Vol. 8 No. 45 - July 30, 2008


Budget loss $500,000 in Holmes Beach

HOLMES BEACH – City Treasurer Rick Ashley presented the proposed 2008-09 budget and said it is $500,000 less than last year. The proposed budget covers the funding of city operations for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2008, through Sept.30, 2009.

The reduction in ad valorem taxes accounts for $324,589 of that $500,000. The total budget is $7,967,723 compared to $8,470,017 in 2007-08. More...

City to TECO: Not so fast

HOLMES BEACH – City Attorney Patricia Petruff picked apart a draft franchise agreement submitted by TECO People’s Gas for the installation of a natural gas line in the city.

The company first came to the commission in May seeking its blessing to install the 4-inch plastic line. It will proceed along the Palma Sola Causeway and turn south on Gulf Drive to Bradenton Beach and turn north on Gulf Drive and Second Avenue in Holmes Beach. More...

Help on the way for broken trolleys

If it seems like you’ve seen more buses than trolleys running up and down the Island lately, you’re probably right. But the county is looking to replenish the fleet, so that when a trolley goes down for repair, it’ll have another trolley to replace it.

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) Operations Superintendent Mark Betti said that relief is on the way.

"We have identified some money and are looking to order two or three new trolleys," he said. "They’ll be like the newer ones we already have." More...

Sun forum set for Wednesday

The Sun will sponsor a forum for candidates for the District 3 and District 7 at large Manatee County Commission seats on Wednesday, July 30, in Holmes Beach City Commission Chambers, 5801 Marina Drive.

Candidates for the District 3 seat are incumbent Jane von Hahmann and challenger John Chappie. Candidates for the District 7 at large seat are incumbent Joe McClash and challenger Greg Witham. Since candidates in both races are Rebublican, the elections will be decided in the Aug. 26 primary. More...

Anna Maria closing gap on revenue drop

ANNA MARIA – When it comes to figuring annual budgets, all three of the Island’s cities are looking to close the gap between what they used to collect in property taxes and what is available after Amendment One and the market bust that took bites out of those taxes.

For the city of Anna Maria, closing that gap includes smaller raises for employees and higher deductibles for their health insurance, as the commission discovered on Tuesday, July 22. More...

City looks to nest egg to balance budget

BRADENTON BEACH – Just like the other cities across Florida, Bradenton Beach is facing a drop in property tax collections, but instead of deep cuts in services or employee layoff, this city has a cushion from which to draw.

Over the years, Bradenton Beach has fortified its reserves for more than weather disasters. At its first workshop on the 2008-2009 budget, the city commission last Thursday got a preliminary budget that showed a $124,886.43 shortage between income and expense. City Clerk Nora Idso, Assistant Clerk Christine Irelan and Police Lt. John Cosby, who worked on the budget, told the commissioners that they would need to take $125,000 from the city’s reserves to make it balance. More...

State shuns swaying signs

HOLMES BEACH – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has determined something that a lot of Island residents already believe, the two-sided variable message signs mounted on long mast arms over Gulf Drive had too much "wiggle" in the wind.

That’s the word from Manatee County Assistant Director of Transportation Harry Mendenhall. He said that FDOT engineers took one last look at the design of the poles and mast arms and rejected them. More...

Bridging the Gap plans grow

ANNA MARIA – Vowing to "make lemonade out of lemons," members of the Island’s business community are honing their plans to attract people here during the six-week closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge beginning Sept. 29.

A group of volunteers met with Jane E. and Island Sun Advertising Manager Chantelle Lewin at Ginny’s and Jane E’s Monday evening to discuss plans for events that will draw people onto the Island despite the loss of one of the bridges to rehabilitation. The events are all planned around weekends when traffic onto and off of the Island is expected to be lightest. Resorts are being encouraged to offer weekend packages for visitors to come enjoy the festivities and a mini-holiday on the beach. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGalati captures first in Center’s fishing tourney

Team Galati was the runaway winner this year in the offshore division of the Community Center Fishing Tournament, held over the weekend in the waters around Anna Maria Island.

Captain Chris Galati and his seven member crew won the $3,000 first place prize after amassing 429.6 points, more than 100 points higher than second-place finisher X-Treme Fishing and Captain Tommy Butler at 315.3 points. Placing third was We Need Many with Captain Nate Forrest at 284.2 points. More...

reel time

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPompano on the fly in Cayo Costa

I was having trouble concentrating on fish as I walked in the surf along the edges of Cayo Costa State Park. It was a spectacular morning with bright blue skies and a slight southeast breeze and every gnarled and weather-beaten piece of driftwood made a perfect frame for photographing the classic shell strewn stretch of beach. I was approaching my friend and fellow angler Reid Zoller when I saw him take a low crouch and become extremely focused. As I watched from a distance he made several quick strips no more than two yards from the beach. Suddenly his line came tight and he raised his rod, concentrating on clearing the line that was tumbling in the surf at his feet. When he let out a whoop and I saw his rod bending over double I broke into a run to close the distance for a shot. More...

real estate

These boots are made for walking

If you’re one of the 9 percent of property owners in the country or 11.6 percent of property owners in the state of Florida who are either past due on their mortgages or in some stage of foreclosure, the words "walking away" probably sounds really sweet. But before you put on your boots and walk all over your bank, remember nothing is as easy as it seems.

As is true of any disaster, there is always someone who benefits from another’s misery. The newest cottage industry that has popped up as a result of the ongoing mortgage foreclosure saga are companies offering to help guide you through the process or offer advice on just walking away from your home and financial responsibility. More...


Outdoor dining snag for Skinny’s

HOLMES BEACH – The restaurant that started it all may have to seek a variance or a zoning change to get more outdoor dining seats.

In February, the Freeman family, owners of Skinny’s Place, appealed to the city commission to increase their outdoor dining seats and introduced petitions with 2,000 signatures of people wanting more outdoor seating. That request led to an ordinance that created a procedure for restaurants to do so. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Investment Corner

Residential real estate not ready to rebound

Back at the end of 2005 and early 2006 ,I sounded the alarm over the speculative behavior being exhibited in residential real estate, warning that it would not go on much longer. I was right, as it turned out, but I did not foresee the peripheral issues related to real estate speculation that are now causing much bigger problems. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryEdgrens, Almeda named Sadie Award recipients

BRADENTON BEACH - They are usually out on the beach at sunrise, sometimes covered with sand from relocating a nest, sometimes dripping with sweat as the days get hotter and more humid, but last week, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch volunteers were dressed in their best shorts, slacks and Hawaiian shirts for the annual awards banquet.

Each year, the volunteers gather to celebrate the mid-point of their season and to honor those among them who have gone above and beyond.

This year’s Sadie Award was given to Bud and Gretchen Edgren, long-time volunteers and section coordinators. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryProject Sea Turtle campers celebrate season

Project Sea Turtle’s summer camp closed its fifth consecutive season with a fun-filled day on the Island. The camp runs for six one-week sessions each year.

On Project Sea Turtle’s final day, the campers helped relocate a freshly laid turtle nest and excavated a freshly hatched nest to help count the number of eggs left behind. More...


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