Holmes Beach sends off mayor with applause

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Mayor Bob Johnson displays a brass clock in a wooden box bearing the city seal Nov. 13, a gift from the Holmes Beach staff and city officials for his four years as mayor. Commissioners Pat Morton, left, Rick Hurst, Judy Titsworth, Carol Soustek and Jim Kihm, as well as city clerk Stacey Johnston, look on at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
A gallery of about 40 people gives a standing ovation Nov. 13 in appreciation of Bob Johnson, during his last meeting as Holmes Beach mayor.
Holmes Beach city clerk Stacey Johnston thanks outgoing Mayor Bob Johnson Nov. 13 for his years of service to the city during a meeting at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
Outgoing Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson shakes hands Nov. 13 with Commissioner Judy Titsworth, mayor when newly elected officials are sworn later this month, as Commissioners Pat Morton and Rick Hurst look on. Islander Photos: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

“Positive, positive, positive,” were the closing words Nov. 13 by Bob Johnson when describing the future of the city at his final commission meeting as Holmes Beach mayor.

Johnson finished his second term and bid farewell to city officials and staff at the meeting.

He was elected to his first term as mayor in 2014 and his second in 2016. He chose not to run for a third term.

Johnson first served the city as a member of the island congestion committee in 2013 and was elected later that year to serve on the charter review commission, which he chaired.

The charter was updated in November 2014, with 18 amendments approved by the electorate.

At the Nov. 13 meeting, city clerk Stacey Johnston highlighted some of Johnson’s accomplishments during his four years as mayor.

She said Johnson built up the city’s reserves and “worked extremely hard on getting our budget and our millage rates to what the city needs.”

Johnston said Johnson pushed for updates to permitting software, reconstructed the building department with new staff, implemented the vacation rental certificate program and oversaw improvements to Grassy Point Preserve, as well as development and installation of improved stormwater infiltration systems and the city bike path.

Additionally, Johnston listed oversight in 2017 of the development of the Waterline Marine Resort and Beach Club among Johnson’s accomplishments.

“That’s one of the biggest projects that this city has seen in the last 10 years,” she said.

She presented Johnson with a gift on behalf of the city staff, officials and residents — a brass clock in a wooden box engraved with the city seal.

Johnson thanked the staff and commissioners for their service while he was mayor and the citizens for giving him the opportunity to serve.

“That is the key,” Johnson said. “If we can listen, seek to understand, identify the issues, analyze and figure out what is the best solution for all of us, we make progress.”

The gallery of about 40 people at city hall gave Johnson a standing ovation.

The commissioners rose, one by one to shake Johnson’s hand and thank him.

“I just think that this is a great city. I think it’s going the right way,” Johnson said. “I think it will continue to go the right way as long as we continue with the work to be done.”