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Non-agenda items rule meeting

(ran Beach edition)

The City Commission voted Tuesday to pay Bell's Fireworks $12,119 for this year's Fourth of July fireworks display and passed an ordinance overhauling the process of getting a city building permit.

But commissioners spent more time talking about items that weren't on the agenda. Mayor Leon Atkinson and City Manager Chuck Coward questioned why Commissioner Allan Sansotta had formed his own committee on beach preservation without permission from the commission.

The topic came up when Sansotta informed the commission that the committee had discussed possible beach renourishment projects with the county. Coward explained to Sansotta that the city was coordinating the same projects with the county. Atkinson warned that the duplication of efforts could cause a "mess."

Sansotta suggested that perhaps the committee should become an official city committee.

Also behind the scenes, Commissioner George Makrauer and former Mayor Walter Stubbs continued last week to trade insults via letters. The two disagreed in March about whether the ongoing process of "visioning" to develop a city mission statement was worthwhile.

In correspondence, Stubbs said asking residents for their vision of the city's future was a "frivolous waste of $20,000 of taxpayers' money" and called Makrauer a "lone player" with "an overinflated ego."

Last week, Makrauer responded with a long letter to Stubbs, saying that the former mayor never tolerated people who disagreed with him and tried to stifle open discussion of city issues and goals.