VERO BEACH – Ten of the 11 candidates vying for four seats on the Vero Beach City Council dais fielded several questions from the Indian River Tea Party and an audience of about 200 strong.
Such questions included their thoughts on selling the electric utility (watch related video), what makes them qualified to make such a determination, the government’s role in creating jobs, and others.
Current-Mayor Kevin Sawnick said government should work to create a business-friendly environment to bring businesses – and jobs – to the city. He touted the city’s tax abatement referendum as a way to achieve that goal.
Real Estate broker Al Benkert took the question in a different direction, though he agreed with Abell that the process needs to be streamlined. He touched back on a previous question regarding electric.
Tracy Carroll, a small businesswoman, said the role of government is to spur on economic development and that she supports the tax abatement referendum – which would provide tax incentives for new or expanding businesses that add jobs to the area’s workforce.
Surgeon David Fromang also said government should help to streamline the process to make it easier for businesses to open. He added that if elected, he’d like to implement his plan called “Rehabilitate Vero” – a Habitat for Humanity-inspired program that would serve to place young families and seniors into refurbished Old Vero homes.
Commercial real estate broker Richard Kennedy said that government should keep taxes low, create a business-friendly environment, work to attract diverse jobs – not just development and citrus – support educating the city’s youth, and be aggressive in scouting businesses.