LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The first newcomer to challenge an incumbent supervisor for a community development district seat in Lakewood Ranch has officially filed as a candidate with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections.
Ronald Steger, a resident of Community Development District 5 since 2011, filed to run against Alan Silverglat, treasurer of CDD 5, whose four-year term on the board ends this year.
Silverglat was appointed to the CDD 5 Board when his predecessor stepped down and he ran unopposed. He and fellow board member, Martin Cohn, assistant secretary of CDD 5, are seeking re-election, but no one has come forward so far to oppose Cohn.
All three candidates filed to run for a CDD position during a pre-qualifying period before the start of Florida's official qualifying period at noon Monday. Qualifying for all candidates statewide closes at noon Friday.
At the end of qualifying,
any unopposed candidate will automatically be elected to fill a four-year term on the CDD board.
Silverglat and Steger will face off in the Nov. 4 general election at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall. Since a CDD is a special district, no August primary is necessary.
Silverglat said he welcomed the Steger challenge.
"It's a free country and I look forward to getting to know him and discussing the issues," Silverglat said. He noted as treasurer he worked to keep an affordable, high level of service for CDD 5 residents.
Steger, 60, who lives with his wife, Janice, at Oasis Terrace in the Country Club area of Lakewood Ranch, retired last December as an accountant after 37 years with global audit and tax firm KPMG.
Steger said he brings a fresh perspective to the CDD 5 Board with extensive professional finance background. He has owned homes in several large communities across the country similar to Lakewood Ranch, he said.
"My candidacy is a reflection of my wanting to make a contribution to the community now that I have the time, rather than being a longtime community activist. I love the feel of Lakewood Ranch. My wife has family here, and we like the culture of Sarasota and the beautiful natural landscape of the area," Steger said.
When asked whether he would campaign for the position, Steger replied: "This is really a word-of-mouth kind of position. People in the community know me from events I attend, and I feel this is more of a laidback process."
Four other newcomers have filed CDD candidacies:
Gary Berns will run for the Community Development District 1 seat now held by Phyllis Troy.
Susan Ellis, Jim Rogoze, and Hank Hofeler, Community Development District 6 residents in the Country Club West section of Lakewood Ranch, are vying for board positions now held by Robert Burstein, Douglas Ferry and Richard Williams, respectively.
Williams is the only CDD 6 supervisor to announce he won't be returning to the board.
The newcomers lost a contentious battle earlier this year to prevent an interlocal agreement between districts 2, 5 and 6 to share operational and maintenance costs of the Balmoral and Legacy Boulevard gates, saying they feared it would add to growing neighborwhood traffic problems.
Other CDD incumbents seeking re-election:
Robert Swiatek, CDD1 treasurer
Gilbert Pearce, CDD 1 secretary
Thomas Green, CDD2 chairman
Jerry Twiggs, CDD2 treasurer
Keith Davey, CDD 2 vice chairman and
Joseph Sidiski, CDD 4 treasurer.
Election information is available on the Manatee County website at votemanatee.com.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.com.