Name: Kevin SawnickAge: 29How long living in Vero Beach: 5 YearsPlace of Birth: MichiganOccupation: GED Teacher Florida Department of CorrectionsMarital/Family Status: Engaged to Laura Torres
Please list Civic and Volunteer Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations.
Elected to Vero Beach City Council in Nov. 2008; Appointed Mayor of Vero Beach in Nov. 2009; Started Monthly Mayor’s Beach Cleanup; Member of Indian River County Census committee, Metropolitan Planning Organization, Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and Elected Officials Oversight Committee; Former Food Angel for Habitat for Humanity
What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?
Being a young professional, I want to make sure we move Vero Beach forward. We have made some progress the past two years to reduce government spending and make Vero Beach more business friendly. I want to continue that progress and make sure Vero Beach has a bright future.
Utilities: By voting to invite FPL to the City of Vero Beach, we are addressing what options we have to lower utility bills. People are hurting out there and we need to see if FPL will make an offer for our electric utility to possibly lower rates.
Government Spending: Secondly, with decreased revenues, we must reduce the cost of government while still keeping the great quality of life we have. Any waste in government we find must be cut.
What is your position on the potential sale of the Vero Beach electric utility? If the price and conditions were right, would you support selling? What would keep you from supporting a possible sale?
Being a middle class worker who is a GED Teacher for the Department of Corrections, I understand that having 30 percent higher utility bills than FPL is too high. I am the only candidate for Vero Beach City Council who voted to first invite FPL to the table after the 2009 election. I voted to invite FPL to see if they can offer our rate payers lower utility rates while also allowing the city of Vero Beach to continue our current level of service. It is important that if FPL makes an offer, that offer should be fair market value for our system. I am keeping all options on the table to see how we can get the lowest utility rates possible. I would support a sale if it is in the best interest of our city residents and it maintains or improves our overall quality of life.
Do you support considering the possibility of merging the city’s water and sewer system with that of the county’s? What factors would you consider in making a determination whether or not such a merger should happen?
In Oct. 2009, the city council and I voted, along with the County Commissioners and Indian River Shores, to conduct a study to see what options the three entities may have regarding the future of water and sewer operation in Indian River County, which would have included possibly merging the county and cities systems. The county pulled out of that study a few months back and the study was never completed. The factors I would consider whether a merger should occur is: how does it affect quality of service and how does it affect the rate payers.
The city is currently looking for a new City Manager to replace out-going Jim Gabbard. What qualities would you look for in a viable candidate?
Jim Gabbard has done a very good job during some tough economic times. The next city manager should be a forward independent thinker who is able to lead his/her workers when times are good and bad. Someone who has experience with utilities, managing economic development policies and able to execute council policies effectively. A trustworthy and honest person who will be well respected in community.
How do you plan to work with Councilman Heady if elected to the dais?
Following the rules and procedures that are in place for business meetings and managing the meetings so we can discuss issues in a productive and respectful way.