The latest trend for municipalities trying to save money is to move their elections to coincide with federal elections.
This year several cities have candidate races and referendum questions appearing among races for President of the United States, U.S. Senate and House of Representative and state elected officials.
Voters from the city of Largo will elect a new commissioner to represent District 4 vacated by Gigi Arntzen, who has served on the commission since 2006.
James “Jamie” Robinson, a lifetime Largo resident and manager at the local store Largo Feed and Garden Supply, is facing Robert “Bob” Hunsicker, a self-employed engineering consultant and 25-year Largo resident.
Voters also will be asked to decide yes or no on the referendum question to grant the Largo Commission the authority to use property tax exemptions as an incentive to existing or new businesses that create new, full-time jobs.
Dunedin voters will decide between incumbent mayor Dave Eggers and former mayor Bob Hackworth. In addition, incumbent David C. Carson is being challenged by Heather Gracy for Seat 3 on the Dunedin City Commission. Dunedin also has six charter amendments on the ballot.
Amendment No. 1 would allow the Dunedin vice mayor to be selected on a rotating basis. Amendment No. 2 provides for the definition of a “convicted” elected official. Amendment No. 3 would allow appointment or removal of the city clerk by a four-fifths vote.
Dunedin charter amendment No. 5 asked voters to allow a reduction in the time in which the city must repeal an ordinance or adopt an initiative ordinance or referendum petition from 150 days to 60 days. Amendment No. 6 allows for the possibility of cancelling a city commission meeting.
Safety Harbor residents will choose between three – Richard Blake, Ray R. Irvin and Robert “Bobby” Saltzman to fill Seat 1 on the commission. Current Seat 1 Commissioner Joe Ayoub is leaving his seat to take over the mayor’s position, being vacated by Andy Steingold in January.
Belleair Bluffs voters have one municipal referendum to watch for on this year’s four-page ballot. City leaders are asking voters for approval to amend the charter to make the terms for mayor and commissioners three years instead of two years.
Two referendum questions appear on ballots for Clearwater voters. Question No. 1 asks for approval for the city to amend and restate a general employees' pension plan. Question No. 2 asks voters to allow the commission to grant economic exemptions in ad valorem taxes for new and expanding businesses that create new jobs.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach residents will be voting yes or no on a referendum question to repeal a charter requirement for establishment of a police department. Approval would allow the city to consider contracting with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for a saving of more than $1 million.
The town of Redington Shores has 16 charter amendments on the ballot as recommended by its charter review committee. Many of the amendments center on the need to delete obsolete language. Amendment No. 1 would require that commissioners be residents and qualified registered voters. Amendment No. 2 would allow the town to own property beyond its town limits to be used for lawful purposes.
Amendment No. 3 would delete language referring to “freeholders” and provide that electors are residents and qualified registered voters.
Amendment No. 4 pertains to ethics standards for town employees and officials. Amendment No. 5 would allow the charter to state that town officials and employees must not have personal financial or ethical conflicts. Amendment No. 6 deletes obsolete language. The language to be deleted is not specified.
Amendment No. 7 would allow the vice mayor to call a special meeting in the absence of the mayor. Amendment No. 8 pertains to the qualifications of commission candidates, although the ballot language does not specify the qualifications. Amendment No. 9 also deletes unspecified obsolete language.
Amendment No. 10 would delete obsolete language and provide for the swearing in of newly elected members of the commission in accordance with state law. Amendment No. 11 would provide for the method of appointment for vice mayor.
Amendment No. 12 would require that bidding and purchases be done by ordinance, requiring fairness and providing for purchases being made by competitive bids whenever possible. Amendment No. 13 would require appointment of a charter review board at least every 10 years.
Amendment No. 14 would delete obsolete language and provide for financing and taxation as provided by state law. Amendment No. 15 would delete unspecified obsolete language. Amendment No. 16 would allow an unspecified section of the charter to be deleted in its entirety.
Voters in the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District will choose between Sharon Hurst and David J. Root for Seat 3.
Voters in the Lealman Special Fire Control District will pick Eric A. Blum or John G. Frank for Seat 1.
Debbie Buschman and Bob Shatanoff are running for Seat 3 on the Palm Harbor Special Fire Control & Rescue District board.
Joseph Dinelli and Chad D. Robinson are running for Seat 5 on the Eastlake Oaks Community Development District board.