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Municipalities make their voices heard
Article published on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
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Several municipalities participated in the Nov. 6 election, including Largo, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Redington Shore, as well as several special districts.

The following unofficial results were posted on the Supervisor of Elections website. The totals do not include provisional ballots or 9,500 mail ballots. Elections officials will resume counting mail ballots at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Voters from the city of Largo were charged with choosing a new commissioner for the District 4 seat vacated by Gigi Arntzen, who has served on the commission since 2006.

The choice was between James “Jamie” Robinson, a lifetime Largo resident and manager at the local store Largo Feed and Garden Supply and Robert “Bob” Hunsicker, a self-employed engineering consultant and 25-year Largo resident. Robinson was the clear favorite picking up 59 percent of the vote.

Largo voters also said yes to a 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.

Incumbent Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers held the lead with 52 percent of the vote against his challenger former Mayor Bob Hackworth. However, incumbent Dunedin Commissioner David C. Carson was trailing challenger Heather Gracy, who had 58 percent of the vote for Seat 3.

Dunedin also had six charter amendments on the ballot, which met with voter approval.

Voters said yes to Amendment No. 1 to allow the Dunedin vice mayor to be selected on a rotating basis. Amendment No. 2, which provides for the definition of a “convicted” elected official, was approved, as was Amendment No. 3 to allow appointment or removal of the city clerk by a four-fifths vote.

Voters also approved Amendment No. 4 for term limits of two four-year terms for the mayor and commissioners. And they said yes to Amendment No. 5 that 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 was approved and allows for the possibility of canceling a city commission meeting be added to the city charter.

Safety Harbor residents were asked to 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. Blake was the voter’s choice picking up nearly 56 percent of the vote. Irvin came in second with almost 26 percent.

Belleair Bluffs voters said no to the ballot question asking for approval to amend the charter to make the terms for mayor and commissioners three years instead of two years.

Two referendum questions appeared on ballots for Clearwater voters and approval was granted for both. Question No. 1 ask for approval for the city to amend and restate a general employees' pension plan. Question No. 2 ask 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 residents said yes on a referendum question to repeal a charter requirement for establishment of a police department. Approval allows the city to consider contracting with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for a potential savings of more than $1 million.

The town of Redington Shores had 16 charter amendments on the ballot - all recommended by its charter review committee and all approved by the voters.

Special districts

Voters in the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District favored candidate David J. Root by 57.5 percent over Sharon Hurst.

Voters in the Lealman Special Fire Control District gave Eric A. Blum 52 percent of the vote over John G. Frank for Seat 1.

One of the closest races of the night was between Debbie Buschman and Bob Shatanoff for Seat 3 on the Palm Harbor Special Fire Control & Rescue District board. With 19 of 19 precincts reporting in at 9 p.m. Buschman had 50.52 percent of the vote to Shatanoff with 49.58 percent.

Joseph Dinelli took in nearly 64 percent of the vote against Chad D. Robinson for Seat 5 on the Eastlake Oaks Community Development District board.

For a look at unofficial results or more election information, visit www.votepinellas.com.
Article published on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
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