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Date of Issue: November 23, 2006

Anna Maria: new commission, old problems

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Hail to the chief
Newly elected Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, along with Commissioners Jo Ann Mattick and Duke Miller, were sworn into office Nov. 16 by City Clerk Alice Baird. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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Thanks for the memories
Former Anna Maria City Commissioner Linda Cramer accepts a thank you from Commission Chairman John Quam at the Nov. 16 meeting. Cramer lost her seat in the Nov. 7 election by just 22 votes. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

New Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford along with newly elected City Commissioners Duke Miller and Jo Ann Mattick had hardly been sworn into office at the Nov. 16 commission meeting before they ended up spending nearly an hour dealing with one of the old problems that has plagued the city through a number of previous administrations: drainage.

Jim Schotsch of the city's engineering firm of Baskerville-Donovan Inc. gave the commission an update on the Gladiolus-North Shore Drive drainage project, but some North Shore Drive residents complained the project wasn't draining the water.

North Shore Drive resident Tom Turner claimed that the city had planned for a larger pipe to be used in the project, one that would move a lot more water than the present system. But for whatever reason, the larger pipe was never installed. Schotts agreed the smaller pipe was installed, but had no explanation for why the order was changed.

"Why didn't we have the bigger pipe that was authorized? Why was it not done as contracted?" questioned Miller. The commission never authorized any change, he said.

Schotsch said he would look into the reasons and report back to the commission.

Other drainage matters involved Chilson Avenue and Bayview. Schotts gave a preliminary engineering cost estimate of $55,000 for each project, but noted there were problems with easements at both locations.

In one of her first acts as mayor, Barford, city attorney Jim Dye and a representative from BDI will meet with a property owner on Bayview to discuss obtaining an easement for drainage. An easement already exists on Chilson Avenue.

Schotsch also gave an update on the on-going road resurfacing projects.

The commission then approved a new contract with BDI to include increased rates since the original contract was signed in 2003.

The commission also held the first reading of an amendment to an ordinance that would clarify that there could be no lot splits without a formal subdivision plat and city process.

Dye said the idea is to eliminate lot splits as a way to make more buildable parcels and provide a definition for the minimum size of a buildable parcel. All platted lots in the city are buildable parcels, he noted, although some may be grandfathered for construction.

Mattick, however, was more concerned with the definition of a maximum lot size. Commissioners agreed to discuss that issue at a later date.

In other business, commissioners approved several ordinances relating to flood plain and stormwater management that will add to the city's standing for discounted flood insurance premiums under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's community rating system. The CRS is managed by building official Kevin Donohue, who spearheaded the legislation.



Barford said one of the first major issues she has to tackle is the mold problem that was discovered during a recent environmental inspection following the severe intrusion of rainwater during the roof replacement last summer.

The mayor thanked the commission for not signing off on the new roof, thus allowing the city to proceed against the roofing contractor and its insurance carrier.

"We have a major issue," she said, noting she and city attorney Dye and public works director George McKay are working with the contractor's insurance carrier on "remediaton protocol." That's a polite way of saying "How much money is needed to fix the problem?"

The insurance carrier had originally offered $10,500 to fix the damage caused by the water intrusion, but after the discovery of mold, that's just a "drop in the bucket" to get city hall up to standards, Barford maintained.    


Quam re-elected as chairman

City Commissioner John Quam was re-elected to his third term as the commission's chairman, while Commissioner Christine Tollette was elected as the vice-chair. Quam will also serve as the city's vice-mayor.


Like it or not, SueLynn to be honored

While former Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn stayed away from the Nov. 16 ceremony where Fran Barford was sworn in as the city's new mayor, Commission Chairman John Quam paid tribute to her four years and nine months of service and said the city would put a plaque in her honor on a newly planted tree at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Park on Pine Avenue.

Quam said he had planned to honor SueLynn at the Nov. 9 worksession, but that meeting was canceled.

"She initiated more projects than just about any other mayor in memory," he said of SueLynn.

Among the projects she spearheaded were the remodeling of city hall and roof replacement, re-establishment of the capital improvements advisory committee, initiation of the comprehensive plan review and the establishment of the accompanying ad hoc committee, creation of the line of credit for capital improvement projects and a host of other efforts at city hall, he said.

"We appreciate her service and we are going to plant an oak tree and plaque in her honor at the Historical Society," he said.

The commission will also give the former mayor a certificate of appreciation.

"We want to thank her for all her service," he concluded.