The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 45 - August 11, 2010


Recall ballot questions arise

Harry Stoltzfus

Concerns over how Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus’ unexpired term should be filled if he is recalled are raising questions about the recall election process.

Tom Aposporos, who chaired the last two city charter review committees, says that according to the charter, the city commission has the authority to appoint a successor, rather than the voters electing one.

Aposporos said in a memo to Mayor Fran Barford, City Attorney Jim Dye and Recall Committee Chairman Bob Carter he believes that when the recall is for only one person, the vacancy should be filled by the local government.

“Our city charter provides for the filling of a vacancy that occurs ‘in any manner authorized by law,’ as would be the case if in the event a single person is recalled from office,” Aposporos said. “I don’t think we should reject the possibility that the provision ‘that if only one member of a governing board is recalled from office, then the vacancy created by the recall is to be filled by the governing body according to applicable law’ does not apply to Anna Maria.”

City Attorney Jim Dye has said voters should select the person to fill Stoltzfus’ unexpired term if he’s recalled.

Either way, it all could be a moot point after a hearing before Judge Edward Nicholas on Thursday, Aug. 12, at 1 p.m.

Stoltzfus’ attorney Richard Harrison is challenging the recall petition itself claiming the language in the petition is so vague his client is unable to mount an effective defense.

During the hearing, attorney Fred Morse will represent the Recall Stoltzfus Committee, which is the group behind the recall effort.

Nicholas’ ruling could come as early as Thursday. Chief Judge Lee Haworth has set September 7 as the date for the recall election.

At this time, the ballot will contain questions about whether the voter thinks Harry Stoltzfus should be removed from office or not.

Voters also will be asked to select between either Gene Aubry or Stoltzfus himself to serve out the remainder of Stoltzfus’ term in the event the recall is successful.

Carter said his committee will be getting legal advice on Aposporos’ opinion concerning how the vacancy should be filled.

“I’ve thought that it sounds a bit like an oxymoron that someone can run for the very office from which they are being recalled,” Carter said.

He said the first step would be to see how Nicholas rules after Thursday’s hearing.

“If the recall goes forward, then we’ll get an opinion on this,” he said. “We’ll probably get someone to check into this immediately since these things take time, but if the judge stops the recall, then the issue is moot.”

Aposporos said he concedes he could be incorrect in his opinion, but he attached some secondary sources of information that he said the courts would accept in absence of case law on the topic.

UPS renovates beach cafe

The dining room at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe
at Manatee County Public Beach has been transformed
with new tables, chairs booths, a wooden floor and a
colorful coat of paint. An ice cream parlor is being
added at the other end of the room.

HOLMES BEACH – Sporting new booths along the front wall, new tables and chairs, a new floor and a colorful coat of paint, the dining room at the Anna Maria Island Beach Café reopened Saturday.

Concessionaire United Park Services closed the dining room at the Manatee County Public Beach last week for renovations. Next will come an ice cream parlor in the corner near the kitchen.

“In the ice cream parlor, we’ll also have a display case with cookies, brownies and fudge, and we’re getting a cappuccino machine and possibly Hawaiian shaved ice,” said Mark Enoch, UPS CFO.

“We have all new umbrellas and chairs on the beach and the patio has all new tables and umbrellas. The pancake house is open every morning, and the tourists seem to love it.”

Items added to the café’s menu since UPS took over the concession three weeks ago include Caesar, chicken, tuna and Island wraps and fresh squeezed lemonade.

“We’ll add salmon, chicken and fish tacos this week,” Enoch said. “We’ll gradually add more items to the menu, but keep it pretty much the same and keep the prices pretty much the same.

“We kept the all-you-can-eat fish and chips on Fridays. We’ll add daily and weekly specials and ease back in with specialty nights. We’ve had a good response so far.”

Enoch said three gift shop employees stayed as well as 29 restaurant employees, including Darlene Weil, a long-time employee who does the scheduling.

The newly renovated gift shop is open and features the café’s new T-shirts. The shop and cafe now accept credit cards.

Entertainers Mike Sales, Karen Greenley, Tom Mobley and Matt Choate provide music nightly, with their schedule changing each week

. “Outside the plan is to repaint, redo the awning and add an 8- by 12-foot mural on the parking lot side,” said UPS President Alan Kahana.

“We want to get a site plan for everything we want to do and then the county and city have to OK it.” Enoch added. Kahana said Bradenton Beach approved the demolition of the current concession building and the placement of a temporary trailer at Coquina Beach on Friday. UPS will work out of the trailer with a limited menu until the new concession building is completed.

The company also plans to go through the approval process for kayak rentals on Coquina bayside.

Tax break this weekend

Like a three-day sale at Albertsons, this year’s Florida tax holiday for parents of school children is all too brief.

It begins after midnight on Friday, Aug. 13, and goes until midnight on Sunday, Aug. 15. The holiday normally lasts a week, but after fighting to pare down the budget to eliminate huge deficits, the state legislature wasn’t feeling too generous this year.

The tax break is aimed at parent who will be shopping for their kids’ school year needs, but it applies to anybody who purchases clothing and books priced at $50 or less and certain school supplies costing $10 or less. Quantities are unlimited.

Interestingly, the exemption does not apply to sales within a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment or airport, so it is doubtful that Disney or any other entertainment-based theme park owner will see a rise in earnings over the weekend. Also, manufacturers’ coupons cannot be used to bring an item under the $50 or $10 limit to qualify for the tax break. If the store is out of a certain item, it can issue a rain check and the item will be tax free when you purchase it later.

For those trying to sneak under the wire, you cannot separate a pair of shoes or a set of books to bring each shoe or book under the $50 limit.

Sets containing both exempt and taxable items cannot be broken up so that the ineligible item would be tax-free. For example, a set of scissors and a stapler would be fully taxable because although the scissors are exempt, the stapler is not so the whole set is taxable. Also, “BOGO” is becoming a familiar abbreviation for “buy one, get one” free. You cannot average the cost between two items on a BOGO to bring them under the price limit.

Items that remain taxable include jewelry, watches and their bands, athletic gloves (athletic supporters are exempt), briefcases, duffel bags, football pads, sports equipment like baseballs and bats, handkerchiefs, wigs and toupees and computer paper. Lingerie, by the way, is tax exempt. So are Bibles.

City considers lower tax, higher rate

AMISUN News Robbery Banker

ANNA MARIA — Property owners may be paying less in taxes even though the millage rate may go up.

City commissioners held a work session Aug. 5 and began working on the budget for 2010-2011.

Last year the millage rate was 1.7882. Commissioners are discussing whether to stay at the same millage rate, which would result in about a $17 per household reduction or whether to go to the rolled back rate of 1.8665. The rolled back rate is the rate that would result in the same amount of money for the city.

“That $17 would buy a 12-pack of Heinekens,” Commissioner Chuck Webb said. “The city really needs that money. It will make a huge difference to the city and the services it provides while it won’t make much difference to the individual homeowners.”

Webb said he feels strongly that with all the lawsuits the city faces and with the ever-present threat of hurricanes, the city needs to maintain a large reserve.

That reserve is projected to be at 47.97 percent of the 2010-11 budget. Ed Leonard, the city’s auditor has recommended that the reserve account be set at a minimum of 35 percent of the budget.

“We have way over that, so I think we should pass that amount on to the tax payers,” Commissioner Dale Woodland said.

Commissioner John Quam said he agreed with Woodland.

“Assessed values have gone down 4.1 percent under what they were last year,” Finance Director Diane Percycoe said. “So last year, if you have a home that was assessed at $250,000 last year, with a homestead exemption and with the millage rate of 1.7882, you paid $357.64 in ad valorem taxes.”

Non-homesteaded property owners with a home assessed at the same value last year paid $447.05, according to Percycoe.

With the average drop in assessed values of 4.2 percent for 2010-11 taxes, the same property owner’s home is valued at $239,500.

If the millage rate remains at 1.7882, that property owner will pay $335.05 if the property is homesteaded and $447.03 if there is no homestead exemption.

That means that if the millage rate remains at the 2009-10 level, the city will be taking in about $40,000 less in ad valorem revenue, which is the city’s main source of income.

To collect the same amount of revenue as last year, the millage rate would have to be raised to 1.8665.

About a third of the homes in the city are homesteaded; two thirds are not.

In the proposed 2010-11 budget of $2,138,214, the mayor is recommending a five percent pay hike for employees.

“Staff hasn’t had a raise in two years, and they’ve had a greatly increased work load with all the things that are going on in the city,” Mayor Fran Barford said. “You are very lucky in the staff you have. They work extremely hard with fewer staff members than the other cities have, and they are very loyal to you.”

Quam said he recognizes that the staff works hard, but that he doesn’t want to enact a 5 percent increase that will have to be done each year.

“I’d suggest a 2.5 percent increase with a one-time 2.5 or 3 percent bonus,” he said.

There was no decision on whether or not to raise the millage rate to the rolled back rate. Quam and Woodland were against going with the rolled back rate. Webb and Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick were in favor of the higher rate to protect the city.

Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus was absent.

There will be another budget workshop on Aug. 19 at 5:30 p.m.

The first public hearing on the 2010-11 budget will be held Sept. 8 at 6 p.m., and the second and final public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.

O’Connor Bowling Challenge celebrates 20 years
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

The art for the coolie cups and T-shirts is by
Holmes Beach artist Rob Reiber.

The Island’s most infamous twins, Billy and George O’Connor, are celebrating the 20th year of their O’Connor Bowling Challenge with some special surprises.

“Everyone will get a coolie cup with an original design by Rob Reiber,” Billy said. “And we will be selling commemorative T-shirts with the same design.”

The tournament, sponsored by The Sun, is set for Saturday, Aug. 28, with check in from 5 to 6 p.m. at AMF Bradenton Lanes, 4208 Cortez Road, Bradenton, and bowling to begin at 6 p.m. The donation is $30 and it includes shoes and three games.

Pre-registration is required, and bowlers can register at Duffy’s Tavern, 5808 Marina Drive, Homes Beach, from now until the event is sold out. In order to reserve a lane, bowlers must prepay by Thursday, Aug. 26.

The O’Connors, who have announced that this is their last year of organizing the tournament, recalled how it began.

“It was a challenge with my friends against George’s friends,” Bill explained. “Every year, it grew and grew until it was 300 people. We never thought it would get this big and be so much fun.”

In addition to fun, the event has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for youth sports at the Community Center.

The after party will be held at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar, 6696 Cortez Road W., Bradenton. Oyster bar owner John Horne will provide beer and margarita stations, a full bar and bowlers’ specials.

Raffle tickets for a big screen television donated by The Sun and hundreds of outstanding prizes from local merchants and restaurants will be available at the bowling alley. Tickets are six for $5.

In addition to the raffle, trophies will be awarded at the after party. Trophies include high and low game male and female, high series male and female and the Chuck Stearns Memorial High Game Trophy, The trophy is in honor of Holmes Beach Police Officer Charles “Chuck” Stearns, who passed away in 2005.

For information, call Billy O’Connor at 650-5488.

Island son returns to preach the gospel
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

After growing up in the city of Anna Maria, Ed Moss
has returned to the Island to lead the congregation
at CrossPointe Fellowship.

ANNA MARIA – He was born at Manatee Memorial, grew up on Willow Avenue on the north side of the Island and his parents were well known and respected pioneers on Anna Maria Island.

After moving away to college and getting the call that brought him to Christ, Ed Moss is back on the Island as the new preacher at CrossPointe Fellowship.

His parents are Elizabeth and the late Gene Moss, both educators who live in Anna Maria.

Moss attended Manatee Junior College after graduating from high school, but he did not have a goal in life.

“I changed majors every semester,” Moss said. “After I got more than 90 hours of education, I joined a rock and roll band.

“During that time, God spoke to my heart,” Moss added. “He worked through some of my lyrics.”

Moss went back to college and then through seminary and began working full time shortly after graduating. He began in Miami.

“There were a lot of gangs and ethnic groups,” he said. “It was a blast.

“We had English speaking congregations, Spanish speaking congregations, Creole speaking congregations – it was a great time and the church s still there,” he said. “There was also a lot of fear there and a lot of prejudice.”

Moss said he loved being on the streets with the people.

Being a native son, Moss said he has come to terms with his past. In the true spirit of “Boys will be boys,” Moss said he had a rambunctious adolescence.

“I apologize to anybody I wronged growing up and I will make restitution,” he said. “After I found God, I went to a lot of people and apologized. If I owe anybody else an apology, my cell phone number is 219-9211.

Moss said that he also wants to make a clean start at the church.

“On behalf of the membership of the church, I heard different things that I don’t know if they were true,” he said. “If we’ve been hypocritical or wronged you, we apologize.”

Moss said he feels it is important to make things right because relationships are what life is all about.

“We are here to serve the community,” Moss said. “If you have any needs – spiritual or emotional – please call us.”

Moss’s first day was Monday, Aug. 1, but he had already started putting his touch on the office while serving as the pastor at The Church at Braden River in Bradenton. So far, he likes what he sees at CrossPointe Fellowship.

“The congregation is absolutely incredible,” he said. “The members are caring, Christ loving people.”

Moss said he has three priorities.

“To love and honor Christ, to love and honor each other and to live the great mission with love and honor,” he said. “My teaching style is to promote these priorities through the Bible verse-by-verse.”

Moss said he truly believes the Bible is the word of God and it was a free Bible that helped him make his transformation to Christ.

“I received a Gideon’s Bible while attending Anna Maria Elementary School,” he said. “I took it out of its box, read the good news, found Christ and entered into full-time ministry.”

Moss brings his family to the Island with him.

“I have the most incredible wife on the planet, her name is Karen, and we’ve been married for 30 years and she has a heart of compassion and kindness and she’s very people oriented,” he said.

“We have been gifted with three boys, Ryan, David and Jonathan, who are all in college or working, and a daughter, Alyssa, who is in middle school. As he embarks on his new assignment, Ed Moss is excited about working and living where he grew up.

“I want to stay here until it’s time to retire, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to retire,” he said.

Petition initiative on parking turned in

ANNA MARIA — A committee interested in clarifying the existing regulations on parking in the city’s residential/office/retail district (ROR) is now in the elections office.

City Clerk Alice Baird received the petition on Friday, Aug. 6, and drove it over to the office of Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat.

“They told me there were 250 signatures on the petition,” Baird said.

The next step is for elections office employees to make sure each person who signed the petition is a registered voter.

Under the city charter, a petition initiative can be carried out in the city. The committee organizing the petition must obtain the signatures of at least 15 percent of the registered voters.

Committee members Larry Albert, Judith Chable, Charlie Daniel, Anna DeAugustine and Carl Pearman obtained the signatures.

“The purpose of our initiation petition was clearly and simply stated – to clarify the existing regulations covering on-site parking in the ROR district of this city,” Chable said. “It contains no manipulative language, no surprises and no last minute attempts to do anything other than convey the desires of a large group of citizens who oppose this proposed plan (the Pine Avenue Corridor Plan.)”

Chable said the committee and the people who signed the petition are opposed to having rights of way used to create parking for commercial use. There are also safety concerns.

The people who signed the petition are retirees, working families, business owners, professionals, long- term residents and newcomers, according to Chable.

Group members said they are not opposed to change, but they are opposed to the changes they see happening in the community, and they have major concerns and frustrations about feeling their voices aren’t heard in “the decisions being made at city hall while special interests prevail,” Chable said.

If enough signatues are certified and if the petiton meets the legal requirements, the city commission must act on it or take it to the voters.

Commission sets another parking work session

ANNA MARIA –At the commission’s most recent work session on parking, the only consensus was to have another work session.

Opening the meeting, Chair John Quam first outlined the concept of the plan.

“Pine Avenue is 25 feet wide, and the right of way is 12 ½ feet wide” he said. “The proposal is from the pavement to go in 25 feet for the parking space. That would be 12 ½ feet of the right of way and 12 ½ feet of the property owner’s property and 6 feet of the property owner’s property for the sidewalk.”

“The major function of the concept is to be a walkable community,

” Planner Alan Garrett pointed out. “By the property owner giving the city a parking easement and a sidewalk easement, that assures it is public parking.” Quam said the plan includes all of Pine Avenue, but only affects the portion from Gulf to Crescent drives, and the six lots on North Bay Boulevard across from the city pier are not included.

Commissioner Dale Woodland objected to the plan.

“What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? “ he asked. “It’s hard for me to put things in perspective. It doesn’t come to a logical conclusion.

“There’s a problem we haven’t agreed on. The real problem is on site parking versus public parking. Until we deal with that issue, we’re not going to accomplish anything.”

Plan review

Quam then reviewed the parking plan with several policies of the comprehensive plan for compliance, and Woodland reviewed his proposed changes to Chapter 90, parking regulations. Quam instructed Garrett to draft the changes.

Garrett reviewed the proposed Chapter 91, which provides the standards for the parking plan. He said the parking plan is optional for p

roperty owners, but all residential parking must be on site. “The concept is to have a walkable street and if we give people the option of putting in on site parking, it defeats the plan,” Commissioner Chuck Webb said.

However City Attorney Jim Dye pointed out. “The option is valuable because under this plan, the property owner is giving an easement to the city for almost 20 feet of his frontage.

“That’s almost 1,400 square feet of very valuable real estate, and if that was mandatory, it may leave open the possibility that somebody could come in and say they deserve compensation.”

Commissioner JoAnn Mattick asked if an existing business could follow the plan. Garrett said that could be accomplished through a simplified administrative review.

Commissioners discussed reducing the maximum building coverage for properties that comply with the plan. Quam said there are concerns about property owners increasing the size of their buildings because they don’t have to provide on site parking, but Webb said reducing the coverage too much could make it financially unfeasible to build.

Public comment

“I thought you were redoing the parking plan because safety was the main concern,” Nicky Hunt said. “Looking at Chapter 91, I think you’ve created something more dangerous that what you have.

She said residents of Pine Avenue would be backing out across parallel parking, and there are no visibility triangles.

Tom Turner said he could develop a concept for the developed properties on Pine Avenue that would put all parking on site with no backing across sidewalks.

“There’s a lot of work to be done on this,” Turner said. “What Mr. Aubry did on this was completely out of reason and no concept of what this city is and what we want to have.”

Terry Schafer called for a referendum on the parking plan and said Chapter 91 contains conflicts that need to be resolved.

Carol Ann Magill agreed with Woodland that the commission should tighten up the current language in the code that regulates parking.

Jill Morris noted, “I ride my bike all over the place, and I don’t have any problem at all on Pine Avenue. I think this parking plan is a step in the right direction.

“Main streets allow people to park their vehicles, get out, walk two or three blocks and shop along the way, and the parking is not specific to a given business. That’s what this plan does.”

Garrett asked the board how it wanted to move forward. Quam asked Garrett to refine Chapter 91 and return to the board to go through it line by line in order to draft an ordinance.

Woodland asked that the board have a more informal roundtable discussion, and the board set a date of Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.

Sign up now for scallop search

The Third Annual Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search needs volunteers on Saturday, Aug. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to noon to help monitor the local scallop population.

The free Sarasota Bay Watch event will launch from the docks at Mar Vista in Longboat Key Village. Participants will receive lunch and a T-shirt.

Searchers should bring snorkel gear and a boat, dingy, kayak or canoe and crew. Sarasota Bay Watch will provide all other equipment and training, and will match those without boats with participating captains.

The captains’ meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Mar Vista restaurant in Longboat Key Village, followed by the search and concluding with lunch around noon.

Registration is required and limited to 150 participants. To register, visit For more information, e-mail, or call 941-953-4545.

The event is sponsored in part by the Chiles Group and the Anna Maria Island Sun.

Sarasota Bay Watch Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and restoring Sarasota Bay’s ecosystem through community education and citizen participation. To learn more, visit

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