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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Holmes Beach police pension request back to workshop

Holmes Beach city commissioners are having second thoughts about approving an increase in the city's contribution to a city police officers retirement fund.

The Holmes Beach Police Pension Board Aug. 24 had asked the city to increase the city's contribution to each police officer's retirement fund from 33 percent to 36.8 percent starting in the 2005-06 budget. Commissioners had placed the item on their Sept. 14 agenda.

The retirement board said the additional funding would cost the city about $21,000 annually with some state funding, and no more than $26,000 without those funds. The HBPD has 13 police officers.

But at the Sept. 14 meeting, commissioners decided to send the issue back to a future workshop session while City Attorney Patricia Petruff obtains an independent review of the proposed plan by a professional pension planner and a certified actuary. Those experts should be available from the Florida League of Cities, said Mayor Carol Whitmore.

Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger said he had some concerns about the request and wanted more information. Whitmore noted that city staff only get a 9 percent retirement contribution from the city.

The commission also took a long step toward eliminating boarding houses, rooming houses and non-authorized rental lodging in the residential district by asking Petruff to begin drafting an ordinance prohibiting such rentals.

The ordinance is to address the problem of rooming houses in a single-family residential area. And don't even think about a "grandfather" clause, said Petruff.

"We are taking the position that this is already illegal," the attorney noted. No property owner currently violating the ordinance will be "grandfathered" to continue renting a single-family home as a boarding house.

Agreed, said Commission Chairperson Sandy Haas-Martens. "A lot of two-bedroom homes have been split into four bedrooms and then each room rented out." This ordinance will put an end to that practice, and violators won't be grandfathered.

Paris is the place to be
Long-time Holmes Beach Building Official Bill Saunders is resting comfortably in a Paris, France, hospital after suffering some heart complications while in that city.

Saunders, who has a daughter living in Paris, reportedly said that if you have to be in the hospital, Paris is the place because of the attractive nurses.

He was expected to return to Anna Maria Island this week.

Gloth in hospital
Whitmore said Former Holmes Beach Beautification Committee member Jim Gloth is now at Blake Medical Center awaiting heart surgery after suffering an apparent stroke.

Gloth resigned from the committee for health reasons.