OLDSMAR – The city of Oldsmar will have a new mayor next year, as current Vice Mayor Eric Seidel was automatically appointed to the position when no one qualified to run against him.
Seidel will replace incumbent Doug Bevis, who reached his two-term limit after serving six consecutive years as mayor, following the municipal election on Tuesday, March 12.
Seidel, co-founder and president of an online collision estimating company, previously served on the council from 2007-2009 before being elected to Seat 1 in 2015; he was automatically re-elected to his seat in March, and he learned he would not have to campaign this year following the conclusion of the qualifying period on Friday, Nov. 16.
“I’m very honored to be the next mayor of our city,” Seidel said via email. “I view the upcoming term as a great responsibility to continuing moving our city in the right direction and an honor.”
Seidel said moving the development of downtown forward would be one of his top priorities.
“I think it’s time to take a new approach,” he wrote. “In the past, we’ve attempted to find one developer to do the whole project and it has failed each time. I believe we should do it by targeting each type of business or establishments we want, one at a time.”
He said his first target would be “multi-story hotel or high-end condos/apartments that includes a roof top bar or a top floor resultant with glass walls.
Depending on the height of the building, the patrons would be able to see the bay while they dine or enjoy drinks. This would be a draw and would start the process of attracting more development, he said.
Seidel admitted his would be one voice of our five council members, and he noted “for this to work, we need the council to support the new approach.”
Seat 2 Oldsmar City Council member Dan Saracki also re-elected for a three-year term; no candidates qualified to oppose him.
Saracki, who received several awards and accolades for his work on behalf of local government from the Florida League of Cities this year, said via email he was thrilled to be able to serve his community for a second consecutive full term.
“The past three years have been a very important educational experience for me within local city government,” Saracki wrote. “It has proven that if you work hard and respect your citizens, the future will be bright with success. I am very thankful to my friends, neighbors, City employees, family and all the citizens of Oldsmar for trusting in me to be a leader for the next three years.”
Saracki, who was recently appointed as second vice president for the Suncoast League of Cities, added that he “will continue to work with council members, city staff and our mayor to promote more business growth and to build a vibrant downtown district. I have enjoyed living and working in Oldsmar for 20 years. There is no better place to call home. Thank you, Oldsmar.”
While those two Oldsmar council seats will not be on the ballot, a pair of spots are up for grabs.
Three candidates, political newcomers Matt Clarke and Andrew Knapp and former two-term Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris, are vying for Seidel’s vacated Seat 1 while Seat 4 incumbent and longtime local lawmaker Jerry Beverland is being opposed by another newcomer to the political scene, attorney and mother of two, Katie Gannon.