In the midst of holiday preparations and talk about the upcoming season, a few Islanders are considering mounting a campaign for a Town Council seat.
As of press time, five candidates had begun the process of qualifying and had submitted enough certified petitions to qualify. They are Anita Cereceda, who would be running for her second recent term, Forrest Critser, Joanne Shamp, who is serving the remainder of Summer Stockton’s term, Ber Stevenson and Lorrie Wolf.
On March 7, 2017, Island voters will be asked to fill three Town Council seats. Currently Anita Cereceda, Rexann Hosafros and Joanne Shamp hold those seats. All three are eligible to seek another term. Council members serve three-year terms, with the most recent election in March 2016 when Dennis Boback and Tracey Gore were elected. Term limits apply, with two 3-year terms allowed before.
Who can run? A candidate for Town Council must be a resident of the Town and a registered voter and must have resided within the corporate limits of the Town for a minimum of one year prior to qualifying for election. A person may announce
his or her candidacy at any time. No person shall accept ANY contribution, make ANY expenditure, or collect ANY signature on a candidate-petition with a view to bring about his or her nomination, election, or retention in public office, or authorize another to accept such contributions or make such expenditure on the person’s behalf unless such person has appointed a campaign treasurer and designated a primary campaign depository. (Florida Statute 106.021 (1)(a))
Candidates can qualify by petition or by paying a qualification fee. Both must pay the election assessment fee of $168 (1% of the annual salary of a council member $16,800). If a candidate has not qualified by petition, they must also pay a filing fee of $504 (3% of annual salary). Qualifying by petition requires the signatures of 10% of the number of registered voters in the last regular election. For this election, candidates were required to collect at least 50 certified petitions.
The first thing any candidate must do is appoint a campaign treasurer and designate a campaign depository.
The official qualifying period runs from noon, January 13, 2017 to noon Friday, January 20, 2017.
Complete details on forms, requirements and deadlines are available at Town Hall or on the Town’s website fortmyersbeachfl.gov