Growing up, Sean Gibbs watched his father serve in a leadership position on the city council in Plantation, Florida, and today the Baldwin County real estate agent wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by seeking a seat on the Daphne City Council.
An agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations in Spanish Fort, Gibbs recently announced plans to challenge incumbent Randy Fry for the council’s District 4 seat.
Gibbs said he hopes to be part of managing Daphne’s growth in places along State Highway 181, which touches the easternmost portion of District 4. He also said redevelopment of the city’s downtown area on Main Street will be an area of focus if he is elected.
“I want to help push to draw new, good business to come invest in downtown Daphne,” Gibbs said. “I think we can make it more walkable and I think we can attract more businesses down there to really grow the heart of the city.”
Gibbs believes the Daphne Innovation and Science Complex (DISC) project is important to the city’s future. While it was a source of controversy for councilors over the last year, they eventually passed a modified version of the science and technology park in December. The DISC compromise was proposed by Fry, who asked councilors to consider a more restrictive zoning designation and height limitations on buildings.
Fry, the vice president of Lyon Fry Cadden Insurance Agency, was elected to the District 4 seat in 2012.
“I’ve enjoyed being part of the leadership in the city,” Fry said. “I think we’ve been able to get a lot accomplished in the last four years and we have a lot more to do.”
Fry looks forward to completing the city’s sanitary sewer system, recreation upgrades, enhancements to public safety and improvements to the city’s waterfront properties. He also said it will be important that the council properly manage the growth in the private, residential and business sectors citywide.
“Four years ago I ran on the theme of teamwork and the council working together with better, more fruitful interactions in a reasonable and respectable manner,” Fry said. “I feel like I’ve been able to do that with integrity in my four years.
“The council needs to continue to have fair, level-headed representation that is able to consider all sides of an issue and listen to every constituent,” Fry continued. “My experience in being proactive and finding solutions to complex issues has and will continue to benefit the council.”
The official candidacy qualifying period is July 5-9 and the municipal election is Aug. 23. Interested candidates must first file an economic interest form with the Alabama Secretary of State’s office before they can complete the paperwork to run for council or mayor.
There is a $25 fee to run for council and a $50 fee to seek the mayoral office in Daphne.
In Spanish Fort, Mayor Mike McMillan and Councilman Bill Menas announced re-election campaigns. McMillan has been a member of the Spanish Fort City Council for 12 years, serving two terms as a councilman and one term as mayor.
“I am a fiscal conservative, and as mayor, I pledge that we will strive to keep our city’s finances strong,” McMillan said. “I am proud of the fact that, every year during my term as mayor, we have managed to save money on budgeted expenses, while also exceeding our revenue projections, thereby creating budget surpluses which allow the city to prepare for the future. We must be prepared for continued growth, but always be assured that we live within our means.”
Menas is the president and CEO of BME LLC, which has real estate holdings, the Bill Menas Team of Bellator Real Estate, commercial janitorial services and automotive car wash sales. He was appointed to the council in 2014 to fulfill the term previously held by Dennis Dismukes, who moved out of the area.
“We have developed new recreation parks, improved city medians, connected city sidewalks and provided support of various school programs but there is more to do,“ Menas said. “I want to make sure we are keeping the citizens informed, that’s why I am currently working on a city app that will notify citizens of emergencies and keep them informed of upcoming events.”
In Fairhope, attorney Jay Robinson announced his intention to run for Place 2 on the Fairhope City Council. Robinson is a member of the Fairhope Planning Commission and a partner at the law firm of Frazer, Greene, Upchurch & Baker.
“I think managing our growth to maintain the Fairhope we all love is a very important issue,” Robinson said in a statement released to the press. “Over the next few years we will see development of the triangle property, located behind Veteran’s Drive, which serves as the entrance to Fairhope. The opportunity to have preserved parkland with trails is just incredible. It’s something I see my children and even my grandchildren enjoying in the future.”
Candidates ramp up fundraising efforts
In Daphne, Mayor Dane Haygood launched his re-election campaign in March and reported a campaign contribution balance of $16,399.91 in May.
In May Haygood received 19 contributions totaling $10,550. The largest came from DVA Holding Co., which contributed $1,500 to the campaign. He received $1,000 contributions from Hix Snedeker LLC, Volkert Inc., Coastal Alabama Progress, Hutchison Moore & Rauch LLC, CKB Minneola LLC and Summit Industries LLC. Other $500 contributions came from Joy T. Cook, Gale Colvert and SAW Holdings LLC.
Fairhope Mayor Tim Kant is currently running for re-election unopposed, but City Clerk Lisa Hanks said candidates have until July 19 at 5 p.m. to qualify for the race. There is a $50 fee to qualify for both the council and mayoral races in Fairhope.
Kant has a $41,644.22 campaign contribution balance, with $10,200 in contributions in May from 28 sources. He reported a $2,000 contribution from The Lofts on Section LLC and $1,000 apiece from DVA Holding Co. and Volkert Inc. He also reported $500 contributions from Greer Radcliff, John Crowder, James Reid, Deason Dunagan, Thomas Hand and Perry and Joan Hand.
In Foley, Mayor John Koniar reported a $4,184.33 campaign fund balance in May with a $2,000 contribution from Adams & Reese LLP and $1,000 each from DVA Holding Co. PAC and Volkert Inc.
Frances Holk-Jones, who is challenging incumbent Rick Blackwell for the Foley City Council District 4 seat, reported a $5,695.76 campaign fund balance in May. She reported $1,000 contributions in April from Carl Jones, Grayson Moore and Arthur Holk and $500 from Freeman Collision Center, Lee Jones and Carl Jones II.
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