Election Day approaches in Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach City Commission candidates are preparing for Election Day.

Two seats on the dais will be decided Nov. 6.

Voters will choose between incumbent commissioners Ralph Cole and Marilyn Maro and former volunteer board members Tjet Martin and John Metz.

Additionally, voters will decide on seven proposed amendments to the city charter and a rezone referendum for Katie Pierola Park.


4 commission candidates for 2 seats

As of the Oct. 23 reporting deadline, Cole had received $4,300 in campaign contributions, including from two businesses — Bridgewalk Partners and Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort.

He collected campaign funds from eight individuals, not including his own contributions — Cris Johnson of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Karen Clarke of Bradenton Beach, wife of ex-Mayor Jack Clarke, Bob Talham, Lynne Budzinski, Carol Findlay, P&Z board member Ken McDonough and his wife Denice, all of Bradenton Beach. Virginia Allen of Longboat Key also contributed to Cole’s campaign.

Cole also received a donation from a union — Suncoast Professional Firefighters & Paramedics of Venice. He also received a contribution from the Florida Professional Firefighters Inc. of Tallahassee, a state association chartered by the International Association of Firefighters.

Cole’s campaign expenditures of $2,305.97 included marketing design, signs, postal fees and print advertising.

Maro received $2,375 in campaign contributions as of Oct. 23.

Maro reported Bradenton Beach residents R.F. and Nancy Ockerman and Lynn Budzinski as contributors.

She also received a contribution from the Suncoast Professional Firefighters and Florida Professional Firefighters.

Her campaign expenditures, totaling $1,735.22, included signs, postcards and mailers.

Martin received $1,851,12 and spent $1,094.86 as of Oct. 23.

She received contributions from seven individuals, not including herself — Roger Fultz of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Tammy Johnson of Palmetto, James Srackangast of Concord, North Carolina, and Mary Mapes and Rose and William Vincent of Bradenton Beach, as well as a contribution from fellow candidate Metz.

Martin’s expenditures were for campaign signs, printed materials and food and beverages for a meet-and-greet with Metz.

According to his finance report, Metz spent $1,094.86 to market his campaign, including signage, printing and mailing materials. He also contributed to the meet-and-greet with Martin.

He received a $100 contribution from Rose Vincent and contributions from Martin for sharing a sign stand and food and beverages for the meet-and-greet. The remaining expenses were funded by Metz.


Charter amendments, rezone

Bradenton Beach voters will decide to approve or deny seven ballot questions for proposed amendments to the city charter and a rezone referendum.

Proposed charter amendment 1 would reinstate “at-large voting for all elected officials, including mayor and four neighborhood ward commissioners.”

Proposed charter amendment 2 asks, “Should the city revise its charter to clarify residency and require candidates for elective office to be registered voters permanently residing in the city of Bradenton Beach?”

The charter currently does not include a definition of residency.

Proposed charter amendment 3 asks, “Should the city amend its charter to expressly provide for a balanced commission form of government, with the mayor and commissioners all having equal executive and legislative powers?”

The ballot question for proposed charter amendment 4 asks if the city commission shall “exclusively” retain hiring and firing powers for city staff.

Proposed charter amendment 5 “clarifies, renumbers and reorganizes” the articles in the charter regarding provisions for elected officials, qualifications and election procedures.

Proposed charter amendment 6 considers the filling of vacancies on the dais. If approved, this section would add a resign-to-run provision, allowing the commission to appoint someone to fill a spot that would remain vacant more than six months until the next general election, when a successor would be elected.

The last proposed ballot question, charter amendment 7, would clarify the title of the charter article dealing with “ordinances” to include the words “initiatives” and “referendums,” since the article establishes requirements for all three.

The ballot also includes a referendum to approve or deny rezoning Katie Pierola Park, 2212 Gulf Drive N., from R-3 multi-family residential, which doesn’t allow parks, to public recreation.

As of Oct. 23, the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections reported 739 active voters in Bradenton Beach.

The Manatee County Canvassing Board will review provisional ballots, and questions regarding the election can be directed to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office.

Bradenton Beach registered voters will cast ballots 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at precinct No. 307, Bradenton Beach Fire Hall, 201 Second St. N.