Sebastian has 2 open seats, 4 candidates in Nov. 3 general election

Janet Begley Special to TCPalm.comPublished 8:00 AM EDT Sep 22, 2020SEBASTIAN — It hardly seems possible for a

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SEBASTIAN — It hardly seems possible for a city election to be happening just 10 days after a recall election, but two, two-year seats are available Nov. 3.

Incumbents Jim Hill and Ed Dodd are both seeking re-election to the City Council. They face challenges from residents Bill Simmons and Dianna Bolton, who are seeking their first terms.

Hill, 51, has served as a member of the Council for 16 years, serving four terms as mayor and eight terms as vice mayor.  He notes on his website the last year has been a difficult one for the city of Sebastian.

“Not only have we had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the health and economic issues surrounding it, we have had to deal with constant disruptions and malicious behavior from a few members of council,” Hill wrote.

But Hill said the city will rebound and he will work hard to repair the stormwater system by utilizing  Best Management Practices to control the volume, rate and water quality of stormwater runoff. He also supports continued economic development at the Sebastian Municipal Airport and using a environmentally sensitive approach to pest management for the city’s parks and recreational facilities.

Dodd, 73, is seeking his third term on the City Council, having served most recently as mayor.  He said his goal is to finish up some of the planning issues he first took on when elected to the council in 2016.

“A combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and issues with the Council has slowed progress on several of these activities,” said Dodd. “The city is working on its first Strategic Plan, a proper stormwater drainage plan and revision of the Comprehensive (Land-Use) Plan. Council review and approval of these will set the stage for the city’s future.”

He stressed the need to rebuild trust with the community and its residents after the recent recall election.

“We need to work to represent all the residents,” Dodd said. 

He said he'd like to build a working relationship between the city and the Indian River County Commission because actions taken by either will affect both, and it is better to be proactive.

Simmons, 79, has been a Sebastian resident since 2000, moving to the town from Georgia. He is a retired accountant, and has served on the city’s Code Enforcement Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission and is a volunteer with the Sebastian Police Department.

During his first term, Simmons said he would like to improve the city’s infrastructure and stormwater system, and pursue grants to help pay for the improvements.

He said he believes he could serve the city well because he has the ability to “analyze, compromise and move on to the next agenda item” to keep city business moving forward.

Dianna Bolton, 64, is the fourth candidate for the two-year seat and said she was asked to run for City Council to bring a more balanced approach to local city government to encourage peaceful, civil discourse, public input and democracy.

“We may not agree on 100% of issues but there are urgent matters on which we share common ground,” said Bolton. “We can constructively collaborate with our neighboring cities, our county and our residents to improve our quality of life.”

Bolton is a lifelong environmentalist, speaking out on environmental and clean water issues, particularly those involving the Indian River Lagoon.

“As a sixth generation Floridian and one who has a love and passion for our town, I want to help preserve our way of life, our beautiful natural resources, spend our tax money wisely and give a voice to those who feel afraid or intimidated to speak up for the rights of our residents,” Bolton said.

Because municipal candidates had until Sept. 3 to qualify for the Nov. 3 election, only one of the four candidates submitted a campaign finance report.  Hill’s report for August showed $1,262 in contributions and $823 in expenses.

Council members are paid $300 per month; the mayor is paid $450 per month.
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