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Date of Issue: January 25, 2007

Commissioner raises concerns about city pier

insurance pic
City pier back to the city?
Anna Maria City Commissioner Christine Tollette wants the city to take over maintenance of the city pier from the current leaseholder to ensure the structure is maintained properly. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Anna Maria City Commissioner Chris Tollette has some serious concerns about the maintenance at the city pier and wants the city commission to take over that responsibility from the current lease-holder, Mario Schoenfelder.

"Maintenance issues with the pier management have been an on-going problem," Tollette maintained at the Jan. 11 city commission meeting.

She said the term "maintenance" is not defined in the current lease, which expires in 2010, and many people have complained about garbage and grease around the pier restaurant. Garbage has been "blowing into the water and then coming ashore," she said, and the stench is often unbearable.

In addition, Tollette claimed the dumpsters are not kept clear and rodents are attracted to the area.

She also noted there is an ongoing issue between Waste Management Inc. and pier management.

The city has $7,200 set aside in its current budget for repairs and maintenance, but in the past, "those monies set aside were used for other purposes."

Tollette also claimed that while bolt inspections are done by request from public works director George McKay and deck inspections performed monthly, no one ever inspects the interior of the restaurant.

Bolt inspections should be done at least four times a year and roof inspections should begin immediately and be performed annually, she maintained. The roof hasn't been inspected in seven years, Tollette said.

The commissioner also wanted city attorney Jim Dye to review the lease agreement to determine if the city can assume the maintenance of the property and increase the rent accordingly to offset any maintenance expenses.

Although the current lease requires Schoenfelder to maintain the property to meet all municipal, county, state and federal laws, that's not good enough, said Tollette.

"Since the city owns the pier," said Tollette, "we should be responsible for the maintenance.

"This is a win-win for our city. This is a major tourist attraction which creates revenues for the city and keeps us vital. It is an historical attraction much like Belle Haven which we have so lovingly taken care of. The city pier deserves the same care. We do not want to be in the same positions as the City of Bradenton Beach with a damaged pier, no tenant and no income for well over a year."

Commissioners agreed to have Dye review the lease and report back to the commission at its February worksession.

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