Buzzett, commissioners returned to office
Port St. Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett will be at the city’s helm
for another two years, along with two of his fellow city commissioners.
That’s because when the qualifying period for the three
seats ended two weeks ago, no opponents had emerged to challenge Buzzett, or
Eric Langston, city commissioner for Group 1 or David Ashbrook, city
commissioner for Group 2 at a May election.
“I think it says we’re doing a good job and we have a great
team,” said Buzzett, now in his second term as mayor and sixth as a
commissioner. “I’m glad we’re sticking together. We agree to disagree but at
the end of the day it’s about making the city a better place.
“We haven’t created any controversy and I don’t expect we
will,” he said.
Ashbrook will be embarking on his fifth term, while Langston
will be beginning his second term. After losing a narrow race to Ashbrook for
Group 2 in 2017, Langston came back to win a the Group 1 seat in 2019.
“Everybody will be sworn in at the end of June and that will
start the meter going again,” said Buzzett.
In 2022, the two other city commissioners. Group 3’s Brett
Lowry and Group 4’s Scott Hoffman, will be up for re-election.
Buzzett said that while the city has several infrastructure
projects now in the works, the major one is upgrading the water and sewer lines
along Long Avenue, and following that up with repaving.
Bid for the water and sewer work will be opened April 15,
and City Manager Jim Anderson said they’re hoping the proposals will come in
under the roughly $5 million the city has secured from the state revolving loan,
loan money that becomes a grant when it is forgiven.
He said the city has to pay 20 percent, at zero interest for
the sewer money, and about 40 percent for the water funds, making it a
“The infrastructure runs down the center of Long Avenue,”
said Buzzett. “It’s very old and every time we pave we have issues we have to
dig the road up and patch something. We got to fix that before we pave it.”
Included in the work will be an underground lift station
primary at First Street and Long and all the infrastructure to the water tower.
“We will have to come out of pocket for paving, once we get
it torn up and fixed,” said Anderson, estimating the work could be in the
neighborhood of $1.5 million, in the neighborhood. “We’re continuing to look for