Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Longboat leaders return to public meetings Sept. 12

The budget, charter changes and smoking bans top the list of issues to address.

  • By
  • | 11:40 a.m. September 2, 2022
Mayor Ken Schnieir presented potential changes to the town charter before summer break. (File photo)
Mayor Ken Schnieir presented potential changes to the town charter before summer break. (File photo)
  • Longboat Key
  • News
  • Share

The Longboat Key Town Commission’s first meeting after the annual two and a half month long break is Sept. 12. 

On that Monday, a regular meeting will be held at 1 p.m. as well as a budget workshop at 5:01 p.m. in the commission chambers. 

Elected officials are permitted by the town charter to cancel meetings in July, following a vote on a maximum millage rate for next year's taxes, and in August, setting up a return to public meetings in September. 

Many things are in the works in the town, but in the remaining months of the year, the commission must handle top priorities. 

One of the first things on the list for commissioners is approving the next fiscal year’s budget, which takes effect Oct. 1. The final budget hearing and adoption takes place Sept. 27 at 5:01p.m. Longboat Key residents will have an opportunity at both meetings to weigh in on the budget. 

The budget calls for $17.849 million in general fund spending against $18.5 million in general fund revenue. All in, the budget that also includes capital project funds, enterprise funds, debt service and special revenue funds calls for $85 million in spending, $49.5 million in revenue, a beginning fund balance of nearly $91 million and more than $55 million in the fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2023. 

Smoking on the beach is another issue likely to be addressed during the first meeting back. Commissioners signaled their intentions on the ban at their final meeting before summer break, asking town staff to prepare the regulations. 

A resolution will likely be on the Sept. 12 agenda, which will ban smoking cigarettes on the beach and in local parks. However, due to state law, smoking cigars cannot be banned. 

According to the Ocean Conservancy, cigarette butts have been the most commonly found litter on Florida beaches during the organization’s annual Coastal Cleanup for the past 31 years. The butts are made of tightly packed plastic fibers that erode into smaller bits, which accumulate in fish and other organisms, adversely impacting sea life health and reproductivity as well as human health when consuming the affected fish.

As long as it's passed, the new rule could be in effect by Halloween. 

Town Manager Tom Harmer’s impending retirement marks another large task for the commission as they make the final decision on who will take Harmer’s spot. While no advertisement has been made publicly for the position, candidates are being recruited by Harmer and town staff. 

In doing so, contacts aren’t initially brought before commissioners in a public setting and there are no open-to-the-public applications to sift through, if you're so inclined. Still, commissioners will have final say on recommended compensation and other contract details, but must agree by a supermajority to confirm a new manager. 

By the time commissioners return to public meetings, Harmer will have about 90 days remaining until he retires from public service following his announcement in June that he does not plan to renew his contract after five years on the job. 

Commissioners will also discuss potential changes to the town charter. The changes, brought up by Mayor Ken Schneier, might open up the field for candidates for the Town Commission. 

Two potential changes include rules regarding in-person attendance and compensation for elected officials. 

If the commissioners opt for the changes, they will need to go before voters before going into effect.



Latest News