Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

March 11: Three candidates fight for two seats in Belleair Bluffs

BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Three candidates are running for two Belleair Bluffs City Commission seats in Tuesday's election. The top two win.

The town of about 2,500 people is west of Largo, south of Belleair and east of the Belleair Causeway.

The two incumbents, three-term Commissioner Joe Barkley and two-term Commissioner Taylour Shimkus, say Belleair Bluffs is well run and is in good shape financially.

Challenger George Lawton says the commissioners have been in office too long and changes are needed. He ran unsuccessfully for a commission seat last year. He got nearly 27 percent of the vote, but lost to two incumbents who got 39 and 34 percent.

Barkley, 65, owns a Largo insurance office. "Belleair Bluffs is financially strong and well-maintained," he said. "I don't think there are any major issues to speak of."

Shimkus, 36, is a stay-at-home mom and vice president of a direct-mail business she owns with her husband. She'd like to see the city's playground updated.

"Right now there's no issues," she said. "I've been walking around talking with residents, and there is no huge concern."

Lawton, 65, recently retired as chief financial officer of a local aerospace company. He says the city needs to be more responsive to its residents. "The commission talks down to them," he said. "They don't address the issues."

Belleair Bluffs disbanded its fire department in 2009 and contracted with the Largo Fire Department.

Lawton criticizes commissioners' handling of the Fire Department pension plan. He says their delays caused the city's obligation to grow from $600,000 to $1.6 million. "They were asleep at the wheel."

Barkley says the city was legally required to go through a series of steps to determine how much was owed to the pension plan.

"He's stirring up issues that don't exist," Barkley said. "If people were up in arms, we would hear about it. The fact is, we don't have 10 to 20 Georges coming to every meeting. We have one George."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@tampabay.com.

Polling place

Belleair Bluffs City Hall, 2747 Sunset Blvd. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

March 11: Three candidates fight for two seats in Belleair Bluffs 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 2:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After 17 years, Pasco-Hernando State College attorney steps away

    College

    The longtime attorney for Pasco-Hernando State College has resigned for what he says are "purely personal reasons."

    Steve Schroeder, the general council for Pasco-Hernando State College, resigned last week. His last day will be Sept. 8.
  2. Apple Scales Back Its Ambitions for a Self-Driving Car

    Autos

    SAN FRANCISCO — As new employees were brought into Apple's secret effort to create a self-driving car a few years ago, managers told them that they were working on the company's next big thing: A product that would take on Detroit and disrupt the automobile industry.

     In this Monday, April 10, 2017 file photo, Luminar CEO Austin Russell monitors a 3D lidar map on a demonstration drive in San Francisco. Russell, now 22, was barely old enough to drive when he set out to create a safer navigation system for robot-controlled cars. His ambitions are about to be tested five years after he co-founded Luminar Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup trying to steer the rapidly expanding self-driving car industry in a new direction. Apple says it will scale back its amitions to build a self-driving car.  [AP Photo/Ben Margot]
  3. Studies: Automated safety systems are preventing car crashes

    Autos

    WASHINGTON — Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or that warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday.

    A side mirror warning signal is shown in a Ford Taurus at an automobile testing area in Oxon Hill, Md., in 2012. Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. [Associated Press]
  4. Pet Vet: Why a cat's color can make it more susceptible to skin cancer

    Pets

    Snowball is a fluffy female cat 10 years of age. Can you guess what color she might be? I ask the question because it is relevant to what might be causing her problem.

    White fluffy cat  [Dreamstime | TNS]
  5. Photo of the Day for August 23, 2017 - The Guardian of the Sun

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Yuliya Gallimore of St, Petersburg, FL. She calls it "The Guardian of the Sun."