Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Incumbents want to keep the good times rolling in Seminole

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by
Jim Quinn
Jim Quinn

Jim Quinn and Thom Barnhorn say things are good in Seminole:

The moribund Seminole Mall is at long last a memory. In its place, a bright new City Center is rising.

The city’s property tax rate is one of the lowest in the county, and it hasn’t changed since 2008 when it dropped. A senior center has opened. The emergency operations center/public works building is solar powered and sells energy back to the grid. The city is building a waterfront park and visitors’ center/Chamber of Commerce building.

Barnhorn and Quinn want to keep Seminole flowing along on the same path. That’s the main reason both are running for re-election in the nonpartisan Nov. 8 general election. They’re facing opposition from Tom Christy, who’s making his seventh run for a seat on the Seminole City Council. The two top vote-getters will take office.

The other reason they’re running?

They both enjoy the job.

“I love what I’m doing,” Quinn said. “I love the city.”

Thom Barnhorn
Thom Barnhorn

Barnhorn said, “When it comes to the city, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done. I’ve enjoyed being a part of it.”

Not that they always agree with each other, or with others on the seven-member council, they say.

Just take the topic of doggy dining. Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters has raised the issue a couple of times. Waters would like the council to pass an ordinance allowing restaurants with outdoor seating to allow dogs to join their human counterparts. But she’s never been able to convince the rest of the council, especially Barnhorn, who halted the debate with a graphic comment about a fly landing on someone’s dinner after it had landed on a doggy deposit.

They do agree, however, that the city should take over the water tower — currently painted to resemble a giant bird cage. The tower, on the southwest corner of Park Boulevard and 113th Street North, is a city landmark, they say, and they’d like to keep it. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards, however. The county owns it and, thus far, has refused to give it up. It will most likely be razed, they said.

Barnhorn is a financial adviser who has served on the council since 2006 except for a few months in 2009. He lost the election that year, but was appointed by the council to fill a term when another member resigned. He served as vice mayor from 2008-09 and 2012-2015.

Barnhorn is the vice chair of the Florida League of Cities’ Finance, Taxation & Personnel Committee and serves on the National League of Cities Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee and its Small Cities Steering Committee. He is past president of the Suncoast League of Cities.

Quinn has served on the council since March 2010. He’s the current vice mayor. Quinn is a member of the Florida League of Cities Energy & Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Pinellas Sheriff’s Advisory Board. He is vice president of the board of directors of Interfaith Food Pantry and co-chair of the Concerned Citizens of Seminole Garden Apts.

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