Update: In the March 7 issue of The Gazette, commission candidate Paul Rolli’s title when he worked for the IRS was incorrectly reported. He was director of overseas operations, not budget director.
Citing issues he said still need to be worked on, Mayor Gary Resnick said he will run for re-election this November. He’s joined in the mayoral race by Vice Mayor Justin Flippen who announced his candidacy in December.
“There’s too many items that we’ve got going on,” said Resnick, who named infrastructure, including bridges and the water system, as one of the important issues he wants to address.
“Our bridges are 70 years old.” He added that he would be traveling to D.C. soon to talk to Senator Bill Nelson and other members of Congress about infrastructure and the availability of funding for it. “Some residents have reached out to me and asked me to run again. I think it would be inappropriate for me to abandon the city at this point.”
Flippen said he’s running to address quality of life issues, “the balance between our neighborhoods and growth and development,” livability, aging, continued public safety, adequate sidewalk access for seniors and the disabled, the water rate structure, and code issues. “Many things affect quality of life – water rates, accessibility to parks, availability of green space.”
In the race for the two commission seats currently occupied by Commissioner Scott Newton and Flippen, Newton will run for re-election.
Paul Rolli, president of the Central Area Neighborhood Association, and Dr. Katharine Campbell, owner of Katharine Campbell Counseling & Consulting, located in Wilton Manors, have opened campaign accounts and will run for the two seats. The two candidates who get the most votes will be the winners.
Rolli said he thinks the major issues facing the city are “economic development and sustainability through smart growth,” as well as the possible impact Fort Lauderdale’s water system problems might have on Wilton Manors, which gets its water from that city.
Rolli, the immediate past chair of the city’s Budget Review Committee and a retired IRS overseas operations director, said he wants to work to preserve the neighborhoods, keep property taxes low, and improve the quality of life. He also wants the city to embrace technology more, including allowing people to pay all their city-related bills online. Residents could still pay bills the old-fashioned way, but Rolli wants a complete online option for people who want that.
“I ran the last time and I think I have the experience and energy to do the job. We have to look towards today and plan effectively for the future . . . [As an IRS budget director] I’ve managed more people than the city has in terms of employees.”
Newton said he’s running to make city hall as appealing as other city halls and keep working on the parking issues facing Wilton Manors, as well as making the city more viable for businesses – something he wants to put on “the backs of businesses and not the residents.” He added that he thinks he’s done a good job as a commissioner in regards to the city’s current economic position. “I still have a lot of pride in what I do.”
Campbell said she wants to improve support for families and small businesses. That includes improving sidewalks, so that families and elder residents can better navigate the city, and making sure the city’s code requirements are ones that small businesses can afford. She cited signage requirements, and making sure businesses can afford to implement them, as one example. “We do a lot of things right and a few things we could do better . . . It’s about all our community members.”
Resnick was first elected mayor in 2008 and first elected to the city commission in 1998.