Former Zephyrhills City Manager Steve Spina has announced his candidacy for Zephyrhills City Council challenging incumbent Alan Knight for Seat 2 in the April 11 election.
Spina’s career, spanned a quarter century with the City of Zephyrhills. He moved up through the ranks of the city’s administration including two stints as city manager. He retired three years ago leaving the city in the hands of current City Manager Billy Poe.
“I’m excited and a little nervous,” Spina said. “It’s a change. I’ve been reaching out and talking to people including people I haven’t talked to in a while and they are supportive.”
During his tenure as City Manager, Spina spearheaded countless projects, but the largest have been the construction of the new City Hall, new City Library, a north end fire station and a renovated downtown fire station.
Spina said his interests remain in historic preservation in the city, park and recreation improvements and he wants to help the homeless population.
“A lot of this is just tagging on to things we worked on before,” Spina said.
He prided himself with his managing of the growth in the city. He worked continuously to improve the morale of staff and stressed fiscal responsibility with the city’s budget.
Since his retirement, Spina has done government consulting and working for Kenneth City and was an interim City Manager in Temple Terrace. Those stints gave him the motivation to enter the political arena.
“I feel I still have stuff to contribute and I really enjoyed being back in the game in Temple Terrace,” Spina said. “I thought this was another way to do it.
“I’ve talked to people and have been mulling over the idea for about a month now. I initially thought against it, but then I thought ‘why not?’ I’ve never done this aspect of it. I can give it a go.”
Spina said he needs to get caught up on the current projects, but has a strong overall picture of what is going on in the city.
Knight, a fifth generation Floridian, is seeking his fourth term. He had a 35-year career as an educator working mainly in Pasco county schools as a teacher, coach and administrator.
He was instrumental in supporting Spina’s return as city manager in 2014 and he welcomes him as a challenger in the upcoming election.
“I hope it will turn out to be a cordial thing,” Knight said. “I’m looking forward to it. If God wants me to be there, then so be it. If not? Then I’ll congratulate everyone and move on.
“Think it will be a good race. I hope it will.”
Knight has been a strong advocate for park improvements including the redevelopment of Hercules Park. He also had been critical of the rapid growth in the city citing that “city is not growing, it’s exploding.”
“People will make their decisions,” Knight said. “He has a strong base and I have a strong base. It’s not going to be anything with hatred. We’ll let the people choose and whatever happens, happens.
“I can live with that.” The April election will also include a race for Zephyrhills Mayor between political newcomers Molonie Monson Bahr and Nick Deford.