Bob Solari

Name: Bob Solari

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Contact Info: 772-231-0412

How long living in Indian River County: 32 years

Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois

Occupation: County Commissioner

Family: Happily married to my wonderful wife, Jackie

Please list Civic and Volunteer Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations.

I am presently a member of:

  • Leadership Florida Class XXV
  • Leadership Florida’s Mission is to build a strong, diverse, statewide network of leaders with a shared commitment to connect our communities and to make Florida a better place in which to live and prosper. Member 2007 to Present
  • Rotary Club of Vero Beach
  • Men’s Republican Club
  • Republican Women of Indian River
  • Indian River County Taxpayers Association
  • Indian River Land Trust

I have also been on the Board of the Cultural Council where I served as treasurer. The Republican Executive Committee where I served as treasurer and vice- chairman. The Board of the Riverside Children’s Theater. Served as a Youth Guidance member.

I served on the City of Vero Beach Planning and Zoning Board for four years, serving as Chairman for two and a half years. I served on the COVB City Council from March of 2005 to March of 2007. I am presently a member of the Indian River Board of County Commissioners, having served as chairman in 2011.

What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

A number of things motivated me to run for a second term on the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners. The first thing is that I love my job! I am thankful that the citizens of the County elected me to the position and proud to represent them on the Commission.

I know that I have worked very hard since being elected, have certainly tried to do the right thing for the County, and I believe that on the whole I have done a good job.

Four priorities of a second term are:

1. Keep government focused on the efficient delivery of essential services. This will allow us to keep taxes low and lead to less interference with the private sector.

2. Work even harder to bring new jobs into Indian River County, either by helping existing businesses expand or helping to bring new businesses into the County.

3. Our Emergency Services are about to go through a generational transition. A large number of employees with the greatest experience and institutional memory are about to retire. It is essential that the transition to the next generation of Emergency Service employees be made successfully. This will require a well thought out transition plan.

4. My highest environmental priority is to save the Indian River Lagoon. On an average day 96 million gallons of polluted water spew into our Lagoon. If work to save it is not begun soon the result could well be a dead zone, which will kill the Lagoon and devastate our community. The solution is to reverse, in whole or part, the flow of polluted waters, which now enter the Lagoon. One or more reservoirs to the west of Vero Beach will be necessary. The waters will need to be cleansed probably using a system similar to but bigger than the successful Egret Marsh project. Funding will have to come from multiple sources. Hopefully some Federal dollars will be available. If we have developed good relations with our state delegation, some State money and money from the Saint John’s Water Management District will be available. Local funds will necessary. It will be a difficult project to complete but one which will benefit our community for generations to come.

What makes you qualified to run for this position?

Three specific things help to qualify me for the position on the Indian River Board of County Commissioners.

First, I have lived and worked in Indian River County for most of my adult life. Together, my wife, Jackie, and I have lived and worked for over 83 years in Indian River County. I worked in the citrus industry in the county for over 24 years. We are very familiar with the people and places, which make Indian River County a great place to live.

Second, my education also helps to qualify me. I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy. I then received a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. After working in Citrus for five years, I went back and worked for a Masters in Business Administration. Upon graduation I received my degree and the school’s highest award, the “Outstanding MBA Award.”

Third, I have had an active civic life in the county. I was on the City of Vero Beach Planning and Zoning Board for four years, serving as Chairman for two and a half years. I served on the COVB City Council from March of 2005 to March of 2007. I have been on the Board of County Commissioners since November of 2008, serving as Chairman in 2011.

What is your position on the potential sale of the City of Vero Beach’s electric utility to Florida Power and Light? What, if anything, could or should the Board of County Commissioners do to influence the process one way or the other? What should the commission do for those electric customers who live outside the city in the unincorporated portion of the county?

The City of Vero Beach’s electric utility is a terrible drag on the economic wellbeing of both the City of Vero Beach and Indian River County. For the economic health of both the City and County it needs to be sold. The City’s high rate structure results in about $21,000,000 per year being unnecessarily sent to Orlando. With FPL rates, this money could remain in local ratepayer’s pockets, improving their lives and stimulating our local economy.

The Commission has supported the sale of the electric utility. It has had both the utility activists Dr. Faherty and Mr. Heran give updates before the Commission as well as had presentations by FPL so that our residents could understand the issue and follow its progress. The Commission well understands that the City is taxing thousands of county residents who have no representation on the city council as the money generated by the City’s high electric rates are funneled to the City’s general fund to keep the City’s taxes low. All who believe in our form of representative government should abhor this form of taxation without representation.

If the sale to FPL does not take place the County presently plans to survey County customers of the City electric system and will ask them if in the future they want be served by the City or by FPL. If the County residents indicate that they would prefer to be served by FPL, the County will do all it can to insure that the will of the people is actualized. This may include working with our state representatives to change some state laws and will certainly mean going before the Public Service Commission to secure FPL service for our residents.

With unemployment at about 10 percent, what do you believe is the County Commission’s role in bringing more jobs to Indian River County? Do you support tax abatements and jobs grants to attract new businesses and encourage expansion of existing businesses?

The best thing that the County Commission can do is to provide a positive platform for new and expanding businesses in Indian River County and this is in fact what the Commission has done over the past four years.

The voters passed a tax abatement program in 2010 and the County Commission has effectively used this as a tool to bring in new businesses to the County. More importantly the Commission improved its job grant program in 2009. This program had just one applicant in the three years prior to the changes but in the three years since we made it more meaningful, we have had twelve successful applications for both new and expanding companies in the county. I have supported both of these programs. Even more importantly I have worked hard to keep taxes low. More and more often businesses are moving to low tax locals. The Commission reduced taxes by focusing on the efficient distribution of essential services. It has cut unnecessary committees and worked hard to cut all unnecessary expenditures. Also important is that the County has good roads and utilities, which are also on the list of things that businesses look for when searching for places to start or expand a business.

The final piece in the County Commission’s role to bring new jobs to our Community is to be open to all new opportunities that might result in new jobs in the County. In this area the present commission has been very active. We have worked to reverse what was a few years a perception that the County was anti-business and worked very hard to make sure that every new and expanding business would find a warm welcome in Indian River County.

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