BRADENTON BEACH The waters
that lap at the pilings holding up the Bridge Street
Pier have left their mark on the structure
a destructive mark.
The city of Bradenton Beach closed the pier last Wednesday
afternoon after a close inspection of the pilings
showed they were in much worse shape than originally
Building Official Ed McAdam addressed the city commission
at its regularly scheduled meeting the next day, before
commissioners voted to officially close the structure
to the public until construction ends. He said scuba
divers went under the pier, scraped off the barnacles
and found that the concrete pilings were brittle and
worn down, despite a cosmetic fix on them in 2000.
"We went from 14-inch diameter to 6-inch ones,"
McAdam said. "We feel that instead of 17 pilings
we will likely have 20 to 22 pilings in the worst
Earlier this month, the city chose SteMic Marine Construction
to fix the pilings at a cost of up to $124,372. SteMics
bid, which was way over the $70,000 budgeted by the
city, was the only one received.
At a commission meeting, McAdam told the commissioners
that the cost might be lower because the bid proposal
was put out on the premise that all the pilings would
need major work. He said last Thursday that it appears
most of them do.
The project calls for SteMic to perform repair and
rehabilitation on a total of 34 pilings, most of them
underneath the area where the restaurant and bait
shop are located. Despite this latest report, McAdam
"It should not be more than the amount ($124,372)
on the bid," he said.
McAdam said, however, that there would be further
costs after they inspect the pilings under the walkway.
After approving a motion to officially close the pier,
talk turned to the rehabilitation project performed
under a previous city administration in 2000.
"How many years did we get out of those pilings
that were fixed back then?" Commissioner Lisa
Marie Phillips asked.
"Back in 2000, we got repairs that were more
cosmetics than repairs," Mayor John Chappie answered.
"We only got six years."
McAdam added that in the previous project, plastic
collars were put around ]the pilings, but water got
under them and eroded the steel reinforcement bars
inside the concrete causing them to expand and making
the concrete brittle. He said the current contract
calls for much more extensive protection against corrosion.
appraiser can�t provide relief
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Tax relief for Island business owners must come
from local governments or the Florida Legislature,
not the Manatee County Property Appraisers
Office, according to appraiser Charles Hackney.
In determining property values for tax purposes,
Hackney is required to follow Florida law and commonly
accepted appraisal practices and consider real estate
market values, he told the countys Tourist
Development Council on Monday.
Council members have expressed concern that rising
property taxes may put some Island business owners
out of business, reducing tourism and tourist tax
revenue and causing a domino effect on other businesses.
A state statute requires that Hackney consider eight
criteria - the highest and best use to which the
property can be expected to be put in the immediate
future, income generated by the property, cash value
of the property, location of the property, size
of the property, cost of the property, condition
of the property and net sale proceeds.
Council members requested that Hackney put more
emphasis on the income criteria than the highest
and best use criteria, which values Island property
as if it were being used as condominiums, regardless
of its actual use.
The latter standard is unfair when businesses are
not operating as condominiums, council Chairman
Joe McClash said, suggesting that the income approach
is more fair.
Hackney said he must use appraisal principles that
withstand state auditing practices ensuring that
taxes are adequate to fund such expenses as public
schools, and fairly reflect the value of the land.
"Between 85 to 90 percent of the value is in
the land," he said, adding that average local
land values increased 37 percent in 2003, 33 percent
in 2004, and 14 percent in 2005.
"Were not the ones deciding highest and
best use, he said. "Its the people buying
The property appraisal system dates to medieval
England, according to Hackney, and Island business
owners on the council, including restaurateur Ed
Chiles, hotelier Barbara Rodocker and developer
David Teitelbaum, called for a change.
"The issue is not with you," Teitelbaum
told Hackney. "But the Legislature in its wisdom
is taking people and putting them out of business."
The council voted unanimously to have Assistant
County Attorney Patricia McVoy draft language that
could be proposed in the Legislature to increase
the weight of the "income" criterion and
reduce that of the "highest and best use"
"This would be a fundamental change,"
said Hackney, whose office is defending a lawsuit
against the owner of the Rolling Waves Beach Cottages,
6351 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key, which
is also requesting a change in the way property
is valued. "I think the chances of that are
Meanwhile, the Manatee County Commission is considering
passing a local commercial property tax deferral
ordinance for hotel and motel owners eligible for
working waterfront status. The ordinance is permitted
under a new state law.
Such an ordinance would only delay the payment of
property taxes until sale, Hackney said, adding
that in the meantime, other property owners in the
county would have to pay the difference.
"I appreciate the working waterfronts (law),
but what we need is real relief, and thats
just a deferral," Chiles said. "Theres
no question there will be a coalition of counties.
The revolution is going on everywhere."
fees get the boot
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Commissioners soundly rejected
a suggestion to charge for parking at the public
"Bradenton Beach met with Manatee County officials
and Karen Windon (Manatee County public safety chief)
is going before the county commission to discuss
charging to go to the beach," Mayor Carol Whitmore
told commissioners last week.
Chairman Rich Bohnenberger asked Whitmore to write
a letter to the county commission opposing the idea.
He noted that the issue has come up many times in
the past and city officials have always opposed
"A penny of all the tourist tax dollars goes
to beach renourishment," Commissioner Sandy
Haas-Martens pointed out. "We have to have
beaches available to the general population of the
county in order to get our beaches renourished.
If these people have to pay, I think thats
"Were one of the few island communities
in the state that it doesnt cost to use our
beaches or theres no toll to come over or
theres no fee to use the boat ramps,"
Commissioner David Zaccagnino said. "Im
proud of that."
Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann said
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie brought forward
the idea of paid parking due to problems at Coquina
"He called me and said we have a major issue
at Coquina Beach and we need to talk about it,"
von Hahmann explained. "Its a safety
issue. He asked about charging fees, but Im
not for making residents of the county pay to use
Whitmore also said she plans to ask county officials
to close the parking lot at Manatee Public Beach
when it is full and encourage people to park at
75th Street in Bradenton and ride the trolley.
"When parking lots are full and theres
nowhere else to park," Whitmore said. "We
have to figure out a way to get the people to the
beach because they have every right to be here."
She said she would ask county transit officials
to be more lenient with riders who bring chairs,
coolers and other beach gear on the trolley.
Zaccagnino said one of the reasons he is opposed
to vacating city rights of way is because they could
be used for pocket parking, adding, "We need
to look at other places for the trolley to pick
up people, maybe in Cortez or on the Causeway."
Whitmore said she would discuss options with county
declared dead in Holmes Beach
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH After their request for information
was rejected a second time, commissioners said they
would not spend any more time or money on a consolidation
"Its getting to be apparent that the
elected officials in the other two towns will do
anything they can do to quash this plan. I dont
think theres any point in doing anything more
on consolidation as long as the elected officials
in the two towns are so adamantly against it,"
Commissioner Roger Lutz declared after Mayor Carol
Whitmore presented a letter from Anna Maria Mayor
In May, commissioners instructed Whitmore to determine
how much it would cost for Holmes Beach to provide
services to all the cities after Bradenton Beach
officials voted against pursuing a consolidation
study with Holmes Beach. Voters in the two cities
had approved the study in a fall referendum.
Whitmore had asked SueLynn and Bradenton Beach Mayor
John Chappie for data for the study, but both mayors
said they would charge the city for the information
"It is believed that the city of Holmes Beach
should not be the entity gathering, compiling and
interpreting data used to determine if there is
any political benefit in the consolidation of the
Islands three cities services, let alone
the governments," SueLynn said in the letter.
Consolidation of services
In addition, Whitmore said she would no longer pursue
consolidation of services, although she supports
it because it will save the cities money.
"As far as Im concerned, Ive tried
consolidation of services at least four times, and
if they want to do it, theyre more than welcome
to, but it will be on their dime, not the city of
Holmes Beachs," Whitmore stressed. "Id
be glad to give them any information they want,
but I dont think we should be spearheading
"The very commissioner that brought this up
is the one that voted it (consolidation) down. Mr.
Miller (Anna Maria Commissioner Duke Miller) should
spend as many hours as I did trying to pull all
this information together."
Commissioner Sandy Haas Martens said Holmes Beach
officials have provided information to Bradenton
Beach officials in the past and she thought they
would reciprocate as a courtesy among cities.
"I think that our voters want to see some kind
of progression whether it be an in-depth report
or a general report saying what money could be saved,
what sense could be made of consolidation of services,"
Commissioner David Zaccagnino said. I think
our voters have spoken; we have to make the best
Commissioner Pat Morton agreed with Lutz, adding,
"We have done what our voters asked us to do.
Were not going to spend a whole lot of money
if nobody else wants to do it. Its a dead
ahead idea of consolidation
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
Anna Maria has taken another step towards attempting
to get services consolidated.
City Commissioner Duke Miller sent a letter to Holmes
Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore and Bradenton Beach Mayor
John Chappie urging them to participate in a "joint,
independent study to determine the feasibility of
entering into an inter-local agreement to form one
organization that would provide municipal services
to the entire Island."
In his letter, Miller acknowledged the rocky history
of the consolidation discussion.
"We in Anna Maria are aware of past mis-steps
regarding this matter. However, these are different
times. We earnestly submit that our commitment is
firm and our desire is genuine to look to the future
at a concept that can benefit the entire Island."
Anna Maria was the city that opted out of a referendum
that was put to the voters in the other two cities.
That ballot question asked whether or not the voters
would support an independent study on the consolidation
of governments. Anna Maria commissioners were opposed
to the wording of the referendum. There was a great
deal of opposition from residents about the consolidation
At the time, commissioners indicated they would
be more than willing to participate in a referendum
that included the concept of studying consolidation
Voters in the other two Island cites voted overwhelmingly
in favor of the study of the consolidation of governments.
A number of issues, not the least of which was the
lack of participation by Anna Maria, have since
stymied the consolidation study.
At their June 8 work session, commissioners asked
Miller to contact the mayors of the two other Island
cities and invite them to participate in an independent
Miller outlined several contemplated objectives:
"To confirm the probability that each of
our cities would benefit economically from the resulting
economies of scale and/or realize improved level
of services for our communities; To determine whether
our combined resources will go farther toward attracting
the degree and level of expertise needed to cope
with the increased pressures being put on our communities
by the Countys unbridled growth; To explore
the potential to improve our abilities for preparation
for and recovery from any future weather events
which may impact our Island."
Another issue outlined in Millers letter was
the evaluation of hiring a qualified city manager
that could "provide continuity of professionally
managed services as administrators change with each
Millers final point:
"Lastly, yet perhaps of greatest importance,
to ascertain whether it is possible for each city
to maintain its own identity and autonomy while
enjoying the fruits of services consolidation."
Miller is proposing that each city make a commitment
to the independent study.
"You have ours," he wrote. "And we
respectfully request that you and your respective
commissions consider and approve our proposal."
An oversight group comprised of the mayors and one
commissioner from each city should oversee the study,
according to Miller. He suggests that an independent
firm be hired to proceed with the study. "Perhaps
the one with whom you have recently dealt,"
Finally, Miller suggests that the findings of the
study would be presented to each community for consideration
and possible further action.
As yet, there has been no response to Millers
letter to Whitmore and Chappie.
waiter bound for Hollywood
sun staff writer
Student/waiter by day, pirate/soldier by night,
Steve Ananicz is living in a part time fantasy world.
At age 19, hes scored his first movie role
in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans
Chest," starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom
and Keira Knightley, due out in theaters on July
7. Hes also nailed down his second role, in
next years "Pirates of the Caribbean:
Its a different world from the theater hes
done at Manatee Community College, where hes
a public relations major. That was a safer career
bet, he thought, than a theater major.
He neednt have been concerned.
"They had an open audition in Orlando,"
Ananicz said. "It was a longshot. There were
8,000 people in Orlando and 12,000 in L.A. They
picked 25 guys."
In Dead Mans Chest, he plays two non-speaking
roles, a pirate and a double for one of the main
characters, Commodore Norrington. In Worlds
End, hes a pirate and a soldier and hopes
to get his Screen Actors Guild membership before
production is finished so he can qualify for a speaking
Its not his first success in the industry.
He won acting and modeling competition Talent Rock
last summer in Orlando. In between school and his
job at the Sandbar restaurant, hes modeled
in Bealls department store advertisements
(his mother is the hair stylists for the shoots)
and for Mr. Formal tuxedos.
But this is his biggest break so far.
"I got to work four scenes with Johnny Depp,"
Ananicz said. "Ive met some good people,
and theres potential auditions for upcoming
movies with him."
Hes headed to Miami this summer to interview
with modeling agencies and to Orlando to interview
with a talent agency. Then hes off to Los
Angeles in August to film the remainder of Worlds
Meanwhile, the fantasy world still doesnt
seem quite real.
"I always wanted to act, but I was having trouble
getting into it," Ananicz said. "I didnt
see this coming."
occupancy rates continue to slide
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Hotel and motel occupancy
rates on Anna Maria Island were the lowest in April
and May than they have been in four years, continuing
a five-month downward streak over the same time
period, according to Bradenton Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau statistics.
April occupancy on the Island was 60.5 percent,
down from 64.8 percent last year, 65.9 percent in
2004 and 66.2 percent in 2003. May occupancy was
53 percent, down from 56.9 percent last year, 58
percent in 2004 and 53.6 percent in 2003.
The slide mirrored statistics for the first three
months of the year. January occupancy was 29.3 percent,
down from 37.5 percent last year, 46.8 percent in
2004 and 37.1 percent in 2003. February occupancy
was 59.6 percent, down from 77.9 percent last year,
82.1 percent in 2004 and 76.6 percent in 2003. March
occupancy was 77.3 percent, down from 94.3 percent
last year, 92.1 percent in 2004 and 89 percent in
The Manatee County portion of Longboat Key fared
better. April occupancy was 71.2 percent, up from
59.9 percent last year, but lower than the two previous
years. May occupancy was 57.6 percent, up from 55
percent last year, but down from the two previous
Average daily room rates on Anna Maria Island were
mixed, with April rates averaging $178.20, up from
$173.28 last year, while May rates were $143.28,
down from $147.44 last year.
On Longboat Key, average daily room rates were consistently
higher than last year, with April rates at a whopping
$204.44, up from $154.16 last year, and May rates
at $162.35, up from $147.94 last May.
Bergquist leaves a special legacy
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
Whether they knew Gib Bergquist from reading his
columns, Crackers Crumbs, which he wrote for
local newspapers since 1986, or coached with him
or been one of his Little League players or served
with him on a community board, everyone loved the
"We lost a ray of sunshine with the passing
of our friend, Gib Bergquist," Allen Bobo said.
"He has been a guide to more than a generation
of youth. Gib personified the concept of mentor.
He gave countless hours showing children what is
good and right with the world.
"He taught them how to win with grace, how
to lose without being a loser and how to play the
game. Most importantly, he lived what he taught
and left the world better than he found it."
Gilbert "Gib" Theodore Bergquist passed
away on June 11, 2006, at the age of 82. Known as
the Cracker, Gib was a Florida native, born in Pierce,
Fla., in 1924. After serving in the Marine Corps,
he earned a bachelors degree and a masters
degree at the University of Florida.
He became a special agent with the FBI in 1951 and
served with that agency for 24 years, obtaining
another masters degree during that time. In
1979, he returned to Florida.
He became active in Boy Scouts, Anna Maria Elementary
School, the Community Center as a coach and board
member, in historical endeavors including the Manatee
County Historical Commission and the Holmes Beach
Police Pension Board.
"He was on the pension board for 16 years and
served two as its chairman," Holmes Beach Police
Lt. Dale Stephenson said. "It was very beneficial
to have someone of his background because he understood
what officers go through."
Scott Dell, assistant director of the Community
Center, said Gib was one of the first people to
welcome him to the community 13 years ago.
"We hit it off right away," Dell recalled.
"His passion for baseball and his love for
this community is what I will remember most about
him. Gib was the type of guy that could light up
a baseball field with his smile, which he always
"Nobody is really sure how long he was a Little
League coach at the Center, but thats what
happens when you are there for close to 20 years
and make such a positive difference in the lives
of so many children."
Dean Dickson, supervisor of Manatee County Historical
Resources, said as chairman of the historical commission,
Gib oversaw the moving of Fogarty Boat Works to
Manatee Historical Village.
"He was deeply fascinated with Florida and
local history," Dickson said. "He was
very concerned about preserving local history."
He is survived by his wife, Madeline; son, Kevin,
daughters, Deborah, Laura Anne and Marisa Inez;
daughter-in-law Constance; son-in-law Arthur; brothers
Richard and John; four grandchildren, two nephews
and a niece.
There will be a gathering of friends on Friday,
June 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Griffith Cline Funeral
Home, Island Chapel, 6000 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.