LARGO – The citizens of Largo voted in Jamie Robinson as the city’s newest commissioner.
Robinson won with 59 percent of the vote in the two-person race, a decided win over his opponent, Bob Hunsicker.
“I’m glad that I’m going to be able to help my community out,” Robinson said after the results became apparent Nov. 6.
Robinson said he wasn’t really surprised by his margin lead.
“I’ve been out and around town for the past several days, (and) just talked to people, as many people as I could,” he said. “Today at the polls, I’ve been getting a lot of good responses.”
He said his next step is getting orientated to his new role.
“I’ll be meeting with everybody I can at the city and … trying to get up to speed with the other commissioners and make sure we can all work together and make this community what it needs to be,” he said.
His priority in office revolves around the budget, which he said the current commission has managed well.
“I want to make sure our fire and police are staffed at the levels they need to be,” he added.
A longtime Largo resident, Robinson is the manager of Largo Feed and Garden Supply.
Hunsicker, also a longtime Largo resident, said he worked hard at his campaign.
“I thought I would get enough support to win,” he admitted. “I can’t really tell you where things went wrong.”
If Largo continues on its current path, Hunsicker said he predicts residents paying increasing taxes for less services. But he doesn’t see himself running for office again.
“I wouldn’t rule it out, but I would say it’s unlikely,” he said. “I think my involvement with the city will be diminished. The people have spoken.”
Robinson has claimed Seat 4 on the commission, left by retiring Commissioner Gigi Arntzen. The position is a four-year term.
Largo Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioner Curtis Holmes ran unopposed for their seats this year.
The vote for a referendum to allow a Largo tax exemption program for new or expanding businesses passed by almost the same percentage as those who voted for Robinson.
According to unofficial results, about 58 percent of city residents liked the idea of the city giving tax breaks to businesses that would have to create at least 10 new jobs with an average wage above that of the county’s average.
By enticing new businesses to the city through the tax exemption, Largo is remaining competitive with the local market, said Economic Development Manager Teresa Brydon. Clearwater residents approved a similar referendum by a much smaller margin.
Given residents’ approval, Largo economic development staff will be working on the parameters of Largo’s tax exemption program to present to the commission. The department welcomes input from residents and businesses. To contact Brydon, call 586-7360 or email HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" \n email@example.com.
How Largo voted
A total of 28,383 Largo residents voted in the referendum decision, about 1,800 more than those who voted for their next commissioner. Largo voters chose primarily to cast absentee or mail-in votes, at about 57 percent of the total. Early voting in Largo accounted for 11 percent, while about 33 percent of city voters cast a ballot on Election Day.