TEMPLE TERRACE — Upcoming city elections may reshape the city's future with well-known leaders remaining influential or new faces coming into the mix.
Mayor Frank Chillura said during a recent City Council meeting that he's not planning to run for re-election this fall to the mostly ceremonial job.
Speculation is that he plans to run for what would be a third term on City Council, where he would be able to vote on the issues. He served on the council from 2000 to 2008.
"Anything's possible,'' Chillura said in an interview. "I'm not ruling anything out.''
Meanwhile, one-term City Councilman Grant Rimbey has decided not to seek re-election.
"I've become disillusioned with the future of the city,'' said Rimbey, who also serves as vice-mayor. "The city is kind of controlled by the same old good-old-boy network as it has for the last couple of decades.''
Rimbey's seat and the one occupied by Councilman Eddie Vance are up for election, along with the mayor's spot. Vance has filed papers to run again. So far, three others also have filed to run for the two council seats, not counting the possible addition of Chillura. They are Andrew Ross, a retired police officer who chairs the Code Enforcement Board; engineer Wael Shaker Odeh; and Duane Zolnoski, who is retired from the telecommunications business. The two candidates with the most votes will be seated as the new council members.
Former City Manager Kim Leinbach has announced that he plans to run for mayor. Leinbach, who retired from the manager's job in 2013, had planned to run for council but switched to the mayor's position when he found out that Chillura did not plan to run for it.
Former Councilwoman Alison Fernandez said she is considering a run for mayor, though she had not decided by late June. Candidates file final papers between Aug. 29 and Sept. 2.
Rimbey, particularly, has often found himself at odds over taxes with Chillura and Councilman David Pogorilich, who both maintain that the city's taxes are already too high and that raising them or adding new fees would thwart the city's effort to attract home buyers and businesses.
Of course, Chillura, as mayor, can't vote on issues unless it's to break a tie, which happens rarely. And while the city charter prohibits people from serving more than two consecutive terms on city council, it allows them to serve again if they wait two years before running.
The remaining three council members — Cheri Donohue, Eddie Vance and Robert Boss — have spoken in favor of adding storm water and fire assessment fees and at the same time lowering the property tax rate so that citizens will pay about the same total amount they have been paying.
Contact Philip Morgan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3435.