Candidates Responses to Specific Questions About Pine Ridge
On Thursday, July 28th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, the Pine Ridge Civic Association hosted a Candidate’s Forum for the five people running for the two openings on the county Board of Commissioners.
Why is this an important for Pine Ridge?
Depending on which report you look at, Pine Ridge is either the largest or the second largest community is Citrus County. We are approaching 3,400 homes and are home to over 5,000 eligible voters. This was Pine Ridge’s opportunity to let the county commission know that the sleeping giant is waking up and would like to have our needs addressed:
- Currently most of the roads in Pine Ridge are rated “in need” of resurfacing.
- The new Suncoast exit is going to bring additional commercial and residential density around and possibly within Pine Ridge.
- Two of the possible Turnpike routes run just north of Hampshire Blvd. If used, the exit placement along those routes could negatively impact Pine Ridge.
All of these things together will work to change the character of our community.
At the end of the meeting, we made an offer to each of the Candidate. We posed two questions:
- What do you believe needs to be done about the Road situation in Pine Ridge?
- What is your perspective about the zoning issues around Pine Ridge?
All 5 candidate sent in Responses to these questions. The following are the unedited response from each Candidate. The order of response is based on the timing of when the responses came in.
Please review these and consider heavily as we go to vote for people who can and will likely affect our neighborhood in the very near future
The following are buttons to each of the candidate Responses. You can also just scroll down and read each one as well.
Diana Finegan for Citrus County Commissioner, District 2
The community of Pine Ridge is a jewel in Citrus County and the concern of its residents has been made clear with a well-attended forum and thoughtful questions asked. Choosing your next county commissioner is an important task and I hope to clearly provide answers to the current issues facing Pine Ridge and give you a glimpse of my experience and character so that you may be assured that I am prepared to tackle future issues facing the county and, more specifically, Pine Ridge.
First, I’ll address the two issues most pertinent to Pine Ridge, roads and zoning. Residential road resurfacing has been a hot topic in Citrus County and the issue of density has been a problem in getting the roads paved in the Pine Ridge community. Pine Ridge roads have been passed over for resurfacing because the lots are larger and therefore less people live on a mile of road than other denser areas. Density became a determining factor is residential road resurfacing when residents living in Citrus Springs spoke out against the county using the “worst to first” model. The worst roads were being paved first even if they had no houses on the streets. I believe this well-intended correction of using “density” as a factor to determine paving could be further corrected to benefit the residents of Pine Ridge by changing “density” to “occupancy”. Instead of counting the number of homes on a road, the county would figure the percentage of road frontage that was “occupied” by a homeowner. For example, if a road in Pine Ridge had only five-acre tracts and every tract had a home on it, then that road would be 100% occupied. If another road had ten five-acre tracts and there were only four homes on that road, it would be 40% occupied. This correction would allow the occupied roads in Pine Ridge to get resurfaced in a timelier manner and it provides the service of road resurfacing to be more equitable for the Pine Ridge taxpayer.
Another issue regarding residential road resurfacing is cost. To begin to address the estimated resurfacing backlog of over 1,000 miles, the Board of County Commissioners has proposed adding an increase of two tenths of a mil to next years budget and increase the same, each year, until a targeted goal is met. When I forecast for the next budget cycle, using the current millage calculation of one mil equals just over $11 million, the added two tenths of a mil should yield an additional $5.5 million. Commissioners have discussed various tax increases to further address residential road resurfacing such as, added sales tax, increased ad valorem tax, and added MSBU (municipal service benefit unit), but I believe during this time of a looming recession and record high inflation, we should not be increasing taxes. New growth to Citrus County should yield enough money to pay for residential road resurfacing. The new proposed 2022-23 budget dedicates $16.3 million to the reserve fund. This amount reflects 16.3 % of the estimated ad valorem taxes to be collected. For the current year, the county budgeted 14.5 % of ad valorem taxes to be collected for reserves. Why the increase in a time of recession? The county has a policy establishing a minimum of 8 % and a maximum of 17% in the general fund balance. Funding at 14.5% like the current year would yield just under an additional $2 million for road resurfacing. Funding at 12% would yield an additional $4.3 million. The point would be to catch up on crumbling roads before the roads can no longer be resurfaced and must be rebuilt at a cost of five times more than resurfacing.
It has recently been brought to my attention that the Pine Ridge golf course has been sold to a developer that is interested in building low-income housing on the former golf course land. If elected as your next county commissioner, I will stand firm on rejecting zoning changes to allow low-income housing in Pine Ridge. There has been confusion on the part of citizens and commissioners when speaking of high-density, low-income housing. I just witnessed this as hundreds of people living in Meadowcrest spoke out about the same type of housing being built in their neighborhood. One commissioner has been campaigning for people to use the terms “work-force housing” and “attainable housing” instead of “affordable housing” because “affordable housing” may have a stigma. I use the HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) definitions when referring to housing, i.e., low-income housing, medium-income housing, etc. I noticed a confusion in terms during the last Board of County Commissioners meeting when I heard commissioners give examples of why the housing project was needed. One gave an example of a son making “really good money” but could not find an affordable home to live in and another said teachers and nurses could live there. The income levels set for the proposed project were too low and the people in those examples would not qualify as they would make too much money. An example of a CNA (certified nursing assistant) was later used; that person would possibly qualify, but most likely only if he or she was a single-parent or had a non-income earning dependent. If the county is interested in bringing low-income housing to Citrus County, there needs to be a plan, and that plan should not include changing zoning in planned communities such as Pine Ridge. Retirees and families chose Pine Ridge for its low-density and rural beauty, and I will be vocal about Pine Ridge maintaining its zoning and character.
As future issues arise in our county, I feel confident that I have the experience to find solutions that work for the people of Citrus County. I will use my 25 years of leadership experience to work with commissioners, county staff, and community stakeholders and Citrus County citizens. I have twenty years of experience analyzing, creating, and balancing budgets. For Air FX, Inc and Electrix, Inc. (the current businesses I financially manage with my husband) and as the past CEO of Citrus County Abuse Shelter Association, Inc. (CASA), I’ve had to analyze every expense and negotiate contracts to keep costs down. I will use my accumulated knowledge and experience to make sure every Citrus County taxpayer is getting the most out of their dollars. I will answer the often-asked question of “where does the money go?” and work with other commissioners and county staff to assure that the budget is transparent and easy for Citrus County citizens to find and understand. I will also strongly encourage the negotiation of county contracts as I know that doing so will instantly save tax dollars.
In addition to fiscal responsibility, my experience includes building a state-of-the-art outreach facility and shelter for domestic violence victims in Citrus County, creating new training programs in our county for law enforcement, child welfare workers, students in Citrus County School, domestic violence victims, and bringing together leaders in our community to work on issues. I have participated on local boards in both leadership roles and layperson roles.
In addition to my executive leadership, I took a real estate course and passed the licensing test to better equip myself to understand real estate law and transactions. I have also studied the Land Use and Zoning Mini Bootcamp presented by the National Business Institute. I have spent the better part of this past year attending all Board of County Commissioners meetings and listening to the people in Citrus County so that I will be ready on Day One to go to work for you.
If you want a proven leader that will listen to you and has the experience to manage your valuable tax dollars, vote Diana Finegan for Citrus County Commissioner, District 2!
For more information and for contact information, go to: diana4citrus.com
Winn Webb for Citrus County Commissioner, District 4
Question 1 – Roads
Repaving our residential roads is at the top of the priority list for issues that need to be addressed now. Unfortunately, we are in this situation because it has never been a priority with past boards. One glaring example stands out.
When the Sabal Trail Pipeline and Duke Energy power plants came online both in 2019, the county enjoyed a windfall in tax collection that could be used unrestricted – the same as general fund money. Instead of returning this money to the general fund though, a past board put it into a special projects fund.
This most recent board then voted to put $1 million of this money that could have gone to residential road resurfacing toward a bike path down Ft. Island Trail hoping to attract state money. Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the extra state money deeming it a wasteful project and now the county is out $1 million on a stalled vanity project that could have gone to fixing an immediate problem.
You might think that addressing our needs now rather than excessively funding our wants is common sense. However, one of my opponents expressed his support of this bike trail project at the chamber forum saying, “at the end of the day, if that $10 million dollars is not acquired, then your $1 million dollars is not at risk, right?” (SOURCE: click here and fast forward to 26:40). The risk was the county failing to properly prioritize our problems. Common sense, it turns out, is not that common.
The current commission loves to come up with new names for things like the special project fund, or fees, or municipal services benefit unit (MSBU). Let me be clear: there is only one source of revenue no matter what you call it – taxes from you and me.
Many candidates will point to the formula, and we should take another look at that as well, but until we change our whole approach to funding what we need now then we will never be able to properly plan for the bright future that so many candidates like to campaign on.
Question 2 – Zoning
No developer would get my vote to turn the Pine Ridge Golf Course into anything that would be incompatible with the current equestrian charm of the neighborhood. This includes anything to do with affordable housing, high density, or noise-producing commercial entities.
The term smart growth is thrown around, yet too often all we see is the growth and it feels like the smart part is forgotten. Keeping the zoning consistent provides certainty to current and future homeowners that their property values will remain stable.
This also helps the government budget its revenues in collection and plan for its burden on infrastructure resources from water lines to school occupancy. High density projects dropped in the middle of neighborhoods attempt to solve one problem by creating countless more. It’s not right for Pine Ridge and it wouldn’t happen on my watch.
Stacey Worthington for Citrus County Commissioner, District 2
Question 1 – Roads
On April 26th of this year, the county commission hosted a workshop on residential road resurfacing. The meeting began with Chairman Ron Kitchen, who is not seeking reelection but whose seat on the board I would be replacing, saying that nothing is wrong with the formula used to determine what roads need to be paved. Chairman Kitchen has said quite a few incomprehensible statements during his time on the commission, but this one is among the most puzzling.
No government official should ever ask his or her residents for more money to fix a problem until an effective, efficient solution is in place. I categorically disagree with his view of the formula and Pine Ridge is an example of why it is flawed. Right now the formula is roughness and density. Because Pine Ridge’s lots are of a size that decreases density, the roads are unlikely to ever make it to the top of a repaving priority list.
One suggestion I made as the first to answer this question at the forum was to overlay an element of build out to this. My opponent bizarrely called this occupancy, a term no one in local government uses, but build out refers to the number of completed houses with residents on a particular road.
In addition to including build out into the formula, the board can easily and immediately implement two transparency measures. The first is a list of the roads each month that the county paved the previous month published both to their website and in the paper. This already ran once last October and the Chronicle happily published the information free of charge to the county because it’s a story that attracts a lot of attention.
The second transparency measure is to have a separate page on the website and in print that tracks how much money has been collected and spent for the purpose of road resurfacing. The county has tentatively approved a 0.2 mill raise for road resurfacing which should equate to about $2 million annually. A tracker that shows exactly how much was collected for this purpose and how much of it has been spent toward road resurfacing only would be beneficial to residents.
These measures are a simple way to build trust between the county and the public. We all got burned on the gas tax, which is currently maxed out, but only a fraction of which goes to residential road resurfacing. The rest goes to road maintenance such as cutting the grass in medians, paying down bonds still owed on major highways, and other non-repaving expenditures.
I have taken the initiative to meet with paving companies and learned about different kinds of asphalt that we may be able to use in different areas to save money. Also, extended contracts through the competitive bid process with individual paving companies may help them hire a staff and secure equipment with greater confidence which would ultimately help reduce overall costs for everyone.
This issue is immensely complicated, but we could be doing more than we are now to solve it. To fixate only on the funding aspect of repaving is to do the residents of Pine Ridge, and the entire county, a fundamental disservice in being the steward of their tax dollars.
Question 2 – Zoning
I am currently the Vice Chair of the Planning & Development Commission (PDC), which is the board that hears applications for zoning changes and project development prior to the county commission.
We recommend project applications that are consistent with the Land Development Code, the Comprehensive Plan, and the approved master plan unless there is compelling evidence to support another conclusion. I and the other members of the PDC after hearing the evidence and testimony from both sides determined in the Meadowcrest case the proposed apartments were not compatible with the surrounding land use and it’s public record that I voted against the project.
There’s an old saying in politics that “you campaign in poetry and govern in prose.” The adage is meant to explain the difference between how easy it is to say what you’ll do in the job and how hard it is to get it done once you’re there.
During the forum, though, I campaigned in Latin. I answered the zoning question saying that due to “quasi-judicial hearings and rules for ex-parte,” I couldn’t comment on the possibility of a rezoning of the golf course. This is still true.
Quasi-judicial hearings mean when you are elected or an appointed board member you are the judge and jury on an application for any project. I have taken an oath to uphold the law and consider testimony and evidence from both parties. At the forum, we had two candidates for county judge. If you got the chance to talk to them, you would have noticed that they are legally barred from talking about hypothetical cases. The same is true for my current and future role when it comes to land use. For the sake of fairness, I’m not going to specifically comment on Pine Ridge’s hypothetical case.
To change the old political adage a little bit, campaigns are about talk but governing is about action. With my role on the PDC, if I were to comment on this situation even as a hypothetical, I would be legally obligated to abstain from voting on it if it came before the board.
I applied to be on the PDC and was chosen out of an applicant pool of nearly 20 others because of my experience and because people know I’m serious about doing the job even though it is all volunteer.
The easy and politically expedient way to earn your vote would be to answer this question even at the expense of potentially being able to do my job down the line. That would be putting myself above the people who have entrusted me with the position, however, and that I simply won’t do.
I know Pine Ridge is a one-of-a-kind, deed restricted, beautiful, equestrian residential community with a designated land use of rural residential encompassing over 8900 acres. You purchased a home in Pine Ridge with that in mind.
I hope you accept this explanation, and if these qualities are what you would like to see in your next commissioner, I ask that you vote for Stacey Worthington on or before Aug. 23rd. Thank you for the opportunity to follow up from your wonderful forum.
John Murphy for Citrus County Commissioner, District 4
Thank you again to the homeowners of Pine Ridge for the event Thursday, July 28, and for the opportunity to follow up with homeowners who missed the meeting. The public forum was very well run with a great series of informed questions.
You have asked me to share with the full home owner’s association my thoughts on two questions.
First, what do you believe needs to be done about the road situation in Pine Ridge? Second, what is your perspective on the zoning issues around Pine Ridge?
Residential Road Resurfacing:
How does the county determine which roads are resurfaced?
Under the current system, every two years residential roads are categorized by condition. The scale is based on a 1 -10 scale with 10 being the worst. Any road rated a grade 7 or higher is placed on a list for future resurfacing. The next step is to sort the list by the density of the streets to ultimately determine the order in which roads are resurfaced. The county determines density by the number of homes per foot of the road.
Although the formula the county uses seems fair to everyone in the county the system is inherently unfair to those neighborhoods with larger home sites. As the residents, of Pine Ridge, know all too well when you are a community of larger home sites by definition you will have fewer homes per foot of the road.
To illustrate the point, I have enclosed google street view images of two roads; N. Columbus St in Beverly Hills and N Pink Poppy Dr in Pine Ridge. These roads have a similar rating on the 1 to 10 scale but have very different densities.
N. Columbus St, Beverly Hills
N Pink Poppy Dr, Pine Ridge
Due to the density difference between these two roads places N Columbus St is on the 2022 resurfacing list and N Pink Poppy is not on the 2022 resurfacing list.
Proposed Solution to the Rating System:
I believe the solution should retain a 1 to 10 grading system to determine the roads in the most disrepair. However, rather than determining density but houses per foot of road the formula should factor the number of homes compared to the total opportunity of homes on the road.
As an example, W Horseshoe is not on the resurface list however when the road is evaluated by density using the number of built homes sites compared to vacant land the street has a 67% density. There are only 4 vacant parcels of land on the portion between Pink Poppy Dr and N Amarillo Dr.
Conversely, if you use the counties method W Horseshoe will never get paved because there are only 9 houses on the block, not enough density per foot of road to make the resurfacing list.
I believe my recommended change in calculating the priority for road resurfacing more fairly represents communities with larger honesties.
Additional Road Resurfacing Challenges
The county has been funding road resurfacing at a higher rate in recent years however the delta between the funding that is needed and what is provided is wide. As we have all experienced over the past 24 months many of the products and services we use have increased. Challenging the county is the rising cost of resurfacing materials.
In the 2023 proposed budget, the county is allowing an additional two-tenths of a mill from ad Valorem taxes for residential road resurfacing. That is consistent with most recent past budgets to close the gap between what is needed and what has been funded to keep on a 25-year resurfacing schedule.
What is your perspective on the zoning issues around Pine Ridge?
In my conversations with residents of Pine Ridge concerns related to zoning center around two areas. First is the possible development of the golf course and the other is the property just outside Pine Ridge on Hwy 486 in the area of the YMCA.
First, I am a firm believer in property rights and government be it national, state or local should never impede a property owner’s rights. Having said that, I also understand homeowners’ concerns when developers begin talking about changing the use of a property and we should all pay attention to proposed changes.
Pine Ridge Golf Course:
Golf course communities such as Pine Ridge have historically been amongst the most popular specialized recreational communities. Many communities were developed around golf courses, and buyers would pay a premium. However, golf lacks the popularity it once had. Fortunately, the personality of the Pine Ridge community offers much more than golf.
The specific concern that has been expressed to me is the future development of the Pine Ridge golf course. The golf course has changed ownership a few times and one of the owners did express a desire to change to high density to allow for condos or townhouses. Since then the ownership has hanged again. My understanding is that is not the intent of the current land owner. My confidence is because the barriers to implementing a high-density townhome complex are too high.
The golf course is not served by sewer or water and to have a high-density townhome complex the property would need to be served by central sewer and water. A developer would not be able to operate a townhome complex with septic systems. The cost associated with bringing sewer and water to the golf course to allow for townhome development is prohibitive.
What could happen with the golf course? Under its recreation designation, the property could be developed for additional equestrian usage. That would be consistent with the equestrian aspect of Pine Ridge that exists today and within the current zoning. My understanding is a new buyer has expressed interest in purchasing the golf course to develop an equestrian feature. No sale has happened and that is only one opportunity for the course.
Under the current zoning, the owner of the golf course could develop 1-acre home sites. One-acre home sites would be consistent with the rest of Pine Ridge and again within the current zoning. The homeowners that have made an investment in their homes and purchased on a golf course did so looking for a certain lifestyle. Although, an equestrian feature or 1-acre home sites might not have been what golf course homeowners envisioned the alternative is worse. Golf communities are not what they were in the past, but the loss of the golf course to neglect can change the trajectory of a community. I do not see a scenario that allows for the development of condos, townhomes, and apartments of any variety
Development of the property near the YMCA
Assuring the development of any property is consistent with the surrounding land use is always important. The property in question is not a part of Pine Ridge but the homeowners desire to maintain the character of the community. The homeowners along W Ranger Street are probably the most a tune with the future development of the property just to their south.
Currently, a portion of that property is home to the YMCA. Many in the community and on the board for the YMCA can envision the Y expanding into another 5-acre parcel to meet the demands of the community. I believe the proximity of the YMCA to the Pine Ridge community is of tremendous value to the homeowners.
Another portion of the property is owned by the Citrus County School system. The school board owns several large pieces of property around the county in anticipation of future school locations as our population grows.
What I hear from residents of Pine Ridge is the concern the property that is left to be developed is going to be a high-density residential community. The current designation for the property is 1acre home sites with a 50-foot buffer between the new developments at the homes on W Ranger Street.
I could see a developer requesting a higher density for this project for a few reasons. First, the community of Pine Ridge already has many 1-acre home sites available for development so the market probably does not need a similar community just outside its neighborhood. Second, when the ridge region of the county, including Pine Ridge, was first developed central sewer and water were not readily available. The property of concern now has the opportunity to be served by central sewer and water. Additionally, it is my understanding that future development for this property would include a 100-foot buffer rather than the 50 buffer currently maintained.
I believe the residents of Pine Ridge should certainly be cognizant of the development opportunity that might take place on this property and work with any prospective developer to get what your community deems appropriate.
Something to consider as the property stands today you can have approximately 48 homes and the development could have an access point on W Ranger Street, a public county road. Conversely, future development that might want to tie into the YMCA or the adjoining commercial property, in turn, would reduce the impact on Pine Ridge. The development of the parcel south of W Ranger Street if done in conjunction with the development of additional acreage that surrounds Black Diamond would necessitate alternate access roads within the interior of the project. The result would be no access to W Ranger Street. Finally, the opportunity for a 100-foot buffer seems to be substantial since the current buffer of 50 feet could have homes much closer to Pine Ridge.
In conclusion, the future development in the area of the YMCA is not fully developed and no applications have been made for any land use change. The access to sewer and water to help protect our environment is a consideration as is the overall development of the adjoining commercial property and the needs of Pine Ridge homeowners.
Citrus County is growing and has been growing fairly consistently since the early 1980s. We have had periods of higher growth but growth is not coming to Citrus County, it’s here. How we plan for growth is important to maintain the lifestyle we all enjoy living on the nature coast. Citrus County has 60,000 platted, vacant, and ready to build on single-family home sites. What that means to us is at some point in the future we will have 120 new neighbors. How we plan for the growth with commercial centers, access management, and increase capacity to central sewer and water to protect our environment is important.
Thank you again to the board of the homeowners association for coordinating the initial candidate forum, as well as this, follow-up opportunity. If you are looking for additional information about my background, community experiences, or beliefs please feel free to visit my website www.ElectJohnMurphy.com. you can also visit my Facebook page
I hope to have your support in the Primary election on August 23, John Murphy County Commission District 4.
Rebecca Bays for Citrus County Commissioner, District 4
Thank you for the opportunity to address your membership. I thoroughly enjoyed the forum and thought it was very well done. In addition to answering the two questions below, I am attaching a letter that I submitted to the Chronicle recently.
1) Pine Ridge has 141 miles of road. Currently, the cost for resurfacing is anywhere from $180,000 to $360,000 per mile depending on the level of deterioration. There are two issues we need to work on to maintain a reasonable schedule of resurfacing and repairing roads in Pine Ridge. Formula and funding. For funding, it is my understanding that the current board is adding 2/10 of a mill. To bring the resurfacing program up to a manageable cycle of 20 years, it will take $21 million per year county-wide. I am committed to add another $2 million from new growth in my first budget. As the debt on Hwy 486 is paid off, this will free up gas tax to add to resurfacing. I will also seek to take other expenses like staff time out of the equation to leave more money for actual resurfacing rather than bureaucracy. Looking at the current formula, it is prioritizing density and condition. Due to the lower density in Pine Ridge, we are seeing this area be put on a figurative back burner to other areas of higher density. I have researched alternate formulas that can be put into place to better serve all of our residents in Citrus County.
2) I understand that many of you bought in to Pine Ridge to enjoy the semi rural nature of the development. As a commissioner, I will fight to preserve the quality of life you invested in. Any new zoning proposed would have to be compatible and have community buy-in.
Additionally, with the proposed Suncoast Parkway, as your former commissioner and someone who was directly involved with many divisions of Florida transportation, my cultivated relationships and experienced leadership would serve you well in negotiating the characteristics and impacts to your neighborhood and community.
Please see the attached letter, referenced above.
(The following is that Attached letter)
Thank you for the opportunity to address your readers to make my case as to why I feel I am the best candidate to represent them as their county commissioner from District 4.
A campaign for public office is like a long grueling job interview. Voters should look to see if the candidate’s knowledge and skills line up with the major issues Citrus County is facing.
We are at a critical juncture, and we are growing at a rapid pace. New homes and businesses are sprouting up all over, the major chains have discovered us, and the Suncoast Parkway is open and slated to be extended to US 19. With this comes benefits but also major challenges. How do we ensure that growth pays for itself? How do we fund critical infrastructure needs and see to it that EMS, Fire Services, and the Sheriff are adequately funded to keep us healthy and safe? How do we make sure that we grow in a way allows us to maintain what is so special about Citrus County and the Nature Coast? How do we attract a qualified administrator and fill critical vacancies within county government? How will we maintain our assets, pave our roads, and attract businesses that pay higher than average wages?
We have many serious issues, and they are piling up on a weekly basis. We cannot continue going from budget to budget and meeting to meeting allowing our problems to exacerbate.
I am proposing that we modernize our Comprehensive Plan and a complete review of our codes that will protect our community standards.
I will seek to set up 5-year strategic budget projections that set our priorities and avoid underfunding public safety and other vital services. I will propose budget reforms that allow for greater transparency and accountability. I will make sure that tax monies and fees collected go for what they are intended, and gas tax goes to roads, not salaries and other expenses. I will invest money created from new growth into infrastructure that has been long neglected.
I will work with local businesses, retired executives, and business organizations to put together a world- class economic development team that will focus on the assets we have that make us unique to attract good jobs. I will work to keep us affordable for our seniors on fixed incomes and working families.
There is a long list of needs to get our county on track and time is of the essence. My whole professional career has been in the stewardship of monies. I have served in the private sector at the highest level in
administering trusts, risk management, and the insurance industry. I have been responsible for large staffs and hired managers. I started my own firm in 2009 right here in Citrus County which I recently sold to Acrisure, the 7th largest global insurance broker in the world.
I have developed strategic plans and budgets and managed over a billion in assets. I currently own a tree farm south of Inverness where we have customers all over the Southeast United States.
I previously served as one of your commissioners during the most difficult economic downturns in a generation which was exacerbated by the closing of the nuclear power plant, millions in losses to the tax base, and the 600 high-wage jobs it took with it. We made the tough decisions to keep essential services intact, stabilized county government, and set us on a path to success.
I have spent my time and treasure on boards and causes near and dear to me. I participated in raising and contributing funds to saving Three Sisters Springs from condo development, a debt-free YMCA, and along with a dedicated group, working on the Veterans Village project.
I have been a board member and past chair of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce where I currently serve on the Governmental Affairs Committee, Chair of the Duval House Trust, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Cancer Society, the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and fundraised for the United Way of Citrus County.
I served on numerous state and local boards during my previous tenure as your county commissioner including the I-75 Task Force appointed by Governor Rick Scott, as the Vice Chair for the Board of County Commission, Chair of the Tourist Development Council, Secretary of Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) and Chair of Legislative Committee, Vice Chair of the Citrus/Hernando Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Vice Chair of Florida Association of Counties Legislative Policy Committee Growth Management, Agricultural, Environmental, and Transportation, the Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority, the Florida Medical Examiner District 5, and the BP Oil Spill Gulf Consortium.
I hope you agree that I have the skill set to oversee a nearly 400-million-dollar county budget, create a strategic plan for our future, protect what is special about Citrus County, recruit and supervise top talent, bring transparency and accountability to our budgeting process, reward our first responders, make job creation a priority, and be a good steward of your tax dollars. I am a proud conservative that will give everyone equal representation. Experience matters now more than ever. Our issues are complex, and the challenges are real. You have trusted me before; I ask that you trust me again. If you agree that I am the best candidate to hit the ground running on day one, please vote for me by mail, at an early voting site, or on election day August 23rd.