+ Article misstated part of the DROP plan agreement
As a trustee for the Longboat Key fire pension board who was mentioned in your March 3 article, “Pension board stalemate ends,” I would like to correct a misstated fact. The article incorrectly stated that Michael Murphy entered the town’s deferred retirement option plan (DROP), allowing him to collect his pension while still working.
In fact, as part of the agreement for the DROP plan, Mr. Murphy is not permitted to collect his pension while working. His pension check is deposited into a separate investment account that he will only be able to collect when he is no longer employed by Longboat Key.
The DROP program is a valuable, but often misunderstood retirement deferral program that enables cities and towns to stop paying top-level compensation for employees near retirement age — payments that would otherwise continue to rise and inflate pension payments. Far from costing Longboat Key extra money, the DROP program enables cities and towns to save money.
Longboat Key firefighter/paramedic
Editor’s note: The March 3 article stated that Lt. Michael Murphy can ‘collect’ a pension through the DROP program while continuing to work, meaning the money accumulates. The sentence should have also stated Murphy’s pension is deposited in a separate account that he cannot access until he is no longer employed by the town.
+ The Key shows ‘The Good,’ ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’
Within three days recently, our Key witnessed the following experience.
First, ‘The Good.’
On Thursday, March 25, the maiden voyage of our new commission was revved-up with a discussion and concensus (all in one meeting) for the next beach-renourishment sand on our Key. The various sand samples made the rounds around the (commission) chambers so comparisons could be made for the various erosion rates up and down the beaches.
The discussion and problem-solving purred like a well-tuned engine. It was heart-warming that we are obviously back on track in performing the task of governing. The mojo was refreshing, but, of course, nothing is always perfect. It’s like the old adage, “If at first you don’t get it right, try again,” which is less dangerous than “paralysis due to analysis,” which we’ve seen a lot of lately.
Now, ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly.’
On Tuesday, March 23, at the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort, three good citizens tried to educate our town on the status and effectiveness of data and voice transmission throughout the Key. They, then, followed up with multiple solutions to our problem — not attempting to sell any particular solution.
Unfortunately, the vigilantes showed up with guns drawn and mouths out of control, including people who should have known better.
The three, competent, professional gentlemen making the presentation deserve an apology for the rudeness displayed. The intent of the meeting was to provide evidence that we have a communication problem, not to impose a solution.
Collectively, the citizens of Longboat Key are more respectable than what was displayed by the few at the meeting.
+ Kudos to the Longboat public works department
Two kudos to the Longboat street department.
First, thank you for picking up the bike signs in the bike paths that are raised enough to bump the riders in their groins.
Second, thank you for replacing them with flat signs that do not bother bikers with narrow tires with 90 psi in them.
Keep up the good work!
John Lanman, MD
+ Longboat politics has stayed the same
I read The Observer weekly on the Internet to keep abreast of my former home.
It seems nothing has changed within the politics of Longboat. The mentality of “I’ve got mine but you can’t have yours” seems to be alive and well to the long-term detriment of Longboat. I remember all too well the battles we had over the Tennis Center and Durante Park. They have proven over time to be great assets. We are all comfortable with the status quo, but change is what keeps a town vital. I hope the Town
Commission supports the Key Club proposal and is willing to accept the flack that goes with that position.
Thanks for your yearly April Fools’ edition. As always, it’s a gem.
La Jolla, Calif.
+ A solution to the traffic problem is easy and cheap
There would appear to be an easy and inexpensive cure for the daily traffic jam heading north from Longboat Key toward Bradenton and Anna Maria from 3 to 7 p.m. Re-program the traffic light at Cortez so that it remains green for north and eastbound cars for one minute longer on each change than at present.
There is very little southbound traffic at that time of day, so no one should complain.
Have our town officials been in touch with state or county people to see if this can be done?
+ Sun Resorts International prides itself on reputation
There has been an attempt recently to make Sun Resorts International the victim of a rumor: that we have met our demise within the rental business on Longboat Key. We submit to you that Sun Resorts International is alive and thriving as never before.
Sun Resorts International has been offering exclusive vacation destinations from our home on Longboat Key for 50 or 60 years and was formerly known as the rental division for Wedebrock Real Estate. We proudly represent many homeowners on the islands of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island who wish to offer their homes for rent to guests from around the country and the world.
Our recent move to the Whitney Beach Shopping Plaza will create more exposure and business opportunities for Sun Resorts International.
We pride ourselves on our reputation as one of the most established companies on Longboat Key, and we are pleased to call the islands our home for our own, as well.
Sun Resorts International staff
+ Attending the Citizens Academy was time well spent
In February, I read a story in your paper about the Citizens Academy of Governance being offered to the public by the town of Longboat Key. I signed up for it and attended the four all-morning sessions. It was time well spent.
I learned about the Longboat Key government structure, town plans for future emergency preparedness and information about resources that are available, to name some of the aspects of the program.
The citizens of Longboat Key should be very proud of their town employees. All are dedicated to making Longboat Key the very best.
Thanks for publicizing the academy. I hope there will be another offered next year to give more residents the opportunity to attend. It is well worth the time and effort.
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Paint the town red and green
This year, we won’t just be on the lookout for the most festive holiday lights on the Key. We’ll be on the prowl for anything that embodies the happiness of the holidays with our new “Spirit of the Season” contest.
Pettingell tradition is as sweet as pie
For the sixth consecutive year, Pettingell delivered pies from Yoder’s Restaurant in Sarasota to his customers at Thanksgiving.
Former Key Club manager takes on new role
Former Longboat Key Club & Resort General Manager Michael Welly has a new gig.