Vol. 15 No. 42 - August 19, 2015
Rental ordinance outrages owners
ANNA MARIA – After last week’s city commission work session, several rental property owners approached commissioners and expressed their displeasure with the soon to be amended vacation rental ordinance.
Thursday’s work session did not provide for public comment, but Anna Maria Commissioners Carol Carter and Nancy Yetter both got an earful before they stepped down from the dais at meeting’s end.
“The whole thing is just absolutely off the wall. It is unreasonable. You’re going to send your property values, along with everyone else’s, right down the tubes,” said duplex owner Michael Trauner, as he waived the ordinance in the air. More...
Treasurer tenders surprise resignation
BRADENTON BEACH – City Treasurer and Finance Director Sheila Dalton unexpectedly resigned last week.
City Clerk Terri Sanclemente discovered Dalton’s resignation letter, and the mayor and commissioners received the news less than two hours before 2015-2016 fiscal year budget was to be discussed at the Tuesday, Aug. 11, work session.
Dalton’s absence caused the budget discussion to be postponed until Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m.
“Experiences over the past six months convince me that I must resign from my position. The reason for my resignation is that I am simply not ruthless enough for this city,” Dalton’s letter began. “I do not see myself working for a city which does not share the same beliefs that I do … Most people resist change and yet that is the only thing that brings progress,” she added.
Building moratorium proposal revised
HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners last week discussed revisions to a draft ordinance governing the number of bedrooms and other requirements for single-family and duplex homes.
The ordinance calls for a maximum of four bedrooms in single-family homes and two per side in duplexes in the R-2, R-3 and R-4 zoning districts. It also limits the number of overnight occupants in a resort-housing unit to six or two per bedroom, whichever is greater.
City Planner Bill Brisson said the first question was to determine the definition of a bedroom. Building Official Jim McGuiness presented two definitions for commissioners to consider. More...
Tourism marketing budget jumps 60 percent ...
To promote the area as a tourist destination, Manatee County commissioners have approved a $12.7 million marketing budget for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
That’s 60 percent higher than the $7.9 million marketing budget for the previous two fiscal years, 2014 and 2015, and more than Chrysler spent in 2011 on what is said to be the most expensive Super Bowl commercial ever – $12.4 million.
For fiscal year 2016, $5.3 million was approved, with the largest expenditures being $400,000 for McKechnie Field and $286,000 for Website management.
For fiscal year 2017, $7.4 million was approved, including the largest single expenditure of $2.3 million to promote the 2017 World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, in addition to another $400,000 for McKechnie Field and another $286,000 for website management. More...
... with Cortez being a new target for promotion
CORTEZ – Manatee County tourism officials plan to turn their successful marketing spotlight on the historic fishing village of Cortez.
The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to “create awareness of the Cortez village community,” CVB Director Elliott Falcione told the Manatee County Tourist Development Council on Monday.
The CVB media team will work to get travel writers to the village to write about what Falcione called “a story and a half ” after his recent meeting with Karen Bell of A.P. Bell Fish Co., during which he learned about the company’s history of shipping local mullet and roe internationally.
Bell offers educational tours of the fish house to raise awareness of the importance of the commercial fishing industry, however, “I’m not looking to ramp up attention. I back a low-key educational effort,” she said after the meeting. More...
Commissioners continue rental ordinance changes
ANNA MARIA – With a group of rental home owners in the audience, the City Commission continued work on modifying the vacation rental ordinance that will place numerous requirements on rental agents, owners and the city itself.
The group showed up ready to be heard, but Commission Chair Chuck Webb told them the commission does not take public comment during workshops. City Attorney Becky Vose presented the changes to the Commission.
The first change was shortening the definition of a vacation rental to, “any transient public lodging establishment that does not have on-site management.”
Vose said that would eliminate motels from being required to abide by the new ordinance. More...
Budget increased for vacation rental enforcement
ANNA MARIA – The new $4.163 million budget proposed by Mayor Dan Murphy during last week’s budget work session includes an additional $600,000 in anticipated revenues derived from vacation rental licensing fees.
Last year’s adopted total budget was $2.601 million and projected by Murphy and the city’s accountant to close on Sept. 30 at $3.498 million. The new budget takes effect Oct. 1.
When introducing the 2015-16 fiscal year budget, Murphy said, “This budget is based upon keeping the ad valorem rate the same. If we opted not to keep the ad valorem the same, we could in fact, reduce our taxes by around $115,000.” More...
DEP issues consent order in sea grape case
HOLMES BEACH – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued a consent order to Jose Vivero outlining action he must agree to in order to resolve the issue of illegal sea grape trimming in the 4300 block of Second Avenue.
In May, Vivero hired a tree service to trim the sea grape trees located along the beach access and the neighboring property across the street from his property without permission from the city or the neighboring property owner.
The DEP has been investigating the case and working with Vivero’s attorney, the State Attorney’s office and the city. On Aug. 7 the DEP issued the consent order that includes the following stipulations: More...
Tour of historical sites set to be published
ANNA MARIA – AMI Historical Museum summer intern Kathryn Rohlwing has produced the museum’s first self guided walking/biking tour of the city of Anna Maria.
Rohlwing, who is working on her master of arts in museum studies with a specialization in historical preservation at the University of Florida, initiated the brochure to coincide with the museum’s renovation, set to begin Sept. 1 and be completed in October.
“I began with the Centennial Site Tour and added to it using information in the historical binders, the archives and the Florida Master Site File,” Rohlwing explained. “At first, it was to be the whole Island, but there are so many good sites in Anna Maria that I decided to just do the city. More...
8th Annual Scallop Search
The 8th Annual Scallop Search, Sarasota Bay Watch’s signature and longest standing event, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Mar Vista Dockside restaurant on Longboat Key. This free event engages the public in what has been called citizen science because it assists scientists with monitoring the scallops in Sarasota Bay. The search is a boating event, but Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) will make an attempt to place non boaters on boats when possible.
To assess the populations of the bay a grid is constructed that covers areas of the bay and volunteers snorkel looking for scallops. The Scallop Search has been conducted since 2007 and was initiated with support provided by Tampa Bay Watch. During the annual monitoring event, volunteers snorkel along set transect lines. More...
Manatee County heat wave
Based on last week’s column, there is a national heat wave in progress this summer all around the country. The month of June marked the highest sales statistics for single-family homes since 2006, with the median sales price jumping 6.5 percent. The median sales price represents the midway point of all properties sold, half above, half below.
The state of Florida is also having a pretty hot summer with June’s median sale price for single-family homes up 10 percent. So where does that leave little Manatee County?
The June, Manatee County sales statistics remain healthy and going in a continued upward direction. Compared to June of last year, closed single-family homes were up 21.2 percent and new listings were up 15.4 percent. The median sale price was up 3.6 percent to $253,700, and the average sale price was up 5.2 percent to $307,404. Townhouses and condos closed even more properties with an increase of 33.5 percent, and new listings were also higher at 22.2 percent. The median sale price was up 4.9 percent to $155,000 but the average sale price was down 3 percent to $194,655 (statistics can be funny sometimes, so I wouldn’t make this more important than it is). More...
U.S. economy looking good for further expansionInvestment Corner
I think it was famous baseball player and manager Yogi Berra who said “It’s like déjà vu all over again”. That’s how I feel about the current economic expansion compared to the decade of the 1990s. Of course, exact parallels are rare, but there are certainly some similarities at work.
The 90s were heralded as one of the longest economic expansions in history, starting after a brief recession in 1990 and lasting until the next recession which began in 2001. The current expansion is now six years old, measuring from the summer of 2009 as the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis began. More...
Four down, four to play: AMICC adult flag football underway
Eight teams of adult flag football players started the summer season in July, and through the summer heat, four teams remain in the playoff series that continues tonight, Aug. 19. In last week’s action, #3 seeed Tyler’s Ice Cream Vikings went up against the #6 seed Sato Real Estate Giants.
The two teams battled defensively for almost 20 full minutes of plan holding the opponent scoreless. With no time remaining on the clock for the first half of play, Quarterback Rob Manderine hit Robert Kavelli for the first touchdown of the game for the Vikings. Manderine followed up with an extra point pass to Rob “Ice Cream” Alderson, taking the score to 7-0. More...
Hatchlings struggling against storms
Storms and waves continue to push loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings back onto Anna Maria Island’s shores shortly after they hatch and make it to the Gulf of Mexico.
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring requests that if you find a hatchling, do not put it back into the water, as it is unlikely to survive due to fatigue. Instead, place it in a container with some wet sand or on a damp towel, put a cloth partially over the top to keep it in the dark while letting it breathe, and take it to the Holmes Beach Police Department at 5801 Marina Drive for Turtle Watch to rehabilitate and release. More...