Sunday, June 24, 2018
Politics

Archie, Larson get new terms on Tarpon Springs commission, four others vie for one seat

TARPON SPRINGS — Mayor David Archie and City Commissioner Jeff Larsen automatically won re-election Wednesday when no one filed to run against them.

"It says to me that people feel that we're heading in a good direction as far as the city is concerned," Archie said.

Archie and Larsen will both serve their second terms, an additional three years on the commission.

Four candidates filed to run for City Commission Seat 4 in the city's March election. The winner will replace Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos, who is nearing the end of his two-term limit.

The four candidates are David Banther, Jim Bouldin, Thomas Frain and Timothy Keffalas. Only Keffalas has previously sought a commission seat. In 2008, he lost a three-way race to incumbent Commissioner Susan Slattery.

In the past, Keffalas has spoken out against such issues as the city purchase of the former Linger Longer mobile home park. Now he says he wants to guide the city through current projects, such as the Sponge Docks improvements.

Keffalas, 58, has a home-based business, Automotive Expressions, that accessorizes cars and personalizes gift items. He is a member of Sister Cities of Tarpon Springs, the Halki Society and the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society. He's also secretary for a local chapter of the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association and the newly created Epiphany City Museum Foundation, and previously served on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral Parish Council.

Banther cites his experience on the Budget Advisory Committee as motivation to run for office. He is concerned about the city's continued reliance on reserve funds to balance budgets. Another concern, he said, is improved promotion of the city through advertising and local partnerships.

Raised in Tarpon Springs, 30-year-old Banther has served on the Historic Preservation Board and is a member of the local Rotary Club. He works for his family's consulting firm as a daily money manager.

Frain, 22, said he could bring an infusion of youthful energy to the city. A recent graduate of the University of South Florida, Frain touts his economics degree as a way to help small businesses flourish in Tarpon Springs. He also wants to strengthen the community through projects and outreach to unite residents.

A server at Miss Vicki's on the River in Holiday, Frain said he has volunteered for political campaigns on local, state and national levels. He created the local Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability, a group that has campaigned for a citizen review board of the Police Department.

Bouldin, 59, returned to Tarpon Springs five years ago after a 15-year stint as a newspaper publisher in Excelsior Springs, Mo. The job helped embed him in the community near Kansas City. He seeks similar involvement in Tarpon Springs through his first foray into politics. He now works as a contracted advertising representative for the Hernando Today newspaper.

Commissioners serve for three years and receive $8,000 a year. The city election will be held March 12.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected]

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