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Every year is an election year in Lake Helen — and this year is no different.

Four candidates are jockeying for two seats in this year’s not-so-musical game of chairs, and three of them are already currently serving on the City Commission.

In the race for mayor, incumbent Daisy Raisler, who became an elected official for the first time two years ago, is challenged by the current vice mayor of Lake Helen, 11-year commission member and current Zone 2 representative Vernon Burton.

Either way the race goes — if Burton loses or wins — the Zone 2 seat will be open, and the City Commission will have to solicit applicants and vote to fill the position after the election.

Rick Basso, who currently serves in the Zone 3 seat, was appointed in a similar manner when the former Zone 3 commissioner, Michael Woods, resigned in December 2018. This year, he ran unopposed, and is the presumptive Zone 3 commissioner for the next two years.

In Zone 1, four-year commissioner Tom Wilson is trying to hold his seat against political newcomer and former city event coordinator Kelly Frasca.

Frasca relinquished her position as event coordinator after deciding to run for the Zone 1 seat, which allowed the city to eliminate the position and aided in lowering their millage rate for the next fiscal year.

Frasca has also been in the middle of some tension for the commission, which had a strained meeting back in March of this year during Frasca’s six-month employee review.

An email by City Administrator Becky Witte to Frasca in September prompted another tense meeting Sept. 19, at which Raisler asked for a forensic audit of Witte’s computer. The meeting ended with a plan for Raisler and Witte to talk out the matter with a mediator.

“Win, lose, or draw, the citizens decide and we don’t need to be fighting amongst ourselves,” Wilson said at a question-and-answer session Oct. 29.

“People ask me about running against Tom [Wilson], and I say, I’m not running against Tom. We’re running for the same seat,” Frasca added. “We’re not battling each other up here — we’re fighting for you.”

Raisler and Burton echoed the sentiments.

“We all have the best interests for Lake Helen — we all love Lake Helen,” Raisler said.

“As my cousin Mike Smiley says, ‘I ain’t pitching a tent here, I live here,’” Burton said. “I live here, and I will always try to make it the best it can be.”

Early voting runs from Monday, Oct. 28, through Friday, Nov. 1. Election Day this year for Lake Helen is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Lake Helen’s charter staggers the election of the commissioners, who serve a two-year term. Next year, Zones 2 and 4 will be on the table.

Also on the ballot this year is a referendum to use $350,000 from a 1981 sale of Lake Helen’s electric system in the event of a state of emergency.

Read about the candidates for mayor below, and the candidates for Zone 1 on the next page!



<img class="wp-image-1470 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2f3be4bce360898b54e5ecceecdc052d-scaled.jpg" alt="RAISLER — Mayor Daisy Raisler, pictured here at Lake Helen’s July Fourth parade, successfully held her seat against a challenge from the current vice mayor, Vernon Burton. Raisler received 467 votes to Burton’s 211. ” width=”696″ height=”542″ />

RAISLER — Mayor Daisy Raisler, pictured here at Lake Helen’s July Fourth parade, successfully held her seat against a challenge from the current vice mayor, Vernon Burton. Raisler received 467 votes to Burton’s 211. 

Candidates for Lake Helen Mayor

DAISY RAISLER

What would you like voters to know about you? I care about communication and integrity in government.

Why are you the best candidate? I believe I am the best candidate because I practice integrity, communication and community relations. In the last two years, I have done my utmost to be the link between our local government and the community. I help where I can — I assisted in getting two grants for our city, and I am responsive to our citizens when they contact me.

What are your top priorities? I look forward to working with our citizens in building on our sense of community and preserving our historic small-town charm.

And one sentence or so on each topic:

Taxation: Two years in a row we lowered taxes while improving infrastructure.

The AutoMall: This is a question for Mr. Hurley. We’ll see it when it gets here.

Ivy Hawn traffic: Manage our realities.

Economic and population growth in Lake Helen: Let’s adhere to the 2035 City of Lake Helen Comprehensive Plan.

Sewer and septic: Sewers are necessary for large developments, which is not a vision for Lake Helen as per the 2035 City of Lake Helen Comprehensive Plan, which continues to promote small-town charm.

For more information: www.facebook.com/daisyraisler.mayor/


<img class="wp-image-1471 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/9fbeb439408cccfb0a4f716af4652a35-1-scaled.jpg" alt="BURTON — Longtime City Commissioner Vernon Burton was defeated in the race for the mayor’s seat in the Nov. 5 election by 256 votes, or about 37.8 percent of the total votes cast in that race. Burton’s Zone 2 seat is now open, and the Lake Helen City Commission will have to fill the position by soliciting applicants. ” width=”696″ height=”928″ />

BURTON — Longtime City Commissioner Vernon Burton was defeated in the race for the mayor’s seat in the Nov. 5 election by 256 votes, or about 37.8 percent of the total votes cast in that race. Burton’s Zone 2 seat is now open, and the Lake Helen City Commission will have to fill the position by soliciting applicants. 

Candidates for Lake Helen Mayor

VERNON BURTON

What would you like the voters to know about you? I have a deep appreciation f​or the “Rule of Law,” and during my 11 years on the City Commission I’ve held myself accountable to perform my sworn duties, as both Commissioner and Vice Mayor to the best of my ability. Upon observing the ineffective and indefensible actions of a former city administrator, I was most vocal and instrumental in seeing to his removal.

Why are you the best candidate? Because I am presently the best prepared candidate to step into the position. And because, for over the past 11 years, I’ve served on several City Commissions with nine former and current city commissioners. My relationship with Lake Helen staff has been an important part of my leadership. This personal and professional relationship with staff has paid for itself many times over, because I understand what an important role our employees play in providing the quality of life we enjoy here in Lake Helen.

What are your top priorities? First, communication. Also, to expand and manage the opportunities that are reshaping our community while maximizing and preserving our resources. Making our namesake lake more of a priority than we have in the past. Reaching out and partnering with our neighboring communities to address common concerns and capitalizing on the relationships I have developed with other elected officials at the city, state and national levels.

And one sentence or so on each topic:

Taxation: We have a fiduciary responsibility to our constituents to get the most bang for the buck and to keep spending in line, and set realistic goals and budgets. As a Commissioner, I have raised tax rates where needed and reduced them when appropriate.

The AutoMall: This project would happen with or without our participation. Because of the direction given to staff by the commission, we not only had a seat at the table, we were able to have a larger share of the benefits.

The AutoMall presents Lake Helen with the largest revenue impact in my lifetime as a resident and as commissioner. I believe this commission made a prudent and bold decision to support this project.

Ivy Hawn traffic: Ivy Hawn has addressed the issue by staggering school schedules to lessen the traffic, and has worked with Lake Helen Police Department to help traffic flow.

Economic and population growth in Lake Helen: Projecting growth is at best guesswork, as the economic downturn of 2009 proved. Because of the prudent and thoughtful actions of our commission, we were able to bring the city through a turbulent time.

Sewer and septic: Staying on septic remains the plan until the voters say otherwise. The AutoMall will fund the connection of DeLand’s sewer system to the project site, and developers would be responsible for paying. This would be the extent of sewer in the city, at this time.

For more information: www.facebook.com/VernonBurtonforMayor/


<img class="wp-image-1472 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/cd7bc4e66c3236166ad137b191479f72.jpg" alt="FRASCA — Former event coordinator Kelly Frasca edged out incumbent Tom Wilson in the race for Zone 1 by 38 votes, or about 5.6 percent of the total of 668 votes cast in that race.” width=”682″ height=”1024″ />

FRASCA — Former event coordinator Kelly Frasca edged out incumbent Tom Wilson in the race for Zone 1 by 38 votes, or about 5.6 percent of the total of 668 votes cast in that race.

Candidates for Lake Helen Zone 1

KELLY FRASCA

What would you like voters to know about you? The citizens of Lake Helen are of the utmost importance to me and it is my intent to make their concerns a top priority.

Why are you the best candidate? My goal is to preserve the community, camaraderie and future of Lake Helen.

What are your top priorities? To listen to my constituents, maintain the beauty and integrity of all Lake Helen has to offer. While staying true to the roots of our Gem as we continue our growth.

And one sentence or so on each topic:

Taxation: I believe in keeping our taxes low. It can be possible with true smart growth.

The AutoMall: The approved AutoMall property annexation will provide a larger tax base and offer Lake Helen more control of future developments in Lake Helen west of I-4.

Ivy Hawn traffic: I believe our Lake Helen Police Department has done a great job in controlling the traffic for our schools.

Economic and population growth in Lake Helen: I stand for true smart growth, based on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan that was created by the leaders before me.

For more information: www.facebook.com/kellyfrasca4lakehelen/


<img class="wp-image-1473 size-large" src="https://www.beacononlinenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/5e7600d2f25b8ba3332249bcec722de8-2-scaled.jpg" alt="WILSON — Current Zone 1 Commissioner Tom Wilson was defeated Nov. 5 by former event coordinator Kelly Frasca in the race for Zone 1 on the Lake Helen City Commission. Wilson lost by 38 votes, or about 5.6 percent of the total of 668 votes cast in that race.” width=”696″ height=”928″ />

WILSON — Current Zone 1 Commissioner Tom Wilson was defeated Nov. 5 by former event coordinator Kelly Frasca in the race for Zone 1 on the Lake Helen City Commission. Wilson lost by 38 votes, or about 5.6 percent of the total of 668 votes cast in that race.

Candidates for Lake Helen Zone 1

TOM WILSON

What would you like voters to know about you? I’m a Vietnam veteran, prior police officer, and have 30 years of management experience. I’m a married father of three, and grandfather of four.

Why are you the best candidate? I am seeking my third term, and have experience as City Commissioner.

What are your top priorities? Though we have cut taxes for two consecutive years, my main objective is to cut taxes. My goal is to reach 6 mills or lower.

And one sentence or so on each topic:

Taxation: As stated, lower taxes.

AutoMall: I’m in favor of the AutoMall and new supermarket.

Ivy Hawn traffic: Rerouting the traffic is not a viable option. This leaves traffic control to the police. Directing traffic at Main and Lakeview, and at Summit and Main, would help getting the traffic in and out of town efficiently.

Economic and population growth: The comprehensive plan we passed allows for growth at the economic employment area at our gateway. The new homes in the Woods of Lake Helen add population and tax base. Attracting annexation by those near the city also allows controlled growth.

Septic and sewer: To develop the gateway area will require sewer from DeLand to be built under I-4; however, the cost will be paid by the developer. I hope the residential septic system will meet the needs of Lake Helen for many years to come.

For more information: If voters would like to know more, please call me at 386-228-2295.

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