Clearwater… Downtown property and business owners elected five of their peers to the seven member DDB Monday. To be eligible, candidates for the DDB must own property in the district or have their place of business in the district. Four incumbents were reelected. One new member will come aboard when the new term starts January 1, 2006.
Says Linda Beyers Board Administrator, "The interest in board membership as shown this year by downtown business and property owners seeking election is up. We had eleven qualified candidates run, the most in the six years since I've been Administrator."
New member and Sun Trust Bank Manager, Bob Clifford, will serve a three-year term along with seated board member and downtown property owner, David Allbritton. Josee Goudreault of Chic Realty will go on to serve a two-year term. Beth Coleman, Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and Dennis Bosi of Bob Lee's Automotive will serve one more year. Jerri Arango, White Buffalo Jewelry, and Bob Fernandez, DDB Chairman and manager of downtown Clearwater farmer's market were not up for reelection.
In addition, two City of Clearwater Council members serve as ex-officio members. At present, they are John Doran and Carlen Peterson.
Fernandez, who as Chairman counted the votes said, "Everything we do is inside the district. Though response in seeking office increased, we had a decrease in votes. The decrease in ballots is probably only due to voters owning multiple properties, parceling them all together for a tax roll."
Healthy interest in the DDB amongst its district is encouraging as they work to make downtown "uptown". DDB is striving for an increase in downtown residents to trigger the city's long hoped for retail revival.
The DDB has been given the power to levy one mill on all property owners in the special taxing district, excepting homestead properties. The revenue is used to fund studies and projects that will improve downtown's chances for revitalization.
They funded the study conducted by Lambert LLC Inc. of Miami that was recently criticized by the Town Commission. Lambert's report has been postponed, but the DDB anticipate the final report in December.
The DDB was formed in July 1970 when the Clearwater Downtown Development Board Act was passed, the Act spelled out the DDB's composition and bylaws. The Board was charged with a three part mission: permit the City of Clearwater to revitalize and preserve downtown property values; prevent deterioration of the central business district; and provide downtown property owners with problem solving political power at the local level.
Six months later, in January 1971, the city established a special taxing district when they adopted an ordinance that provided for a special referendum election for the purpose of permitting downtown property owners to tax themselves.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition