Voters in Dunedin and Tarpon Springs go to the polls today to choose city commissioners and help chart a course for each city.
In Dunedin, voters will choose from among three candidates — incumbent commissioners Deborah Kynes and Julie Ward Bujalski and political newcomer Arnold "Tony" Scruton — to fill two open commission seats. Voters can cast ballots for two candidates, and the top two vote-getters are elected.
Dunedin voters also will consider changing their city charter to create a numbered seating system for commission races.
In Tarpon Springs, three candidates — Tod Eckhouse, Herb Elliot and Susan Slattery — are vying to replace term-limited commissioner David Archie.
Tarpon Springs voters also will consider amendments to the city's lease with Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital that would help clear the way for the development of medical offices, residences and a parking garage north of the hospital.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must bring photo and a signature ID, such as a Florida driver license, state identification card, U.S. passport, student or military ID, debit or credit card, retirement center ID, neighborhood association ID or public assistance ID.
Dunedin City Clerk Jerie Guegen expects 20 percent of registered city voters to turn out today.
"We always hope for more," she said.
Numbers are usually higher when there is a mayoral race. The proposed charter amendment doesn't impact people's pockets, so it is not expected to generate a big turnout.
Tarpon Springs City Clerk Irene Jacobs said her office was gearing up for a late night tonight.
Don't have Internet? Don't worry, Jacobs said. The phones will be staffed at city hall until all precincts have been counted. The number is (727) 942-5614.
"We'll stay open for those who don't have computer access," Jacobs said. However, results may not start to come in until 8:30 or 9 p.m., Jacobs said.
Unofficial results will be posted on the city's Web site Wednesday, and will be updated Friday once provisional ballots are tallied and election results are certified.
With just one commission seat up for grabs, and three non-controversial referendum questions on the ballot, Jacobs said she didn't expect a particularly high turnout.
Based on previous elections, she estimated about 15 percent of voters would make it to the polls.
By Monday, 566 of Tarpon's 16,179 registered voters — or 3.5 percent — had already cast their votes through absentee ballots, said Nancy Whitlock, communications director for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. Another four residents voted early, Whitlock said.
>> Fast facts
Tarpon Springs City Commission
City commissioners serve six-year terms and are paid $8,000 a year.
Tod Eckhouse, 61
Family: wife, Louise; daughter, Erin, 28
Occupation: real estate broker and investor
Community involvement: Tarpon Springs Planning and Zoning Board, Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce (board of directors), Tarpon Springs Rotary Club.
Source of income: Steiner Realty Group, Grey Hawk Real Estate Holdings LLC.
Assets: property, stocks.
Liabilities: bank loan.
Web site: www.TodEckhouse.com.
Herb Elliott, 62
Occupation: attorney; partial owner, Amity Title Inc.
Community involvement: Tarpon Springs Rotary; Tarpon Springs Boys and Girls Club; chairman, Tarpon Springs Charter Review Commission; Pinellas County VAB special master.
Source of income: Law practice and Amity Title Inc.
Assets: property, stocks, bonds, annuities
Web site: none.
Susan Slattery, 44
Family: husband, Kevin; son, Matthew, 17
Occupation: mortgage broker, outsource mortgage processor.
Community involvement: Tarpon Springs High School PTSA (treasurer); Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce (ambassador); Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers.
Source of income: SKM Consulting Inc.; Carson, Brown and Associates.
Assets: property, retirement account.
Liabilities: mortgage, credit cards, loan.
Web site: www.SusanSlattery2008.com.
For a sample ballot, go to www.ci.tarpon-springs.fl.us/City%20Clerk/Sample%20Ballot%20March%202008.pdf.
Precincts 701 and 707 — Church on the Bayou Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, 409 Whitcomb Blvd.
Precinct 702 — Tarpon Springs Manor clubhouse, 61000 Polly Drive.
Precincts 703, 710 and 711 — First Christian Church fellowship hall, 2795 Keystone Road.
Precinct 704 — St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral fellowship hall, 36 N Pinellas Ave.
Precinct 705 — First Baptist Church fellowship hall, 1021 Gulf Road.
Precinct 706 — Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum (old library), 100 Beekman Lane.
Precincts 712 and 713 — St. Timothy Lutheran Church fellowship hall, 812 E Tarpon Ave.
Dunedin City Commission
City commissioners serve three-year terms and are paid $8,000 a year.
Deborah Kynes, 57
Family: Husband, Allen; daughter Lessley, 27; son Jordan, 25.
Occupation: Vice mayor, attorney.
Community involvement: Chairwoman, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council; past chairwoman, current board member, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority; member, Dunedin Fine Art Center and Historical Society.
Source of income: city of Dunedin, Sequoyah House Inc., an Oklahoma nursing home
Assets: Home, land in Oklahoma, stocks, bonds.
Web site: www.deborahkynes.com.
Julie Ward Bujalski, 42
Family: Husband, Tom; son Thomas, 9.
Occupation: Former economic forecaster, Patchington retail chain; city commissioner.
Community involvement: Liaison, National League of Cities Inclusion Partnership, Small Cities Council and Women in Municipal Government; past member, city's Reclaimed Water Citizens Advisory Committee and Emergency Response Team.
Source of income: BMR Holdings LLC, doing business as Patchington, city of Dunedin.
Assets: Home, retirement account.
Web site: None.
Arnold "Tony" Scruton, 65
Family: Wife, Gayl; sons Ryan and Mark; six grandchildren.
Community involvement: Member, Dunedin Historical Society, Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, Council of Organizations and Dunedin Fine Art Center.
Occupation: Retired racehorse trainer, retired owner of SunCoast Bug.
Income: Social Security, trusts.
Assets: Property in Tarpon Springs
Liabilities: Mortgage, car payment.
Web site: None.
For a sample ballot, visit www.voterfocus.com/hosting/pinellas/index.php?id=425 or www.votepinellas.com, click on "Election Calendar," "March 11 Municipal Elections and Fire District Referendum," and "Dunedin."
Precincts 535 and 538 — Dunedin Assembly of God Church, 885 Lake Haven Road.
Precincts 539 and 540 — First Presbyterian Church, 455 Scotland St.
Precincts 544, 548, 553, 554, 555 and 557 — Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road.
Precincts 545 and 550 — Knights of Columbus, 1251 San Christopher Drive.
Precinct 546 — Mease Manor, 700 Mease Plaza.
Precinct 549 — Faith Lutheran Church, 1620 Pinehurst Road.
Precincts 551 and 561 — St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1120 Curlew Road.
Precinct 552 — Royal Stewart Arms, 1 Royal Stewart Parkway.