Four candidates are competing in the March election for two seats on the town council in Kenneth City.
The Gabber reached out to each candidate at the email address provided on his or her qualifying documents at the city clerk’s office. Three of the four candidates responded to the questionnaire, and their answers are listed below in the order they were received.
Kyle Cummings is a Kenneth City councilmember, and the current vice mayor. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, he has lived in Kenneth City for eight years and has worked for the Pinellas County School Board for 22 years, currently as a technical projects coordinator overseeing large construction projects. With 30 years of total construction experience, he is also a past business owner and a licensed commercial electrical inspector.
“Just in the short time I have been in office, I have worked with administration staff on multiple approved improvements for the town,” said Cummings, citing updated accounting software for town staff and the police department, as well as a large stormwater improvement project to help combat flooding and beautify Lake Lori.
“We approved additional parking by the police station and additional sidewalks for a longer trail and additional safety at the park,” he said. “We approved a new contract to do all of our permitting, inspection, plan reviews and now we can do all of this online, including paying with a credit card which we couldn’t do before. This will speed up the whole construction process for both homeowners and contractors and not limit the time for permitting.”
Cummings said the city is working on a number of grants that would help continue that recent progress.
Barbara Roberts is the other incumbent member of the town council, having served eight years. She has lived in Kenneth City more than 40 years and listed her occupation as “purchasing-buyer.” She wants to continue to see the town progress and says that is why she is running again.
“My vision for Kenneth City is to restore it to its hometown feel that was enjoyed for many years,” Roberts said. “We are a community of diverse residents with diverse needs. I intend to bring back our town motto and reason for existence – being a small town that is safe while still being friendly.”
Roberts said she intends to develop strong standards for maintenance, provision of services, and hosting events while remaining vigilant over the budget and use of the town’s funds and resources.
“Lastly I intend to restore civility in all we do, inclusiveness and the empowerment of our residents to voice their opinions and keep council accountable,” she said. “I intend to continue in my efforts as I have in the past eight years.”
Tony Chan, one of the challengers for a town council seat, is an eight-year resident who works for the City of St. Petersburg as an economic development specialist and also as the lead for workforce development for that city. His interest in Kenneth City politics was sparked by what he considers high turnover of the town’s employees.
“I began attending the council meetings and from there I noticed a lot of unnecessary spending that could be avoided, but members of the council chose not to listen to the constituents and took the easy way out,” he said. “It was at that point that I decided to run and to place power back to the community.”
Chan, who has never held elected office, outlined his goals simply: cut spending; employee attraction and retention; strengthen and incentivize Kenneth City businesses; and give back to the residents by revitalizing the neighborhoods.
“My goals are simple, but they are far from easy,” he said. “If I’m elected, I’d like to start the ball rolling in that direction and make a difference in both the businesses and the residents of Kenneth City.”
Jeffery Pfannes, the fourth qualifier for the at-large town council election, did not respond to The Gabber’s questionnaire.