As a member of the City Commission, I have always been a strong supporter and advocate for our police and fire departments, along with all of our employees.
Both our police and fire unions are at the end of three-year contracts that are currently being renegotiated. The current contracts recognized the financial and employment situation at the time and were put in place under the former mayor. The new contracts will recognized today's realities and ensure Sanford’s fire and police are fairly compensated. We are following the negotiation process, knowing that we must be competitive to maintain our public safety departments and serve our residents.
My record shows that I support public safety. As a member of the City Commission, I have:
• Stepped into negotiations to develop a pay plan that addressed issues for our long-term employees in the fire department.
• Proposed the Take Home Car program for our police.
• Advocated to add 10 officers a year during the mid-2000’s to address the overwhelming number of calls per officer.
• Proposed additional officers since rejoining the commission in 2014, using both city funds and federal grants.
• Insisted on a capital replacement program that replaces vehicles on a regular basis, rather than when an emergency purchase is needed.
• Broke the negotiation stalemate to get approval for a new fire station site for the East Lake Mary Blvd area.
• Said NO when a former mayor wanted to turn our police and fire departments over to the county.
• Proposed the financing plan to get the public safety complex constructed.
Solving problems of pay and working conditions is not easy, especially with high inflation and low unemployment. It takes more than a bullet point to make it happen. That’s where my knowledge and experience count.
Ensuring good development, that improves the city for residents, is a priority for me. I have advocated for responsible growth since I was first elected. Even when not in office I have addressed the commission regarding development issues including the proposal for the ALF on the marina and incompatible development adjacent to existing neighborhoods.
The first issue I addressed as a commissioner was the plan to develop a hotel and conference center in Fort Mellon Park. At the time I was the only commissioner questioning the impacts and the financial viability of the plan. Eventually the plan failed because it was not viable.
Recognizing the need for residents to be involved early, I presented the Citizens Awareness and Participation Plan as a way for citizens to know what was being planned before it appeared for a final vote. The program, while not perfect, requires a developer to meet with residents and discuss plans before submitting plans to the city.
Planned Development zoning is a negotiated zoning. The idea is that concessions can be granted on the City’s development standards in order to gain a better overall development. Developers were using this to get around our standards. I have insisted that we get a list of deviations from standards and a list of enhancements in the project. If we give concessions, we need to get something in return.
Residential subdivisions were being build with poor drainage and little recreational space. I led the commission to add standards that required improved site design, addition of drainage improvements, and active recreational space based on the number and size of individual lots. The smaller the lot size, the more recreational space is required.
We have also increased architectural standards for both residential and commercial buildings. The development process is difficult to follow. There is a Comprehensive Plan that lays out the areas the city has designated for certain development. There are Land Development Regulations that provide details for each type of development. Within those regulations are the Historic Preservation Code which adds a layer of regulation in the historic districts, there are overlay districts downtown and along major road corridors that have sometimes tougher and sometimes relaxed rules. We have a Joint Planning Agreement with the County which governs development in areas where the City and County meet, and all of this must follow state law.
To help residents understand the process, I worked on the Resident’s Guide to a Quasi-Judicial Land Use Decision Process because by the time a development gets to the City for approval, it is too late to deny it because residents don’t like like. We can only deny a development if it violates our Comp Plan and Land Development Regulations.
The key to having the development we want is to make sure it is in the comp plan. That is why we are currently reconsidering the percentage of land set aside for apartments, developing historic preservation rules for Georgetown, revising parking standards for downtown, and removing multifamily designations in parts of Goldsboro.
Answers about Redistricting and Six Districts
Why is there a question of how many districts the city should have? In 2018 the voters passed a Charter change that allowed the City Commission to increase the number of districts from the current four to six. That change was never discussed until the 2020 census prompted redistricting. READ MORE