BELLEAIR - The Gazette asked the three candidates seeking to fill the commission seat in Belleair's upcoming March 14 election to share some of their thoughts in order to help voters learn more about them. We asked: 1) What makes you qualified to serve on the commission? 2) How would you describe the ideal Belleair? 3) In your estimation, what are the three most important issues facing the town in the next few years, listed in order of importance. Here are their answers.
1) I have worked all of my post college years for both not for profit and for corporate America. My years in business have been on the technical side, staff assignments and managerial positions. I believe that I am eminently qualified for commissioner based on my work experience, and my ability as a decision maker and consensus builder.
2) This is the most difficult of the three questions proposed to me. What do I consider to be the ideal Belleair? What if I told you that Belleair is closing in on 'Ideal'? What do I consider to be its greatest assets? The 'Ideal Belleair' would retain its present ambience of small town neighborliness and sense of security. Let me elaborate. I love the quaintness offered by diversity of architecture, closeness to neighbors, the security of knowing that when I am traveling the Belleair Police are keeping a watchful eye on my homestead. And the present town services for example, waste management, are most desirable. I love the geographical situation close to the Bluffs, Clearwater and the hospitals. In summary, I guess I like the small town atmosphere similar to my own upbringing in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.
3) a. Money. You cannot run a town, even a small town, without a steady sustainer source of revenue. These dollars are required to maintain the 'Ideal Belleair', and move comfortably into the future.
b. Heritage. Belleair's raison d'Ítre was the Belleview Biltmore Hotel. It still is. We are here because of Henry Plant and his vision. Americans are too quick to throw out the seemingly 'old' and replace it with the 'trendy new'. If Belleair were Paris or London we would not be facing this dilemma today.
c. Over development. I have always welcomed and endorsed change. It is essential to our well being and progress. I do not support greed and the "Let's cash in on it" attitudes of today's developers. Let's keep our green space, our heritage and let's work together to solve our town's financial needs. Let us all be creative and work in a spirit befitting our small town utopia.
1) I am a 12 year resident of Belleair. I currently serve the residents as the Planning and Zoning board vice-chair and the recreation board vice-chair. By serving on these boards, I have gained valuable knowledge about Belleair. I served as the civic association President in 2003-04. I volunteer at all the civic association events which gave me the opportunity to meet many of our families and grandparents. As an area sale manager for Kraft, I continually worked with customers to create effective business plans that were mutually beneficial for both sides.
2) My ideal Belleair is a place everyone can continue to feel safe and secure. Where residents of all ages can walk the streets and not be afraid. I want to create wonderful childhood memories for my son, his friends and the children and grandchildren who grow up in Belleair. My ideal Belleair is the place we call "HOME" and proud of it.
3) a. The impact of any renovations from the historic properties to the town's infrastructure and the residents.
b. Find ways to generate revenues to continue the necessary infrastructure improvements without raising taxes. Look into the opportunities available for sharing and/or trading services with other surrounding communities.
c) Preparing and educating all the residents in the event of an emergency. Making sure our most vulnerable residents are assisted. Let's maximize the opportunity of the new community center for use as a temporary shelter if needed.
1) I am currently on the town of Belleair commission. The Belleair town commission unanimously appointed me to fill a vacancy last summer. I'm sure that each of us has seen our town from a number of viewpoints depending on where we've lived and what we've done. During my time with the Eckerd Drug Company I was responsible for South Florida, South Texas & Louisiana, then New York State. I helped to solve transition problems of merging other companies with Eckerd Drug from diverse corporate cultures. I have served many hours of community service including: 2005 President of the Belleair civic association; past member of the town of Belleair historic preservation board; volunteer for the Belleair rec board events; 2005 co-chair of the Rotary Foundation-2006 board of directors of the Rotary; taught Junior Achievement classes; coordinated Children's Miracle Network activities for Eckerd Drug in three states.
2) I would like to see our town move forward with a new consensus, that we will better our town by coming together to solve problems and address issues. As a commissioner, it is not for me to define the ideal Belleair, but to reflect the best consensus of the residents I represent, being unafraid to make difficult or unpopular decisions when necessary, but still wanting what is best for the citizenry as a whole. As a resident of Belleair, my ideal community is one where residents work together to maintain a community that is safe, vibrant and prosperous and appeals to our children in hopes that they will want to live here. Belleair is already one of the premier communities on Florida's West Coast and we need to maintain that.
3) a. The comprehensive land use plan for Belleair requires a complete review & update in order to preserve our town's character and remain in force. This comprehensive land use plan not only meets state requirements it defines and protects the land use as identified by the town. For example the Belleview Biltmore (formerly Pelican) Golf Course is designated "open space" to protect against development.
b. Progress Energy - We have made an offer to Progress Energy to sign a franchise agreement and are waiting for a response. Progress Energy is waiting for a Public Service Commission ruling.
c. Belleview Biltmore - We hired Nancy Stroud one of the best land use attorneys in Florida. We passed the historic preservation ordinance, which became effective in October 2005. We need to work with the owners of the Belleview Biltmore to help work out the issues to continue to make the hotel & golf course financially feasible.
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