News and Public Media for North Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
In the past six months, Alachua County's small towns and cities were scheduled to hold seven separate elections to choose their municipal leaders. Five were canceled. This series explores some of the reasons why.

A Micanopy town commission seat is unfilled. Is Form 6 to blame?

Micanopy is having a hard time getting people to run for local office. Some are blaming the requirement for candidates to submit Form 6.

The most recent election cycle in Micanopy — a town of about 645 people in Alachua County — came and went without much to report on — and that is because elections were canceled.

No one filed to run for Town Commissioner Seat 3 — a position held by Ginny Mance (D), whose term ended in March.

“No one even picked up a qualifying packet,” said Sara Owen (R), the town administrator. “This is a little unique in the fact we had no candidate qualify for an upcoming election.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened before.”

A historic element in Micanopy is the circa 1930 Coca-Cola sign on Thrasher Warehouse No. 1, located on NE Cholokka Blvd.
WUFT News/Debra Garcia
A historic element in Micanopy is the circa 1930 Coca-Cola sign on Thrasher Warehouse No. 1, located on NE Cholokka Blvd.

With the March elections canceled, town officials are now working to host a special election for the vacant position later this year, Owen said.

Qualifying packets for town commissioner were made available in January and clearly spelled out what was required to run for office — including appoint a campaign treasurer, submit a statement of candidacy and fill out a candidate oath form.

And there was a new requirement to the process: Form 6.

Filling out Form 6 — mandated by Florida CS/CS/SB 774 Ethics Requirements for Public Officials, Disclosure of Financial Interests that was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last year — became an annual requirement of all Florida elected officials in January. Form 6 replaced the formerly required Form 1 and lowered the amount of assets and liabilities that elected officials are required to report — from anything in excess of $10,000 to anything in excess of $1,000.

“I do believe that the current reluctance to run for office, to seek office, is due to Form 6, which is still a requirement to apply to be on the town commission,” said Monica Fowler, an owner of antiques store Delectable Collectibles on NE Cholokka Blvd. “I have heard of three or four people who have said they were interested, but because of this form, they were just not willing to divulge this information.”

The roles of Micanopy town commissioners include facilitating open communication with constituents, appropriately handling public funds and preserving the historical elements of the town, per the town website.

Town Commissioner John “Ken” Wessberg occupies Seat 5. He was elected in March of last year and will complete his three-year term in 2026.

“I just don’t think it’s anybody’s business if you want to volunteer to help your town and make decisions about keeping its future safe and sound,” Wessberg, who has no party affiliation, said about the new annual requirement of public officials. “I think it makes you an easy target, especially with robberies and things like that.”

“I do believe that the current reluctance to run for office, to seek office, is due to Form 6, which is still a requirement to apply to be on the town commission,” said Monica Fowler, an owner of Delectable Collectibles, an antiques store on NE Cholokka Blvd.
WUFT News/Debra Garcia
“I do believe that the current reluctance to run for office, to seek office, is due to Form 6, which is still a requirement to apply to be on the town commission,” said Monica Fowler, an owner of Delectable Collectibles, an antiques store on NE Cholokka Blvd.

According to the Micanopy Charter, Section 304, if the town commission fails to fill the vacant commissioner position within 30 days of the original vacancy, a special election must be held in the following 60 days to fill the position. The town commission held its regularly scheduled meeting 28 days after the canceled March election, on April 9, to discuss the issue, giving the town another 62 days in which to hold a special election.

Minutes from April's town commission meeting confirmed that Town Attorney Kiersten Ballou (D) and Owen, the town administrator, would work with the county supervisor of elections to set a qualifying period and new election date.

Micanopy town commissioners' responsibilities include preserving the historical elements of the town.
WUFT News/Debra Garcia
Micanopy town commissioners' responsibilities include preserving the historical elements of the town.

Derrah is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.
Samantha is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.
Debra is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.
Abigail is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.