Commission picks educator as new mayor
Plant City has a new mayor after the City Commission on Monday selected Mary Yvette Thomas Mathis to replace outgoing Mayor Michael S. Sparkman.
Mathis, 55, who has served on the commission since 2000, appointed Rick Lott to serve as vice mayor. Mathis is an assistant principal at Marshall Middle School.
Mayors serve one-year terms. They are chosen each June from among the commissioners. Until 1994, mayors were elected by voters. Sparkman served as the last elected mayor.
Plant City has a weak-mayor form of government and the mayor's job is mostly ceremonial. The government's day-to-day business is overseen by the city manager.
Also Monday, Lott and fellow Commissioner Billy Keel each took the oath of office to begin three-year terms. Both men ran unopposed in April.
City manager reports dip in violent crime
Violent crime in Plant City was down 22.5 percent in 2012, according to a city manager's report.
The category includes rape, murder, robbery and assault. Specifically, murder was down 75 percent compared to the year before, and robbery and aggravated assault were down 38 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Rape was up 29 percent. Property crime, defined as burglary and theft, nudged up 3.1 percent.
The report by City Manager Greg Horwedel was presented Monday as part of his annual State of the City address.
Overall, he said, the city's crime rate is down. In 2000, 2,216 crimes were reported to Plant City police. By 2012, that number had dropped by 30 percent.
Feeling nostalgic? Watch a video
Here's something to check out if you're feeling nostalgic. A Plant City tribute was recently posted on YouTube. Type in the search terms Our Town and (Plant City) to see the old-fashioned haircuts, cars, the Sunny South hamburger stand, McCrory's department store and the Plant City Theatre drive-in.