The McClash Plan
Diversify our economy – We need to use our Port as a catalyst to spur new economic activity, as well as building on our other proven economies; Agriculture, Tourism, Retirees, and Sports Economics.
Increase our taxable values-We need to focus on our existing urban areas. Urban redevelopment and shoring up our older communities is a priority for me. By doing this, our communities will be uplifted; increasing home values, reducing crime and social distress.
Balance the Budget – Manatee County performs a zero based budget process. We will balance our budget. Since 2004 taxes collected have been reduced by over $80 million. Maintain a transparent budget process and provide accountability to our citizens.
No new fees or taxes – A few years ago some commissioners were trying to establish a business tax. While most cities have a business tax, Manatee County does not. I have fought off the business tax each time it has been proposed. Another hidden tax is the Storm water Utility Fee. Most cities have this fee which I refuse to support. It is another tax. I will continue to oppose these fees which add bureaucracy and places an undue burden on businesses.
I will represent the people first -I am a proven leader, and have a dedication and commitment that is proven. My opponent represents developers. As a Commissioner I can be trusted with preserving your quality of life. At a time when politicians are not willing to lead, I lead. My experience in the Marine Corps taught me lessons that I use in my role as a County Commissioner. As a successful business owner since I was 24 years old I have experience that brings a skill level few have. I love this County and my Country. I enjoy boating, fishing and kayak along our preserves. When some want to destroy our natural beauty I stand to protect it, since once it is lost it can never be restored. We have a sense of community that is worth fighting for and that is what I will do. I will continue to fight to keep Manatee County a great place to live.
Keep a focus on Public Safety - I am promoting a regional approach to Public Safety in order to reduce costs, and insure we have the best programs to deal with these challenging times. I have a great working relationship with Sarasota and can bring my experience to pull together this regional concept; saving taxes and providing better services. As an example, the regional traffic management center is an effort I suggested and helped implement. This will coordinate the traffic signals at one location versus five government locations; saving money and improving driver travel times. The radio system we use for law enforcement and other government services should be the next joint effort. Both Counties need to upgrade their radio systems. A regional radio system will also allow a seamless transition for our emergency responders crossing county and city lines. From our jails to alternative sentencing programs a regional approach will increase efficiencies. By working on a regional approach we will be able to achieve better results and I am willing to lead this effort.
Port Manatee - Port Manatee has the best location and adjacent infrastructure than any Port in the State. For example; Port Manatee is located closer to the Gulf of Mexico than Tampa, saving 8 hours of travel time to the shipper. This has the potential to save almost a million dollars a year for a weekly service. Tampa has congested road corridors, Port Manatee has none. I initiated the Port connector road to the interstate insuring we do not have problems in the future with congestion. We also have the most vacant land adjacent to any Port in the State. Each port has strengths and weaknesses. Port Manatee has more strengths than weaknesses. I also led the way to reduce bureaucracy so approvals on the vacant land can take place within 90 days. Port Manatee will be the port of choice and grow to be one of the largest container ports in the State. We already are the largest importer of several products so what we are doing is working, Why change course?
Protect the Environment -One of my greatest accomplishments serving as your County Commissioner has been protecting our environment. I will continue to protect, enhance and preserve the environment.
Managing growth - I have led the way to insure our infrastructure is ready for growth. Serving on the MPO (a regional transportation board with Sarasota) I established a business plan to improve SR70 and SR64 to handle the growth at acceptable levels of service. I also brought together the School Board and SMR to build the Lakewood Ranch Park. We developed a public private partnership and allowed for a shared use of facilities to save money. There are good plans already in place such as our Comprehensive Plan and Development Plans for subdivisions that offer quality growth without destroying the environment we respect. Years ago it was a challenge to keep up with growth but due to moderate growth now forecast for East County we are ready to provide the services. We will work closer with the community to show what tools guide future growth and how we have the ability to accommodate it. As we work with the community we can adjust the plan to conform to goals the community wants. My goal is to always protect the quality of life for our existing residents and keep Manatee County as a place they will always call home.
Make the county more business-friendly and create jobs- Since the economy slowed down we reorganized the County departments to be a leader in delivering business-friendly services. We offer a rapid response team that works with new and existing businesses to insure there are no obstacles that we as the government cause to impede their plans. The personalized services get compliments from businesses on how well we work with businesses. The County has a slogan “Jobs Now!” to enforce our culture of creating jobs and treat everyone as a customer. As a commissioner I take a personal interest in guiding policies to insure we are business friendly. We have good employees that make this happen every day. It is our priority to create jobs and so far over 5,000 jobs will be created from our economic incentives and our business-friendly services
Continue the progress - I am proud to offer some positive news about our County. We are in great financial shape. During the time when revenues escalated, I fought for a conservative policy that spent half of our new revenue on recurring expenses and the other half on one time expenditures. We built new parks, roads, a judicial center, and a much needed Emergency Operation Center. Manatee County is a leader in innovative health care; investing in preventive programs which have saved money, lives and allow our employees to live a healthier life. When the financial crisis hit, we fine-tuned our departments. Today our employees are working harder and smarter. Our citizens have seen taxes reduced by over $80 million a year. We have a balanced budget. Unemployment is finally going down; over 5,000 new jobs will be created from our economic incentives. Port Manatee completed the dredging for our new Berth 12. Home sales have increased. Tourism set a new record high this year. Our bays are the healthiest since the 1950’s. Our air is cleaner now that the power plants switched to natural gas. Crime is down. There is hope and optimism. I know there are many challenges, but with each challenge comes an opportunity. My goal is to keep Manatee County a place we always want to call home.