Holmes Beach charter reviewers wrap up sessions, recommendations

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Attorney Thomas Thanus, Holmes Beach charter review Commissioner Sean Murphy, Chair Edward Upshaw and Commissioner David Zaccagnino engage in discussion May 8. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

The final report is approved and ready to go the city commission.

During their May 8 meeting, Charter Review Commissioners Sean Murphy, David Zaccagnino and Chair Edward Upshaw, approved 3-0 Upshaw’s third draft of a final report on the commission’s conclusions.

Commissioners Claudia Carlson and Nancy Deal were absent with excuse.

Attorney Thomas Thanus attended the meeting as an alternate for city attorney Patricia Petruff.

After approving past meeting minutes, the commissioners reviewed Deal’s suggestions for minor typographical changes to the charter, including the addition or deletion of commas and apostrophes. A motion to accept the agreed upon changes passed 3-0.

Upon reviewing the previously approved ordinance containing the proposed charter amendments, Murphy said language in the section dealing with tighter restrictions for vacations of city-owned property was only amended to include rights of way with “direct or indirect access to the beach or to the bay,” when the language that was approved included all city-owned rights of way.

Upshaw suggested the city attorney revise the amendment to state, “Real property and rights of way, including rights of way that provide direct or indirect access to the beach…”

Thanus said changing the language would mean revising it to include what was already approved, and the rewording could be done by Petruff and without another vote.

Commissioners also agreed to remove three of 10 proposed ballot questions — one approving consolidation of city-owned property legal descriptions and two amendments to delete redundant language.

“It could confuse voters and it’s just housekeeping on something already voted on,” Upshaw said.

Thanus said he would check with Petruff to determine if the ordinance must retain the three amendments or the city commission could vote on the matters.

When the CRC last considered the matter of retaining its strong-mayor status or allowing a city manager, the vote was split with Carlson, Deal and Upshaw supporting a ballot question on the city manager form of government and Murphy and Zaccagnino opposing the ballot measure.

The charter requires a supermajority vote — at least 4-1 — to place an amendment on the ballot for voter consideration. Because of the split 3-2 vote, the matter will not be on the Nov. 5 municipal ballot.

Carlson and Murphy provided majority and minority reports, which the CRC approved as appendices to its final report.

“I’m happy that this commission has come to an agreement,” Zaccagnino said May 8. “I think all these are important and it’s good that there’s not any dispute up here on the approved charter amendments.”

However, there was dispute when it came to including the voter’s choice for a city manager, which was blocked by Murphy and Zaccagnino.

Charter changes approved in April by a supermajority of the committee will be submitted to the city commission as an ordinance, and then sent to the Manatee County Supervision of Elections for a citywide vote on the November ballot.

Upshaw will present the committee’s report to the city commission during a work session at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at city hall.

The first reading of the ordinance will be held during the city meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, also at city hall.

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