Delray Beach voters to elect two commissioners March 17

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Staff report

If you are registered to vote in the city of Delray Beach, you can cast your vote to fill two seats on the Delray Beach City Commission on March 17.

Seats 2 and 4 are both up for grabs this municipal election cycle. Both seats have incumbent candidates seeking to retain their seats on the dais. Both incumbents face several challengers.

The commission seats are elected at large, which means commissioners represent the city as a whole and not in districts. So voters can vote for both seats.

Seat 2 is currently held by Bill Bathurst. He is seeking re-election and has several opponents, Juli Casale, Jennifer Jones and Debra Tendrich.

Bathurst was elected without any opposition when he ran in 2018. He served the rest of a two-year term previously held by Jim Chard, who gave up the seat to run for mayor against Shelly Petrolia.

Seat 4 is currently held by Shirley Johnson. She is seeking re-election and has two opponents, Angela Burns and Chris Davey.

When it comes to campaign coffers, the incumbents lead in fundraising. Bathurst has raised the most money of any candidate. As of a Feb. 10 financial report, he raised just over $75,000. Johnson brought in $43,734, according to her financial report dated Feb. 10.

Several candidates have loaned themselves money or donated their own money to their campaign. Davey put in the most of his own money, $8,200. Bathurst and Casale both ponied up $5,000 to support their own campaigns. Johnson loaned herself $400 and Tendrich $100.

Of the challengers, Casale has raised the most amount of money in the Seat 2 race, just over $23,000, according to her Feb. 10 financial report. In Seat 4 race, Davey has $18,575 in his account.

When it comes to campaign platforms, candidates shared their top three priorities with the Delray Newspaper in our election questionnaire. Seat 4 candidates are featured in this month’s edition. Seat 2 responses can be found in our February edition.

For Seat 2 incumbent Bathurst, he said his focus is on historic preservation, public safety and fiscal responsibility.

Seat 2 Challenger Casale said the city needs to continue to replace and repair aging infrastructure, explore solutions to flooding due to sea-level rise and carefully monitor future development.

Challenger Jones is focused on creating jobs for small businesses and contractors, implementing policies that create opportunities for local businesses to bid more on city contracts and expand on affordable housing plans.

Challenger Tendrich wants to work on redeveloping the West Atlantic Avenue corridor and the Congress Avenue corridor and partner with the school district to help make all Delray Beach schools “A” rated schools.

Seat 4 incumbent Johnson said her top priorities if she were re-elected would be stabilizing city hall personnel and working on adding more affordable and workforce housing as well as increasing public safety.

Seat 4 Challenger Burns would spend her time focusing on supporting small local businesses, promoting equitable growth and accountable government.

Seat 4 Challenger Davey would focus on traffic and traffic flow throughout the city especially when it comes to new developments, make sure the CRA focuses on infrastructure and economic improvement in the NW/SW neighborhoods and look into taking out bonds to address infrastructure needs while interest rates are low.