Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Naples city council election

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Tuesday is a big day for the future of politics in Naples. Tuesday is election day.

Three council member positions are up for grabs and four candidates are competing for votes to fill those roles.

Mitch Norgart is one of those candidates. He’s on the design review board for the city and practices real estate. His platform runs on preserving Naples’ waterways and beaches, and preserving the beauty of the city.

He says he also wants to work with commissioners to establish affordable housing in the county.

“For policemen, for firemen, for teachers, and essential workers who mow your lawn or wait your tables—we need to have more for that in the county,” Norgart said.

Up next is Gary Price. He is a former city council member currently on the planning board. Price and Norgart are in agreement—the city needs more parking options.

“We look at church parking and we shuttle people from church parking lots that are basically empty. So there’s no need to build new facilities when we can take advantage of what’s already there,” Price said.

The candidates were also asked how they would budget for future storms in terms of protecting some of Naples’ most popular attractions.

Terry Hutchinson, a candidate who has run before and lost, takes particular interest in preserving local attractions. He owns a number of 711’s in the city and prides himself on being smart with money.

“We’re looking at $20 million to clean up after Irma and it wasn’t as strong as we thought it was gonna be, so to put our city in a position where we can take care of our citizens—we need to beef up those reserves,” Hutchinson said.

The incumbent candidate and Vice Mayor Linda Penniman agrees—she says the city does need to reign in the spending in other avenues.

“We have plenty of revenue coming in but we’ve been on a spending spree, so we need to take a look at our budget and prioritize and take it from there,” Penniman said.

About 1,500 people voted by mail already. The elections office wants to remind voters that if you vote by mail, your ballot has to be in their hands by 7 p.m. Tuesday, not just postmarked.

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