Kathryn Starkey’s Plan for a Better Pasco County
1. Provide incentives for new and existing businesses to create jobs in our community
Pasco County is a wonderfully unique community and an extraordinary place to live, and raise a family. I am committed to building upon the strengths of Pasco County and ensuring that our community remains vibrant and successful for future generations. As we know, to many people leave Pasco everyday to work in another county.
Pasco County has a reputation for being unfriendly to businesses wanting to expand or move here. National builders and franchise companies have long complained that Pasco’s complex permit approval process is laborious and inefficient. It is prohibiting jobs from being developed here. We say we are open for business, but in reality, we are very well known for our difficult and costly approval procedures.
I will devote much time to changing the process, so that we can compete on an even setting with our neighboring counties. I know many small businesses that have run out of money and closed or moved out of the county expand. Having served on numerous local economic based boards, I know this must be fixed. I would reorganize the permitting department to be efficient and consumer friendly. Bringing jobs to Pasco County is number one on my agenda.
2. Keep property taxes low for Pasco County families and small businesses.
Last year I traveled to Tallahassee to help the county get the necessary legislation to enact the new Mobility Fee Program. This will incentivize growth in the county. It is unique in the state, and other counties are looking to follow our lead.
Taxing the citizens less in Pasco County means that County Government would have to spend less. Lower tax rates leaves means more money in your pockets. All government spending–even that financed by borrowing–must eventually be paid for with taxes. The real cost of government therefore is how much it spends, not how much it taxes.
My financial and leadership experience makes me uniquely qualified for this position. I have the conservative values, financial skills, and business experience necessary to lead Pasco County as the next Commissioner of District 3. As a proven fiscal conservative, I am able to address the County’s complex budget decisions with a steadfast commitment to keeping our taxes low.
3. Reduce our County budget and eliminate wasteful or duplicative programs.
As a lifelong Republican, I believe that government should be lean and efficient. By increasing technology and improving our workflow we can maximize the delivery of services by our county employees and avoid costly increases. Almost ten years ago I was able to bring together three different agencies, SWFWMD , Tampa Bay Water and Pasco County Parks and Recreation, to do something no one else had been able to do: Get the Starkey Trail connected to the Suncoast Trail. I negotiated the trail connection in fifteen minutes and had it funded (one third each) by the end of our meeting. While on the School Board I encouraged policies that would enable the District and the County to share facilities, thereby saving valuable dollars. While on the School Board we did complete overhaul of the way business flowed through the various departments, modernizing them, and making them more efficient, saving hundreds and hundreds of hours of work.
4. Give law enforcement and first responders the tools necessary to keep us safe.
Pasco County’s first responders, our firefighters and police officers, put their lives on the line everyday to keep us safe. First responders are our first line of defense in an emergency. They are the backbone of our communities.
I am committed to providing these brave patriots with the tools necessary to perform at their best – which ultimately means saving lives and minimizing danger.
5. Protect our County’s natural resources and pristine environment.
My family knows the importance of Pasco County’s natural resources. I believe it is our responsibility to assure future generations are able to enjoy the beautiful environment that Pasco County offers.
I believe we need to continue to protect environmentally sensitive lands forever from development. The quality of life we have comes from the natural environment that is plentiful in Pasco County. While serving for Jeb Bush on the SWFWMD Anclote River Basin Board I participated on the State’s Land Management Council, gaining valuable knowledge. He also appointed me to the State’s Greenways and Trails Council, where I have known served for three Governors.
I will continue to fight for more parks and trails for our residents and visitors to enjoy.
“The most powerful force we can enlist against the Federal deficit is an ever-expanding American economy, unfettered and free. – RONALD REAGAN, State of the Union address, Feb. 4, 1986