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Date of Issue: November 23, 2006

Holmes Beach calls up chief for annexation push

The Holmes Beach City Commission drafted the police chief to help educate county officials to safety concerns regarding the area around Kingfish Boat Ramp.

During a work session Nov. 14, commissioners and outgoing Mayor Carol Whitmore discussed their hopes to annex the area on Manatee Avenue next to the Anna Maria Island Bridge. It was long thought that although the county operated the boat ramp and the state maintained Manatee Avenue, the area was in Holmes Beach. A recent survey showed otherwise.

So the city recently asked the county to support a voluntary annexation of the area.

On Nov. 7, county commissioners answered that request with a no, voting to ask the county attorney to draft a letter stating their opposition to Holmes Beach annexing the area.

Last week, the Holmes Beach Commission and Whitmore agreed that county officials need to know about Holmes Beach's concerns and interests in seeking a voluntary annexation.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine has said it makes sense for the city to patrol and work through cases in the area, not hand them off to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Whitmore and city commissioners have concurred.

"It's for public safety because right now ... now that we know that's not our property, we have to call MSO to fix something at the boat ramp," stressed Whitmore, newly elected - but not yet seated - to the county commission as an at-large member.

County officials, Whitmore added, seem to think Holmes Beach police officers can simply be deputized by the sheriff's office. But that can't happen without some expense and training.

"I don't think they understand the depth of it," Commissioner David Zaccagnino said, referring to county officials. "We need to explain our position."

Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens said she doesn't want to see the county borrow a patrol car and deputy from Anna Maria City to police the Kingfish area.

So last week, city commissioners asked Romine to talk with county commissioners, specifically Ron Getman, who formerly worked for the Florida Highway Patrol.

The city commission moved quickly through other items on its work session and regular meeting agendas, wrapping up in less than 30 minutes.

In other business, the commission:

  • Unanimously approved the purchase of five radios for the police department. The expense, $19,559, was budgeted for 2006-07.
  • Unanimously approved the purchase of two Ford F150 trucks for the police department to use for patrol and to outfit the trucks with emergency equipment. The cost, according to a memo from Romine, would not exceed the $50,000 budgeted for 2006-07.
  • Unanimously approved allowing the placement of two, temporary directional signs for the Anna Maria Island Community Center at Manatee Avenue and Sixth Avenue and the corner of South Harbor and Gulf drives.
  • While construction takes place at the Center grounds in Anna Maria, programs are being coordinated from a trailer at St. Bernard Catholic Church grounds, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.
  • Unanimously approved the appointment of Ray Dalto to serve as the fifth member of the Holmes Beach Police Officers Pension Fund.