to move pipes, county says
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH Facing a shortage of time, Manatee
County has recommended that the renourishment pipeline
stay in the sand from Manatee County Beach to Katie Pierola
Park to ensure that the contractor finishes the job that
began last July.
Thats the word from Manatee County Ecosystems Admini
strator Charlie Hunsicker, who gave three reasons for
He said the first was the county does not have survey
information on the street-ends where the pipe could be
stored until they could be reassembled in about two weeks.
The second was even if they knew where the street ends
were, there was not enough time to disassemble the pipeline
and then reassemble it by April 1, when the contractor,
Goodloe Marine, Inc., is supposed to resume renourishment.
Finally, he said disassembling the pipe and storing it
at one spot, such as Coquina Beach, would take even more
"I know the hardships are real for the hotel and
motel owners along the beach," he said, "but
we have run out of time to get an effective and practical
Furthermore, Hunsicker said he doubted that there would
be enough time to renourish the beaches of Anna Maria
in a second project, as originally planned.
"We contacted FEMA (Federal Emergency Management
Agency) and asked them to extend the permitting for the
Anna Maria project until March 2007 and will address that
project later," he said.
Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn said she was disappointed that
her beaches would not be protected through this hurricane
"However, I would not want this nightmare on our
beaches until they finish the project south of us,"
Hunsicker said until the renourishment resumes, they have
asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make sure the
people and beaches are protected from the pipeline.
"We are asking the Corps to have Goodloe provide
more pedestrian walkovers along the pipe," he said.
"More importantly, we want them to make sure they
pay close attention to the grading and leveling out of
the escarpments that will form between the pipeline and
the water levels during storms between now and April 1."
Hunsicker had originally planned to use a required tilling
of the beaches at this time to prepare for turtle season
as a reason to require that the pipeline be disassembled
after the Corps took several weeks to ponder whether it
should do so. He said that tilling will still take place,
but they will work around the pipeline.
Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore recommended that the
county drop its demand to disassemble the pipeline. She
changed her mind after the Corps delayed its decision
on the pipeline to the point where she determined there
was too little time.
"We want to get this thing done and Im sorry
we could not get any relief for the tourist industry,
but we tried," she said.
The renourishment project was put on hold in December
when Goodloe said it could not dredge sand accurately
and safely during the winter storm season that causes
high waves in the Gulf.
When Goodloe took its dredge and supply boat back to home
port, it left the pipeline intact. Despite a series of
walkover ramps made from sand, tourists complained that
the pipeline blocked access to the water and hindered
their view of the Gulf from expensive beachfront resort
rooms. Resort owners began to report room cancellations
and customers demanding reduced rates.
The Corps said three weeks ago that it would order the
pipeline be disassembled after Hunsicker said it would
interfere with the tilling project, but there was no action.
The Corps said it was negotiating with the contractor
about the cost of removing the pipeline and who should
pay for it. Last week, Goodloe project engineer Ben Goodloe
said he had never received a written request for a cost
Day set for Saturday
ANNA MARIA The Anna
Maria Island Historical Society hopes to make history
at its annual Heritage Day on March 4.
The event will feature two parades on Pine Avenue, one
at noon for decorated bicycles and one at 2 p.m. for costumed
pets and their owners.
Craftspeople will demonstrate old-time pursuits including
whittling, basket weaving and
quilting, while historical society members stroll the
grounds in period costumes, relating Anna Marias
Artists and craftspeople will display their wares and
their techniques, while bakers sell Early Settlers
bread and food vendors satisfy other gastronomic cravings.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can tour the Island Historical
Museum, Belle Haven Cottage and Ole City Jail at 402 Pine
Ave., accompanied by music on the porch by the Belle Haven
Preservation Jazz Band, Jimi Gee and the Swinging Cats
of Rhythm and Tom Benjamin.
Proceeds from Heritage Day maintain the Island Historical
Museum and Belle Haven Cottage.
For more information, call 778-0492.
Just say no to gas tax hike
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Commissioners in this Island city are
unanimous in their opposition to the countys proposed
increase in the tax on gasoline.
All five cities in the county were asked to approve a
resolution supporting a nickel a gallon on the purchase
Mayor SueLynn outlined the reasons for the countys
desire to raise the tax.
"Dont shoot the messenger," she began.
The county hasnt raised the gas tax since 1985.
There is now a 7-cent local tax and a 4-cent state tax
on gasoline. The county proposes to raise the local option
tax to 11-cents a gallon.
The countys talking points state that with inflation,
50 percent of the purchasing power of the 7 cents has
been lost. Further, there is less and less federal money
coming to the states for roads.
Another point in favor of the additional tax, according
to the county, is that the people who are actually using
the roads, including tourists, would pay a lot of it.
The city would realize about $25,000 a year from the proposed
At that Commissioners Dale Woodland and Duke Millers
hands shot into the air.
"Betcha Im more opposed to this than you are,"
"Betcha youre not," was Millers
comeback. "Were 5 percent of the population,
but we pay for 20 percent of the general fund out here.
Dont be asking our residents to be support a tax
for something outside our area, thank you very much."
Deputy Mayor John Quam said hes heard from a lot
of citizens that they are concerned about the high taxes
residents of the Island are paying.
"Heres an opportunity for us to deny support
of a tax," he said. "The ad valorem tax has
increased tremendously, and it appears to me things are
not being managed properly."
At one point, it appeared that the commission would draft
a resolution against the countys proposed tax, but
in the end, they the consensus was to just take no action..<<
commission spar over control of line of credit
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Calling
them micro-managers, Mayor SueLynn blasted commissioners
for the requirements they are writing into an ordinance
that will govern every aspect of a $1.5 million line of
credit that the city is poised to draw down.
"With all due respect to the commission, I believe
that the commissioners are crossing the line into a dimension
that disrespects the charter," the mayor said.
She said the charter assigns the process of setting the
budget to the mayor and therefore the process of handling
a line of credit belongs to the mayor.
"I feel really, really strongly this (ordinance)
crosses the line from legislation into administration
and for me and the staff, it crosses the line and is insulting."
Deputy Mayor John Quam, who drew up the language for a
resolution that would govern how the line of credit is
handled, said its a question of having formal procedures.
"I need something formal where the procedure for
the next administration for years from now is clear,"
"It then will be a precedent," the mayor retorted.
"We dont have a written procedure for how the
budget is done." She added that there is no necessity
for a written procedure for how a line of credit is managed.
Commissioner Chris Tollette asked City Attorney Jim Dye
for his opinion.
Dye said he couldnt say one way or the other.
"Contract approval is a duty of the commission, unless
the commission has set up to a certain limit that doesnt
come before them," Dye said. "Once the contract
is approved, then the administration carries out the terms
of the contract."
Dye said that a line of credit is one component of the
budget but its an in-house decision as to whether
or not theres a written procedure.
Tollette then asked whether or not the city could proceed
to draw on the line of credit and then draft some procedures
if problems arise.
"This is one of the reasons I made the proposal,"
said Commissioner Dale Woodland, who had his own suggestions
for handling the line of credit. "Its to avoid
problems, not wait till they happen in the future."
Commissioner Duke Miller said he thinks having a written
procedure is wise and in the best interests of the mayor.
"If I were you, Id want this," he said.
"At the end, Id want to know I that I wasnt
going to be second-guessed every which way. The charter
says the mayor conducts business at the pleasure of the
"Id look at the guidelines and then six months
down the road when this or that went wrong especially
when we are looking at borrowing money I feel very
comfortable saying its no big deal. This way the
train wont get off the track," Miller said.
Woodland wants specific counting of the details of the
line of credit.
"We really need to have our hands around the full
life of the line of credit," he said. "The beginning,
the middle and then end."
Miller pointed out that Quams proposal set guidelines
for handling the line of credit, and Woodlands proposal
set up specific ways of informing the commission of the
status of the handling of the money. He suggested that
the two proposals could be combined into one resolution,
which will be attached to the ordinance that will authorize
the establishment of the line of credit.
That money is only to be used for drainage, storm water
management and road projects.
Commissioners voted unaninimously on the adoption of the
resolution combining Woodlands and Quams proposals..<<
seeks meeting on parking
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
City hall has a magnificent view. The BeachHouse restaurant
to the north, volleyball courts in front and Australian
pines to the south frame the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the city has a problem with cars parking on the
sand among the pine trees and wants them to stop.
The citys Scenic Highway Committee addressed the
situation while looking at overall plans for landscaping
and beautifying Gulf Drive. At one time, the committee
considered working with BeachHouse owner Ed Chiles to
take down the trees and set up a parking lot with one
entrance and one exit, but there was no follow-up
Building Official Ed McAdam has sent a letter to Chiles
telling him to install signs and barriers to advise motorists
that they cannot park there. The letter also told him
that he would have to seek a building permit from the
city and approval from the Florida Department of Environmental
McAdam's letter points out that the land up to 25 feet
west of Gulf Drive is designated as recreation/open space
on the citys future land use map. It says the land
beyond that toward the Gulf of Mexico is designated as
preservation. Parking is not allowed within those designations.
The letter warns that the city would install posts and
signage at the city property along the First Street North
beach access to prevent parking there also. It has already
placed tape along Gulf Drive to stop cars from parking.
The letter gives Chiles until March 5 to erect the signage
and barriers to prevent parking across the street from
When asked why the city took this latest action, McAdam
said that BeachHouse customers use it, and the citys
intent was to let beach-goers park there.
"It should be for recreational use, not commercial,"
he said, "and we want to keep vehicles out of the
Meanwhile, Chiles said the letter was a surprise.
"We have told him in the past we want to work with
him," said Chiles. "There is a desperate need
for parking in that area, and I thought we were in agreement
Chiles said he would try arrange a meeting with McAdam
or maybe the Scenic Highway Committee to see if they can
work out an agreement that would allow parking there.
He said he has been paying taxes on that land since he
bought the BeachHouse 14 years ago and would love to be
able to use some of it to alleviate the parking problem.
He said he has always tried to cooperate with the city.
"I spent $40,000 on lights in the north parking lot
to make it turtle friendly," he said. "Then,
the city said it had a problem with the north end of my
lot where people had been pulling out into traffic and
I said, OK, fine," and I blocked it off. I
have always done what they have asked."
in code violation case now
sun staff writer
The city may take a wait-and-see attitude on its oldest
code enforcement case because the "tax man cometh."
The code enforcement board discussed its possible foreclosure
on a house at 2417 Gulf Drive owned by Patrick Handley
at an update meeting last Thursday night. The city placed
a lien on the house, which was found to be in violation
of the code for being in structural and landscape disrepair,
in July 1999 and fined the owner $250 per day. At the
meeting, code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon said that
the fines now amounted to $603,250. She said it appeared
the owner had tried to fix up the outside, but she had
been unable to inspect the property.
"Outside, it still looks well," Rathvon said,
"however, we have no idea how it looks on the inside."
Rathvon said that the owner had not paid his property
taxes in the past few years, and the government had now
placed a tax lien on the property. She added that the
tax certificate had been sold and that the owner of the
certificate could force a tax sale of the house in July.
"The city could foreclose on the house," said
city attorney Ricinda Perry, "but when the tax certificate
is purchased, the foreclosure would not survive the tax
Perry said the tax lien is about $40,000 and that the
city would get whatever is left from the sale of the house
following the payment of the tax lien. She said if that
is less than the code enforcement lien, the city could
collect the rest from the purchaser of the house.
"The purchaser of the house cannot get title to it
until the liens are satisfied," she said. "Of
course, someone might purchase the house to live in it,
not expecting to take title to it."
Building Official Ed McAdam suggested the board continue
this case for a month while the code enforcement officer
looks into it further and suggests an action at the next
board meeting. The board agreed.
In other action, the board agreed to close the case of
a beachfront property at 2518 Gulf Drive where the owner
was told to remove a large planter that was infringing
on a city beach access. The owner had removed the planter,
but not the sand that had been in it, and the city determined
it posed a hazard. Rathvon reported the sand had finally
The board also closed a case against Rita Ingram, who
owns the Laundromat at 101 Seventh Street. She had been
ordered to put in handicap parking and to paint stripes
in the parking lot.
The final case was against the property owners at 800
and 901 Gulf Drive. The owners were ordered to improve
a parking lot at one property and fence off beachfront
property to prevent people from parking there. The owners,
Wendy and George Kokolis, filed suit against the city,
and the legal action had recently been transferred from
state to federal court.
are in on drainage project
sun staff writer
MARIA The low bid for the Gladiolus/North Shore
drainage project came in too high to allow for engineering
The city has budgeted $135,000 for the project. The Southwest
Floridaw Water Management District has approved a matching
grant for an additional $135,000, making $270,000 that
the city has in its coffers to pay for the project.
DeJonge Excavating, a Venice company, came in with the
low bid at $263,119.29, making it the company likely to
win the contract to do the project, which will run in
the alley between North Shore Drive and Gladiolus Street.
A shallow swale will run in the alley there from Jacaranda
to Hibiscus avenues with a turn by Crescent Drive across
North Bay Boulevard to a filtered outlet into the bay.
City Engineer Tom Wilcox, of Baskerville-Donovan, opened
four bids Feb. 23.
"Thats good for a little project like this,"
Wilcox said. "Im really happy with that."
The bids ranged from DeJonges low to Westra Construction
of Palmettos high of $448,253.38. The two other
companies that submitted bids were Adkins Contracting,
Inc., of Ruskin, and ET MacKenzie, of Bradenton.
Wilcox said Swiftmud had left the door open to come back
to them for an increase after the bids came in, but its
unusual for the water management district to increase
the amount of a grant after the fact.
Deputy Mayor John Quam said he hasnt seen the bids
yet and thus doesnt know how the commission will
handle the costs for the engineering.
"Its something well have to look at,"
Construction could begin as early as June.<< Top