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LARGO // City commissioner re-elected

Voters returned Commissioner Judy Dean to the City Commission on Tuesday and agreed to sell City Hall and the police station if the purchase price for a new government complex is favorable.

Dean, 41, trounced her challenger, former Commissioner Duane Runyan, 66, in the only commission race on this year's ballot, Seat 1.

Commissioner Harriet Crozier, 51, was automatically re-elected when no one filed to run against her for Seat 2. Both Dean and Crozier will serve three-year terms.

Runyan, a retired banker, was ousted from the commission by Dean in a three-person race in 1993. He could not be reached Tuesday night.

Dean, director of managed care for Healthsouth Corp., almost didn't run this year. In January, she announced she would not seek re-election but later changed her mind.

Dean said Tuesday night she was thrilled to have won a second term.

"I had a great group of people working for me," she said. "A lot of hard work and a lot of prayer went into this."

She said the deciding factor in this year's race was the people's confidence in the current commission.

"People are happy with this commission," she said. "We've accomplished a lot."

Also Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly agreed to allow city commissioners to sell the current City Hall and police station and move to what is now a large financial complex on Highland Avenue if a deal with the current owners can be worked out. So far, the two sides have not agreed on a purchase price.

The complex, called the Aegon/Western Reserve center, is nearly twice the size of City Hall and the police station combined. City officials and police Chief Richard Kistner have said they are cramped in their current quarters.

Mayor Thomas "Thom" Feaster, who first suggested the commission take a look at the Aegon/Western Reserve complex, said Tuesday's vote shows that "the people feel this commission is on the right track. They've said they have trust in us."

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