ANNA MARIA – The $88.7 million budget the Florida Legislature adopted on Sunday, March 11 includes $750,000 in state funds for the estimated $4.5 million replacement of the Anna Maria City Pier.
The 2018 legislative session was scheduled to end Friday, March 9, but was extended to give state legislators more time to finalize and adopt Florida’s annual budget.
During the March 8 Anna Maria Commission meeting, Mayor Dan Murphy told commissioners the city’s request was included in the state budget to be sent to Gov. Rick Scott for approval once legislators adopted it.
Murphy said the city now has firm funding commitments for approximately $3 million of the estimated $4.5 million needed to replace the Anna Maria City Pier and the restaurant and bait shop at the pier’s T-end.
“We should be able to do it for less than that, but $4.5 (million) is the worst case,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he anticipates $1.7 million in pending FEMA funds for pier damage sustained during Hurricane Irma in September, which resulted in the pier closure.
He also mentioned the GoFundMe page created by city resident Sissy Quinn, which lists a $100,000 fundraising goal that has generated $2,380 in donations so far.
Murphy also said pier sponsorship plaques may be pursued later in the year.
“We’re not going carve names in the planks,” he said of the sponsorship packages.
The city has already received a commitment for up to $1.5 million in resort tax funds from the Manatee County Commission and will pursue an additional $330,000 in County Commission-controlled surplus beach concession revenues.
“Our delta at this point, if the other pieces come in, is a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Murphy said of the remaining funds needed.
He then recognized attending County Commissioner, Tourist Development Council member and Holmes Beach resident and former mayor Carol Whitmore for the assistance she’s provided the city regarding the pier funding. In addition to her efforts at the county level, Whitmore also contacted Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) and sought his support and assistance regarding the city’s state appropriations request.
“I want to thank you for all your hard work. You’ve gone above and beyond in terms of helping us in securing the funding for this pier. You’re responsible almost single-handedly for a little bit over $2 million. We appreciate it,” Murphy said to Whitmore, who said later she appreciated the mayor’s remarks.
Commissioner Carol Carter said city resident Jack Brennan was researching the possibility of historic preservation grants being available to further assist with the pier replacement.