The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 42 - August 14, 2013


Petition seeks to prevent restrooms at new park

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


The new public restrooms at the six lots would be
located where the gold colored building in the lowered
right hand side of this graphic.

ANNA MARIA – A resident has started a petition campaign asking city commissioners to not approve public restrooms for the six lots at North Bay Boulevard and Pine Avenue.

Marsha Lindsey, who lives in Bayou condos, wrote to commissioners saying she and others would petition the city to eliminate the restrooms from the plan, which City Commissioner Gene Aubry drew up.

Aubry’s plan called for two restrooms with slatted walls for ventilation. The only power would be for lighting, and there would be a toilet and sink and little more.
In her Aug. 8 letter to the commission, she said the city sold one park with restrooms, Bayfront Park, to the county because the maintenance would be too expensive.

In reality, the city turned over maintenance and upkeep of Bayfront Park to the county in the 1970s, but the city kept ownership of the property.

In her letter, Lindsey said the restrooms would be used more by non-residents than residents and the city gets nothing.

“The increased traffic on Pine carries the increased risk for safety hazards as more and more wheeled vehicles crowd the tiny sidewalk and right of ways, she wrote. “We are left with the garbage, inconvenience and potential for criminal mischief that the higher volume of people brings.”

She asked the commissioners to consider public opinion in determining whether to have the restrooms.

Lindsey’s letter says if the restrooms at Bayfront Park are inadequate to meet the needs of the visitors, the businesses on Pine Avenue should supply restroom facilities.

Some commissioners called for eliminating the restrooms when they discussed the lots, but the commission decided to go along with them since they are simple and would serve the needs of residents as well as visitors.

In an e-mail to friends, Lindsey said Building Official Bob Welch told her the city is considering moving the restrooms closer to Pine Avenue now. She said the city would be drilling a well for water and irrigation for the trees that would be planted there.

Resident Rex Hagen promised $60,000 toward construction of the park and the Pine Avenue Restoration promised $25,000 per year for four years.


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Why bond investors should be concerned

Investment Corner

In my last column in the Sun, I pointed out that gold may be at risk of further price decline as a higher level of certainty returns as the economic recovery continues. Of course, I don’t know how the future will unfold, and if the right events (mostly bad) occur, then the price of gold could rise. But, with the information we have today, that seems like the less likely scenario in my opinion.

Another scenario also seems to be a logical outcome based on the information in hand today. While we can’t be sure, since the future is uncertain and unpredictable, if history can be a useful general guide, which it usually is, then I believe that investors need to acknowledge the risk of investing in higher quality bonds at the present time.

In the last few years, interest rates have fallen to record lows. The yield on the most commonly quoted bond in the world, the U.S. government 10-year treasury bond has touched lows around 1.5 percent a couple times and recently experienced a rise in yield to over 2.5 percent. While the current yield is still at very low levels historically, the risk of owing a fixed income security in a rising interest rate environment quickly becomes apparent. Just the recent rise in yields referenced above has caused bond prices to drop more than 6 percent in just the last couple months.

Most bonds are issued at a face value of $1,000 and mature at that same price. During the time the bond is issued and until maturity, it pays the rate of interest promised by the issuer. Assuming the issuer of the bond does not default, there is little risk in holding a bond from issuance to maturity. The bond owner receives their principal investment back and the semi-annual interest payments during the holding period. However, what many investors underestimate is the fluctuation in value of a supposedly safe security, which can occur between the date of issuance to the date of maturity.

If the bondholder is forced to sell a safe, even guaranteed, bond instrument before maturity, it is possible to realize a capital loss if interest rates have risen, like we have seen in the last two months or so. So, while the last 30 years of generally declining rates have caused investors to obtain capital gains in addition to their interest payments on bonds, we may have now turned the corner, and capital losses are possible if rates move higher.

Why might rates move higher? A return to normal might be the biggest reason. The average yield on the 10-year treasury bond for the last 80 years has been around 5 percent. So, while the Federal Reserve has depressed bond yields to very low levels to stimulate the economy, it would be foolish to assume rates will stay this low forever.

Again, I don’t know what bond yields will do in the next few months, but it seems that acknowledging the risk of rates moving back to normal historical levels is a reasonable assumption. Does earning 2.5 percent annually for the next 10 years sound like a good benefit if you could lose 10 percent of the value of the bond in a year if interest rates rise? I don’t want to imply that bonds don’t have a place in your portfolio, but the idea of bonds providing returns on par with stocks like they have for the last decade seems like a fool's bet. The message – don’t be over-loaded on bonds in a recovering economy with rates still at very low levels compared to history.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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