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Qualifying closes Friday in Bronson election

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Three seats are open in the Sept. 8 Bronson Town Council elections and qualifying has already brought two challengers and plans for a political rally on Aug. 29 at Bronson Youth League Park.

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Up for election are the seats held by: Aaron Edmondson in Seat One, Vice Mayor Beatrice Mongo in Seat Three and Melody LaFlam in Seat Five.

Restaurant owner Jim Beck, who heads the town’s Sewer Committee, has announced he will seek the seat held by Edmundson.

Col. Mike Johnson, the No. 2 man in the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, has announced his candidacy for Mongo’s seat. Friday is the deadline for qualifying in the city election.

Beck said he is running because the town is spending tax dollars without having a spending plan in place. He intends to make an issue of the town’s inability to obtain grant money because audits on the town’s financial health have not been done since 2002.

The federal and state government require an audit giving “a clean bill of health” to a municipality’s finances before handing over grant money.

“Ask why we haven’t been grant eligible for years. They may blame someone else, but if I’m elected I won’t blame anyone else. I’ll get our town grant eligible. I will help get city sewer. I will help build a community center,” Beck said.

Beck is not referring to Town Clerk Kelli Brettle who has spent her first year with the town getting its finances in order and unearthing the documents for the audits to be done. The audits are expected to be complete by the first of the year.

Johnson, who has been a resident of Levy County since 1959, is a military veteran and career law enforcement officer. “I believe that the years I have spent in senior management dealing with multimillion-dollar budgets, Federal Grants, audits, personnel issues and citizen complaints, has prepared me for the task of serving as a council member,” Johnson said in his announcement.

“Allow me to help put Bronson back on course by addressing the issues of the town sewer system, the community center, business and industrial growth and to help lead Bronson into the future.”

At Tuesday’s Bronson Town Council meeting Beck said a political rally is planned for all the candidates at Bronson Youth League Park on Saturday, Aug. 29 from noon to 8 p.m.

He said all the candidates will have a chance to speak and members of the Bronson Chamber of Commerce will have a Q-and-A with the candidates. He said the candidates would be invited to make themselves available to the voters who attend.