A small group voters arrived around 7:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Atlantic Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach to cast a ballot in the election for City Commissioner and Mayor.
Five men are competing for two open spots on the board.
In Group 2, incumbent and local restaurant owner Tim Poynter is running against retired educator Phil Chapman, who serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation board.
In Group 3, the candidates include Orlando Avila, a shipping agent with close ties to the Port of Fernandina and county leadership (his mother-in-law is School Board President Donna Martin, who waved a sign in front of the polling place), Medardo Monzon, a businessman with ties to the paper industry, and Ronald “Chip” Ross, an emergency room physician and former Planning Board member. The seat is currently held by Mayor Robin Lentz, who decided not to seek re-election. (Ms. Lentz was among the group of early morning voters.)
The candidates for mayor include Commissioner Johnny Miller, who held the post last year, and Commissioner Len Kreger.
Who did you vote for?
“Let’s just say a candidate who wants to keep Fernandina as it is. Or was, I should say,” said a woman dressed in business clothes heading to her car. She echoed the campaign slogan of Mr. Ross, an environmentalist who wants to preserve the city’s character.
“I like Tim Poynter,” said a man leaving the building with his wife, who refused to discuss her choice for the board. “I wasn’t enthused about the other candidates. I like Dr. Ross the least. He’s too aggressive.”
The man said he voted for (Len) Kreger for mayor. “It’s time to give him a chance,” he said.
This reporter was also told several times: “It’s none of your business.”
Polls close at 7:00 p.m. and results are expected by 7:30 p.m., or perhaps sooner, according to City Clerk Caroline Best.
The Nassau County Supervisor of Elections is administering the election for the city and the budget is $31,500, said Ms. Best. (There could be a run-off if a candidate in Group 3 does not secure more than 50 percent of the vote.) There are additional costs, said Ms. Best, including poll workers and advertisements.
“Elections are expensive,” she said by phone Monday.
Ms. Best said costs are expected to go down next year when the city runs its elections in tandem with the county. City voters decided to move to a four-year election cycle, rather than a two-year cycle.
The City Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet Tuesday starting at 4:30 p.m. at the James S. Page government building at 96135 Nassau Place in Yulee in the Supervisor of Elections canvassing room. Members include the City Commission, except Tim Poynter, because he is a candidate. The meeting agenda is online at www.fbfl.us.
Voter information, including ID requirements and poll locations, can be found at the Supervisor of Elections website www.votenassau.com.