TARPON SPRINGS — City Commissioner-elect Rea Sieber
is anxious to get down to business.
Sieber will be sworn in during a ceremony prior to the April 1 regular meeting at City Hall.
The local business owner beat out two other candidates by securing 45.08 percent of 3,962 total votes. She defeated runners-up Joe Muzio, with 28.95 percent, and Chris Hrabovsky, with 25.97 percent.
Also on last Tuesday’s ballot was a referendum for the city to sell a 3.4-acre parcel of land at 501 S. Walton Ave. Voters overwhelmingly voiced their support for the $813,000 sale to a New Port Richey-based developer with nearly 95 percent.
Sieber, who will replace term-limited Commissioner Susan Slattery, wrote in an email that she is looking forward to the opportunity to serve Tarpon Springs.
“I take this new commitment very seriously and will work to do the best job to make Tarpon Springs an even greater community.”
Helping Sieber command a 16-point victory last Tuesday was time spent canvassing the city, she wrote.
“Of course everyone I knew considered me the best candidate, but I needed to introduce myself to people I didn’t know,” she wrote. “I feel that this made a difference.”
She added: “I met so many people from every neighborhood in Tarpon Springs. I listened to their concerns and took notes, and brought back some of the questions or concerns to the City.”
After retiring as a guidance counselor at Tarpon Springs High School, Sieber opened a pair of businesses at the Sponge Docks, Wine at the Docks and Rea Sunshine.
Sieber, who was educated in Greece, Germany and Florida and speaks four languages, increased her visibility and participation in the local business community after opening the two stores. She became an member of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce and president of the Tarpon Springs Merchants Association, where she played an integral role in the recent merging of the downtown and Sponge Docks merchants associations.
The new commissioner has said she would step down as president of the merchants association if elected.
Sieber will bring to the City Commission an up-to-date knowledge of the city’s financial situation after serving on the Budget Advisory Committee since June 2013.
As for the property at 501 S. Walton Ave., the landslide approval from voters allows city staff to move forward with a plan to convert the site’s long-vacant property into an assisted living facility with an Alzheimer’s care unit.
Once operational, projections estimate the center to generate about $50,000 in yearly property tax revenue while creating roughly 100 jobs of varying income ranges that total $1 million in annual salaries.