By Erica Webb
In Lake Helen, two candidates will vie for a seat on the City Commission.
Mayor Buddy Snowden and Commissioner Rick Basso, Zone 3, were re-elected without opposition.
Incumbent Ann Robbins is nearing completion of her third, two-year term and will face Gary Tallacksen for the Zone 1 seat Nov. 5.
Mrs. Robbins was the city's finance manager for 29 years, and said she feels that experience allows her to help protect the taxpayers in the community.
One issue about which Ms. Robbins has been particularly outspoken is the city-owned Creative Arts Café.
Creative Arts Café was intended to be a snack bar for the kids in the teen center program, Ms. Robbins explained. A partial building was turned into a "full-blown" restaurant paid for by the city, via taxpayers.
The restaurant has lost between $325,000 and $350,000, since opening six years ago, she said.
"I can't see taxpayers paying for something that's a losing proposition for the city," Ms. Robbins said. "That's a lot of roads that could have been paved."
Mrs. Robbins has been married to her husband, Ed, for 50 years. They have two grown children.
She and her daughter, Angela, each serve on the board of directors at ARC.
Gary Tallacksen, 64, and his wife, Cathy, have been married for 44 years. They are active volunteers in their community, have two children and two grandchildren.
Mr. Tallaksen took an early retirement, at 55, from his management position at a worldwide manufacturing company in the Midwest so the couple could live closer to their children.
"I want to preserve and protect what Lake Helen already has," Mr. Tallacksen said.
He feels his experience with multi-million dollar budgets as well as time spent negotiating with union representatives will enable him to represent the people of Lake Helen.
"I love that little town," he said.