Story Tools

Date of Issue: December 22, 2005

Holmes Beach wants consolidation committee

The Holmes Beach City Commission at its Dec. 13 meeting gave grudging consensus for Mayor Carol Whitmore to talk with Bradenton Beach officials about forming a combined committee of elected officials and private citizens to study the issue of Island consolidation.

The move comes after a majority of Holmes Beach voters approved a non-binding referendum Nov. 8 for the city to examine the "feasibility" of consolidation. A similar referendum passed in Bradenton Beach, but the Anna Maria City Commission rejected even placing the measure on the ballot.

Not all commissioners, however, favored a committee.While Commissioner Roger Lutz said that from the results of the referendum, it was "clear we need to look at it," Commission Chairman Rich Bohnenberger countered that the referendum was for "all three cities. With Anna Maria out of the equation, Bohnenberger argued there was no reason to proceed.

"At least let's talk to Bradenton Beach," said Whitmore.

Lutz agreed and suggested a committee from Holmes Beach be composed of the mayor, two city commissioners, the police chief, superintendent of public works and two members from the private sector.

If the committee reported back that consolidation is "stupid," at least the commission has "fulfilled our obligation," said Lutz.

Whitmore said that before any committee is organized she would talk to Bradenton Beach officials and determine if they are interested in such a plan.

Canals and docks

The seemingly never-ending saga of the city's Sunrise subdivision boat basin and T-end canals and docks drew closer to a resolution as commissioners spent more than an hour discussing the latest revisions to the proposed ordinances and appropriate licenses.

Commissioners did determine that there would not be a need for a "wait list" for a dock in the Sunrise basin, and T-end canal residents who might be on that wait list could apply for a vacant dock in Sunrise.

While the annual fee for a dock space has not yet been established, City Attorney Patricia Petruff said the city staff is considering a recommendation of 50 percent of what the private sector charges.

The current rate at a private marina is $10 per foot per month. At a 50-percent rate for a T-end canal or Sunrise dock, the owner of a 28-foot boat would pay $140 a month or $1,680 on an annual basis.

Commissioners could not decide if the lease should be paid annually, quarterly or monthly and agreed to return to that issue at a later worksession.

Several commissioners agreed that an annual payment might place a "burden" on some residents.

Haverkos drainage basin

Whitmore reported that despite advertising for bids in Tampa and Orlando, in addition to the Manatee-Sarasota area, only one firm submitted a bid for the Haverkos II drainage project.

The companies that do excavation and pipe installation were either too busy or not interested in such a small job, said Whitmore. The project has $225,000 budgeted and C.E. Huffman Trucking Inc. of Bradenton was the lone bidder, coming in under budget by $677.

The project involves excavation, installation of storm pipes and paving of streets.

Rather than continue to search for bids, commissioners gave Supterintendent of Public Works Joe Duennes permission to prepare a contract for their approval.

Brazilian pepper trees

The commission decided to place discussion of removal of Brazilian pepper trees from the Kingfish Boat Ramp on the Jan. 24 agenda, when more residents of Westbay Cove will be able to attend.

Manatee County wants to remove the pepper trees, which come within a few feet of the east side of Westbay Cove condominiums.

But Lutz said that while the county has tried to give removal of the trees a "friendly face," the project is simply about "doubling the size of the boat ramp for more people from Lakeland."

Bohnenberger said a city objection might be a moot point. The Florida Department of Transportation has a right of way that extends out from State Road 64 for 500 feet. Kingfish Boat Ramp is county property.