Burch running for mayor’s seat
Cape Coral Mayor Jim Burch announced Thursday he would seek a full, four-year term as mayor.
Burch was elected as the District 1 councilmember in 2007, but in November was appointed to replace former Mayor Eric Feichthaler, who resigned to run for a Lee County Commission seat.
Burch said that since his election, he has attempted to guide the city through the fallout of rampant foreclosures and double-digit unemployment.
“In those two years we’ve managed to maintain our city despite the worst economy since the Great Depression,” he said.
Burch acknowledged the problems the city faces in grappling with falling property tax revenues and the awkward progress of the utilities expansion project, and said the upcoming council elections are vital for the future of the UEP and the city.
“To flop back now (on the UEP) is practically impossible. The obvious consequence is we probably do go back and raise the rates on the ratepayers,” he said.
About 20 supporters attended Burch’s announcement press conference at City Hall.
Sharon Davies, who helped campaign for Burch in 2007, said she supports Burch’s approach to government and the progress of the UEP.
“As much as it would hurt me to go forward with the UEP, we need it and it has to get done,” she said.
Burch will face competition for the mayor’s seat from John Sullivan, a city activist and staunch opponent of the UEP, and possibly from fellow Councilmembers Eric Grill and Bill Deile.
Grill announced earlier this month that he would likely run for mayor, but he has not yet filed the paperwork to do so.
Deile said Thursday that he would pick up the paperwork to run for mayor, but would not likely follow through.
“I’m not leaning toward running, but I have picked up the paperwork,” he said.
Deile is looking for someone he can support to enter the mayor’s race before making a decision. He favors Burch’s 2007 campaign platform of reducing the budget, reversing tax increases and controlling spending, but said the mayor has not followed through on those pledges.
“What I’d be looking for are the things Jim Burch ran on when he ran last time,” Deile said.
Should Grill or Deile decide to run, Florida’s “resign-to-run” law would require them to submit a letter of resignation by Friday. The resignation would not take effect until Nov. 16, when the election victor takes office.
Neither Grill’s seat nor Deile’s seat is up for re-election this year.
There is still time for others to join the race. The deadline to file to run for mayor is July 10.