BELLEAIR -- George Mariani swept to victory and was re-elected mayor with 56.8 percent of the vote Tuesday, while Commissioners Gary Katica and Steve Fowler withstood challengers and were re-elected.
Katica was the top vote getter with 931 for 29.8 percent in the four-way commission race and Fowler was second with 852 votes (27.29 percent).
Defeated were G. Michael Harris who challenged Mariani and got 691 votes. Katica and Fowler bested Rae Clair Johnson who had 715 votes and Robert Bender who garnered 624.
The election results keep the political situation in Belleair static.
It was the first time in years that there was opposition election activity in the town that seems to have two chief issues -- whether to form its own electric company and the possible future of the Belleview-Biltmore Hotel which had feelers from a developer recently.
In next-door Belleair Bluffs, Troy Krotz officially became a member of the City Commission, filling the uncontested seat that had been held by Hunt Brandt, a long time commissioner and former mayor.
Mariani is an advocate the town forming its own electric company and opposes and development. He wants Belleair to stay residential primarily with private homes and lots of green space.
He has been a member of the town's negotiating group in talks with Progress Energy and has accused the big electric company monopoly of not negotiating in good faith.
Harris favored Progress Energy as did Bender and Johnson.
Fowler is a long-term resident of Belleair and has a history of involvement going back many years. He has been a sure and steady hand on the commission since 1998.
Katica is also a long-term resident of the town and was elected to the commission in 2001.
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