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How to Run for Mayor, City Council

The Temple Terrace mayor’s seat and two city council seats are up for grabs this year.

In November, Temple Terrace residents won’t just be choosing a president; they’ll be electing a new mayor and deciding who will sit in two city council seats.

The Temple Terrace mayor and city council members are allowed to serve two consecutive four-year terms. Mayor Joe Affronti and Councilman Ron Govin have served two consecutive terms and my not run again this year. Councilwoman Mary Jane Neale was elected in November 2008 and has served one term. Her seat is also available.

Any Temple Terrace resident may run for mayor or city council as long as he or she is a registered voter and has lived in Temple Terrace or an area recently annexed into the city for two years.

Elections are citywide and non-partisan. Temple Terrace’s municipal election takes place Nov. 6.

So far, has filed to run for mayor, and has filed to run for city council.

City officials said they encourage residents to run for open seats.

“You can make a big difference,” said City Clerk Lisa Small.

Small is the point of contact for those who would like to file for candidacy. To file, a resident must visit the at City Hall and pick up a Candidate Handbook. The book has all the information a candidate needs, including the proper paperwork; information on campaign treasurers, political signs, advertising and solicitation; voting precincts; and Florida election laws.

Next, the candidate-to-be must appoint a campaign treasurer, who is responsible for keeping detailed accounts of all contributions received and all expenditures made. Candidates can serve as their own campaign treasurers, and campaign treasurers don’t have to live in Temple Terrace.

Within 10 days after appointing a campaign treasurer and setting up a bank account for his or her campaign, a candidate-to-be must file a Statement of Candidate Form, which certifies that he or she has read and understands the appropriate election laws.

“Before you spend any money at all, you have to do that,” Small said.

After those forms are complete, a candidate can announce he or she is running for office and begin accepting monetary and in-kind contributions.

“Generally, most people that are running will file before the ,” Small said, in order to hand out campaign information during the annual Independence Day event.

Actual qualifying begins at noon on Aug. 27 and closes at noon on Aug. 31. Once a candidate qualifies, he or she must sign a loyalty oath, file a Statement of Financial Interests, and pay an election assessment fee, which differs between mayoral and council candidates and is based on monthly salary.

A mayoral candidate pays a fee of $40.70 based on the current $239.18 per month salary and $100 per month travel expenses. A city council candidate pays a fee of $34.70 based on the current $239.18 per month salary and $50 per month travel expenses.

Although she encourages residents to run for office, Small reminds applicants that there is more to serving as mayor or a city council member than showing up for the twice-a-month meetings. Elected officials are expected to serve on council boards or voluntary citizen boards. They also have to consider new and ongoing city business.

“They come in so focused, and then they realize, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s more than one issue,’” Small said.

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