We are currently in an inflationary period, which I expect to last for several years. I have experience working in government during a time of austerity, as I worked in the Florida Legislature following the 2008 housing crash.
I believe that government should live within its means, just like a normal household does. Today, the cost of everything is going up and while I have always been an advocate of smaller government, a time like this absolutely requires us to focus on the core functions of county government.
I’m proud to have the endorsements of Sheriff Ivey, the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), and Brevard’s Professional Firefighters Local 2969. Public Safety is the paramount responsibility of local government and I fully support our first responders.
I want to get moms and dads home from work in less time and with fewer headaches. Many of us in District 4 must travel on Wickham Road daily. While it doesn’t make sense to widen it beyond its current four lanes, I believe we can do more to improve the flow of traffic. One of my goals is to create longer turn lanes to get cars out of the flow of traffic earlier. Certainly, the most efficient traffic light timing on the busiest corridors is important.
My wife and I live by the intersection of Wickham Road and Pineda. I am a pedestrian every day in Brevard County. I walk to CVS, Wawa, and the Produce Place. I ride my bicycle to the post office, and the grocery store. During my campaign for the County Commission, I have canvassed many neighborhoods throughout District 4 on a bicycle, and I’ve learned a lot about the challenges and benefits pedestrians have in these communities.
On the beachside, numerous cross walks were added with flashing lights to aide pedestrian safety. Since then, traffic has increased on South Patrick Drive and even on South Tropical Trail as drivers try to avoid that stretch of Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach. The increase in traffic on South Patrick and South Tropical Trail is a concern to the residents who live nearby. As your next County Commissioner, I will work with the residents on traffic solutions for these areas.
Indian River Lagoon
We must improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. Once the water quality has improved, the seagrass will have the best conditions to thrive again. That is, the water must be clear enough for the seagrass to receive sunlight. Local scientists are working on how seagrass can best be propagated, and volunteers are ready to help plant seedlings.
Septic to sewer conversions will continue to be a long-term project in Brevard. Connecting homes with older, leaking septic tanks to new sewer lines is a goal of Brevard County and the State of Florida.
Reducing stormwater runoff will also be paramount to the lagoon’s health. In the future, local governments will rely more on “pervious” infrastructure improvements to mitigate stormwater runoff. Specifically, porous concrete and permeable pavers will be used to allow stormwater to be absorbed by the ground rather than being transported via pipe and dumping in the lagoon. Strategic landscapes will also be used to soak up stormwater.
Taxes and Spending
I will be an advocate for the taxpayers on the County Commission. The county charter contains a provision that limits the allowable yearly increase in general revenue to the lesser of 3% or the consumer price index, which is tied to inflation. This is referred to as “the charter cap” and unless the county commission overrides it by a supermajority vote, it must be adhered to. (General fund revenue from new construction is outside the charter cap provision). Voting to override the cap is sometimes called “busting the cap.” I will not vote to bust the cap.
The Brevard County Charter is currently under review, and some may propose changes to it. Those changes must be put before the voters in the form of a referendum. This will be done during the November 2022 election. If the rumored referendum to remove the cap completely is on the ballot, I have faith that the voters of Brevard will return a resounding NO to that question.
I will prioritize spending on core functions of government (first responders and infrastructure).
Home Rule and Working with Cities
I have good relationships with city council members, having worked with many of them while I was a Director at the Property Appraiser’s office and a Legislative Aide for the Florida Legislature.
I respect home rule. I believe the duly elected city officials in Brevard’s sixteen municipalities should make the decisions that affect their cities. As County Commissioner, I won’t interfere. Rather, I will work with municipal leaders on behalf of the county’s taxpayers.
The “Driftwood Proposal”
Brevard County Commissioners recently voted 3-1 to approve a proposal to grant up to $30 million to Driftwood Capital, the developer of the Westin Cocoa Beach Resort & Spa. The money will be paid from the tourist development tax, up to $1 million per year for 30 years.
If I had been on the County Commission for this vote, I would have voted no. While I welcome the Westin to Cocoa Beach, I do not think tax dollars should be used in this way.