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Longboat Key Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 1 year ago

Longboat Key elections 2021: Five questions with Mike Haycock

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Mike Haycock is running for reelection to retain his At-Large commissioner seat.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

At-Large Commissioner and Vice Mayor Mike Haycock has submitted qualifying paperwork to retain his commissioner seat.

Candidates are required to submit petitions to the Supervisor of Elections in either Manatee or Sarasota counties no later than 11 a.m. on Nov. 16. The supervisor then verifies the signatures and districts. Election Day is March 9, 2021.

As the town transitions to three-year commission terms, the at-large seat is for a single-year term, after which, it will become a three-year term in 2022. Haycock is currently eligible for two additional terms.

Since 2019, Haycock has served on the commission. Before serving on the commission, Haycock was on the Planning and Zoning Board from September 2016-March 2019.

Five years ago, Haycock retired from Tropicana Corp., where he was vice president of manufacturing.

Haycock has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Florida.

The Longboat Observer caught up with Haycock on what he hopes to accomplish if reelected to the town commission.

Why are you running for the town commission?

I love Longboat Key. It’s been my home for the last 24 years. I retired five years ago, and I wondered how I could contribute to the community. A number of my friends were in local public service and talked me into getting involved first on Planning and Zoning, and now as a commissioner for almost two years. I've found I really enjoy the work and helping solve issues that impact the citizens’ quality of life.

What topics or issues are most important to you?

Right now, keeping our residents safe from the COVID virus is our most important issue, and I think we've been out front on steps to minimize the spread on our island.

After that, the current commission and town staff have a number of important issues ahead of them. First, we need to finish the current major capital projects with excellence. These include the utility underground project, the fire station improvements and the beach renourishment, which will start in 2021.

Second, we need solutions to some of our island's pressing issues, including the wastewater pipe replacement, canal dredging, funding, local flooding of a number of our streets and the Village traffic issues.

Finally, we need to continue to strive to maintain and improve our wonderful Island. A few topics include improving Longboat Key traffic flow and safety, continuing to enhance the Town Center vision, enhancing GMD with safer walking and bike paths and developing long-term plans for the Recreation Center.

What can the town do better?

First, I need to recognize [Town Manager] Tom Harmer and his staff for the great job they do running the town. The professionalism of all the department heads is outstanding, and we're very lucky to have them.

The town has a pretty full agenda for the next three to four years with issues I mentioned earlier.

I think the new commission should spend some quality time looking ahead five to 10 years and anticipate issues we could get a jump on now. A few examples are ways to protect our property value, increase the quality of life of Longboat Key and make sure our commercial amenities are successful and stay on the island.

How would your previous experience help you in this role?


Well, as a prelude to being a commissioner, being on Planning and Zoning was invaluable. I think our zoning codes are what protect our island and allows it to look and feel the way it does today, period. So having that experience, seeing what the issues are, working on the development of the non-conforming codes that we wrote a few years ago, I think was invaluable to being a good commissioner.

Before that, as an executive for a large company, learning some key leadership skills, especially how to work as a team, how to develop a vision and how to problem solve were probably three things that I've used as a commissioner.

Why do you like being a resident of Longboat Key?

We live on a beautiful, safe island with wonderful beaches and parks. We have convenient shopping and restaurants. We have wonderful town facilities and a country club that provides convenient recreational facilities.

I believe with the teamwork of our elected commissioners, our town staff and active community involvement, we can make our community even better. I feel lucky and privileged to be a resident of Longboat Key.

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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