Holmes Beach candidates talk water quality issues

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HOLMES BEACH – Campaigns are heating up ahead of the Nov. 2 election and before voters take a trip to the polls, The Sun is talking with each candidate to find out what they think about some of the issues facing the city. Here, they answer the question “How do you feel about water quality?”

Renee Ferguson

“Our habitat depends on our water quality and this is certainly a hot topic for our island and Manatee County. We need to mitigate and close Piney Point, and work with the other local, county and state groups and organizations to reduce algae and bacteria including red tide. Continuing to establish oyster reefs is part of a positive solution. Sewer line breaches are a huge problem and this definitely needs more attention from both county and state. We need to work with our neighboring cities to control pesticides and fertilizer runoff. Holmes Beach is currently working to establish a committee to review and determine answers.”

John Monetti

“I would preface my response with the recognition that I do not have all the current information available since I currently am not a city commissioner. My feelings on the topics reflect topical knowledge though I do stay abreast of these issues as an interested resident. This is an issue that I don’t see how it is even considered an issue. I haven’t run across many folks here on this Island that don’t care about our surrounding water. It is why we chose to live on an island.”

Pat Morton

“Water quality is one of our biggest concerns.”

Terry Schaefer

“I ran for election two years ago with a focus on the environment and water quality. I have been proactive since then suggesting methods to address those concerns. My sponsorship of creating a Water Quality Committee was unanimously approved by the commission along with strong support from Mayor Titsworth and staff. We are in the final stages of initiating that committee with the intent of startup this fall. The committee will be charged with coordinating efforts with other local environmental groups and hopefully with representation from both Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach with the objective of creating means and methods of improving water quality with recommendations of potential new ordinances, if appropriate. In addition, I recently suggested drafting a resolution concerning the city’s recommendations to Manatee County and the state concerning strengthening the vetting process of phosphate mining and consideration of new mining sites by the county and state. This was unanimously approved by our commission and our city attorney has been asked to proceed with drafting the resolution. The tragedy of Piney Point must never be repeated.”

Carol Soustek

“Water quality is in trouble. The discharges going into our bays is out of control. Your city has for the last seven years focused on flood and stormwater discharge. We have replaced aging pipes, no pipes, valves and so much more to clean the water before it gets to our bays. We have protected our wetlands and purchased property to develop watershed areas. Much more needs to be done and everyone needs to lighten their footprint on this Earth.”

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