Webster-Biehl Challenged by Milton for Commission Seat

Frostproof voters will go to the polls April 3 to decide the race.


Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 11:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 11:49 p.m.

FROSTPROOF | Ask either candidate for City Council Seat 4 why they are running and they will say they love the city and want it to run smoothly.

Facts

TODD MILTON

Age: 43.
Occupation: Co-owner of Pocket Saver Consignments and works locally at Garden Grove Lawnmower Inc.
Family: Married to Mary Milton for 17 years, two children and one stepchild.
Education: Associate of arts degree from Haywood Community College in North Carolina and Frostproof High School graduate.
Civic Involvement: Little League coach, Future Farmers of America.

Facts

DIANA WEBSTER-BIEHL

Age: 62.
Occupation: Retired college professor of business management and marketing from the University of California, Riverside. She still teaches one or two online classes per semester. She and her husband own Kirkwood Properties.
Family: Married to John S. Biehl, one adult child, six adult stepchildren and six grandchildren.
Education: Bachelor's degree in administrative studies from the University of California, Riverside, and Master's of Business Management from the University of Redlands in California.
Civic Involvement: City Council representative for the Ridge Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity, Frostproof chair for 39-Mile Yard Sale, Frostproof Planning Commission from 2007 to 2009, outreach chair for First Presbyterian Church in Frostproof, money coach at Frostproof Care Center, Ramon Theater volunteer, and member of Frostproof Rotary, Friends of the Library, Frostproof Art League and Frostproof Chamber of Commerce.

Diana Webster-Biehl, 62, already has served three years on the Frostproof City Council after being appointed by the other four council members to fill a vacant seat.

She is being opposed in the April 3 municipal election by Todd Milton, 43, who wants to put the "voice of Frostproof" back on the City Council, since he was born there.

It is one of two City Commission seats up for election April 3. In Seat 5 Eric E. Courtney faces incumbent Ralph Waters.

Biehl gives back her $100 monthly stipend for serving on the commission because of the financial difficulties Frostproof has seen.

"It means more to the city budget than mine," she said. "I have no ambition other than (to build) a solid base for city operations and financial stability in the future."

Milton's family moved to North Carolina in 1978. He was there through 1983, but then his family moved back to his native city and he graduated from Frostproof High School in 1986.

Biehl considered running for office three years ago but didn't.

When the only candidate for the seat failed to qualify, she was asked if she was interested in serving.

"It was my honor and pleasure to be there," she said.

In recent years, Anne Dickinson is the only City Council member who has been in a contested election, Biehl said.

"That's why I'm excited to see people get involved," Biehl said about having an opponent. "That's as it should be."

Milton said local involvement is important for Frostproof because it's not a tourist town.

The city relies on citrus for income, but that is being pushed further south or out of business, he said.

He's heard complaints about the water and sewer rates in the city, which according to information presented at meetings he's attended, may need to go up so that the city can build reserve funds for its utilities.

He wants to be a voice for younger working families on the City Council.

He encourages people to get involved, but said it's his responsibility — and that of all the other council members — to reach out to residents.

"If people don't come to the meetings," he said, "I need to go to the people."

He has had experience with corrections and law enforcement in Florida, and moved to North Carolina in 2005, where he worked with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office for six years before returning to Frostproof last December.

He and his wife have family in both states, he said, but they opted to stay in Florida.

Biehl was born in St. Louis, Mo. Her father was an officer in the U.S. Navy and she grew up in Manhattan.

Her career took her to Southern California, where she met her husband.

They bought property in Frostproof 10 years ago and moved here permanently six to seven years ago.

They had originally planned to retire in a condo they still own in San Diego, Calif.

"I just love Frostproof," she said. "When we came here, we didn't want to leave."

She also said family members told her she was being "called home," since she is a descendant of John Milton, who was the Civil War governor of Florida, serving from 1861 until 1865.

She doesn't know but suspects that she and her opponent may be distant relatives through that same ancestor.

City council members serve three-year terms and are paid $100 a month.

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