Citrus County candidates seek support at Chamber forum

chamber forum
'Unplanned growth will negatively impact our quality of life.'

Candidates for two open seats on the Citrus County Commission sought to find separation from one another during a Chamber of Commerce candidates forum.

With mail ballots for the Aug. 23 Primary being sent out to voters in less than a week, District 2’s Diana Finegan and Stacey Worthington joined District 4’s Rebecca Bays, John Murphy Jr. and Winn Webb at Citrus Hills in answering questions on their vision for the county.

Some talked of experience, others of ideas.

Worthington noted that both she and Finegan own air-conditioning businesses with their respective husbands, and both live in Homosassa.

The difference, she said, is experience. Worthington is a member of the Planning and Development Commission, the all-volunteer board that is the county’s first public review of large residential and commercial projects.

Worthington said she’s learned what good development looks like.

“Unplanned growth will negatively impact our quality of life,” she said.

Finegan said focus should be on the county budget and spending. She said tax revenues from added growth alone should be enough to cover costs without going for a property tax increase.

“I’m going to peel apart the budget … and start working on solutions,” Finegan said.

They disagreed on approaches to affordable housing, with Worthington saying there’s a correlation between a quality workforce and affordable places for those workers to live.

She said the county should consider awarding “density bonuses” to developers who could build more houses in a given area in exchange for making sure some are considered affordable to working families.

Finegan, though, said the issue isn’t housing at all. Rather, she said businesses should pay higher wages to workers who then wouldn’t need government help in finding housing.

Bays, a former Citrus County Commissioner, said state funding is available to match the county with developers of affordable apartments.

Murphy said sometimes government is a hindrance to affordable housing. He said the Chamber of Commerce, not the county, supported a $2 million state appropriation to Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County for its 500-home development in Citrus Springs.

Webb, who also is a former Commissioner, said he would support workforce housing complexes near hospitals and public transportation.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.

One comment

  • Al

    July 12, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    I guess it is the price you pay to keep business Open a shelter to use while promoting your business

Comments are closed.


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