Sebastian incumbents thankful they’re not in Vero Beach

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

SEBASTIAN — The results of the two municipal elections in Indian River County Tuesday could not be more different, one city had faith in its leaders and the other didn’t say Sebastian City Council members Andrea Coy and Eugene Wolff, both of whom were returned to office.

Coy and Wolff pointed to Vero Beach’s soaring electric bills and other utility issues as reasons for the citizenry’s discontent there, but say the people of Sebastian are generally happy with the economic course the city is taking.

“In uncertain times you don’t want to change horses,” Wolff said of why he thinks the Sebastian voters chose to keep the incumbents.

The same could not be said of Vero Beach, which is undergoing a shift in electric providers that has some feeling uneasy. Wolff said that Sebastian’s race didn’t have any one single burning issue to polarize the voters, like Vero Beach’s electric issue.

“They’re probably satisfied with the direction” the council is headed, Wolff said of the Vero Beach residents.

He also noted that the Sebastian council’s dynamics have changed within this last year and the individual members are working well together.

“It’s less contentious,” he said, though he added that if the council was functioning  the same as it was a year and-a-half ago, “We would have seen different results” in the election.

Both Sebastian and Vero Beach saw about 20 percent voter turnout, according to the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Office.

Wolff noted that even with a hot topic such as utilities in Vero Beach, the city’s turnout wasn’t any higher than what is typical of an off-year for elections.

“It didn’t really drive any more votes,” Wolff said.

As for Sebastian, he said that while there may not have been any more voters than normal, they seemed unified in their selections.

As the polls closed and precincts reported their numbers, Coy, Wolff and Don Wright led the race, with more than 300 votes separating Wright from fourth place finisher Bob McPartlan.

The three winners said that they are ready to get to work.

“I’d like to see economic growth in Sebastian,” said Wright. “And have the town reach its potential. I also want to do whatever I can to improve the waterfront.”

“It really makes it all worthwhile,” Coy said of being re-elected, noting that she had not planned to run again but many residents encouraged her to do so.

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