The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors chose Acreage Landowners’ Association President Tim Sayre on Wednesday, May 16 to fill the vacancy created by the April 28 death of Supervisor Gary Dunkley.
The board is required by state statute to fill a vacant seat within 30 days.
Supervisors were asked to cast ballots for four candidates, with five points for the most favorable candidate and progressing to one point for the least favorable. In the voting process, Sayre received 13 points, to narrowly outpace former Supervisor Michelle Damone, who received 12 points, and Dunkley’s son, William Dunkley, who received 11 points. Accountant Larry Tibbs received nine points.
Sayre, who ran unsuccessfully against Dunkley in 2016 in a four-way race, will serve until the upcoming election in November, when the seat will appear on the ballot with three other seats that are up for election.
The seats currently held by supervisors Ralph Bair, Jennifer Hager and Carol Jacobs are up for four-year terms this year, while the seat now held by Sayre will be up for a two-year term, to finish out the unexpired portion of Dunkley’s term.
Sayre introduced himself after offering condolences to Dunkley’s family.
“I did spend a lot of time talking to Gary at the meetings and privately,” he said. “We discussed a lot of issues that are going on around here.”
Sayre noted that he has attended nearly all board meetings over the past three years.
“I believe that I am aware of the issues that the district faces,” he said. “I know what’s going on. I read all the backup material. I attend some of the Board of County Commissioners meetings. I attend Treasure Coast [Regional Planning Council] meetings, so I try to stay on top of what I believe is affecting this area.”
ITID President Betty Argue had a set of questions of her own, and as well as a set from residents, that were read to all the candidates, beginning with what their priorities and vision are for the district.
“I think the priorities are traffic, and along with that is safety,” Sayre said. “We have to work on finishing our park. It’s very important. We have to make sure that we move forward with this park and do it in a wise and budgeted manner, so we know what the costs are going to be.”
He said development going in nearby is also a concern.
“Expansion is a big word out here,” Sayre said. “We have about 7,000 homes coming from Westlake, possibly another 5,000 from GL Homes. There’s Avenir that’s going in, and that goes to safety, it goes to traffic.”
Sayre said he was also concerned about the unfinished dike separating The Acreage from the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area, which failed to receive funding in the last legislative session.
“We have a berm out there that’s not finished,” he said, explaining that he had been to Tallahassee to get funding for the dike, and had talked with State Rep. Rick Roth (R-District 85), who was at the meeting that evening.
He has also talked with representatives from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District about the dike. “Everybody that we need to make contact with,” Sayre said.
He also stressed the importance of obtaining as many grants as possible. “We need to use them the way they’re supposed to be used and make sure we meet all the requirements so that we maintain those grants,” he said.
Traffic calming is another important aspect to keep pressing forward, Sayre said.
“We don’t want to impact our residents so much that they don’t want to use the roads that they’ve paid for,” he said. “We also need to be able to calm [the roads] so that new residents can use the major thoroughfares and not all the side roads and clog them up for everybody.”
Asked what his thoughts were regarding Indian Trail roads and the onslaught of development traffic, he agreed that it is a touchy subject.
“We have to figure out what’s best for the community that paid for these roads,” Sayre said. “Some of the roads are county roads, so the county can pretty much do what they want to do with them.”
He added that the county is having trouble keeping up with the development.
“Seminole Pratt Whitney was supposed to be expanded two years ago? Three years ago?” he noted. “It hasn’t been started yet. When [former County Engineer] George Webb still worked for the county, the intersection was to be improved at Northlake and Seminole Pratt. It still hasn’t been improved. Northlake was going to be widened. It hasn’t even been started yet.”
He added that the county wanted six lanes on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in front of Seminole Ridge High School, but Westlake only put in four.
“They wouldn’t work with the county to put in the full six lanes, even though the county was pushing the money on it,” Sayre said. “It’s an ongoing issue, but they’re always one step behind. Our roads can’t take the brunt of all the traffic that’s going to be out there, so I guess we have to make sure that we maintain the roads for our residents, so they still want to use them and aren’t adversely impacted.”
Asked how he felt about his role in interacting with other board members, Sayre said he would listen to all sides and try to stay informed.
“I have an open mind,” he said. “If I’m wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong. If we need to work on something and work together to figure out how we can do something best, we’ll figure out what’s in the best interest of many.”
Asked how he feels about his role as a supervisor and the day-to-day operations of the district, Sayre said his understanding is that the board sets policy and gives direction to the district manager, who oversees operations.
“We give instructions to make sure that our policies are being followed, and if not, find out why,” he said.