OLDSMAR — Though the city election isn't until March 12, Oldsmar residents already know they will have a new mayor — current City Council member Doug Bevis — and that two council members, Linda Norris and Janice Miller, will serve new terms. All won those offices unopposed.
But the three-way race for Bevis' current council seat is about to kick into high gear, with a candidate forum scheduled for tonight.
Bevis will replace Mayor Jim Ronecker, who will be term-limited out of office. Miller and Norris will remain in seats 2 and 4, respectively.
Three newcomers are competing for the opportunity to complete the two years remaining in Bevis' current role in Seat 3. The public is invited to ask contenders questions at a televised candidate forum at 7 p.m. today in council chambers at 101 State St. W.
Bevis, first elected to the Oldsmar City Council in 2008, is a real estate broker for Coldwell Banker in Clearwater Beach and a country radio DJ on WFUS-FM 103.5 who prefers to play Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw.
He worked 25 years as a civil engineer around Tampa Bay.
"I have no agenda," Bevis said Wednesday. "I am not trying to push any one project. I want to continue with the vision the previous council had and make us a better city."
His goals: increase Oldsmar's population and residential properties, make the city more environmentally friendly and attract more businesses.
And, he joked, "world peace."
Bevis, a resident of the Bay Arbor neighborhood, plans to lead by listening closely to fellow council members and the community. He said Oldsmar residents are encouraged to call with suggestions and shake his hand at City Council meetings.
"We're there to serve the citizens," he said.
Ronecker considers Bevis "a good friend."
"We pretty much agree on 99.9 percent of issues," Ronecker said. "He's always well prepared, well spoken. I'm confident he'll do a good job."
Vice Mayor Jerry Beverland, who has served four terms as mayor over the last 25 years, gave Bevis his blessing to run last year.
"Doug has a good head on his shoulders," he said. "He's proven himself on the council. He's concerned, he doesn't go off on tangents, he'll keep Oldsmar in the forefront."
Bevis' only flaw, according to Beverland: "He goes on for paragraphs what I could say in two sentences."
Linda Norris, who has served about four years on the City Council, said that in her next term, she will continue to focus on maintaining the city's balanced budget, encouraging new business development and securing a "green city" designation, which the council applied for in 2011.
"I'm the tree hugger on the council," Norris said, laughing.
Council member Janice Miller, who has served for about 10 years, said she didn't want to discuss her future plans and goals before the candidate forum.
"I don't want to give away my answers," she said.
The candidates running for Seat 3 in the March 12 election are:
• Dan Saracki, 53, owns Impact Grafx Inc. in Oldsmar. He is president of the Eastlake Oaks Homeowners Association and has volunteered for Oldsmar Cares and the Organic Community Garden.
• Suda Yantiss-Colon, 50, owns Weddings by Suda and Sudagraphics Inc. in Oldsmar. She has worked for the Oldsmar Garden Club, the Leisure Services Board and the Cultural Arts Foundation.
• Gabby McGee, 26, a resident and historic home tour guide since 2007, works in sales, marketing and information technology. She said she creates site proposals to recruit businesses like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
Danielle Paquette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4224.