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PACE OF PROGRESS: The incumbent is ready to run with the council, but the challenger says speed isn't always appropriate.

Published October 26, 2004

The way City Council member John R. Kendall sees it, the city government has finally cast off its old, unproductive habits.

After wrestling with annexation for years, the council came through in April and swallowed up nearly 500-plus acres south of the city limits, Kendall said.

And after years of searching for ways to improve trash collection, the council hired a contractor to do it, and at a cheaper price, he said.

"We are bringing Crystal River into the 21st century," Kendall said. "Now there are more things to do. I just want to be a part of it."

His opponent, John M. Kostelnick, agreed that there has been some progress.

But the council, he said, has moved too slowly on the small tasks, such as idle speed for Kings Bay in the Crystal River, and moved too quickly on important items, such as the April annexation and the hiring of the trash hauler.

"I basically told them to just slow down," said Kostelnick, a retired chief of office furnishings at the U.S. House of Representatives who has become a fixture at council meetings with his wife, Gail. "Not enough time was spent by the council to review everything."

If he were elected, Kostelnick said he would move to get city projects completed sooner and would look for new ways to increase revenue and decrease the tax bills of city residents.

One way, he said, was for the city to tap into the tourists who come to the city for boating and other nature activities. He said he would look into whether raising a sales tax by a penny within the city would raise significant revenue.

Kendall, who was elected in 2001, said the council must seek federal and state grants to help update and improve the appearance of the city's neighborhoods and look for additional ways to generate revenue.

For next year, the council has budgeted funds to purchase new equipment to help the city's public works department perform more efficiently, he said.

Crucial to these tasks, Kendall said, is stability.

"In the last three years, we have helped turn around the basic foundation of government in Crystal River," he said. "We have turned it into a more progressive type of government."


Crystal River City Council members are elected citywide and serve four-year terms. They set policy for the city and earn $5,428.44 per year.

JOHN R. KENDALL, 76, was first elected to the City Council in 2001, a year after he moved to Crystal River. He was born in Plymouth, Pa., and graduated from Plymouth High School. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and served in Korea as an Air Force weatherman. After his discharge, he moved to Michigan, where he eventually worked for Ford Motor Co. in several jobs, from a foreman to an engineering analyst. He retired in 1989. He moved to Crystal River in 2000. He was a co-founder of Crystal River Citizens for Reform and a member of the Tourist Development Council and the Kings Bay Association. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: stocks. LIABILITIES: none reported. SOURCES OF INCOME: retirement accounts and Social Security.

JOHN M. KOSTELNICK, 61, was born in Peckville, Pa., and moved to Crystal River in 2001. He received a high school diploma from Girard College, a boarding school in Philadelphia. He worked as a cabinetmaker in Virginia and Maryland before he became head of the Department of Office Furnishings at the U.S. House of Representatives. He retired in 1995. He is a member of Crystal River's parks, planning and zoning board and has volunteered within the community for various organizations, including the Crystal River Flag Project. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: Stocks and savings accounts. LIABILITIES: Home mortgage and auto loan. SOURCES OF INCOME: Retirement account.

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