The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 40 - July 18, 2012


A Bittersweet Celebration
Carol Whitmore

Community Center Director Pierrette Kelly with Assistant
Director Scott Dell next to the portrait the board presented to her.

ANNA MARIA – The Anna Maria Island Community Center opened its doors for a goodbye party for its director of more than 20 years, Pierrette Kelly, last week. There were laughs and there were tears.

There was food donated by local restaurants and refreshments and lots of networking as long-time friends of the beloved Community Center director regaled others with stories of the past.

Kelly, in a white suit, was there laughing and enjoying the company of those she rarely saw, as well as those who have been close to her during her tenure. After more than an hour of mingling, Community Center Assistant Director Scott Dell took to the stage to start the tributes and remembrances. He introduced Community Center Board Chair Greg Ross.

Ross joked about learning from Fire Chief Andy Price that Price was resigning as the chair.

“He asked me if I wanted the position, and I asked how much time it would take every week,” Ross said. “He said a couple of hours a month.”

The board members laughed, but Ross then praised Kelly for her leadership.

“She’s like that tennis player Roger Federer who makes it look so easy,” Ross said. “Pierette makes it look easy and that’s what we appreciate about her.”

Price praised Kelly as the woman who got so much out of the board and volunteers.

“It was that smile of hers,” Price said, “The board did all those things and she was the reason.”

Price turned to Kelly and told her he would not have been on the board if not for her.

Trudy Moon, planner of most of the Affaires to Remember, the Center’s signature fund raiser auction and party, said she got involved when she complained.

“I told her the bathroom needed help, and she told me they had a process around here,” Moon said. “She said when somebody complains, someone has to volunteer to change things.”

Moon said Kelly got her to volunteer to organize the fundraiser, known as the auction in its early days, and the rest was history.

“You taught me to be a better person and how to be a volunteer,” Moon said to Kelly. “Nobody can top this lady.”

CrossPointe Fellowship Pastor Ed Moss spoke about Kelly’s character.

“We teach character and that is Pierette,” he said.

Dell took the stage to talk about the lady with whom he worked for so many years.

“I spent so much time with you, and I’m going to miss you,” he said, pointing to Kelly. “My adult life has been here with you. Thank you for so many dreams and aspirations that came true.”

He spoke of her kind heart.

“She made sure that no kid would get turned away from one of our programs for lack of money,” he said. “She adopted a one-parent family where the mom might have a boyfriend for a while, but then he would leave. Those kids had to sleep on the floor, but she made sure they made it through college.”

Then it was time for Kelly to speak.

“Each and every one of you played an important part of this,” she said. “Please, never dishonor the Community Center. It needs you.”

Kelly said she got interested in the Center after her husband, Paul, started playing tennis there. He told her about the opening for a director and she applied because he thought she could do some good. She joked about her inauspicious beginning.

“I really didn’t want this job,” she said. “I did it for Paul.”

During the speeches, several speakers broke down. Dell had to stop his speech, telling everyone, “I can’t finish this.”

Kelly left her mark on the Island’s culture of caring and giving and she made sure the Community Center was there to fulfill its mission of adding to the community. The tears at her farewell party were evidence of that.

Center director: Back to the drawing board

ANNA MARIA – After narrowing more than 40 applications to three, the Community Center board of directors did not find an applicant it felt qualified to become the organization’s next executive director.

“We had three good solid candidates and one stood out, but he decided to take another job,” board chair Greg Ross explained. “The others were strong, but we felt they weren’t strong enough to handle everything.

“We need someone who has a complete skill set. Someone who can handle all the challenges.”

The applicants had hoped to replace Executive Director Pierrette Kelly, who announced in April that she would step down effective at the end of the fiscal year in July. Kelly has held the position for 22 years.

“Pierrette has agreed to stay on until we find a candidate,” Ross continued. “She also will stay on to train the person. She wants to make a smooth transition.”

Ross said the board is in the process of initiating another search and has 15 applications to date.

“A couple of people who were not interested initially came forward and said they are now interested,” Ross said. “I feel we will have some good qualified candidates and will find someone suitable to take the position.

“We need to get the selection committee back together. I’m not sure if we will follow the same process as before.”

Advertising for a director

The board’s ad for an executive director states that the minimum criteria are as follows:

“Qualified applicants must have experience working with a board of directors, supervising staff and expanding programs, managing grants, managing fundraising, campaigns, major gifts, special events and planned giving, providing staff leadership and training, must have a proven record of successful fiscal management.”

Qualifications include:

• A bachelor’s degree plus 10 to 15 years of successful operational and management experience at an executive level;
• A proven record in fund raising, program development and operations;
• Budget management experience;
• Strong written and verbal communication skills;
• Computer literacy with MS Word and Excel skills and Donor Perfect;
• The ability to manage multiple projects and others in a fast-paced environment.

Interested persons can review the complete position profile at:

Moratorium in Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA – Concerned about losing historic ground-level homes, Chair Chuck Webb suggested a moratorium on their demolition until the historic preservation committee completes its work.

“The committee is looking at adopting a historic preservation ordinance, but what happens when someone comes in and buys a historic structure and demolishes it?” Webb asked. “We’re getting back to the issue of having a limited moratorium on demolition.

“We have to work on parameters. I would say that would be just limited to demolition of the footprint of the structure. People could do what they want on the inside. It would give our committee a chance to resolve things.”

Commissioner SueLynn voiced her support, and Webb said they could impose an administrative moratorium and not issue demolition permits ANNA MARIA – Concerned about losing historic ground-level homes, Chair Chuck Webb suggested a moratorium on their demolition until the historic preservation committee completes its work.

“The committee is looking at adopting a historic preservation ordinance, but what happens when someone comes in and buys a historic structure and demolishes it?” Webb asked. “We’re getting back to the issue of having a limited moratorium on demolition.

“We have to work on parameters. I would say that would be just limited to demolition of the footprint of the structure. People could do what they want on the inside. It would give our committee a chance to resolve things.”

Commissioner SueLynn voiced her support, and Webb said they could impose an administrative moratorium and not issue demolition permits

Property values may have bottomed
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


If you’re holding out on buying that Island property in hopes prices will drop more, you might want to think again.

According to the Manatee County Tax Assessor’s Office, the taxable values of each of the three Island cities are starting to rise.

Granted, some of that value increase comes from newly built properties that are now being taxed as residences and home improvements, but overall, this is the first rise, albeit small, in the values in five years.

Going alphabetically, the city of Anna Maria saw values drop 10 percent from 2008 to 2009, four percent the next year and six percent from 1010 to 1011. The county’s estimate of value for 2012 is up 2 percent.

While that might represent bad news for homebuyers, it is surely good news for the city, which would collect that much more in property taxes if the property tax rate (millage) stays the same.

The drops in value were more extreme percentage wise in Bradenton Beach where they dropped 17 percent from 2008 to 2009, 14 percent the next year and 2 percent from 2010 to 2011. The taxable values rose .05 percent from 2011 to 2012. Bradenton Beach has the lowest total taxable values due to its size and smallest population.

Holmes Beach, meanwhile, has the highest total values and is the only city where they total more than $1 billion. Their values dropped 9 percent from 2008 to 2009, 10 percent the next year and 1.1 percent from 2010 to 2011. The values went up .1 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Every year at this time, the three Island cities get the reports on taxable property values so they can figure their budgets, which are due before the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1 The Manatee County Tax Assessor’s Office figures the values from information recorded with the county. They don’t count publicly owned property, which is not taxed, and they don’t take into account tax breaks through the Homestead Act, for veterans and for the elderly.

Board approves Aubry’s plan for six lots
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

GEne aubry | submitted
Commissioners adopted Gene Aubry’s original plan
with vegetation, lighting, benches and open space.

ANNA MARIA – Commissioners approved Gene Aubry’s original plan for the six lots at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard that the city purchased last year, but removed some of the parking.

Chair Chuck Webb made the proposal to adopt the plan with the parking on Pine Avenue eliminated. Commissioner John Quam agreed, but said there should be more parking on North Bay Boulevard and it should be angled instead of parallel.

“My concern is that we’re going to have visual pollution there,” Webb said. “It’s going to destroy the view of the area.

“Another thing I’m concerned about is people coming over the humpback bridge and people pulling out. I think we could see some problems.”

Commissioner SueLynn agreed with Webb and noted, “People are not going to go down to the corner and walk across. They’re going to cross in the middle of the street and having the parking spaces there encourages more of that.”

Webb said they could make adjustments as needed because the parking is in the right of way instead of on the six lots.

“I think the parking on North Bay Boulevard is needed, and I wouldn’t be opposed to angled to maximize it,” Commissioner Dale Woodland said.

However, he pointed out that the city would be taking parking away from the city pier.

“Part of their lease includes areas for parking,” Webb stressed, “and I haven’t seen any effort on their part to enforce that, to keep people out of their parking spaces. I see it as the tenant’s problem that they’re trying to make the city responsible for.”

Uses listed

Woodland said at one time, commissioners had discussed a list of uses and amenities that they would approve for the six lots. He asked them to review the list

All said yes to open space, landscaping, lighting, benches, low impact events and one or two high impact events. They said no to relocating historical cottages, a gazebo, bathrooms and picnic tables. Three said no and one said yes to an open-air pavilion.

Webb said cost is the issue for him with structures like a gazebo or pavilion.

Commissioner John Quam said he doesn’t agree with the landscape show in the drawing, and Webb said the vegetation is conceptual and can be changed.

Woodland suggested that the commissioners approve a resolution listing the activities not allowed, and Webb said it makes a record of what they agreed on.

City Planner Alan Garrett said the staff would prepare a comprehensive plan amendment to change the land use designation from residential/office/ retail to public/semi-public and follow it up with a zoning change.

Margaret Jenkins said she is opposed to allowing parking on North Bay Boulevard because it is a liability.

Micheal Coleman, of Pine Avenue Restoration, said angled parking would provide 27 spaces as opposed to 10 with parallel parking. He said PAR has made a proposal to Roser Church to lease some parking space for public use.

Mayor Mike Selby said he would ask staff to get cost estimates. Webb said he would approach the county about getting tourist tax dollars.

PAR attorney says sidewalks are OK

ANNA MARIA – Andrea Mogensen, attorney for Pine Avenue Restoration (PAR), has replied to Jeremy Anderson, attorney for William and Barbara Nally, of Lakeland, regarding a mediation agreement and the composition of sidewalks on Pine Avenue.

“The document speaks for itself and does not contain any provisions regarding sidewalks or standards relating to the construction of sidewalks,” Mogensen wrote.

“Rather, the mediation agreement provides that, as to parking, PAR ‘shall comply with the new parking ordinance adopted in April 2011.’”

In a June letter, Anderson objected to the experimental filter mix pathways that were installed on Pine Avenue last fall by PAR. He claimed that the meditation agreement required the installation of permeable concrete sidewalks at the PAR owned or controlled properties.

He demanded that the installation occur within 30 days or his clients would file court action. The city commission held a shade meeting last week to discuss strategy for the case.

In August 2011, the city commission agreed to an 18-month trial period for PAR to install native pathways on Pine Avenue.

Mogensen pointed out, “By e-mail dated Sept. 6, 2011, the city attorney specifically asked Mr. Hanson (in the law office of Anderson) whether he had any objection to the installation of the sidewalk plan adopted by the city commission in a public hearing on Aug. 25, 2011.”

She said the mediation did not require the inquiry, and Hanson made no objection.

“Now, more than 10 months later, after the sidewalks have been constructed, your client demands that the city somehow compel PAR to do something it never agreed to do based upon a parking agreement that was entirely voluntary to begin with.”

In 2010, the Nallys sued the city over parking and density issues in the residential/office/retail district along Pine Avenue.

FEMA to aid private property losses

Late last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proclaimed Manatee County residents who suffered losses from Tropical Storm Debby eligible for grants to rebuild. The ruling was in addition to an earlier decision to cover public property losses, including Anna Maria Island’s beaches that were severely eroded by the winds and waves.

Homeowners who feel they are eligible need to do three things, according to Mary Margaret Walker, of FEMA.

“You need to call us at 1-800-621-3362 or online at,” she said. “You need to turn in information like your insurance coverage and estimates of losses and any other expenses.”

Walker said FEMA provides grants for temporary housing while repairs are made to your home for up to 18 months.

“It’s all based on need,” she said. “The grants are only available on your primary residence, although renters can get assistance, especially if their apartments or rental units are not habitable.”

When you turn in a claim, the inspector will come to your home and within a few days of determining eligibility, you will have a check, Walker said.

“There is a cap of $31,400 per applicant,” she said.

Also covered are medical expenses due to the storm, death expenses, transportation and other expenses.

For answers, call 800-621-3362 or visit

Anna Maria seeks Citizen of the Year

Do you know a person, business or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the city? If so, Anna Maria’s Citizen Recognition Committee is seeking nominations for its Citizen of the Year for 2012.

Committee members are former Mayor Fran Barford, Mady Iseman, Margaret Jenkins, Tom Turner, Karen DiConstanzo and Flora Webb.

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 31, and the committee will meet on Sept. 5 to make a selection. The Citizen of the Year will be honored at the Oct. 25 city commission meeting.

Nomination forms are available at city hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the AMI Sun office, 9801 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, during business hours.

Forms can be hand delivered to city hall; mailed to CRC, P.O. Box 779, Anna Maria, FL 34216-0779; faxed to 941-708-6134; or e-mailed with CRC in the subject line to

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