From left, Diantha Schear, Mayor Jim Lawrence, Mike Petruccelli, and Patrick Soranno pose for a photo on Election Day. Petruccelli edged Schear by a vote. Soranno won the other seat. The results won’t be official until March 21.
INDIAN SHORES – There were some emotional farewells in Indian Shores March 12 as Mayor Jim Lawrence marked the last time police chief E.D. Williams, town clerk Marcia Grantham, and councilors Carole Irelan and Steve Sutch would participate in their official capacities at a Town Council meeting. All four will be retiring at the end of the month.
“I have had the privilege of working here for a long time,” said Sutch, “and am happy to have been part of it (the town’s progress).”
Irelan teared up as she said, “I love this town and I will miss everybody.”
Williams, who has served concurrently as the town’s chief of police and town administrator for over 24 years, received permission from the town to retain his badge and current duty firearm as a commemorative service award.
“The Town of Indian Shores has been extremely good to me as an employee and I hope that I have contributed in some way in taking the town forward as a leader and showplace among the beach communities,” said Williams.
Marcia Grantham, the town’s clerk, summed up her experience in the town’s government.
“Thirty-five years says it all,” she said. “I worked for nine mayors and 60 council people.”
Recount doesn’t change election results
An automatic recount of the March 11 municipal election ballots resulted in the discovery of an additional mail-in ballot that wasn’t counted before.
So the final count for the Town Council was: Patrick Soranno, 333 votes; Mike Petruccelli, 315; and Diantha Schear, 314 votes.
Both a manual recount and a recalibration of the machines are part of that process to recount all the votes, including Election Day ballots, absentee/mail-in ballots, early voters, and provisional ballots. The swearing in of the new council is delayed until March 25 to accommodate this recount process.
Town decides to self-insure
The council unanimously elected to self-insure its Public Services Building for flood risk. The premium notice for flood insurance to cover the building was $1,267 for fiscal year 2013. The notice to cover the same building for fiscal year 2014 in at $40,984.
Councilor Bill Smith said, “This (situation) is the poster child for what’s wrong with Flood Insurance,” said Councilor Bill Smith, who pointed out that since the building is worth $485,900, paying $41,000 a year in premiums for a little over a decade would equal the same amount to replace the building.
Council accepts town audit
The council accepted the town’s audit for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. Auditor Richard Cristini made a presentation to the town regarding the town’s fiscal stability. Lisa Robinson, the town’s director of finance and personnel, was commended for her meticulous records management. Cristini said that the town was in good financial shape and that he “found no deficiencies.”