Four Candidates For Two Council Seats At Belleair Beach
By Anne McKay Garris
At the Belleair Beach City Council candidates' forum, Tuesday night, it was difficult to discern much difference between the four candidates. Council Members David Dumville, Jr. and Mitch Krach are running for re-election, challenged by J. Clarke McNeace and Leslie Ford Notaro.
All of the candidates agree emphatically that it is important to prevent drilling for oil off shore of the Florida beaches, but only Mrs. Notaro reported on her presence at the recent, Hands Across The Beach demonstration against the drilling.
There was unanimous agreement on the importance of keeping the beaches renourished. "Renourishment of the beaches is important for both enjoyment and protection," stated candidate Dave Dumville. "Our Council has done a good job on beach renourishment," said candidate Clarke McNeace, adding, "I like our beach out there."
Candidate Leslie Notaro pointed out that she and her husband had "fished off the seawall" when they first moved to Belleair Beach in 2002. "It's critical that we keep our beaches nourished," she said.
Tackling the controversial subject of expected budget cuts, the candidates were rather vague. Candidate Notaro talked about increasing revenues and cutting doubtfully useful expenditures like funds for staff travel, membership dues and professional dues.
Candidate McNeace promised to 'look at the budget very hard.' "We shouldn't spend more than we have," he said. Candidate Krach talked about, "cutting costs and improving services." Candidate Dumville was more direct, "I don't want to cut services," he said.
In answering a question about how to hear from the citizens, most of the candidates indicated that they mostly expected staff members to inform them of the e-mails and phone calls they have received. For this reason, the two incumbents indicated they tend to depend on staff recommendations. Mr. McNeace acknowledged, "We need to find out what the citizens want." And Mrs. Notaro suggested that there should be more information on the City's webpage and more encouragement for the citizens to use it.
The Belleair Beach city election will be held on March 9th.
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