Bradenton Beach PAC finalizes ballot questions

The signatures are collected and the petitions are filed.

The next stop for citizens who want changes made to the Bradenton Beach charter — the bible for city governance — is the November election.

Reed Mapes and John Metz, former Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board members working as the political action committee Keep Our Residential Neighborhoods, collected the required signatures to put four choices on the Nov. 6 ballot that, if approved, would amend the city charter.

The signatures collected from more than 10 percent of voters were submitted to the city clerk and barring any issues and clarification from the city and the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, the KORN initiatives will be decided by the electorate.

The four charter questions include:
• Prohibit the construction of a multilevel parking garage anywhere in the city;
• Require city commission vacancies be filled by election;
• Prevent construction within setbacks;
• Install a certified public manager as chief executive officer.

In 2017, Mapes and Metz helped spearhead three successful ballot initiatives as members of the now-defunct Concerned Neighbors of Bradenton Beach.

The CNOBB initiatives eliminated the city’s four-ward representative system, reduced the time required for residency for candidates for city commission and prohibited changes to the city charter by a resolution of the commission.

In May, commissioners opted to appoint a charter review committee to fix inconsistencies in the document and possibly recommend changes for this year’s ballot.

According to Mapes, KORN’s petitions and the proposed charter amendments were reviewed by attorney Bob Hendrickson before the petitions were given to voters for consideration and a signature.

Mapes said June 6 that the city is obligated to ensure the petitioned charter initiatives appear on the ballot.

“They have no choice but to put them out to the people,” he said.

Mapes and Metz share a concern for “democracy in our city” that is not being fulfilled by the city commission.

“Our issue is that we are tired of this small bedroom community being destroyed by business interests,” Mapes said June 5. “They could take care of both businesses and residents if they worked at it.”

The final day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 9.

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

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