WHY I AM RUNNING
When I moved here over 17 years ago, the town had a unique feel of positive togetherness that I fell in love with. After serving as an active volunteer in various ways, I served on the Town Council from June 2002 to 2005, then as mayor until November 2008. Like the current council, we “inherited” serious legal challenges, but we were able to successfully work through them thanks to a spirit of collegial, positive, innovative leadership.
That leadership led to many improvements including: significantly improved storm water management, a beautiful gateway to the Town with our new Town Hall and Police Station, and significant acquisition and preservation of land. We didn’t always agree amongst ourselves, but we worked out differences thanks to a common commitment to a better future for our beloved town.
At the end of my tenure, we also had been able to achieve a double-digit tax reduction in actual dollars, and citizens living in Ponce Inlet had the same wonderful feeling of this being a great place to live.
But things have changed. Although the current leadership did “inherit” this tragic circumstance, thoughtful and sincere efforts to find a compromise might have prevented the situation we have today: legal bills relating to the Pacetta law suit that have topped $3.7 million and are still rising by tens of thousands of dollars per month.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
We must start planning for life after lawsuits. Energetic, forward-looking leadership can start to work through all options for arriving at the best possible outcome for the future. Appeals can lead to relief, but they can also lead to further disaster.
It is time to go beyond simply having a “vision statement” to having a visionary plan for the town. We have several significant parcels of land that will be developed at some point. The governing body should be actively engaged in developing the vision for those specific parcels with citizen input - now.
I have ideas for the future after the lawsuits. The current administration has not discussed long-term plans for what happens after the lawsuit while much of the wonderful Ponce Inlet spirit has been lost along with the enviable tax rates of the past. I want us to return to that better circumstance, and the record shows I can help us reach that as your Mayor.