Politics & Government

Holmes Beach elections: Quality-of-beach-life issues are paramount

HOLMES BEACH -- There's a lot to decide for Holmes Beach residents on their Nov. 4 ballots.

David Zaccagnino and Bob Johnson are eyeing the mayoral seat.

Those hoping to win a commission seats include Andy Sheridan, Marvin Grossman and Judy Holmes Titsworth.

Zaccagnino, a Holmes Beach commissioner for nine years, has been involved in numerous civic groups, including the Parks & Beautification Committee, and served as liaison to the Anna Maria Island Community Center. He said a lot of people wanted him to run for mayor of Holmes Beach and he's happy to step up.

"The (city) budget is over by half a million and last year it was over by $600,000 and these are issues that people know I can fix," the financial adviser said.

Issues Zaccagnino said are important include discontinuing tax increases and repairing what he describes as "ill will" toward visitors of Anna Maria Island.

"There has to be a balance because we have so many visitors and so many people that enjoy the island. Us residents have to work with them," he said, adding he also wants to protect the citizens.

For Zaccagnino, experience matters.

"We just went through a past mayor who was trying to learn on the job," the 44-year-old said. "We can't go through another two years of someone learning the job and stumbling through decisions."

Zaccagnino's opponent, Bob Johnson, has been liv

ing in Anna Maria Island for 20 years and said he's seen changes good and not so good during that time. He is the most recent chairman of the Holmes Beach Charter Review Committee.

"My priorities would be increasing efficiency throughout the city and adjusting operations to really tune into the needs of the city at any given point in time," Johnson said.

This is Johnson's first time running for public office, but he said he has the skills needed for the job.

"You don't need a politician to be mayor here," he said. "You need a business mind to be mayor."

Holmes Beach Commissioner Marvin Grossman said he is running again because the city commission has not finished fixing some Holmes Beach issues. Grossman said he is for stronger code enforcement and working toward developing a safe island bikeway. On his campaign paper ad, Grossman said the commission has started "protecting our old Florida lifestyle."

"I want to keep the residential nature of our community," Grossman said. "We have a great school, we have doctors, we have everything that a real community has and the people with children love where they live and they don't want to have to move because there's a motel built right next to them."

Andy Sheridan, who became involved in the community seven years ago over quality-of-life concerns, works as a trolley driver on the island. He wrote in a statement he works well with others to investigate problems and identify solutions.

"Now that property values are increasing we need to look for ways to shepherd our funds to ensure there is no wasteful spending," his statement read. "I can be a thoughtful and reasonable conduit between our citizens and the city departments and services to ensure transparency and accountability."

Lifetime Holmes Beach resident Judy Titsworth, commission chairwoman, said she is running for re-election after receiving a groundswell of support.

"We're losing residents right and left and it's still a really great place to live," she said, adding the city is also losing its sense of community. "We all just need to work together because there's still a ton of people who really want to save it."

Titsworth listed congestion and noncompliance of ordinances among the city's issues. Tackling the city's sign ordinances is another issue Titsworth would address if re-elected.

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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