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Longboat Key Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 5 years ago

District 1 candidates face-off again

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by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

District 1 political candidates Lynn Larson and Lee Pokoik told more than 50 people in attendance at a preliminary election debate at Bayfront Park Recreation Center that they don’t think incumbent Mayor Lee Rothenberg should be running against them for the seat.

“The problem I have with the commission is they voted to allow the mayor to serve almost eight years of service,” Larson said.

Pokoik agreed.

“The voters thought term limits meant you can only serve six years,” Pokoik said.

Rothenberg defended his decision to run for office again by explaining the appointment he elected to serve did not count as a term.

In their opening statements, both Larson and Pokoik said more needs to be done to renovate commercial properties and prevent decay from abandoned and foreclosed properties on the island.

Pokoik called for tax abatements to encourage improvements to existing properties.

And although both newcomers support The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation-and-expansion project, Pokoik said the town’s residents are fooling themselves if they think the project and its hotel would be built anytime soon.

“It will take years to get financing for this project,” said Pokoik, who explained the club would have to sell 75% of its condos before it began construction.

When the more than $27 million in unfunded pension liabilities was brought up, Larson and Pokoik again pushed for the town to consider joining the state’s pension fund.

Rothenberg, however, said the commission has no control over how the boards run the funds and is working to pay down the debt in the plans.

Pokoik, for the second time this week, told residents he believes the town needs to share the costs with other municipalities for the purchase and maintenance of a dredge for continual beach maintenance.
Rothenberg said the suggestion had been reviewed and was too expensive.

Larson, meanwhile, told the audience residents should pick the kind of beach renourishment they want and the kinds of structures they want to hold a beach.

The three candidates will faceoff in a runoff election Tuesday, Jan. 26. Early voting begins Friday, Jan. 15, at Town Hall and is open to all Longboat Key residents.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

 

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