4 seek 3 seats in Anna Maria election

Four candidates qualified to run for three Anna Maria city commission seats in the Nov. 5 election.

Incumbents Dale Woodland and Doug Copeland, planning and zoning board member Carol Carter, and political newcomer Michael Jaworski met the noon Aug. 30 deadline to file candidate qualifying papers.

Commissioner Gene Aubry said he decided not to run to keep the seat he was appointed to by a vote of the commission in November 2012, when then-Commissioner SueLynn became mayor.

“I just can’t do it at this time, but that’s not to say I won’t run again,” Aubry said. “But I will be around, and I will be involved with the city.”

Woodland is seeking his sixth term in office.

Copeland was elected by the commission in June to fill the seat of Commissioner John Quam following his resignation in May.

Carter was appointed to the P&Z board last year. She has not previously sought an elected office in Anna Maria.

Jaworski is running for office in Anna Maria for the first time. Reached at his home on North Shore Drive, he said he has lived in Anna Maria since 2007, but did not have time to elaborate.

The Anna Maria electorate has three votes among the four candidates and the top three vote-getters in the election will fill the three seats to serve two-year terms.

According to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website, Anna Maria has 1,309 registered voters. City elections are non-partisan.

Anna Maria commissioners are paid $400 per month.

Canvassing board members needed in Holmes Beach

For the first time in 35 years, Holmes Beach officials have stumbled into a problem with fulfilling their obligation to produce a canvassing board for the Nov. 5 election.

The city partnered with the county a few years ago, when the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office decided there were too many small town representatives in the building during the years that included federal elections.

According to Holmes Beach city clerk Stacey Johnston, the county decided to do the canvassing for the smaller cities on the years of a general election. Cities would still supply canvassing board members during off-year elections, such as the 2013 election.

For Holmes Beach, it means that commissioners, who are not up for re-election, serve on the canvassing board, but there are restrictions.

According to city attorney Patricia Petruff, a commissioner cannot be actively involved or publicly support another candidate.

Johnston said it had never been an issue in Holmes Beach until this year, when Commissioners Marvin Grossman and Judy Titsworth expressed a desire to campaign for a candidate.

Grossman did not say who he is supporting, but indicated it is not a seated commissioner. Titsworth said she would “return the favor” in supporting Commissioner Pat Morton, who is up for re-election along with Commissioners Jean Peelen and David Zaccagnino.

Morton supported Titsworth in her 2012 bid for commissioner, in which she campaigned alongside Grossman and Carmel Monti in his bid for mayor.

Also during the 2012 election, Peelen actively solicited candidates and supported the slate of newcomers over incumbent Commissioners Sandy Haas-Martens and John Monetti and Mayor Rich Bohnenberger.

But Zaccagnino maintained past commissioners have “played nice in our elections out here, so this has never been an issue.”

Grossman said, “You’d like that, wouldn’t you,” while noting he would exercise his constitutional right to support a candidate of his choosing.

Petruff said the ordinance is clear that a commissioner not up for re-election serves on the canvassing board, but if there is a conflict, another member of the electorate would be nominated.

The problem is that both members of the commission who are not up for re-election have disqualified themselves by supporting another candidate.

Petruff said it may be too late to rush an ordinance through to change the canvassing board requirements.

“We can try and rush through a change, but I’m a little uncomfortable that this change would be effective at this time,” she said.

Petruff said she would check with the election supervisor’s office for guidance.

“In the meantime, we can move forward with adopting something new, but I also want an opinion on whether or not this will work,” she said.

Commissioners agreed to have Petruff pursue options with preference being for the county to act as the canvassing board, if possible.

Petruff said the city should begin compiling names of potential canvassing board members from the public, if the intention is to change the ordinance to reflect the public can substitute for an elected official.

Anyone interested in possibly serving on the canvassing board should contact the city clerk’s office at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

Holmes Beach backpedals on domestic registry proposal

In what was considered to be a groundbreaking step Aug. 13, commissioners unanimously voted to move forward with the creation a domestic partnership registry.

But they took a step back at their Aug. 29 meeting, retreating from the proposal to draft an ordinance adopted by the Manasota League of Cities and other Florida cities that would give limited legal rights to couples who live together in a domestic partnership.

The registry could make it easier for domestic partners to visit one another in hospitals, make health care and funeral decisions, among other rights afforded to married couples, but is far more limited than marital rights.

It was considered to be a symbolic act by the city because the benefits would be limited, however, with a reciprocity provision, Holmes Beach citizens could find advantages in other cities and counties that also have adopted the registry.

Commissioner Pat Morton was the first to reverse his vote of support.

“I think it’s going to be a total nightmare for Holmes Beach,” said Morton. “It should go to the county first.”

Commission Chair Jean Peelen said she has not heard of any problems from any city that adopted the registry.

“In fact, all I’ve heard is that it’s been a great success,” she said.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino, who was absent when the registry was approved, agreed with Morton.

“I agree with the idea, but I don’t think it’s our place,” he said. “It should be done at a higher level.”

Peelen said it amounts to a symbolic message to the county commission to take up the issue.

“It’s an opportunity we have to say to our citizens that we understand and support the idea that your partner should be allowed in the hospital with you,” said Peelen. “It has little to no effect in Holmes Beach. The passage of this kind of law is doing something good for our citizens and I don’t see why we shouldn’t do it.”

Zaccagnino said there’s more to it than meets the eye. “What if a decision is made at the doctor’s office and it gets back to the son or daughter? A legal process begins and the courts are going to want the information from the city.” He maintained the city should not be dragged into those types of situations.

City attorney Patricia Petruff said those types of situations happen all the time anyway and the registry “doesn’t change that. What it does is provide a mechanism to grant a surrogate for health care rather than come to someone like me who is going to charge whatever I charge for the document.”

Commissioner Judy Titsworth suggested the city draft a letter of support to the county. But Peelen said, “That’s just passing the ball and kicking it upstairs. We have a rare opportunity to show our citizens where our hearts and minds are.”

Grossman offered a compromise by agreeing to draft a letter to the county, but “if they don’t do anything, I’d like to bring this back up again here.”

Commissioners agreed to the compromise and gave a unanimous consensus to draft a letter of support to the county with the understanding that if the county commission doesn’t act on it, Holmes Beach would reconsider adopting the registry.

Holmes Beach moves forward with paid-parking discussion

It’s a matter far from being settled, said Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti, but commissioners unanimously agreed at an Aug. 29 meeting to authorize the mayor to move forward with researching paid parking.

City officials have been putting a lot of focus on how Key West manages parking, which incorporates everything from parking meters to permit parking.

Parking issues and easing congestion has become an islandwide topic of discussion and the matters are continuously up for discussion at each city level, as well as efforts to work together for the benefit of the island.

Each city has its own areas of concern and Manatee Public Beach has been a focal point of discussion for Holmes Beach. Monti presented costs to the commissioners for installing a parking kiosk at the public beach.

He said it was only an example of what different types of parking equipment would cost and estimated the city would recoup the cost in about 90 days if the city implemented a parking fee somewhere around $5-$10.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino maintained paid parking at the beach wouldn’t alleviate the city’s primary concerns over congestion. He said he would not support paid parking unless the city receives a fair share of revenue from Manatee County.

The land at the Manatee Public Beach is in the city but it is county-run and, if supported by the county commissioners, the county would be the primary financial beneficiary of paid parking.

“I don’t think it will prevent parking,” said Zaccagnino. “People will be happy to pay to spend the day at the beach and it won’t solve the parking issue. I think this is more a revenue thing.”

Monti said he believes public support is leaning more and more toward implementing paid parking, but “this is just the information stage.”

Commission Chair Jean Peelen wanted to go on record that she wasn’t comfortable discussing the idea solely as a “money-making venture. The idea was to combine parking fines and paid parking at the beach to enhance the goal of free transportation from the mainland. The goal is reduce the number of vehicles coming to the island, not the number of people.”

Peelen said potential revenue is a plus, but she joined Zaccagnino in saying she would not support the plan unless the city receives a “generous revenue share.”

Commissioner Judy Titsworth also claimed paid parking wouldn’t address congestion and that the potential exists for residents to implement parking on private properties once the city initiates paid parking.

“That’s just human nature,” she said.

Commissioner Marvin Grossman said paid parking makes it easier to sell the concept of free transportation from the mainland. He said the majority of parking is being taken up by day-trippers.

“I don’t think it’s wrong to charge a little bit of money for the services we have to provide for people who use it,” he said.

Monti’s vision includes the possibility of building a parking garage at the beach, but that may be an uphill climb. Grossman said he would not support that idea and he believes it lacks public support.

Zaccagnino reiterated that he isn’t too happy about implementing paid parking, “but I think there is no other way. Revenue from that could be used for other programs like a park-and-ride system.”

Zaccagnino said funds also could be used to install more traffic cameras and provide a live webcam on the city’s website to show the traffic situation to those thinking about heading to the beach.

“If people can see what the traffic is like before they come, they might not want to make the trip,” he said.

Commissioners agreed the discussion should move forward, but the consensus included that the city receive its fair share of any parking revenue from the county.

“I don’t like paid parking, but we have to do something,” said Commissioner Pat Morton. “If we get our fair share, then I have no problem with it.”

If implemented, Monti said it would be one piece of a broader citywide parking plan to ensure people don’t avoid paid parking at the beach. Permitted parking areas and enforcing no-parking zones are part of the solutions being considered.

“Nothing will be decided until it comes back to the city commission,” said Monti.