Pete Chichetto

Winter Haven City Commissioner Pete Chichetto, pictured here in January, has announced he will not seek reelection.

WINTER HAVEN – At the end of a Winter Haven City Commission meeting Sept. 10, City Commissioner Pete Chichetto announced that he will not be running for reelection in November.

Two weeks ago, Chichetto hinted that he was frustrated with last year’s tax hike and this year's proposed budget, which collects around $1 million more in property taxes compared to last year.

Chichetto originally was elected to the city commission in 2011, was re-elected in 2015 and held the office of mayor pro tem in 2016.

Chichetto was also a city employee for around seven years, including time spent as utilities director.

The only candidate who has filed to take Chichetto's place is Brian Yates, who Chichetto endorsed last week at city hall.

Mayor Pro Tem Nat Birdsong and Commissioner William Twyford have submitted documents indicating they are running for reelection in November. Birdsong is currently running unopposed and three candidates have submitted paperwork to challenge Twyford: Elizabeth Davis, Joey Hilliard and Nikki Beckett.

Residents who have thought about running for the Winter Haven City Commission should note the candidate qualifying period has begun and concludes at noon on Sept. 20.

For paperwork related to qualifying for the Winter Haven City Commission, contact Winter Haven City Clerk Vanessa Castillo at vcastillo@mywinterhaven.com .

The final public hearing on next year's budget is Sept. 23, which also happens to be Chichetto's birthday.

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Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.

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