Two former Highland Beach commissioners are squaring off in the March 14 election for mayor.
The candidates, Ronald Dean Brown and Carl Feldman, joined the commission in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Brown served as the town’s vice mayor in 2012, and Feldman has held his seat until stepping down late last year to run for mayor.
Brown is a retired U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, and Feldman is the president of a condominium association. Both candidates say they want to improve the quality of life in the 1.1-square-mile, oceanfront town.
Feldman, a 17-year resident, was active in the community before becoming a commissioner.
He was a vocal opponent of a 2012 ordinance that raised the town’s spending cap from $350,000 to $1.7 million to finance renovations to town hall and the police station.
Once on the commission, Feldman revisited the spending cap issue. The Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General ultimately intervened and found that the ordinance violated the town’s 1991 charter that mandated voter approval for expenditures over $350,000.
“I couldn’t sit back and allow the waste, fraud and abuse to continue,” said Feldman.
Despite the controversy, Brown says the town hall renovation was his biggest accomplishment as while on the commission.
The 18-year resident said the project “helped increased functionality of the town hall and the police department.” By removing a breezeway, he said both entities operate more efficiently.
If elected mayor, Brown said he plans to improve relationships between residents and town employees as well as upgrade the town’s drainage system.
Both candidates agree that fixing a 3-mile walkway on the western edge of A1A and enhancing the town’s landscaping are priorities.
Feldman said he plans to continue to keep an eye on the budget and improve safety and security of the largely older community, which according to U.S. Census data, has a median age of about 65.
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