1. Pinellas

Former Tarpon Springs city manager announces run for City Commission

TARPON SPRINGS — The 2019 election is barely in the rear-view mirror, but some people are already looking ahead to next Election Day.

Costa Vatikiotis, who previously was city engineer and city manager, has declared his candidacy for Seat 2 in 2020. The seat is occupied by Rea Sieber, who will not be able to run again because of term limits.

"My reason for running is to bring fresh ideas and experience to the board," he said at a City Commission meeting, noting that being retired would allow him to be a full-time commissioner. "One change that I would like to see is to adopt a policy of being proactive as caretakers of public property and services to the community. It's actually a change in mindset. The one thing that the library, Cultural Center, City Hall, the seawall at Craig Park, the (Anclote) river dredging and the Sunbay Motel all had in common is we waited too long to address their issues before they became problems."

During his speech, Vatikiotis touched on several topics he intends to tackle, including making sure residents are more involved in understanding public projects and adopting a more aggressive economic development plan.

"We have very successful and smart business men and women in this town. They have excellent ideas, yet we frustrate them by ignoring their advice," Vatikiotis said.

In wrapping up, Vatikiotis touched on other projects he'd like to be involved in, including the Anclote River dredging, bike trails to the beaches and schools and a new master plan for Craig Park, to name a few.