Winter Park and Maitland’s mayoral seats are up for grabs on Jan. 31.
Qualifying for Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley’s seat starts Tuesday, Nov. 1, and runs through Tuesday, Nov. 8. Folks can qualify for Maitland Mayor Howard Schieferdecker’s seat later this month, between Monday, Nov. 14, and Friday, Nov. 18.
Both mayors have filed their intent to run for re-election, but so far no challengers have come forward.
Run for mayor
Winter Park City Clerk Cindy Bonham said Tuesday that nobody has picked up campaign paperwork, much less inquired about the race. It’s the same way in Maitland, City Clerk Maria Waldrop said.
Most candidates who intend to run will pick up the paperwork before qualifying week begins, Bonham said, as qualifying for candidacy can by a daunting process to attempt to complete in a week’s time.
“Most of the people have come in for the paperwork before qualifying begins,” Bonham said. “You do have some come in the week of qualifying, but they’re scrambling. There’s a lot of paperwork that has to be done by the end of qualifying.”
If more than two candidates qualify for Winter Park’s mayoral seat, a primary will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 13. As of press time, no potential candidates had inquired about qualifying for election to challenge Bradley. If none present themselves by noon on Nov. 8, Bradley will win re-election by default.
Commissioner Steven Leary said he was supportive of what the mayor has done in his first term.
“I think the numbers greatly support his re-election, and as I remember when he came into office we had a 4 percent reserve (in the city’s general fund), and by then end of this fiscal year it’s 26 percent,” Leary said. “We addressed a major pension problem. The spirit of the workforce is greater. I don’t think he gets enough credit for all that he does.”
Bradley, who is in his first term as mayor, will host a campaign kick off party on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Hot Olives. He said that he’s looking forward to a race, if one presents itself.
“I’ve got a lot of support behind me,” Bradley said. “I’m ready to run again.”
Maitland’s mayor was a city councilman for less than four months before he was appointed to fill out the remaining 15-month term of Mayor Doug Kinson, who resigned to run for Orange County Commission. Schieferdecker has been on the job since Jan. 4.
“I’ve been a lot busier than I thought,” the retired developer said. “This is a full-time job for me.” He said he spends more hours working now than he did before he retired.
He said he decided to run for re-election because there are a lot of projects in the works that he wants to see through, including the downtown redevelopment, the police and fire pension revisions and the charter review process.
“Those are the three things I can think of from the top of my head,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve got a long list.”
Schieferdecker said he would welcome challengers for his seat.
“That’s what this county’s built around,” he said.
Referendum ballot language
Shall the Maitland City Council be authorized to grant, pursuant to Section 3, Article VII of the State Constitution, property tax exemptions for new businesses and expansions of existing businesses that are expected to create new, full-time jobs in the City?
If no other Maitland resident qualifies to oppose Schieferdecker by Nov. 18, then he’ll win another term sans election. But Maitland will still have its name on the ballot in the form of an economic incentive referendum.
The ballot referendum asks citizens if they’ll allow City Council to dole out tax incentives to businesses looking to relocate or expand in the city. On Monday, City Council approved the ballot language 4-1, with Councilwoman Bev Reponen dissenting.
If approved by voters on Jan. 31, the incentives program would allow City Council to give qualifying businesses, on a case-by-case basis, as much as a 100 percent tax exemption for as many as 10 years.
Most neighboring cities, such as Winter Park and Orlando, already have business incentives in place. But recent reports in the news that the incentives doled out by the state aren’t always turning into jobs have soured public opinion of the program, Maitland resident Bill Randolph said.
But Council sees a need for the program to stay competitive and members said they’ll hold businesses accountable.
“We are in competition for business whether we like it or not,” Councilman Ivan Valdes said at Monday’s meeting. “If we’re not proactive, we won’t have the option to compete for this business.”
While many referendums require 60 percent of the vote to pass, this measure needs just 50 percent, the city attorney said.