Bradenton Beach officials warm up to fall election

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Marilyn Maro wins a card draw in 2016 for her seat on the Bradenton Beach Commission. Islander File Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

Bradenton Beach has two commission seats on the November municipal ballot and at least one incumbent is ready to jump into the race.

Commissioner Marilyn Maro confirmed May 24 she will run for a two-year term. She was appointed to her current term in 2016.

“I’d like to see us keep moving forward and keep Bradenton Beach great,” Maro said. “There are so many things I want to see finished.”

Maro was appointed to the Ward 2 commission seat, which was vacated when Vice Mayor Ed Straight finished his third term in November 2016. Straight had planned to run for a fourth term, but Bradenton Beach residents voted during the August primary election to retain a three-term limit for office holders.

Voters also eliminated the ward seats, opting for citywide representation by the four commissioners.

Maro’s appointment followed two deadlocked commission votes and a card draw. She drew the ace of spades to win the seat over Anne Leister.

As commissioner, she supported the building moratorium on large vacation rentals and proposed moratorium extensions while the planning and zoning board worked on code amendments and supported noise, trash and parking regulations.

“I think we took the moratorium as far as we could, but there is still more to work on,” Maro said. “We still need to see how effective the new regulations are with party houses.”

As liaison to the Scenic Waves Partnership Committee, Maro served on a committee planning park improvements and investigating grant funding for park enhancements.

Maro also cited among her concerns stormwater drainage improvements to the avenues and the commission’s promise to restore driveways for property owners affected by the recent Manatee County Force Main 5 water and sewer line replacement project.

“I hope that ace of spades stays on my side,” Maro said with a laugh.

Additionally, Commissioner Ralph Cole will close out a one-year term in November. After serving a two-year term — having been elected by popular vote in 2105 — Cole lost his race for re-election in 2017. He was, however, appointed by the commission to fill the remainder of John Chappie’s term. Chappie was elected mayor in 2017.

Cole picked up a candidate packet from the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office, but had not confirmed his intent by press time for The Islander.

Planning and zoning chair Jim Lynch and former P&Z member Bill Vincent picked up election packets at city hall, but also have not said if they plan to throw their hats into the ring.

Vincent ran in 2016 and was defeated.

Bradenton Beach is the only city on Anna Maria Island with term limits, restricting commissioners and the mayor to three consecutive two-year terms.

Candidates must be registered voters who have lived in Bradenton Beach for a minimum 12 months as of the qualifying date.

The qualifying period starts at noon Monday, June 18, and ends at noon Friday, June 22. The qualifying fee for commission candidates is $48 and must be paid from a campaign checking account.

Candidates must submit qualifying paperwork and fees to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton.

The final day to register to vote is Oct. 9. The election will be Nov. 6.

Of 744 registered voters in Bradenton Beach, 387 voted in the November 2017 municipal election.

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