DUNEDIN — Some changes are in store at City Hall after residents Tuesday voted to keep incumbent Mayor Dave Eggers, but replaced Commissioner David Carson with a political newcomer and decided to subject all members of the City Commission to term limits.
Unofficial results showed Eggers garnered 52 percent of the vote to former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth's 48 percent.
Eggers, saying he felt "honored," believes voters likely embraced his philosophy of moving forward "incrementally and respectfully" in this sluggish economy.
"Hopefully, the economy will start to change and we can go into a different era in Dunedin where we're not having to be so careful with how we take our city forward," Eggers said Tuesday night.
Speaking from her victory party at Kelly's Chic-A-Boom Room, City Commission Seat 3 winner Heather Gracy said she was thrilled to have gained the confidence of 58 percent of voters.
"I think a fresh face and a promise of change, a different outlook, are all things that contributed to this win," said Gracy, who called Carson a "worthy" opponent and wished him well.
"Being new, I do have some things to learn," Gracy said. "But I'm ready, willing and able to start learning as soon as I can."
Carson, a small-business owner who has served one term, and Hackworth, a publishing firm owner who poured more than $35,000 of his own money into the campaign to unseat Eggers, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
At least 70 percent of voters supported a proposed city charter change that will limit the mayor and commissioners to two consecutive four-year terms. Eggers' new term will serve as his first under the charter amendment.
The remaining city charter amendments passed with 60 percent or more of the vote, according to unofficial results. The new measures increase the number of votes needed to hire and fire the city clerk, require city leaders to act more quickly on citizen petitions, allow commissioners to cancel one of two City Hall meetings held each month, spell out that they must rotate the "vice mayor" title annually, and expand on the state's definition of criminal acts that would cause an elected official to be suspended or removed from office.
Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.