Vol. 17 No. 9 - December 14, 2016


Officials seek to use tourism tax for police

HOLMES BEACH – Manatee County tourism officials took the first step on Monday to change state law to expand tourist development tax usage to pay for additional law enforcement officers.

The Manatee County Tourist Development Council (TDC) voted to recommend that the Manatee County Commission place the request on its list of 2017 legislative priorities.

The tourist tax is collected from owners of accommodations rented for six months or less who charge the tax to their renters, primarily tourists. The majority of the county’s 5 percent resort tax proceeds are allocated to tourism marketing efforts; one of the five “pennies” is allocated to beach renourishment and maintenance.

The state statute that allows counties to levy a tourist tax, F.S. 125.0104, prohibits any uses of the tax not specifically listed in the statute, Assistant Manatee County Attorney Bill Clague told the TDC. More...

Island mayors look to county for help

BRADENTON – A plea by the four island mayors regarding help dealing with tourism impacts on the barrier islands met with a healthy discussion by Manatee County Commissioners, but very little of substance.

County commissioners made suggestions to the mayors ranging from increasing their ad valorem and business taxes to seeking funding for specific projects from the county, but the mayors’ hope for a more equitable distribution of the county’s half-cent sales tax appeared to fade.

Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock, who made the presentation to the board on behalf of the mayors, first explained that Longboat Key Mayor Jack Duncan had resigned for health reasons and introduced the new mayor, Terry Gans, the former vice mayor. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryParade rolls on minus Maddox

ANNA MARIA – After being excluded from the AMI Privateers’ Christmas parade again this year, former Privateer Rick Maddox is left with two choices in regard to future participation – let bygones be bygones or take the Privateers to court again.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, Maddox unsuccessful appealed to the City Commission in hopes of being allowed to enter the original holiday float the Privateers used for decades before the court awarded it to him following a two-year legal battle that ended in 2014.

Maddox sought a modification to the city-issued special event permit that allowed Saturday’s parade to start in Anna Maria before passing through Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCrab trap signs in place

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Four reminder signs about the penalties for tampering with stone crab traps have been placed at street ends in Anna Maria, and four more were to be placed at fishing spots in Holmes Beach.

Mark Coarsey, president of the Manatee County chapter of the Fishing For Freedom organization, requested the signs from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) after a pair of commercial stone crab traps were pulled ashore in Holmes Beach in November. One of the traps was then illegally removed from the scene.

According to Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, the signs are now in place at Bean Point and at the ends at Magnolia, Spring and Oak avenues. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Red tide slows start of mullet season

CORTEZ – Commercial fishermen are having little luck finding mullet so far this season, and red tide is to blame, they’re saying at the two fish houses in Cortez.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported Friday that red tide was found in medium concentrations at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria and at Longboat Pass and in low concentrations at the Palma Sola Bay bridge.

Winds have blown the persistent red tide onshore on Anna Maria Island several times over the past few weeks, causing some people respiratory problems, and dead fish have collected in the canals on the bay side of the Island. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMurphy not relying on county revenue

ANNA MARIA – After he and the other barrier island mayors met with county officials earlier in the week to discuss county funding for city infrastructure needs, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy told his city commission that a special assessment fee levied on vacation rentals was a more likely funding solution.

“I would say we were right back to where we were in June, when we first met with them and explained the problem,” he said at last week’s commission meeting.

Murphy said the tax revenue sharing methodologies used by the county remain based on population figures and that will continue to leave the Island cities on the short-end when it comes to revenue distribution. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCat house ‘red tagged’

BRADENTON BEACH – A gray cat is in the process of adopting the crew at the Public Works Department, so they got together on their spare time to build him a house, which Code Enforcement Officer Gail Garneau immediately red tagged, as a joke.

“We have a moratorium on new housing,” she said.

Since the cat is friendly and they say acts more like a dog sometimes, the workers got into the holiday spirit and made the house out of scrap plywood. It got a scrap carpet on its floor and the cat, that is yet unnamed, seems inclined to use it. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Plant removal suggested

BRADENTON BEACH – The Scenic W.A.V.E.S. committee is suggesting that the Indian hawthorns and other foliage that lines both sides of Gulf Drive from Second Street North to Third Street South be removed.

The plants sit between the pavement and the sidewalks, with wooden poles and rope bollards separating the sidewalk and the road for the safety of pedestrians.

The suggestion to remove the plants was driven by a desire to replace them with something that looks nicer and requires less upkeep and maintenance by the city’s Public Works Department. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIt's time for toasting

There has always been a good reason for most of us to take a drink because it's hot or we're thirsty or maybe to wash down a bite to eat. There are occasions though that call for something special to drink – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and, yes, New Years Eve. The beverage of choice for those special moments is more often than not going to be champagne or a close relative, sparkling wine.

The best sparkling wines are made in cool climates. It is said the best are made in Champagne, the most northerly wine growing region in France. The grapes grown there, pinot noir, chardonnay and petite meunier, have a difficult time fully ripening there, making them quite tart until they go through the champagne making process.

The skilled winemakers juggle the different fruit flavors, usually from different years, with yeasts and sugar in order to develop the subtle, unique flavors they develop while aging in the cellars. Each champagne house has its own style. Most of them produce vintage champagne in special years, varying in flavor with the vintage and making them more expensive to make. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAnatomy of a fishing rod

Every fisherman’s rod, be it a spinning rod, a fly rod or a casting rod, is constructed in a similar way and has the same basic parts. Have you ever wondered why one rod is more expensive than another and why? Here is a breakdown of the basic components of a fishing rod that should help you understand their construction, and why one rod costs more than another. This should also help you determine which rod is best for you.

A rod’s blank is constructed from a product known as prepreg. This material is impregnated with resin and wrapped around a mandrel, which is removed after the blank is formed, giving the rod its basic round shape. This blank holds the guides, ferrules, handle, reel seat and fighting butt.

Prepreg has fibers that have a unidirectional (straight) orientation. The fibers can be made of different materials including fiberglass, graphite, boron or Kevlar. Some rods are made (laid up) from a prepreg that has additional fibers that run around or at an angle to the unidirectional fibers. This gives the rod additional strength and influences flex, stiffness and affects its price. More...

real estate

Back to 2006?

There are two iconic sayings in real estate, “Two weeks is a lifetime,” and “All real estate is local.” Two very important things to remember when analyzing real estate sales statistics. That’s why you need to remember this as you read the following.

The S & P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index is compiled on a regular basis primarily by Robert Shiller an economist at Yale University. This index is considered a benchmark in the housing market, and the most recent analysis released at the end of November had to do with the housing recovery since 2006.

According to this report, the home prices across the United States have climbed back above the record reached more than a decade ago in July of 2006. The average home price is now at 0.1 percent above the July 2006 peak, however, when adjusted for inflation the index is about 16 percent below the 2006 high. In 2012 we were still struggling with a recovery and prices were 27 percent below the July 2006 peak. That said, home prices jumped 5.5 percent during the past year, and it looks like the country is on its way to a solid recovery. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShoppers avoid the Black Friday crowds

The day after Thanksgiving signals the start of the Christmas shopping season, and for many years, it has been known as Black Friday. Large shopping chains open early on Black Friday and in recent years, on Thanksgiving evening.

Advertising is intense and the daily newspapers toss huge papers on yards, larger than Sunday editions thanks to the shopping inserts.

Black Friday is just another day to Island businesses in most cases, but that might change soon.

Pink and Navy, the boutique on Pine Avenue, started opening an hour earlier and offering discounts at a declining rate per hour, according to storeowner Janae Rudacille.

“It has been our busiest day,” she said last Friday. “This year I put it in my ad in The Sun and we’ve been busier than ever.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

I’m bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don’t’ allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let’s hit some of the highlights. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryYouth soccer awards fill The Center

With the winter holidays on their way and cool air approaching, the youth fall soccer season heard its last cheers Wednesday night at The Center with the much anticipated award night.

Will Schenerlein, recreation director, started the night off by thanking all of the business sponsors that support The Center and help to make the youth sports program possible. The sponsorships financially pave the way for every Island-area child to play sports at the community center.

While he still had the undivided attention of the audience, Schenerlein also took the time to thank all of the volunteer coaches who took their time each week to bring their knowledge to the pitch. The coaches, those individuals who made sure the kids made it to practices and games, and all of the loved ones that cheered in the stands, made this soccer season another successful ones.

Success comes with rewards and in this case, certificates commemorating a memorable season and trophies for the key players who made a significant difference to their team.

After enjoying a hot dog and hamburger meal donated by Slim’s Place and served by co-owner PJ Smargisso, the accolades began. In each of the age groups, five individual awards were announced, making the night for 15 youth soccer players. More...


Turtles crawl to a record year

Sea turtles had a record year in more ways than one on Anna Maria Island, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The record of 435 nests is higher than the next closest record year of 2013 by 66 nests, and higher than the 15-year average by 246 nests.

Why, especially in a year with two hurricanes and a severe tropical storm that destroyed 145 nests?

Mostly, it’s due to 34 years of Turtle Watch volunteers caring for turtles and educating visitors, residents and business owners, Fox told volunteers on Saturday at an appreciation luncheon marking the end of the 2016 turtle season. More...

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