SEMINOLE — John Counts says he will not run for re-election to the City Council.
"I'm not going to run again. I have spent over 10 years on council. I believe it's time for someone else to have that opportunity," Counts said Monday.
Counts said his decision came in part because his job as a regional sales manager for BB&T bank prevents him from devoting as much time to council business as he felt he should.
"It's not fair to the citizens for me to not dedicate as much effort as it deserves," Counts said. "I'm definitely going to miss it."
Counts' decision guarantees Seminole residents at least one new face on the council after the Nov. 4 election. Bob Matthews, who holds the other seat that's up for grabs, has said he will run. Qualification for the election opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
"I love my city and I think I can be of some help," Matthews said. "I've done a good job for the benefit of my citizens."
Matthews, 69, was born in Alvarado, Texas, and moved to Seminole in 1979. With the exception of eight months in 2006-07, he has served on the Seminole council since 1990.
Matthews agreed that whoever wins the election will face some tough challenges. The council itself is split — mostly over the performance of City Manager Frank Edmunds, who is retiring in January after almost 20 years in the position. If a replacement has not been selected by election time, the two who win will help choose Edmunds' successor.
Also on the horizon is the potential redevelopment of Seminole Mall. The mall, considered the city's downtown, is vitally important to residents and other businesses not only in the city but in that area of Pinellas County. The next city manager and council will likely oversee that project.
Seminole has about 18,000 people and has a council-manager form of government. The mayor and six council members are responsible for passing a budget and setting policy for the city. Council members serve three-year terms. They generally meet at least twice a month and earn $5,562 a year.
They are elected at large and the two top vote-getters will take office.
Qualification runs from 9 a.m. Tuesday through 4 p.m. Aug. 11. Candidates must have been a resident and registered voter in Seminole for at least one year before qualifying. For information or to pick up a packet, contact Seminole City Clerk Rose Benoit, (727) 391-0204, ext. 102, or [email protected]
Contact Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes.