Vol. 17 No. 40 - July 19, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySeaward destruction sparks environmental concerns

HOLMES BEACH — Work has temporarily stopped at 102 77th Street in Holmes Beach after the city was alerted to some irregularities on site.

Building Official Jim McGuinness visited the site July 7, placing a stop work order on the property after seeing nothing but a cleared lot where mangroves, sea grapes, dunes and sea oats once stood.

During the July 13 city commission meeting, McGuinness said he determined after reviewing the demolition permits obtained for the property, as well as one issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, work had been done that was outside of the scope of work.

He placed a red stop work order tag on the property that he said will remain until a full investigation by the DEP is completed. More...

City proposes state legislation

ANNA MARIA – The city is going on the offensive in fighting for the protection of Florida cities' home rule rights when it comes to regulating short-term vacation rentals.

City Attorney Becky Vose has drafted a bill that city officials hope will be introduced by supportive state legislators during the 2018 legislative session next spring.

"Becky has prepared a piece of proposed legislation that says municipalities and counties have the right to regulate vacation rentals as though they are a commercial enterprise," Murphy told the commission, on Thursday, July 13.

"Basically, what it says is cities and counties can pass ordinances designating vacation rentals as a commercial use and regulate them accordingly," Vose added.

Despite their commercial natures, the state currently considers vacation rental homes to be residential uses and state law limits how they can be regulated locally. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryShade sails proposed for City Pier Park

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy and the City Commission are considering installing a $100,000 shade sail structure in City Pier Park, but they want to hear from the public first.

Murphy presented his idea to install a 2,500-square foot shade sail structure during the Thursday, July 13 commission meeting. He and the commissioners are now asking residents and park users to provide their input when the project is discussed again at the Thursday, July 27, commission meeting that will begin at 6 p.m.

The installation of a semi-permanent shade structure would alleviate the need for temporary tents to be set up during the city-sponsored events taking place at the corner of Pine Avenue and South Bay Boulevard, across from the historic Anna Maria City Pier.

Murphy feels these city events would be well-served by a shade structure that provides greater functionality, flexibility and adaptability. More...

Special magistrate to hear parking problems

HOLMES BEACH — A new avenue may soon be available to people contesting parking tickets received in Holmes Beach.

During the July 13 work session, commissioners opted to move an ordinance forward to a regular meeting that would put parking ticket complaints in the hands of a special magistrate instead of a judge.

Police Chief Bill Tokajer brought the ordinance to commissioners' attention after receiving a notice that Holmes Beach parking ticket complaints would no longer be heard in Manatee County courts. He suggested sending those who contest their parking tickets before a special magistrate at the complainant's cost.

"We don't have a tremendous amount of these," Tokajer said, adding that he estimates four to five parking ticket complaints have made it to court in the past year. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAM budget process underway

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy and city commissioners held their first budget work session last week.

Murphy proposed maintaining the current 2.05 percent millage rate. Although the millage rate will likely remain the same as in recent years, property owners will experience another tax increase due to increased property values.

Last year, Anna Maria property owners experienced an average tax increase of approximately 11 percent and Murphy is predicting a similar, if not slightly higher, increase this year. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBradenton Beach budget talks begin

BRADENTON BEACH – The City Commission currently plans to maintain the existing 2.3329 millage rate for the 2017-18 fiscal year, but due to escalating property values, this will subject property owners to an estimated 8.97 percent property tax increase.

Last year, the city's property owners experienced on average an 8.51 increase in their annual tax bills, again due to rising property values applied to the same 2.3329 millage rate.

Using the proposed millage rate, property owners would again pay $233.29 per every $100,000 in assessed property value, which takes into account homestead exemptions and any additional tax exemptions. More...

Anna Maria audit looks good

ANNA MARIA – Last week, the city Anna Maria received a clean audit report for the 2015-16 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2015, and ended Sept. 30, 2016.

Randy Dillingham, from the Sarasota-based CS&L accounting firm, reviewed the audit report with Mayor Dan Murphy and the City Commission on Thursday, July 13. Dillingham provided the commission with a quick, high-level review of the 42-page independent auditors' report they were provided in advance.

"Here we are once again for the annual wrap-up. It's a little big later this year," he said.

He attributed the delay to new pension standards adopted by the state and a change in accounting personnel and accounting software at the city this year. These changes included the arrival of City Clerk LeAnne Addy and the departure of former Clerk Diane Percycoe and former Treasurer Maggie Martinez.

Dillingham said the city is in compliance with accepted accounting practices, standards and internal controls. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHolmes Beach commissioners set millage rate

HOLMES BEACH — It's that time of year, when municipalities are looking at their budgets for the coming fiscal year and setting millage rates before property tax bills are due to be mailed.

The city of Holmes Beach is no different, with commissioners taking a preliminary look July 13 at the proposed 2017-18 fiscal year budget and voting unanimously to maintain the 2.25 millage rate established the previous year.

Commissioner Jean Peelen was absent.

City Treasurer Lori Hill recommended keeping the millage rate the same for the coming year due to the city's proposed budget remaining close to what was adopted in the previous year. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBoomers get info on healthy eating

ANNA MARIA – Yesterday's baby boomers are seniors, and many of them don't consider that a healthy diet can make you live healthier and longer.

That's the message from Melissa Merkle and Kirt Lietzow, co-owners of Boomers N Motion, a company that specializes in keeping older people healthy so they can enjoy a longer, fuller life. They spoke to an audience of more than during the meeting of JOY (Just Older Youth) on Wednesday, July 12. at Roser Memorial Community Church.

They talked about the theory that healthy food can help people avoid some ailments, and some popular foods can lead to ailments. They passed out booklets that listed healthy foods and foods to avoid. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Fishing with Captain Rick Grassett

Captain Rick Grassett was the first to spot the black shapes cruising towards the boat. The sky was clear and the winds light, just the kind of day fly anglers pray for. We were anchored on the shallow edge of a Gulf side sandbar, and it was my turn on the bow. Moments later, I spotted the tarpon and watched as they closed on the boat. When they were in range, I made two false casts and placed my fly 10 feet in front of the lead fish.

I waited for the first fish to pass before beginning my retrieve. The second fish didn’t respond, but the third fish started tracking the fly. Two strips later it opened its mouth, and the fly disappeared. As the line came tight, I set the hook with two sharp jabs, letting go as the fish surged. Concentrating on the fly line at my feet, I watched as it sail into the guides, making sure it didn’t tangle on anything. The tarpon immediately came out of the water in a scale rattling jump and took off into deeper water. The rest of my fly line and 100 feet of backing quickly melted from the reel. I reached down and released the anchor as Grassett started the boat. By the time we got forward momentum, another 200 feet of backing had vanished into the Gulf, and the tarpon had made two grey-hounding leaps in the distance. More...

real estate

So, you want to buy a condo?

It's 85 degrees and 85 percent humidity, it's July in Florida. If you own a single-family home, no matter what the temperature is, you will still have to mow the lawn, clean the pool and paint the peeling trim, unless you live in a condo.

Condo living in Florida has become such an accepted part of the overall residential picture in the Sunshine State that you're just as likely to meet someone who lives in a single-family home as one who lives in a condo association. Never-the-less condo living is not for everyone, and if you're thinking about becoming a condo homeowner, you need to figure out which one you are.

Condominium associations are run by HOA's (homeowner associations), which are initially formed by the real estate developer and then turned over to a volunteer board of homeowners once the development is completed. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySharky's is now an international affair

BRADENTON BEACH – The five friends from Rome, Italy, who make up the new ownership group at Sharky's Steak & Seagrill, are settling nicely into their new roles as Anna Maria Island restauranteurs.

Last October, Cristina Delle Macchie, Mario Procopio, Silvia Sanges, Emilio Vardaro and Nadia Rossi bought the 80-seat restaurant space at 2519 Gulf Dr. N., and they now share the ownership and operational responsibilities.

Due to immigration laws, the Italian business partners take turns spending three months at a time on the Island. Delle Macchie and Procopio are currently in town, and they sat down last week to discuss their new American venture. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySato Real Estate Hayward Cup champions: Undefeated to the end

The summer co-ed adult soccer league at the community center came to an end Thursday night with the heat, mosquitoes, friends, family and fellow players ready to see the crowning of the Paul "Ace" Hayward Cup champions.

Josh Sato, captain of Team Sato Real Estate, and Nate Talucci, captain of Team Moss Builders, met at mid-field for the traditional coin flip. The game of the season started with much anticipation as Moss Builders found its stride in the season and Sato Real Estate could not be beat.

The first 23 minutes of play showed why Moss Builders was in the championship game. Playing with smart defense, Talucci's team kept it close and entertained spectators.

Quick goals by Chris Klotz, for Sato Real Estate, and Matt Kretzmann, for Moss Builders, lit up the scoreboard three minutes into the game.

Goalkeeper Shawn McCarthy saved a Sato Real Estate shot, but could not hold on to the ball, giving Klotz a corner kick. With a goal in sight, the kick intended for Jake Parsons was saved by McCarthy putting the soccer ball back at the feet of Moss Builders. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Sea turtle race contestant to be chosen

A loggerhead sea turtle that nests on Anna Maria Island the night of Monday, June 19, will be fitted with a satellite transmitter and tracked by the Sea Turtle Conservancy in its Tour de Turtles migration marathon that begins Aug. 1, according to Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

The turtle will be named Eliza Ann and will be released to the Gulf of Mexico somewhere on the Island on June 20, she said. The turtle is sponsored by Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club in Holmes Beach. More...

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