Holmes Beach voters Nov. 6 will choose a new mayor to set the tone for the next two years.
Candidate Judy Titsworth is running on her five-year record as a commissioner, as well as her experience in the construction industry and as a wildlife rehabilitator.
Candidate Joshua Linney, co-chair of the Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee, is boasting of his interest and involvement in the community.
Both candidates vowed to be a full-time mayor. Titsworth added, “If needed.”
But a curveball could come the mayor’s way because a new charter review commission — to be elected Nov. 6 — is expected to look at changes in the city’s governing document, including whether to adopt a city-manager form of government.
“It is conceivable that a city manager could be hired and put in place before the end of the mayor’s term,” city attorney Patricia Petruff said.
“But I’d like to think whoever the mayor is will authorize the city attorney to go to a few charter review commission meetings” to help craft a ballot question and provide an orderly transition.
Linney and Titsworth differ on the city manager movement. Linney favors it. Titsworth has voiced opposition.
The nonpartisan race is for a two-year term, paying $2,000 per month.
As of Sept. 27, Titsworth raised $2,250, mostly her own contributions, and incurred $1,783 in expenses. Linney raised $976, spent $869 and received a $75 in-kind donation.
Of 2,798 registered voters in Holmes Beach, 892 requested vote-by-mail ballots as of Sept. 28, according to Manatee County Elections Chief Deputy Sharon Stief.
In 2017, 919 of 2,772 eligible voters turned out to vote.
Holmes Beach registered voters can cast ballots 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, and St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive.
The sign rules
They’re off and running.
By local rule, Sept. 23 was the first day candidates in the Nov. 6 election could post political signs in Holmes Beach.
The signs must stay out of the city rights of way — which usually line up behind a utility pole — and be placed with permission of property owner.
Candidates must remove signs by Nov. 8.
— Kathy Prucnell
Judy Holmes Titsworth
A five-year city commissioner, Titsworth was elected to her first term in November 2012 and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.
Titsworth, 55, a Holmes Beach native, is the corporate secretary for Shoreline Builders of Southwest Florida LLC, located in the Holmes Beach Business Center, 5345 Gulf Drive. She operates the business with her husband of 35 years. She has three children and three grandchildren.
“My way of leadership is different — it’s focused on the future,” Titsworth said, adding she plans to involve commissioners in city management unlike the current mayor.
Titsworth said she hopes to “fix” a building department plagued by complaints about its lack of responsiveness within the community and inside city hall.
Her interest in the position is motivated by her belief in civic duty, according to her platform.
As mayor, Titsworth hopes to take on city challenges, including sea-level rise, the Bert Harris cases and hurricane preparedness.
She attended Manatee County College and the University of Alaska, majoring in business, before her employment in the construction industry.
Joshua Linney, 43, identified public safety, quality of life, parking and traffic, accountability and sea-level rise as the most important issues in the city.
“I will be a voice for citizens who are being ignored and disregarded,” he said in his platform statement.
Linney said as mayor he’d hold town hall meetings where residents “can come for real answers to real issues, in real time.”
In Linney’s profile statement to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections, he wrote: “After substituting alcohol for opiates failed, plus the compounding losses of both my father and stepfather to cancer, my mother’s resulting depression and inability to positively affect her, I was shamed with DUIs in both 2003 and 2005.
Linney has a criminal record, including arrests on suggested charges for driving under the influence, drug possession and thefts. Most charges were dropped or plea bargained to lesser charges. He paid restitution and court costs in 2016, stemming from a petit theft from a Walmart store in Palmetto.
“My journey in recovery started May 20, 2005 and, soon after, I returned to UCF to finish my degree.”
He said he received a bachelor’s degree in interactive digital media in 2008.