Council sees one return; 2 face test
Sandra Bradbury draws no opposition for the March 7 election in Pinellas Park, but Mayor Bill Mischler and Ed Taylor do.
By ANNE LINDBERG
Published November 27, 2005
PINELLAS PARK - Sandra Bradbury won her second term on the City Council when no one signed up to run against her by the end of election qualifying last week. Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler and council member Ed Taylor were not so lucky. Local business owner Randy Heine signed up to run against Mischler, and community activist Marshall Cook qualified to run against Taylor in the March 7 election.
Bradbury said she was pleased to have drawn no opposition, so she can devote her full attention to her council job rather than worry about being re-elected.
She said she hoped the absence of an opponent was a vote of confidence from residents that "I'm doing a fair job for them."
"The one thing that I'd love to say is that I'm there for the citizens as I have been for the last four years and that they can contact me if they need something," Bradbury said.
Mischler, 63, was first elected to the Pinellas Park City Council in 1980. He was first elected mayor in 1998. Mischler said he enjoys being the mayor because it's exciting. He sees himself as one of a team rather than an individual who is responsible for the changes the city has seen during the past 15 or 20 years.
He likes to hear residents talk about how helpful city employees are. He wants to see a continuation of that respectful, helpful attitude.
"I'd just like to have a good, clean government," Mischler said.
Heine, 54, sees the major election issue as taxes, which, he said, are too high.
"They're going up too fast. People cannot afford to pay these increases every year," Heine said. "They keep adding to the budget every year."
He vowed that, if elected, he would reduce the tax rate. He also promised to trim the budget.
Taylor, 55, has served on the council since 1998. For him, one of the big issues continues to be drainage. Although construction that will help solve the perennial problem of drainage along Park Boulevard has begun, there is still much to accomplish, he said.
Taylor also sees a need for catastrophic hurricane disaster planning. The city, he said, is fully prepared to deal with a Category 1 or 2 storm. But should the county be hit by the equivalent of Katrina, many homes and businesses would be wiped out. Officials, he said, need to make plans in case of such a disaster.
Cook, 59, says he would address several issues. Residents who speak out against the system, he said, are persecuted by code enforcement and treated rudely. Pinellas Park residents, he said, need to have their rights restored. And, like Heine, Cook said taxes need to be rolled back.
The City Council has four members and the mayor who meet at least four times a month: twice for regular meetings and two times for workshops. They set policy for the city, approve large contracts and approve the budget, which is about $45.5-million this year for operations. They also serve as the city's redevelopment agency.
Council members run at-large for numbered seats, serve four-year terms and earn $14,252 annually, plus automatic annual raises at the same rate as city retirees. The mayor serves a two-year term and earns $16,444 a year. Like council members, he receives an automatic raise at the same rate as city retirees. They are eligible for life and health insurance benefits and for city pensions. Pinellas Park has a population of about 48,000.
[Last modified November 27, 2005, 01:18:21]
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