BRADENTON BEACH If you had
the money to purchase any of the three Island cities
as an investment, Bradenton Beach would have yielded
the highest return according to preliminary figures
from the Manatee County Tax Assessors office.
The figures were released last week to the three cities
in documents that the cities use to help figure out
their budgets for the next fiscal year.
According to the information on the reports, the total
increase in taxable value for Bradenton Beach showed
a 16.8 percent increase from $553,450,386 to $646,424,784.
Those figures are based on appreciation only and do
not include taxable new construction or additions
and improvements to new property valued at
Holmes Beach had the second highest increase in taxable
property at 16.5 percent. That jump was based on a
$228,474,732 increase in property valuation from $1,612,726,493.
New taxable properties, additions and improvements
Anna Marias increase was 14.6 percent, up $98,802,863
from $674,898,302 to $773,701,165. New construction,
additions and improvements totaled $10,375, 833.
The growth in taxable values for all three cities
averaged 16.08 percent.
The reports also listed the number of real property
parcels at 1,600 in Anna Maria, 1,795 in Bradenton
Beach and 3,993 in Holmes Beach. That includes lot
with and without buildings on them. The number of
personal property accounts, which may include more
than one parcel, was 433 in Anna Maria, 1,045 in Bradenton
Beach and 1,263 in Holmes Beach.
None of the three cities had anybody apply for a Homestead
Assessment reduction for parents or grandparents.
Those taking additional Homestead Exemptions for owners
65 years of age or older included 17 in Anna Maria,
10 in Bradenton Beach and 41 in Holmes Beach.
If you could purchase all of the property on the Island
at its taxable value, you would have shelled out $2,612,600,449
last year. Waiting until this year to "buy the
Island" would have cost you $420,251,993 more,
Of course, in reality, tax assessments while ever
growing are usually lower than the selling value of
property. So buying the Island would be a much pricier
Insuring and paying taxes on it would be another matter.
to spearhead new drive
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, announced
that it has formed a committee to look at consolidating
services among the three Island cities.
"I will be the moderator/facilitator for discussions
on combining services," Chamber board chairman
Don Schroder said.
The core team that has already begun holding meetings
on the issue includes the Chamber liaison from each
Island city commission Commissioner Duke
Miller in Anna Maria, Commissioner Bill Shearon
in Bradenton Beach and Commissioner David Zaccagnino
in Holmes Beach.
"We will bring in outside people from academia
and others to help in the discussions as needed,"
Schroder said. "We have already started contacting
He said meetings will be held as often as needed
and the group members will report to their city
show presence on beach
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH A lot of people on the mainland
head for the beach during holidays. Its a
time for friends and family to enjoy a picnic lunch
and get into the Gulf to cool off.
Its also a time when many gang members take
to the beach and make their presence known to rival
gang members, according to Bradenton Beach Police
Lieutenant John Cosby, who said police have to keep
an eye on the gang members and take steps to diffuse
"They seem to come to Coquina Beach and its
been getting worse over the last two years,"
he said. "On Easter, we told them they could
not wear their colors."
Gang members wear clothing in the colors their gangs
adopt to identify themselves and sometimes, those
colors can start a turf war, which Cosby said is
why they banned the wearing of colors during that
holiday. He said the Fourth of July saw more gang
members, but there were no major incidents.
"There were complaints about the noise,"
he said. "They mainly sit across from other
gang members and stare at each other."
Cosby said the gang members dont seem to pick
on families or non-gang members when they come out,
and there were no reports of gang-related crimes
in areas off the beach.
The county pays Bradenton Beach each year to provide
security at Coquina and Cortez Beaches, both county-owned
Cosby said the Manatee County Sheriffs Office
sends extra deputies to the beach during holidays
and they have agreements with Holmes Beach and Longboat
Key police to help out during emergencies, but they
would all be hard-pressed to stop anything larger
than an occasional fight.
"We dont have the manpower," he
said. "Were trying to work with what
Incumbent Mayor SueLynn announced to her
staff that she would not run for re-election.
Deputy City Clerk Diane Percycoe confirmed that
SueLynn told city employees on Monday that she would
not be running in the November election.
The mayor was out of town and could not be reached
In the wake of SueLynns decision, Fran Barford
has announced that she will run for mayor.
"I always said Id run if she didnt,"
Barford said. "When she told me she wasnt
running, I decided to go for it."
Barford is the chairman of the citys planning
and zoning board. She a former mayor of Temple Terrace
and has extensive experience in government.
The only other announced candidate for mayor is
The commission seats of Linda Cramer and Duke Miller
are also on the ballot. Both have said the will
Qualifying for the November election begins at noon
on Monday, July 17 and ends at noon on Friday, July
trolleys hit the streets
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) officials unveiled
the newest trolleys in its fleet last Friday to
a crowd of elected officials, transit officials
and the media.
Two of the new vehicles were parked near the MCAT
trolley turnaround at Coquina Beach for everyone
to look at. While the color scheme and design was
similar to the first-generation trolleys, the new
vehicles were better built, quieter and less costly.
They have the same number of seats, 24, as the models
MCAT Director Ralf Heseler said that the four new
ones would go into service in August and all five
of the first-generation vehicles would be taken
out of service and rebuilt. The older models had
problems with loud exhausts, squeaky brakes and
salt water damage to the floorboards.
"The new ones have stainless steel floorboards,"
said Heseler. "The old ones had wood floorboards
that literally rotted out."
Heseler also said the new models had quieter exhausts
and were designed to handle the rigors of everyday
use. He also said that the new trolleys cost $150,000
each compared to the previous vehicles that cost
During introductory remarks, Heseler said the trolleys
were introduced in March 2002 in an attempt to help
the Island deal with traffic congestion. He said
they quickly became a success.
"The Florida Department of Transportation has
voted this its showcase trolley system for the state,"
he said. "In its first year, a little fewer
than 300,000 riders used it, in its second year
we had just under 350,000 riders and last year we
had a little more than 380,000."
Heseler also noted that June 2006 had 2,000 more
riders than June 2005. He also talked about the
"They are 10 percent quieter, even though they
have larger engines," he said. "There
is no smokestack exhaust, so they look a little
sleeker, and they are made in Florida which is nice
because the money we spent on them stayed in the
Heseler said that in October, MCAT would connect
with Sarasota County Area Transit buses in Longboat
Key for the first time in several years. He said
that the two counties are also working on extending
the trolleys to St. Armands Circle and Lido Key
and if they succeed, the old trolleys would be used
for that route.
"As a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization
and its Transportation Task Force, we are working
to expand the service to Longboat Key and St. Armands
Circle because they want it there," said Manatee
County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann. "They
did not want it at first, but it has been so successful
that they want it now."
Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore, who was instrumental
in getting the service for the Island, and Bradenton
Beach Mayor John Chappie both thanked the county
for their role in getting the trolleys.
"MCAT is part of our family now," Chappie
Manatee County Community Services Director Fred
Loveland, whose department oversees transit, noted
that his wife, Maureen, was a kindergarten teacher
at Anna Maria Elementary School.
"She said she appreciates the fact that the
trolleys have given kids on the Island a way of
getting around," he said.
Heseler said MCAT is proud of the success of the
trolleys and credited Island residents and resort
owners for using it and encouraging their customers
to use it.
"It takes cars off the street," he said.
"Thats what its all about."
nixes festival at Coquina
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH City commissioners on Thursday
voted down a special events application for a private
arts and crafts festival, even though it was scheduled
for the following weekend.
The organizer for Art on the Beach, T-N-T Events,
was late coming before the commission to ask for
Although Coquina Park, where the event was to be
held, is owned by the county, organizers must get
a special events permit from the city.
T-N-T Events promised to give a portion of the proceeds
to the Tingley Memorial Library, but Mayor John
Chappie balked when organizer Tina Bradford said
that her company would get the bulk of the profits.
"I have a real problem with it not being for
a not-for-profit group and using a public park for
profit," he said.
"The county has a contract for a concessionaire
to sell food at the beach and you listed four food
vendors at your festival. I would not be surprised
if this is in violation of that contract."
Chappie said he would not vote for the permit, and
Commissioner Bill Shearon agreed.
In addition, Chappie said that portion of the Island
is zoned preservation and recreation, where non-water-related
enterprises are not allowed.
The mayor also said that he and other Island mayors
would be meeting with the county in the near future
to discuss special events, following an ill-fated
attempt to hold a musical event recently without
a special events permit. That event was advertised
with flyers left on car windshields at the park,
which is how police found out about it.
Despite a plea from the organizer to let the festival
take place, the commission voted 4-1 to deny it
with Commissioner Lisa Marie Phillips casting the
torchbearers reunite on Independence Day
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
On July 4, 1996, they carried torches through Manatee
County for the summer Olympic Games.
On July 4, 2006, they hoisted them again while riding
in the Fourth of July parade on Anna Maria Island.
Eight of the original 18 torchbearers who carried
the Olympic flame through Manatee County on its
way to the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta rode in the
parade on Tuesday, and some gathered at the Sandbar
restaurant after the parade for a 10-year reunion.
Jim Clark, Lu Files, John Marquiss, Walter Miller,
Terry Parrillo, Cherace Peterson, Mickey Presha
and Edie Shannon were nominated and chosen as torchbearers
because they are "community heroes," said
Island resident Lu Files, who spearheaded the reunion.
For example, Cherace Peterson overcame health obstacles
including spinal bifida to participate as a United
Way volunteer. Her mother pushed her in a wheelchair
during the Olympic ceremonies.
Terry Parrillo has retired as a girls basketball
coach, and will soon retire as an elementary school
physical education teacher at Manatee Elementary
School. Thats when the mother of a 35-year-old
plans to do it all over again and adopt two of the
four children for whom she is a foster parent.
The seven-pound torches, the prized possessions
of the group, seemed a little heavier last week
than they did 10 years ago, they said.
And under Olympic regulations, they werent
allowed to be relit for the parade. But the single
Olympic flame the torchbearers carried will never
be extinguished in their memories.
project nearing completion
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Residents who live in whats
called the Gladiolus drainage basin should be in
pretty good shape the next time we have a deluge
A drainage project using the alleyways in the area
of North Shore Drive and Gladiolus Avenue is nearly
"It should be done in a couple of weeks,"
said engineer Tom Wilcox recently. "Then well
see some results."
The area has several homes that have been repeatedly
flooded during heavy rains. A wide, gently sloping
swale is being installed in the alleyway to the
west of North Shore. Storm water will stand in the
swale for no more than 24-48 hours as it percolates
into the soil. That percolation should remove contaminants
such as lawn chemicals from the water. Other water
is being directed into the Tampa Bay. It will first
go through drains equipped with filtration devices
to clean it before its discharged into the
The project, which is jointly funded by Swiftmud
and the city, has not been without controversy.
At a series of public meetings, residents living
in the project area had a number of complaints.
Some residents said they had no flooding problems
at their property, and while they were sympathetic
to property owners further downstream, they didnt
see why they should have to have a ditch behind
their homes when they personally didnt have
Several property owners felt that trees in the right
of way that were slated for removal should be left
in place. When possible, the project engineers designed
the drainage system around those trees. That drew
the ire of the members of the citys capital
improvement advisory committee members who said
leaving the trees compromised the efficiency of
the drainage system.
Wilcox said he agreed that the project would have
been more efficient if all the trees had been removed,
but he said it would still be an effective tool
to help with drainage in the city.
Several years ago, another drainage project funded
jointly by Swiftmud and the city was undertaken
on Spring Avenue. The public outcry caused an abrupt
halt to the project, which was well underway. All
the swales and pipes that had been installed were
removed at city expense.
On this project, there have been compromises, but
the city commission has voted to go forward at each
step along the way.
"Nothing will eliminate flooding completely
out here, but you will see improvement," Wilcox
said. "This is a good project. We should see