So far, neither has an opponent in his race
Ron Cutsinger, who holds the District 5 Sarasota County Commission seat, and long-time county Property Appraiser Bill Furst are among the latest individuals to file for re-election, as noted on the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office website.
Cutsinger was elected to the commission in November 2020, while Furst initially won his position in 2008. Both are Republicans.
During the November 2020 General Election, Cutsinger, a Republican, won 61.17% of the 45,624 votes cast in the race. He faced Democrat Alice White, who later won a seat on the North Port City Commission.
Cutsinger’s biography on the county website points out that he has been a South County resident for more than 45 years. He and his wife, Alison, moved from Michigan in 1973, it adds.
For nearly 30 years, his county biography points out, Cutsinger has been a financial adviser; he is the owner and managing director of Waypoint Wealth Management, “a full-service financial services firm.”
The biography adds that Cutsinger holds a “Series 24 Securities Principal License and is certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission” as a registered investment adviser.
During his time as a commissioner, he has put a focus on the county’s finances. On Aug. 8, as the board members conducted their most recent workshop regarding the proposed county budget for the 2024 fiscal year, he emphasized that efforts to maintain healthy county reserve funds have helped the county maintain the highest bond rating.
He also has been a proponent for nonprofit organizations to leverage grants that the commissioners have allocated them out of federal funding — received in response to the COVID pandemic — so those organizations can make the most of the county support.
During his 2020 campaign, Cutsinger ended up raising a total of $91,960.60, according to the final document he filed with the Supervisor of Elections Office. As the News Leader has reported, much of that money came from developers, along with attorneys and owners of businesses who work with developers.
Since he has been on the board, Cutsinger generally has voted in favor of applications for new communities. In fact, he himself won approval from his colleagues in February for a seven-duplex development on Manasota Key. The other commissioners voted in favor of that project in spite of opposition to it from Manasota Key residents, including the members of the Manasota Key Association.
District 5 includes the southern portion of Venice, as well as much of North Port and Manasota Key.
Cutsinger filed his re-election paperwork on Aug. 23.
49 years of experience in real estate
Furst won his initial election — the August 2008 Primary — with 54.23% of the 29,528 votes cast, defeating Republican Jim Todora. He had no Democratic opposition for the General Election that year.
After reviewing records maintained by the Supervisor of Elections Office, the News Leader found no indication that Furst has faced a challenger since 2008.
Furst’s Candidate’s Statement on the Supervisor of Elections Office website says that he has more than 49 years of experience in the real estate industry, having begun his career in 1974 as an appraiser in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties, working on parcels “that were being taken for the construction of Interstate 95.”
“Bill is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Building Contractor,” as well as a past president of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, his biography on the Property Appraiser’s Office website adds.
“He is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Realtors,” that biography continues, and he has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors continuously since 1998.
His Candidate’s Statement also points out, “Bill’s campaign theme in 2008 was to appraise property at the lowest level the state will approve so that no one is overtaxed.”
Every year, it continues, the State of Florida reviews every property appraiser’s tax roll to determine how close to 100% of market value the rates are. “Sarasota’s roll is always among the lowest in the state,” the statement adds.
When the state “approved our 2023 tax roll,” the statement notes, it determined that “we appraised at 90.2% of value and were the lowest of all 67 counties.”
Furst filed his paperwork for re-election on July 19, the Supervisor of Elections Office records show.