The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 51 - October 16, 2013


Commissioner voices dissent during discussion

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

tom vaught | sun

The sign at Gulf Boulevard regarding unloading would
come down if the commission has its way.

ANNA MARIA – If the city commission has its way, there will be no parking or stopping at the beach along Gulf Boulevard near a handicapped parking spot reserved for those wanting to watch sunsets.

The Anna Maria City Commission continued its discussion of parking issues last Thursday when Mayor SueLynn suggested they increase the fee for parking tickets and prohibit loading and unloading along the street ends at the beach.

Commissioner Gene Aubry asked what was wrong with that.

“We have a police force in this city that theoretically cruises the streets and watches what’s going on,” he said, adding that would prevent a large family from unloading their vehicle; then he became upset with the proposal.

“If he has six kids and needs to unload, what a bad situation,” Aubry said, mocking the idea. “What are we doing? What’s wrong with us?”

Commissioner Doug Copeland said he’s seen people unload for a large party on the beach and if those people want to go somewhere else to unload because they can’t here, so be it.

Aubry said people who live at the beach should be used to people using the beach.

“But we have that happen and they write letters,” Aubry said. “Okay, deal with the problem. We need to be nice.”

Webb was concerned because he has lived in Florida all his life.

“It’s really how we’ve always done it. You arrive at the beach, unload and then park your car,” Webb said. “It’s a change from the way we’ve done things in the past.”

Commissioner Dale Woodland said parking and unloading aren’t the big problem and they haven’t even defined the big problem yet.

“One is trespassing and we need to address it,” he said. “When someone comes off the beach and whizzes in a yard, those are things we shouldn’t need to include in a sign.”

Copeland argued the city needs to tell people where they don’t want the public to park.

“We could tow the cars and people would have to go all the way to town to get their vehicles,” he said. “We also need to increase parking fines.”

Webb called for a consensus to direct staff to prepare an ordinance to provide for towing of cars. City Attorney Jim Dye said they already have laws for towing from public roads. Webb asked what could happen if offenders block the driveways and Dye said they could tow for the homeowners. He said he could find no other local government that uses towing.

Aubry said they should raise the fines for parking in front of a driveway.

“If someone parks in front of a driveway and gets a $500 fine, he won’t do that again,” Aubry said. “That’s a bad thing to do and it’s dumb.”

They agreed to put up “No unloading” signs at the beach ends of Gulf Boulevard, Palm Avenue, Magnolia Avenue and Cedar Avenue after they have Dye draw up an ordinance.

During public comment, however, Aubry vented.

“I think we have a 'being nice' problem and I’m just disappointed in the attitudes that I hear,” he said. “There’s no reason for it. Be nice to your enemies because they can get on your side.

“People are trying to figure how to pay for their flood insurance and you’re worried about parking,” he added. “Rome is burning and you want to talk about parking at the beach.”

With that, he left the meeting at 7:08 p.m., but he returned a short while later before the meeting ended.


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

End of year financial review

Investment Corner

Most people use the beginning of the year, perhaps motivated by New Years’ resolutions, to examine the state of their finances and investments. I suggest starting the process a bit earlier and the final quarter of the year is a good time to do so.


The final quarter is a great time to review the level of income you will achieve and the resulting tax liability. Estimating this now can help avoid a nasty surprise when filing tax returns in the early part of the next year. Making sure you’ve withheld a sufficient amount of federal tax from wages or paid enough in estimated tax payments may also help avoid penalties for late payment.

Rebalance Your Portfolio

2013 is a great example of the necessity of another process we encourage. Periodic rebalancing of your investment portfolio’s allocation helps keep your risk level on target and is a proven strategy to enhance returns. In a year where one asset class does quite well, like U.S. stocks have done this year, and other asset classes have done poorly, like bonds and emerging markets stocks here in 2013, you may well be above your target allocation for U.S. equities.

This works fine as long as the U.S. market continues to lead the way, but no trend lasts forever, and having too much of your portfolio in the asset class which will eventually turn into a laggard is not the best idea.

Retirement Plan Contributions

For those working and saving for retirement it is a good time to check your retirement plan contributions to 401ks and IRAs. Consider bumping up your contributions if possible to maximize your investment plan. Keep in mind that Uncle Sam is helping you save because most of the contributions to these plans are tax deductible. If you’re in the 28 percent tax bracket, each dollar contributed only costs you 72 cents after the tax deduction. For those in higher tax brackets, it gets even better.

Required Minimum Distributions

For those who are 70 ½ or older, you are required to take what are known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) which is a percentage of your IRAs and other retirement plan account balances on Jan. 1, 2013. The percentage is based on your age, and rises as you get older.

RMDs need to be taken by Dec. 31 and we suggest not waiting to the last minute. Penalties await those who fail to process RMDs by the required dates. For those with multiple retirement accounts, the total RMD is based on the total of all qualified retirement plans, and may be taken from one account or spread pro-rata across several accounts. The account custodian will issue a form 1099 detailing the RMD amount and any tax withheld so it can be accounted for next year when filing federal tax returns (and state returns if applicable).

As always, next year’s goal setting and resolutions will go easier with a little end-of-year review.

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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