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Mayor, two commissioners re-elected in Belleair Bluffs

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Belleair Bluffs Mayor Chris Arbutine and commissioners Suzy Sofer and Jack Nazario were re-elected Tuesday when they were unopposed at the close of qualifying.

Each has been reelected to a two-year term.

Arbutine first came on the council in 2000. He successfully ran for mayor the next year and has only been opposed twice since that time. He said he remembers former Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice telling him, “Chris, there’s only two ways to run – scared or unopposed.”

Arbutine said he was especially glad to be reelected at a time when a new fire station is being built. The full-service station will replace Fire Station 43 on Indian Rocks Road inside Belleair Bluff’s city limits. Like Station 43, it will serve residents of Belleair Bluffs, Largo and Belleair. It took the collaboration of all three, plus Pinellas County, over several years to reach final agreements.

Added to that were citizen concerns over the location of the new station. The city worked those out by holding public meetings to let residents quiz the architects and others about their concerns.

That apparently calmed any troubled waters, Arbutine said.

Groundbreaking was earlier this month. The station is scheduled to be completed in October.

“I’m glad to be elected when the building is going to be dedicated,” Arbutine said.

Belleair Bluffs is about one-half mile square and has about 2,200 residents. It has a mayor/commission form of government. The mayor and four commissioners each serve two-year terms. A vice mayor is elected each year by the commission and may not serve consecutive terms. Sofer is the current vice mayor.

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