City Council members serve four-year terms. They set policy, approve a budget for the city and make personnel and land use decisions. The annual salary is $5,400.
Not so long ago, Phil Price fought to dissolve the city. Now he wants to save it.
But, he said, that's no small undertaking. Price, like his opponents - council member Robert Holmes and Lynn Wallace - said Crystal River needs a psychological and structural overhaul.
"It appears that the city goes out of its way to find ways to spend more of the taxpayers' money," Price wrote in his platform statement.
While officials would disagree, the city did keep its tax rate steady this year, as property values soared and other governing bodies lessened the burden on taxpayers. Holmes was the only council member to vote against keeping the city's tax rate the same.
Price advocates turning the city's Fire Department over to the county and cutting back on the police force.
Even if it were run by the county, he said, the Fire Department could stay pretty much how it is now in terms of location, staffing and response times.
Wallace said she's not convinced that turning fire services over to the county would save the city money but added that cuts need to be made.
"Everyone is in the crunch of insurance, gas," she said. "We owe that to the taxpayers."
Like Price, Holmes and Wallace said they would consider trimming the city's police force, which takes up a significant chunk of the budget. But Holmes said he understood that many residents would feel uncomfortable turning police services over to the county.
They think that "if you lose the Police Department, you lose your identity," he said.
But the loss of another critical hallmark - Kings Bay - could cause even bigger problems for the city's character, he said.
"We need to start on what Crystal River is: Kings Bay," Holmes said.
Despite numerous analyses, the council has yet to take aggressive action to clean up water quality. It's time to get started, Holmes said.
"There have been enough studies."
Holmes, 49, was born in Wauchula and is on the Crystal River City Council. He attended middle and high school in Crystal River and spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Coast Guard as a machinery technician. Holmes is now a nuclear mechanic at Progress Energy. He is married and has three children. Assets: House, Progress Energy stocks. Liabilities: Loans. Sources of income: Progress Energy salary, council member salary.
Wallace, 55, was born in Jacksonville. Her husband, Ray, previously served on the City Council. She received a degree from Central Florida Community College and works as a real estate agent at Century 21 Nature Coast. Wallace sits on the Crystal River city planning commission and is a member of the city's Women's Club. Assets: Property, investments. Liabilities: Mortgage. Sources of income: Real estate salary, retirement fund.
Price, 69, was born in St. Petersburg and previously served two terms on the City Council. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a master's in business administration from Florida State University. Price works as a certified public accountant and was named Person of the Year by the city's United Chambers Council in 1992. Price is married and has four children. Assets: Property, stocks, mutual funds. Liabilities: Loans. Sources of income: Accounting salary, sales of investments and insurance.
[Last modified November 3, 2006, 10:30:34]
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