City hall cleanup cost skyrockets
Sign rules, dock use top upcoming commission agenda
CART joins statewide tax reform alliance
Red drift algae makes landfall on Island
Tour of Homes raises $34,250
wait gets shorter at Key Royale Club
Finale for chorus, orchestra
seeks conflict waiver
City hall cleanup
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA The fix for the city hall mold
and asbestos problem will probably run to about $112,000.
The work to remove the asbestos that will be disturbed
during the removal of the mold and to restore city
hall to move-in condition will take until the middle
City hall is temporarily located in the Island Baptist
Church while experts assess and mitigate the problems
that arose as a result of several leaks that occurred
while the building was getting a new roof last August.
The city has hired an attorney who specializes in
construction litigation. Mark Nelson has contacted
Roof USA to offer them an opportunity to fix the problems.
"Within thirty days after your receipt of this
notice, you are entitled to perform a reasonable inspection
of the property to assess each alleged construction
defect," Nelson wrote in a March 12 letter to
Roof USA. "I understand that an independent adjuster
hired by your insurance company has already performed
an inspection. The city requests that all inspections
be completed ASAP in order to mitigate the citys
In his letter, Nelson demands a written offer to remedy
the problems at no cost to the city, a written offer
to compromise, a timetable for making payment or a
written offer to compromise on the payment for the
Nelson asks the roofing company to submit a written
statement disputing the claim or stating that they
will not compromise and settle the claim in the event
that they are unwilling to accept responsibility.
The letter sets a time limit of 45 days for Roof USA
"Please respond as quickly as possible because
the city of Anna Maria is incurring damages on a daily
basis for the cost of operating city hall from an
alternative location pending repairs," Nelson
He further notes that the city has to be out of its
temporary quarters at the Island Baptist Church by
June 25 as thats the day that Vacation Bible
School begins at the church and the classrooms now
being used by the city are reserved for the school.
"The costs of moving into a second alternative
location prior to June 25, 2007, would be significant,"
Nelsons letter states.
Nelson is requesting that Roof USA provide the city
with a written agreement allowing the commencement
of repairs immediately.
City commissioners got the word on the costs and the
pressure to get the repairs done at a special meeting
Mayor Fran Barford said the $111,750 cost could go
up a bit more if the city has to pay for expert testimony.
Additionally, the final figure for the legal bill
is not known.
"We have to get moving on this right away,"
Barford said. "I know it looks like were
not doing anything, but I can assure you the staff
and I have been working on this night and day. We
had to get everything assessed and then we had to
follow the directions of our attorney so we can so
we can get the roofer to pay for the damages.
"We also have to be out of here by June 25. We
cant be operating here with the kids from the
bible school running around."
Barford said she wanted to thank the staff at the
"They couldnt be nicer or more gracious
to us, especially given that we are uncertain when
we can move back to city hall."
City commission and other meetings are being held
at Holmes Beach city hall until the building is deemed
safe for occupancy.
Sign rules, dock
use top upcoming commission agenda
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Commissioners agreed to grapple
with two issues that have generated a great deal of
controversy in the past regulating signs and
the use of docks in dead-end canals.
The sign issue began a year ago when the planning
commission recommended changes to the sign ordinance
as part of its revisions of the land development code.
This prompted representatives of real estate companies
and other business to make their own suggestions for
City commissioners discussed the issue several times,
but talking stopped in August when City Attorney Patricia
Petruff advised commissioners about the Solantic case
that "wreaked havoc to the sign ordinances of
most cities in the state." The case indicated
that many exemptions in existing sign ordinances were
illegal because they were not content neutral.
In September 2006, Frank Davis, of Island Real Estate,
submitted a list of suggestions regarding the size,
height, number and placement of real estate signs
and what attachments would be permitted.
"A lot of modifications were proposed, but we
did not decide on anything," planning consultant
Bill Brisson told commissioners last week. "Nothing
has been changed from the old land development code
except a couple of definitions. If youre really
content neutral, the only thing you can regulate is
the location and size."
The problem with docks in the citys dead-end
canals was last discussed in the fall of 2005, after
Brisson gave commissioners a report with suggestions
for solutions. He submitted a draft ordinance to City
Attorney Jim Dye in August 2006. At a recent meeting
Petruff asked Brisson to contact Dye regarding the
status of the ordinance.
"I met with Mr. Brisson last week and he brought
me up to speed," Petruff said. "We agreed
on some language changes. We believe that it will
make the situations within the city that we are currently
aware of better. Its just a matter of putting
it in ordinance form and brining it back to a work
Dead end canals are located between 70th and 71st
streets, on the southeast side of properties fronting
on Hampshire Lane and the south side of properties
fronting on Key Royale Drive, between 67th Street
and Key Royale Drive and between 71st and 72nd streets.
Also included are non-regulated, T-end-type canals
where docks are located and associated with properties
that do not directly have property boundaries adjacent
to the waterways. These are along 85th Street, and
Marina Court, 83rd Street and between Baronet and
Commissioners plan to discuss both issues at the April
10 work session.
CART joins statewide
tax reform alliance
Citizens Against Runaway Taxation
(CART), the local tax reform organization, has joined
with other local groups to create a statewide coalition
known as the FTPA (Florida Taxpayers Alliance) with
a base in excess of 100,000.
CART President Don Schroder said that the the Alliance
has developed goals and strategies which allow the
representative diverse groups to pool their resources
and talents into a strong statewide organization.
"It was obvious to all of our groups that we
had similar goals and that our efforts to bring about
meaningful tax reform would be better served by speaking
with one voice," Schroder said. "There are
so many options on the table in Tallahassee that we
felt a statewide organization could better understand
how each option could be merged into a legislative
approach that would be suitable and effective at the
local level. The group has designated as its spokesperson
Dr. David McKalip, chairperson of Pinellas County
based Cut Taxes Now.
"The local governments will certainly be claiming
that there is no room to cut even a penny from their
budgets, McKalip said. Already they are
forming ranks with well funded special interests and
likely will continue to use taxpayer dollars to fund
their political campaigns."
The alliance set the following goals to stop rising
Cap future spending growth to the lesser of
3 percent or inflation plus population growth.
Cap future revenue increases from all level
of governments and all sources revenue to the lesser
of 3 percent or inflation plus population growth.
Rollback local government revenue and spending
(county, cities, special districts) to fair levels
that existed prior to inflated budgets due to increased
Establish fair appraisal of property values
and roll back to fair valuation levels.
Ensure that only voters at the polls can overcome
these limitations and rollbacks.
Ensure that local governments are providing
services based on zero-based budgeting.
Ensure that excess revenue will be returned
to the taxpayer or be used to reduce future tax burdens.
Red drift algae
makes landfall on Island
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
The good news is that the red seaweed in the water
thats washing up on the beaches is not red tide.
The bad news is that its red drift algae, and
an expert says that it can cause its own problems
for people and marine life.
Red drift algae is not toxic in the same way as red
tide, a microscopic form of algae that kills fish
and marine mammals, contaminates shellfish and causes
respiratory irritation in people, said Brian LaPointe,
associate scientist at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic
Institutions Center for Coastal Research in
But as it rots, the red drift algae - a type of seaweed
enjoyed as cuisine by Hawaiians and other Pacific
islanders - can cause a rotten egg or sewage odor
that can cause respiratory irritation, he said. The
rotting seaweed also can harbor bacteria that can
cause skin rashes, he added.
In the underwater world, it can suffocate seagrass
beds and coral reefs.
Sanibel Island has experienced a severe red drift
algae bloom this spring, he said.
"Its bad on Anna Maria, but not as bad
as it is in Sanibel," said LaPointe, who has
been studying red drift algae on the Gulf coast for
three years, since a particularly bad bloom washed
up in Fort Myers.
His research has been funded by the National Science
Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and
the state of Florida, among others.
Red drift algae blooms commonly happen during the
dry season such as the current draught
when runoff that normally carries nutrients from rivers
into the Gulf decreases. With fewer nutrients in the
water, the Gulf becomes clear, allowing light to reach
the bottom, he said, which encourages the growth of
the red drift algae.
But it wont last forever, he said. When the
rains come, nutrient-rich runoff will increase, making
the Gulf water cloudier and slowing the growth of
the red drift algae to normal levels.
Tour of Homes
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
The 2007 Anna Maria Island Tour of Homes brought
throngs of lookers onto the streets last Saturday
to walk through six Island homes whose owners opened
them up for a charitable cause.
That cause, the Anna Maria Island Community Center,
is some $34,250 richer for it, according to Community
Center Development Director Aida Matic.
In addition to the money raised by the approximately
700 lookers, who paid $15 per person in advance and
$18 the day of the tour to walk through the houses,
Beach Bistro owner Sean Murphy raised $680 from 68
people who attended his wine tasting.
The homes represented a range from historic to redesigned
to brand new designs. Large tents were set up in the
front yard of John and Penny Reinholz at 6503 Marina
Drive for the Boutique and Food Pantry. Tables inside
the tents displayed home decor items plus baked goods
Outside the tents, several decorated chairs were on
display, the subject of the silent auction, which
raised even more money for the Centers programs.
Finally, Bob Blake, of Holmes Beach, won the quilt
raffle. He becomes the proud owner of a custom made
quilt from the Eyeland Needlers. Proceeds also went
to the Center.
The wait gets
shorter at Key Royale Club
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH For the past few decades, there
has been one fact that has remained constant in Holmes
Beach it could take years before you could
get a membership to Key Royale Club.
Thats not true anymore, and it should put some
fire into golfers who would love to spend their free
time on the Islands only golf course.
Back in 1965, when Jim Cochran built the course, you
would get a membership free for purchasing a lot in
Key Royale, the small Islet in Tampa Bay off Anna
Back then, the developer had the streets mapped along
the canals that he dug, and Key Royale was another
Florida development luring retirees from the north.
The plan also featured 27 acres for the nine-hole
executive golf course.
Today, the club boasts 636 members, 457 of them with
golfing memberships. The club recently decided to
make a special class for members over the age of 85
called honorary members. There are 60 of them and
they dont count against the cap put on golfing
memberships. The club also voted to increase that
The availability of golf memberships increased by
70, thanks to those two decisions by the board, according
to board president Norm Mansour.
"Weve always been known for our waiting
list," he said, "but that list is down now."
Mansour said a lot of the members are seasonal residents
who are gone in the summer. He said the board also
decided to allow people on the waiting list to play
golf from May 1 through Sept. 30.
"If someone signed up now, he could play this
summer," Mansour said. "In fact, you might
become a member within a few months."
Otherwise, you would need to befriend a member and
play as his or her guest, Mansour added.
"We also have social memberships," said
Nancy King, membership chair of the clubs board.
"They can dine at the clubhouse and participate
in activities there and can still play golf once a
And play golf they do. The club has weekly tournaments
for men, women and mixed teams. There are special
tournaments, such as the Presidents Cup held
each spring, just before many of the seasonal members
go back north.
King said that there are also a lot of regular activities
for social members.
"We have a welcome back party every fall for
the seasonal members, a Christmas party, a cabaret
night, a celebration on the Fourth of July,"
she said. "Plus, the clubhouse is available to
rent by members for private parties."
The club recently finished an expansion project that
added space to the clubhouse. They put in a new kitchen
and an expanded parking garage for more than 400 golf
carts. Those arent the riding carts that most
"This is a walking golf course," Mansour
said. "Its small and golfers can wheel
their clubs around, unless they are handicapped and
need a riding cart. We do allow them for those who
need them, but they have to store them off premises."
With all those members on a nine-hole course, one
might wonder how hard it is to get a tee time.
"The fact is, we dont have tee times,"
Mansour said. "We use a cueing system. You line
up and wait until the party in front of you hits and
is out of the way. Most of the time, it is unusual
to wait more than 20 minutes."
The beauty of it all is that once you pay an initiation
fee and your annual fee, you dont pay every
time you play. Renting a cart will cost you money,
but thats about all.
"The annual fees are really a bargain,"
Mansour said. "If you like to play golf or just
want a place to socialize, this is the place to be,
especially if you live on the Island."
For more information, call the Key Royale Club at
The Anna Maria Island Community Chorus & Orchestra
and Conductor Alfred Gershfeld are preparing a "Taste
of France--a dash of Norway" for the season finale,
March 25, at 2 p.m. in the Crosspointe Fellowship,
8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.
Scheduled are favorite selections by French composers
Maurice Ravel, Jacques Offenbach, Charles Gounod and
Gabriel Faure. Audience favorites, bass-baritone Douglas
Renfroe and soprano Lorraine Murphy-Renfroe, will
join AMICCO in presenting this delicious fare.
Andrew Lapp, winner of AMICCO's first annual Young
Artists' Competition, will provide Norwegian flavor
performing the first movement of Edvard Grieg's Piano
Concerto. An eleventh-grade honor student at Sarasota
Christian School, Andrew not only is an outstanding
pianist who has won many awards and invitations for
performance and study, but also is an award-winning
composer, studies the organ, plays the violin in his
church orchestra and accompanies his school's touring
General admission tickets are $15 and can be purchased
at the door or in advance at the Anna Maria Island
Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach,
or by calling 778-1217. For more information visit
www.AMICCO.org or call 778-1716.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH After hearing an emotional
plea from its city attorney, the Bradenton Beach City
Commission voted to give her conflict of interest
waiver to allow her to represent restaurant owner
Ed Chiles in cases he might bring against the city.
By a vote of four to one, with Commissioner Bill Shearon
dissenting, the commissioners voted to waive Ricinda
Perry from a conflict of interest following a complaint
from former city commissioner Anna OBrien.
Perry represented Chiles when he presented his plans
to convert parking space on the beach south of the
BeachHouse restaurant into a controlled public parking
lot on March 1. OBrien appeared at that meeting
to protest Perrys appearance, calling it a conflict
of interest. Following that, Perry put together the
When the waiver came up at the March 15 meeting, OBrien
said she had no ill feelings toward Perry, but felt
she had broken a promise that she made when she was
placed on call for city business that she would not
represent any business on the Island.
Perry said that wasnt exactly the case.
"When the city hired me, I was already representing
Island Inc., the Chiles Group, David Stott and other
local entities," she said. "Now, I only
"The projects I worked on with the city were
not related to these clients," she added. "There
is a chance in the future that I might obtain information
that would affect a client a little sooner than if
I waited for it to be made public, but thats
Perry also reminded the commissioners that she is
not the city attorney of record, but was hired to
represent the code enforcement board. She also spoke
of the rates she charges the city for her work.
"What I charge the city is about 30 percent lower
than my usual rate," she said, "I need to
make that up by representing clients like Mr. Chiles."
Perrys voice quivered as she spoke of not being
trusted by the commission.
"If I resign from the city, my law firm, Lewis
Longman and Walker, also resigns," she said.
The city attorney of record, Ralf Brookes, reminded
the commissioners that Perry is bound by the Florida
Bar ethics rules which state she cannot represent
a client if it is adverse to another client.
"Im sure that Lewis, Longman and Walker
would not risk their practice by hiring Miss Perry
if she were not ethical and Im sure she would
not risk her job by doing anything unethical,"
City Commissioner and Vice Mayor John Shaughnessy
Shearon took a stronger stand, saying his main objection
to her representing Chiles is that he doesnt
want to see her sitting on the other side of the table
when she does.
"My concern is that you cant serve two
clients," he said. "Based on the presentation
made at the last meeting (on the Chiles parking lot),
I feel very strongly that that issue will affect almost
every gamut of the city."
He also said he cant agree with an open-ended
Commissioner Janie Robertson said she objected to
adding the waiver to a contract that she feels is
"I dont like the part where the city waives
anything from what it might do in the future,"
she said. "What do we gain by adding this?"
Mayor John Chappie said he felt the integrity of Perry
and her law firm was being attacked and Shearon objected,
saying he already said he wanted her to represent
Robertson asked Perry if the city would lose her services
if it voted against the waiver.
"Truth be known, I dont want this (waiver),"
Perry said, "This only says I will be bound by
the code of ethics but I want to represent Mr. Chiles
and the city. Ed was my client a year before the city
"I hope you understand where Im coming
from," Robertson said. "Each time the city
waives anything, it loses some protection, but if
you say you wont work for the city without it,
I would say it is in the best interest of the city
to keep you."
The commissioners cast their votes to keep Perry on