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Date of Issue: September 29, 2005

Whitmore to Anna Maria: 'Pay your fair share'

Stung by recent comments from certain Anna Maria residents and commissioners that they didn't like Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore coming to their city to "influence" the city commission's vote on the consolidation referendum, Whitmore is striking back.

She wants Anna Maria to "plan now" to pay its "fair share" of the cost of repaving the Holmes Beach portion of Gulf Drive, expected to begin in about two years.

Gulf Drive is the only egress for Anna Maria residents out of their city, she noted, and its owned by Holmes Beach, not Manatee County or the State of Florida.

"Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach is the only way for them to get on and off the Island and I think its only fair for Anna Maria to pay for its portion. Holmes Beach shouldn't have to pay for Anna Maria's infrastructure," Whitmore said. "Most people that are educated will understand that another city should not have to pay for another city's infrastructure costs.

"I'd like Anna Maria to start planning now for its portion. We have a current estimate that repaving (Gulf Drive) will be $200,000, but that's certainly going to go up in two years," the mayor noted.

She said Anna Maria should adopt a long-term paving plan for its roads as has Holmes Beach. "We have a 10-year plan. I don't know what they have in Anna Maria."

Whitmore said she plans to send the Anna Maria City Commission a letter this week noting the Gulf Drive repaving project and suggesting the city begin to plan now to pay its share. Efforts by Whitmore in previous years to gain support from the Anna Maria City Commission to help fund repaving Gulf Drive were unsuccessful.

Whitmore's current plan, however, gained the consensus support of the Holmes Beach City Commission at its Sept. 20 meeting.

Gulf Drive south of Manatee Avenue is a state-owned highway and any improvements or repaving for that section of the road are funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.

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