New study shows what’s next for Anna Maria Island cities
HOLMES BEACH, Fla. (WWSB) - According to Representative Will Robinson, the study is expected to come out next summer that will show recommendations for the cities of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria.
Robinson said the study will look at different aspects on the island and come to a solution on the best option like consolidating or doing nothing.
“Doing nothing. Which is quite possibly the most likely scenario, or making maybe two cities instead of three, making one new city instead of three. There’s been talk about making them part of the City of Bradenton. Thats certainly an option or deindexation. Do we need a city out there?” said Robinson.
Robinson said the study will take into consideration population, money coming in and money going out. The Mayor of the City of Holmes Beach, Judy Titsworth, said the move to consolidate should have been started by the cities and not the state. She called this a power grab.
“It is unclear what the path forward looks like if state leaders move to consolidate, especially when it is an act not supported by the cities and citizens which are directly impacted,” said Titsworth.
Robinson said the study dates back to the parking garage bill after residents brought up concerns.
“Asking were we going to do anything to study the government structure of the island. To many, it didn’t make sense that we had three different police departments, three different building departments, three different public works departments, over the same seven-mile island,” said Robinson.
Robinson said he brought up the concerns to the delegation and the study passed unanimously back in January of 2023.
Chief of Police for the City of Holmes Beach, William Tokajer, has also expressed concerns about the possible consolidation. He said a consolidation could mean the merge of all three law enforcement agencies to either the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office or the Bradenton Police Department. Chief Tokajer explained that would mean less law enforcement on the island. He also said all three agencies have different pensions.
“Things they are not looking at. We have different pension plans than the City of Bradenton. So then the City of Bradenton would then have to keep our pension plan whole until everyone in the pension has passed on. So, that’s a cost that they would have to incur,” said Tokajer.
Chief Tokajer also expressed concern over employees losing jobs. He said right now nothing says an agency must absorb employees in a consolidation.
Copyright 2023 WWSB. All rights reserved.