MADEIRA BEACH — There was no election in the city this year, but there will be a new commission member.
District 3 Commissioner Doug Andrews ran for reelection and faced no opposition. So he keeps his seat and will begin his second term.
In District 4, Commissioner John Douthirt decided not to go for another term after serving for four years. His replacement is Dave Hutson, who was the only candidate for the seat.
Hutson and Andrews were sworn in at the March 10 City Commission meeting to begin two-year terms.
Hutson is the new face on the commission. He brings an engineering background to the commission, with a career spent at Goodyear Tire, where he developed tires for race cars, including Indy and Formula 1, and vehicles from the Ford Windstar Van to the GT sports car.
Hutson said his job required extensive travel worldwide, which let him “experience many different cultures and viewpoints, finding solutions that benefited Goodyear and the customer.”
Madeira Beach has been a frequent destination for Hutson over the past 20 years. He bought his home in 2011 and moved to the city full-time in 2017. Hutson is an avid boater, and his volunteer activities include sea turtle nest tracking and working at a wildlife sanctuary.
As a commissioner, Hutson said he would like to see more involvement of the residents in city government. To help with that, he wants to “summarize Board of Commissioner meetings on social media like Nextdoor to augment the official meeting minutes available on the website.”
A longer-term goal of Hutson’s is to improve the infrastructure of the city with better drainage to the Gulf and Bay to reduce flooding in the streets and houses. He said there are a number of ways to accomplish that. He would like to see the city complete at least one floodwater or drainage project every year.
Hutson also wants to underground utilities in the city. “I believe moving utilities underground and strengthening above-ground hardware would reduce power outages during storms and improve the appearance of our city,” he said.
Andrews said his agenda has not changed from his past two years on the commission. He intends to “continue uncovering new revenue sources, safeguarding our wonderful staff, keeping the millage rate in check and being fiscally responsible, as we move our great city forward.”
Andrews promised to “stay transparent and continue to be one of the most accessible elected officials in Pinellas County.”