The names and faces on the Zephyrhills City Council will remain familiar — but some titles are changing.
Incumbent councilmembers Charles Proctor and Jodi Wilkeson have been reelected to new three-year terms, both running unopposed in the 2021 municipal election.
They each took the oath of office, in a swearing-in ceremony conducted by City Clerk Lori Hillman during a special meeting on April 15 at Zephyrhills City Hall.
Other members on the voting council include Ken Burgess, Alan Knight and Lance Smith. Mayor Gene Whitfield also sits on the dais, though he doesn’t run council meetings, cannot make motions and cannot vote on matters before the council. He does, however, have veto power on city ordinances.
While the composition of the council didn’t change, there was a reorganization, with Knight selected to serve as council president, and Wilkeson as vice president.
Councilmember liaison appointments were finalized, too.
Burgess will serve on the Pasco County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce; Proctor, on Ridge League of Cities; Smith and Whitfield, on Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO); and Wilkeson, on Main Street Zephyrhills.
Proctor begins his fifth term on Council Seat 5.
He was elected to his first term back in 2011, when he defeated then incumbent Manny Funes.
Proctor has owned an auto detailing and coin collection shop on Eighth Street for about three decades.
A native of Portland, Maine, Proctor moved to Florida in 1989, where he quickly landed a job washing cars and as a butcher, before launching his own businesses in Zephyrhills within a couple years.
Wilkeson likewise is no stranger to the city’s governing dais — beginning her fifth term — having been elected to a three-year term April 2018 and also previously serving from 2008 to 2014.
She lost Seat 2 in the 2014 municipal election to Knight, a retired educator, but assumed Seat 3 in 2018 after defeating candidates Devon Alexander and Cory Sommers. She took over for outgoing member Kent Compton, who did not file for reelection that cycle.
Wilkeson is the founder and president of an architecture and interior design firm in Tampa.
She’s held numerous volunteer roles over the years, previously serving on the citizen-led Zephyrhills Planning Commission and Zephyrhills Historic Preservation Board.
Besides her council duties, Wilkeson is board president of the Zephyrhills Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
The mayor and city council serve as representatives of the electors of the City of Zephyrhills, and are responsible for establishing the direction and policies of all affairs of the city.
Their primary duties include exercising legislative leadership and policy to promulgate the laws and ordinances of the city, approving an annual budget to provide for the needs and services of the city, setting policy and direction for the various functions of city government, and appointing citizens to serve on various advisory boards and committees.
Council members each receive $6,000 annually for their duties.
It’s undoubtedly a busy time inside city hall — navigating the East Pasco town’s rampant growth, development, infrastructure enhancements and other changes.
Some of the council’s recent and future undertakings include:
• Managing the addition of thousands of new homes throughout city limits
• Multimillion dollar expansions to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, municipal airport and municipal tennis center
• Myriad roadwork projects, such as U.S. 301/Pretty Pond Road signalized intersection and paving of Simons Road
• Work to revitalize the historic downtown district
• Overhaul of the city’s 911 dispatch communications system
Zephyrhills City Council
Seat 1: Lance Smith
Seat 2: Alan Knight
Seat 3: Jodi Wilkeson
Seat 4: Ken Burgess
Seat 5: Charles Proctor
Mayor: Gene Whitfield
Published April 28, 2021