Dunedin | Mayor

Former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth will try to oust his former commission colleague, incumbent Mayor Dave Eggers. Eggers' campaign focuses on working as a team to help the city weather the tough economy and improve quality of life. Hackworth says he was prompted to run by what he sees as "City Hall's turn away from" transparency, responsible budgeting and sound policy decisions. Keyonna Summers, Times staff writer

Dave Eggers, 55

Commercial real estate broker

Bob Hackworth, 57

Publishing firm co-owner

Nonpartisan
Born in Missouri, Eggers grew up in Peru, Guatemala and Virginia. He moved to Safety Harbor in 1984, then to Dunedin in 1988. He has served on several civic, professional and Dunedin citizen advisory boards. Eggers was elected a commissioner in 2003, re-elected without opposition in 2006 and elected mayor in 2009, replacing Bob Hackworth after he stepped down to run for national office. Eggers' priorities include fixing flooding problems and warding off overdevelopment.Experience Hackworth, a Dunedin High graduate, says a desire to keep Dunedin "delightful" prompted him to start attending City Commission meetings as a private citizen, opposing excessive development and advocating for parks. Elected to the commission in 2002, he served seven years, including one term as mayor. After unsuccessful bids for Congress and Pinellas County Commission, Hackworth said his political career was done. Now, he wants his old job back to fix problems he sees at City Hall.
Bachelor of science degree in civil engineering, Duke University, 1979; MBA in finance, University of Pittsburgh, 1982EducationBachelor of arts degree in leisure services, University of Florida, 1978
Eggers says both facilities are "critical" to Dunedin, and the city has assisted them for years. Saying "the history of our community can't go away," Eggers says he also understands that the museum needs the city's help to gain accreditation and become financially solvent. Eggers thinks the funding requests are "worth looking at but I think there's a lot of other things to look at first," he says. "Before we just say 'yes,' you have to pause, look at what's going on in our community and look at the commitment we have with not just this item but other areas of our community."The city manager has proposed giving the Dunedin Fine Art Center $500,000 and the Dunedin Historical Museum $200,000 as part of a larger "quality of life" package aimed at attracting tourists, businesses and new residents. Thoughts?Hackworth says the revenue these organizations drive to Dunedin is huge and can't afford to be lost. He recalled how city leaders during the economically tough 1970s and 1980s poured public dollars into the art center, downtown and the baseball stadium, which now generate tourism dollars that are helping the city through the current recession. "It's worked in the past to invest in those institutions and it would be entirely appropriate to invest in those organizations again."
Noting that preliminary talks are already under way with the Blue Jays, Eggers says discussions so far have focused on identifying the team's needs. He says securing another contract will also require coordination among the county, state, local merchants and residents. "You've got five partners in this thing and I think together we can make it happen," he says. "They've been here over 30 years so let's do what we can to keep them." If they leave, the city must immediately start competing with cities nationwide for a replacement team.The Toronto Blue Jays' lease expires in five years. What do you suggest to keep them or to make up for the economic loss if they leave?If the Blue Jays left, it would be an "absolute tragedy. I don't think, if we lose them, we would have the wherewithal to get another team here," Hackworth says. Therefore, he says, it's important to determine the team's needs before entering contract negotiations. Efforts must focus on keeping the Blue Jays here at all costs and bold leadership is needed to make a case to residents why it's important to spend public dollars, if necessary, on that mission.
"I think we've gotten about all the efficiencies we can. So aside from using a little bit of reserves, you might have to consider minor cuts, combined with a minor millage increase," Eggers says. "It just depends on where we're short or why we're short." Given the decline in property values, would you consider raising property taxes or cutting from the budget? If you support budget cuts, what specifically would you cut?"I do not support either thing. I think we need to identify some additional revenue sources other than relying on property tax revenue," Hackworth says. "There's all kinds of sources generating revenues already and can be tweaked."
Completing city-specific strategic plans aimed at determining how Dunedin can best recruit businesses and attract tourists will be critical, Eggers says. Pinellas County economic development officials have long been working to attract technology and medical companies to Dunedin. Eggers believes cottage industry businesses would also be a good fit, especially at the vacant former Nielsen Media Research site on Patricia Avenue. He says the city's abundance of beaches, birds and other nature activities make Dunedin ripe for the eco-tourism market. The city should also work on adding another hotel, he says.What specific ideas do you have for spurring economic development?"I really believe that our great economic development engine is investing in our quality of life," Hackworth says. For example, downtown Dunedin, community events, the beaches, Dunedin Fine Art Center, the Blue Jays and parks are all investments that result in great returns to the city, he says. "We're all about getting people to come here," Hackworth says. "We have to protect what we have, which is extraordinary. Build upon it, but I don't have a new idea. I think we have a great mix. We're not missing a lot. We just need to maximize what we have."
Home, retirement accountsAssetsHome, commercial office property, rental home, stocks
Mortgage, credit cardLiabilitiesMortgage, car loan
Revenue from Centerpointe Realty and Dunedin commissioner salary of $10,000 IncomeSalary from family-owned H&H Publishing
Wife, Becky, of eight years; stepdaughter, Emily, 35; stepson, Mitchell, 32PersonalWife, Gwynne, of 32 years; daughter, Maddie, 15; son, Bobby, 12
davefordunedin.comWebsite bobhackworth.com
deggers@dunedinfl.netEmailbob@bobhackworth.com

About the job: The mayor of Dunedin serves a four-year term and is paid $10,000 a year.

Dunedin mayor: Bob Hackworth, Dave Eggers, nonpartisan

Former Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth will try to oust his former commission colleague, incumbent Mayor Dave Eggers. Eggers' campaign focuses on working as a team to help the city weather the tough economy and improve quality of life. Hackworth says he was prompted to run by what he sees as "City Hall's turn away from" transparency, responsible budgeting and sound policy decisions.

Dunedin mayor: Bob Hackworth, Dave Eggers, nonpartisan 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 4:25pm]

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