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Wasteful Spending

     When you have a $246 Million Dollar Budget, it can be pretty easy to get carried away at times and you want to try to please everyone but, there are times when you need to show a little restraint. The Commission needs to stop “Over Spending”. It seems that they will always find something unnecessary to spend money on, such as a Pedestrian Bridge or a Round About. I feel we could take a few years off from building any new Parks or Walking Trails so we can concentrate on more pressing maters such as, Central Sewer Systems, Side Walks, Improved Roads just to name a few.

Lowering the Crime Rate

     Crime Rate is on everyone’s mind these days, especially since Tallahassee has had the highest Crime Rate in Florida in 2014 and 2015. SO, let’s talk about that because I do have a Plan. Starting from the outside and working in, we have to work on preventing NEW Criminals from forming. By that, we start with 4th Grade thru 10th Grade Students. We add to their Lesson Plan, teaching them about Crime, what the ramifications can be, what the Punishments can be, how to know when a Crime is being committed and what to do about it.

     Teach them to respect Law Enforcement. Teach them about Peer pressure and how to avoid it. As you move up the Grade Line, you get more in depth and more graphic in the Lessons and you even include Movies and have Ex-Cons talk with the Students as well as Law Enforcement Officers, Lawyers, Judges, Prison Guards, etc. You teach them about the Laws, what life is like in Jail, in Prison and what life will be like when they are released from Jail, from Prison.

     While that is going on, you add to the time Law Enforcement spends patrolling the Higher Crime areas. You have the Deputies and Officers get out of their Patrol Cars and meet the people in their Patrol Zones, especially in those High Crime areas. We need to take a tougher stance on Crime and Criminals. Harsher Penalties need to be given to Repeat & Violent Offenders. Harsher Penalties need to be given to Criminals who use ANY kind of Weapon.

     The County and City Commissioners have been talking about Diversion for those who are first time offenders. I would be an advocate for that as long as they ARE first time offenders of minor offences BUT, I would like to make a few changes to their plan such as, the Offenders are given bigger Fines AND Community Service. The fines should be $300.00 to $1,000.00 depending on what the offence is and the age of the Offender AND include 100 to 500 Hours of Community Service. They are given a Date that both must be met by and if they fail, they are then arrested and put into the System. If they have time to be out breaking the Law, they have time to perform Community Service. The objective is to give them a Punishment that they will have to actually work at to complete and harsh enough to make them wonder what will happen to them if they break the Law again. Authority needs to be shown. The Community Service could include Mowing Lawns for people who can't, Painting over Graffiti, Washing Government Vehicles, etc. If the Offender cannot afford to pay the Fine, the fine can be paid down by adding Hours to the Community Service Total and for each additional Hour performed, $10.00 will be subtracted from the Fine.

     I would also be an advocate to bring back the Bootcamp but for 14 to 25 Year Old’s. This would be ideal for Second Time Offenders and for those who have done minor Felonies. It operates very similar to a Military Bootcamp. The instructors do not have to lay a hand on any of the Offenders. If the Offenders refuse to obey the rules, they get time added to their sentence. Again, Authority needs to be shown.

Helping Local Economy & Small Businesses

     Too many Businesses fail in the first year, I believe that a new Business will have a better chance to survive if the owners know what it actually takes to start and run a small Business in Leon County. While running for County Commissioner in 2016, I listened to a lot of Candidates talk about our Local Economy and Local Businesses and helping new Businesses. I truly believe that the number one agenda that the County can do to help new and future Small Business owners is to create Workshops for those who wish to start a small local Business, weather it is a Home Based Business, a Retail Business or even a Food Truck Business.

     The Workshops should discuss what Licenses are needed for the types of Businesses, what Forms and Applications are needed and how to fill them out and how to fill out the State Tax Coupons and where to Pay those Taxes. Then you discuss the Rules, Laws and Regulations that are relevant to the different types of Businesses. You can have special Guest Speakers come in and talk about the types of Business Insurance that might be needed, what role the State Fire Marshall, Health Department and the EPA will have in your Business, someone from a Tax Company or the IRS can talk about the Tax Issues and the mistakes that new Businesses sometimes make and a Business Lawyer can discuss the legalities that some Businesses may face. Then you end the Workshop with a Questions & Answers section and I can pretty much guaranty you that there WILL be questions, and a lot of them. I truly believe that these types of Workshops will be of great use to new and future Business owners and will actually be a great refresher course for others. I would even try to get Local Owners of different types of Businesses to come and speak, give advice and answer questions as well. If marketed RIGHT, I truly believe that you would be amazed at how many people would attend one of these Workshops.

Job Skills Training Program

     Lets face it, not everyone is College Material. The world needs Plumbers, Carpenters, Electricians, Welders, Mechanics, Cosmetologists, HVAC & Refrigeration Techs and Chefs too. Not everyone is meant to go to College.

     With that said, I would like to create a Pilot Program that I call “Learn a Trade, You got it Made”. The County teams up with Lively Vo-Tech and local Businesses. We help Low Income Students, aged between 18 and 30 years of age who would be good candidates for the special Program. We pair up Local Businesses that will help with the tuition cost with Low Income Students who want to learn a Trade and is willing to work at the Sponsoring Business for an agreed number of Years.

Community Redevelopment Agency

     It’s a good “Concept”, the problem is, it’s being used to help Corporations that really do not need it. The Four Points by Sheraton, the Double Tree, the Hotel Duval, all three did NOT need CRA Money. They have enough clout and money to do any expansions and remodels on their own, without the help of the CRA. The CRA should be helping local small businesses grow and expand by offering $20,000.00 to $100,000.00 Micro Loans that are either Zero Interest or very low interest, 1% to 5%.

     Every three or four months, the CRA Board could assemble and local small business owners in need of financial help can stand before the them and pitch their proposal, very similar to what you see on the TV Show “Shark Tank”, where questions are asked and hopefully answered. They pitch how the money they are requesting will help them grow and expand so they can hire more employee’s and how many years will be needed to pay it back, 2 to 8 Years (depending on the amount requested). They give the CRA copies of their Financials and a written business plan for the expansion, growth, number of new employee’s that will be hired and how the money will be used. A few CRA members will do an unannounced visit to the business to see if it is a viable venture for the CRA, if the business has sustainability and growth potential and report back to the rest of the CRA Board Members. Special rules will be set for all to follow and if all goes well, the CRA could be a viable organization to local small businesses and be mostly self-sustainable since the money will be paid back, with or without interest. After all, the “C” in CRA stands for “COMMUNITY”.

Protecting Our Natural Resources

     Hurricane Hermine has opened up some new insight on what we need to work on to protect our Natural Resources. First and foremost, we need to protect our Drinking Water. 1.6 Million Gallons of sewage was dumped into Lake Munson Basin because the Generator broke down at 3:00am and did not get back on line until 9:00am. There are Hundreds, if not Thousands of Septic Tanks that are failing just in the Woodville area alone, more will soon be added to that list and they are effecting our Aquifer which is also connected to Wakulla Springs. We need to work on a Central Sewer System, starting on the South Side, especially in the Woodville area. While that is being taken care of, we need to run Sewer Lines in areas where we know for sure that future Housing Projects will be built, that way they will have to tap into the Central Sewer System.

     On September 16th of 2015, A massive sinkhole at a fertilizer plant in Mulberry, Florida, has caused about 215 million gallons of radioactive water to drain down into the Floridian Aquifer System. The Floridian Aquifer is an underground system spanning the entire state, and it’s the source of fresh water for millions of people. We take having clean Water for granted and need to be proactive to keep our Water clean and safe. Nitrate runoff from wastewater plants, farms and Septic Tanks also must be addressed. I am against adding ANY Toxins to our Water and we need to work on bringing City and Talquin Sewer Systems to the masses to get rid of the Septic Tanks and we need to make it affordable to switch over. I am also against Fracking.

Improving Health

     The City and County are already doing quit a bit to help low income County Residents but, I think a little more can be done for the whole County. I will fight to bring back regular Mosquito Sprayings like they used to do when I was a kid growing up here so you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. I don't like having to spray Insect killing Chemicals on my body every time I want to mow my yard, wash my Car or cook a Hotdog on my Grill and even then, I get tore up by all the Mosquito's in the area. I am sure by now, they have better safer Chemicals they can be using.

Mobility Fee's

     The City and County want to charge new Developers a fee for the increased number of Vehicles that will be using the roads, for example, a new Apartment Complex is built, increasing the number of Vehicles that will now be using the roads around that Complex, they charge the Developer a Fee to compensate for the extra wear and tear on those Roads as well as for any Turn Lanes and Traffic Lights that may be needed. I can understand a Fee for the Turn Lanes and Traffic Lights that may be needed but NOT for the extra Vehicles that will be using the roads in that area. The County knows well in advance what Properties are Zoned for and therefore should have planned accordingly. Developers should not be financially punished for something that is inevitable. The property was Zoned for an Apartment Complex with a certain number of Apartments, therefore it is inevitable that a certain number of Vehicles will be moving to that area. If the Zoning needs to be changed so that an Apartment Complex can be built there then, they have two options, either allow the change or don’t allow the change, either way, the developer should not be punished for the extra Vehicles in that area.

Growth Management

     Growth Management is a tuff one. Growth Management is a delicate process, you have to be able to see into the future, to predict how it will impact Leon County 5, 10 and even 20 Years into the future. How will the proposed project impact the County Infrastructure, roads, traffic, pedestrians, other businesses? I am for well planned growth as long as it is not over saturation, for example, they are adding a Publix and a second Hotel at the Gaines Street and Rail Road Avenue area, will that area of Town support another Hotel in 10 or 20 Years? I think that area will see major problems when the new Publix and the new Hotel opens for Business, which is why good planning is so important.

Please feel free to Email any questions for me.