News Section: Local Government
Candidate Profile: City of Palmetto Mayor: Shirley Groover Bryant
Candidate: Shirley Groover Bryant (Incumbent)
Party Affiliation: Non-partisan
Occupation: Mayor of Palmetto
Education: Palmetto High School; Manatee Community College; and Florida Southern College
Serving as a City Council, Ward 2 representative from 1993 to 2004, Shirley Groover Bryant became Palmetto’s Mayor in November 2008 and will maintain her position through automatic reelection. Bryant has upheld “a quality of life in her hometown where families and businesses can grow and prosper in a safe, healthy environment,” never forgetting that the history of a city influences its future.
The Manatee County School for the Arts previously employed Bryant as its Chief Financial Officer, and for 15 years, she was the Senior Staff Accountant and Community and Employee Affairs Coordinator for the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office.
Bryant’s leadership, sensible spending, budget management and improved connections with fellow government agencies as Mayor have moved the city away from some of its economic hardships. In addition, a Local Preference Initiative she created is “aimed at providing more opportunities for local businesses to bid on government projects, and encouraging citizens to ‘shop local.’”
Under Bryant, the community has seen an 18 percent decrease in crime compared to the previous year and grant funding will soon enable the Palmetto Police Department to improve the portable computers and dispatch systems used while patrolling. Road projects like the paving and installation of roundabouts, up-to-date traffic controls and lighting at intersections have been established, as well as energy efficient lighting and air conditioning in the Public Works and City Hall buildings. After inheriting the North River Little League problem, in which the fields were used for a new elementary school and then not replaced as promised, Mayor Bryant worked tirelessly with the county to come up with a solution that was recently finalized.
The waterfront plans to be one of Bryant’s major redevelopment endeavors this year. She hopes to accomplish “enhancing our gateway by improvements to Riverside Park, demolition of the vacant service station building and adding boater parking facilities.” Moreover, storm water drainage and additional parking will be included in the Palmetto boat ramp upgrade.
Other restoration projects involve Sutton Park, the Fifth Street business district and a new Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. Repairs to roads, water lines and sidewalks in Ward 1 are also becoming organized.
Bryant currently participates on the 4-H Foundation’s Board of Directors, Palmetto Historic Commission and Farm City Week Committee. She is a member of the Manatee County Agricultural Museum, the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Chair and serves as a director emeritus to the Manatee River Fair Association, Inc. Palmetto is additionally represented by Bryant on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
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