Four seek two seats on Seminole City Council on March 8

SEMINOLE — Voters here have a field of four candidates to choose from in the March City Council election — the last city election that will be held in the spring.

The roster for the two at-large seats includes incumbents John Counts and Bob Matthews, and two challengers, Chris Burke and Tom Christy. Burke and Christy ran for the council this past March. Burke came in third in a crowded field of seven candidates with 13 percent of the vote. Christy came in fourth with 10 percent.

Burke, 46, is a Largo police officer who was born in Massachusetts. He moved to Florida in 1979 and graduated from Seminole High School. He is a Gulf War veteran and has a liberal arts degree from St. Petersburg College and a bachelor's in history from the University of South Florida.

Christy, 59, is a native of the Buffalo, N.Y., area who moved to Seminole in 2005. He has an associate's degree in business management from Bryant and Stratton in Buffalo. He is semiretired and is the security manager for Cove Cay in Clearwater. He served on the Tonawanda, N.Y., City Council from 1990 to 1995 and was co-chair of Seminole's Charter Review Commission.

Counts, 44, has served on the Seminole council since 2004. He has an associate's degree from Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville and a bachelor's degree in business from the University of South Florida.

He works at Regions Bank.

Matthews, 66, is an Air Force veteran and retired from Florida Power Corp. He owns Seminole Garden Florist and Party Store. He served on the City Council from 1990 to 2006, when he lost the election by six votes. But he was appointed to the council later that year to fill the unexpired term of Dottie Reeder, who resigned to run for a Florida House of Representatives seat.

Seminole has about 18,500 residents. It has a council-manager form of government and an operating budget of about $15.2 million.

The City Council is composed of the mayor and six council members, who are responsible for setting the budget and adopting policy. The council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays and holds workshops when necessary. Council members earn $5,652 a year.

Council members serve three-year terms, but last March voters approved moving city elections to coincide with the November general elections. That makes the March 8 election the last to be held in the spring, and the winners will serve three years and eight months until the November 2014 election.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The candidates who finish in first and second place will win seats on the City Council.

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8450.

Four seek two seats on Seminole City Council on March 8 12/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:16pm]

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