A citizens group in Bradenton Beach will soon become a political action committee.
The grass-roots group formed in July under the banner Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach.
The group held a number of meetings, which lead to three ballot initiatives to change the city charter. Members collected the required number of petition signatures from more than 100 voters to have the initiatives added to the Nov. 7 municipal ballot.
In previous discussions, the group opted to remain an “educational” organization rather than a political committee.
However, according to Florida statutes, because the group “seeks signatures from registered electors in support of an initiative,” CNOBB chairman Bill Vincent determined they are required to register as a PAC.
CNOBB members are pushing for three charter amendments — replace the city four-ward representative system with an at-large system, amend residency requirements for elected officials from 24 months to the state-approved 12-month minimum, and prohibit changes to the city charter by resolution. If approved by electors, a citizen vote to amend the charter would be needed.
According to CNOBB member Reed Mapes, his attorney, Jim Dye of Dye, Deitrich, Petruff & St. Paul P.L. of Bradenton, said the group should register with the city.
However, CNOBB member Tjet Martin attempted to submit the necessary forms Oct. 23 and was turned away at the clerk’s office.
Martin said the clerk first told her the city would not accept the application because the city is in litigation with CNOBB. After Martin insisted that was incorrect, the clerk suggested she register with the county, according to Martin.
The registration forms were signed by Vincent and treasurer John Metz and ready to file Oct. 23.
Martin then headed to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, where she was told to file the paperwork for the PAC with the city.