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Riviera Beach voters head to the polls to elect 2 council members

Posted at 11:40 AM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 19:47:43-04

The city of Riviera Beach may be at a turning point if one of their council members are voted out of office Tuesday.

RELATED: Full list of races, election results | Multiple elections being held in Palm Beach Co.

District 4 Councilwoman Dawn Pardo is the only sitting council member up for re-election who voted to fire former city manager Jonathan Evans.

On Election Day, Pardo offered a more detailed explanation as to why she voted to fire Evans.

“Jonathan Evans was looking to tax us, not once but multiple times," Pardo said. "With a fire assessment tax, with turning Signer Island into a special taxing district and with closing the fire station." 

Six weeks after originally refusing to say why she joined council members Terence Davis and Lynne Hubbard in firing the city manager, Pardo repeated what she said in November, but did not mention anything about a fire assessment, but a beach renourishment tax instead. 

“If the people of our great city think they deserved to be taxed then fine," Pardo said.

Despite the claims, it should be noted that the city council has the final say on all proposed tax increases. This is a point that Pardo's opponent Julia Botel has made. 

"As a city manager, he was responsible for giving the council members' options in terms of what they can do to reduce the budget," Botel said. "He gave them options to move the fire station -- that would have never happened, the city council would have never voted on that, and that was only an option he gave them."

Botel thinks Evans’ firing will play a major role in the election results, but Pardo thinks other issues should carry greater importance.

“If they think that there’s been too much progress and too much economic development and too many new jobs coming to Riviera Beach then I’m not their girl," Pardo said.

Evans is now the city manager of Madeira Beach, located in Pinellas County. He said he plans on suing the city of Riviera Beach for mishandling his firing.

Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.