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Infrastructure, taxes and business are key issues in Tarpon Springs Commission race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

When Tarpon Springs voters go to the polls next month, they will see some familiar names on the ballot for City Commission, including a former mayor and a candidate for an earlier seat.

Frank DiDonato, 69, who lost a bid to return to office last year, served as mayor from 1998 to 2004.

He faces Tim Keffalas, 62, who also ran an unsuccessful bid for the commission in 2016, and 30-year-old Jacob Karr, a political newcomer.

All three are seeking Seat 1, currently held by term-limited Townsend Tarapani.

After serving as mayor, writes Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay times, DiDonato continued his public service on the Charter Review and Budget Advisory committees.

DiDonato’s platform hasn’t changed much since his last campaign — infrastructure and lower taxes. But, this time, he’s also calling for a biking and walking trail connecting local beaches to the new swimming pool at Tarpon Springs High.

As a small-business owner and Tarpon Springs resident since the 1990s, Keffalas is running a mostly self-funded campaign.

Keffalas told the Times that despite his loss last year, he plans to focus much of his attention to the voters who supported against Commissioner Susan Slattery. His priorities are also infrastructure and responsible spending. Keffalas serves as president of the Tarpon Springs American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and on its Sister Cities Committee.

Karr, a Tarpon Springs native, told reporters he is looking to keep the city “a great place to live” by bringing businesses to downtown and better communication between citizens, state and local officials. He serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning and Historic Preservation boards. Karr works as a purchasing manager in Clearwater.

DiDonato, the candidate with the most experience in municipal government, said perseverance is the key: “We need to set out to get solutions rather than just give up when things get hard,” he told the Times. “We need to not be afraid to look at all the options of working with our county, state and federal governments.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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