MADEIRA BEACH — Only one of the City Commission's five seats is up for election March 13, with one candidate challenging an incumbent.
Another race was decided automatically when only one candidate qualified.
Lack of competition in beach city elections is not unusual, but given this city's high-tension politics over the past year, it could be viewed as surprising.
After all, 2011 was the year that the city lost its city manager, city clerk, finance director, community services/public works director, community development director and human resource manager.
Most quit; others were fired.
Some residents began to organize a recall election against sitting Commissioners Nancy Oakley and Robin Vander Velde.
Amid that volatile political climate, incumbent Terry Lister will face challenger John Anthony, a political newcomer.
Anthony, 63, says he wants to help the city "get back on track as a great place to live and work."
He describes himself as a fiscal conservative who believes that services can be provided to residents without tax increases. He says his business gave him hands-on experience working with cities.
"I will keep a watchful eye out for any person seeking to cheat our city out of our hard-earned dollars," Anthony said.
Anthony says he will work to keep the city's fire department and work to improve relations between the John's Pass business community and residents.
A key issue for Anthony is to reinstate the city's building department to recapture permit fees that he said earned Treasure Island $162,000 last year.
Lister, 55, is seeking his third term. He wants a third in large part to make sure the city has a full roster of department heads.
"The new commission (elected in March 2011) fired them all. I want the city to have good people again," Lister said. "I am running to make sure Madeira Beach is in as good shape as when I got here."
He praised the new city manager's efforts to stabilize the city administration and defends his own call for consolidating the city's fire department with Treasure Island.
The city would still have a fire station and its firefighters, but consolidation might save $300,000, Lister said.
Other issues at the top of his list include burying utility lines on Gulf Boulevard and maintaining the city's parks.