LARGO – The qualifying period for Largo’s elections – Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 – is set to be officially approved June 3, but several candidates have already declared their intention to run for five of the offices up for election in November.
Next week, Largo commissioners will approve the final reading of an ordinance establishing the qualifying period and the election date. City elections will be held in conjunction with countywide elections Nov. 4.
Up for election this year is the office of mayor and seats 1, 2, 5 and 6. Current Mayor Pat Gerard has announced intentions to run for county commissioner. Commissioner Woody Brown is the sole candidate vying to replace her.
Former Police Chief John Carroll declared intentions to run for the seat vacated by Brown. He currently is unopposed.
Commissioner Robert Murray has decided not to run again. In his place, Samantha Fenger and Daniel Ruffner, newcomers to the Largo election process, will be running for seat 2.
Newcomer Donna Holck will challenge Commissioner Harriet Crozier for seat 5.
Petition cards needed for candidates to qualify will be available June 17. Candidates need 200 petitions signed by registered voters living in city limits, per the city charter.
A drawing for ballot position will occur during the Aug. 19 commission meeting.
Along with candidates, Largo residents will vote on changes to the city charter. Many of the proposed changes clean up outdated wording, but also up for consideration are how commissioners’ salaries will be increased, whether the mayor should be solely responsible for committee appointments and slight changes in how elected officials will oversee administrative policies.
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has estimated the city’s general election will cost $5,469, at a rate of 10 cents per voter. Should proposed amendments require a two-page ballot, the cost will increase to $19,394, and the city will have to amend its 2015 fiscal year budget.