Zephyrhills Mayor Gene Whitfield announced on Dec. 16 he will step down from the position in April.
“I have been blessed and honored to serve Our Little City as Mayor for eight and half years, and will finish my third term in April,” Whitfiled posted via the city’s social media channels in a statement titled, ‘From the Desk of Gene Whitfield, Mayor of the City of Zephyrhills.’
“This has been a truly awesome experience, and I thank you all.”
He added, “Zephyrhills has a great future on the horizon and as we move forward, there will be the need for new ideas and new leaders, all the while keeping our Hearts well centered on preserving Our Great Little City.
“Yes, we are growing rapidly with residential, commercial, and industrial expansion. However, we are not alone, Florida is growing and expanding at record numbers.
“The spread of growth is all around us and upon us.”
Since 2014, when he was elected after running unopposed, Whitfield has overseen Pasco County’s largest municipality, including seeing the population rise over 18,000, the addition of thousands of home units and the completion of some major projects, such as the opening of the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center.
“It is not an easy task to grow and provide all the things our citizens want, yet keep our City a hometown community,” Whitfield said in the post. “It takes all of us to help provide that Hometown atmosphere we treasure! … Our City Council and staff work every day to manage our growth as best they can with the goal of preserving our hometown heritage.
“Zephyrhills is truly a Great Little City, and we should all feel blessed to call this our home.”
Whitfield, owner of Whitfield Funeral Home and Cremation Services on Gall Boulevard, succeeded Danny Burgess in 2014 to become the city’s 20th mayor.
The mayor position is largely ceremonial, with no voting power. The city council chooses a board president — in this case, Jodi Wilkeson — to run meetings. Lance Smith is the council’s vice president, while members Ken Burgess, Alan Knight and Charles Proctor round out the council.
However, Knight’s council term is up and his seat is available in the upcoming municipal elections, which are April 11, 2023. Zephyrhills voters also will decide on a new mayor in that election.
Additionally, the city recently revised its town charter, with one of the changes moving the mayor’s and city councilors’ terms from a three-year span to four years.
Published December 21, 2022
Should have never expanded Zephyrhills all it has done is brought to many people and more crime and homeless people
The crime and homelessness are a result of the economy, not the “too many” people who are moving into the city. Unless you are saying that the new wealth in the city brings more homeless people looking for handouts from the new residents. Look at the longtime residents of this town. Many live in RVs and campers and old homes and would be considered lower middle class at best. The influx of “new”, wealthier people only brings more capital to the town. Ask business owners if they like the fact that more people are moving here. Now we need more businesses to open, better roads to accommodate growth, better transportation to get around town, more sidewalks to enjoy the walk around the city, and more people to accept that growth is a necessity to bring prosperity to Zephyrhills. Yes, just my opinion….