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County Commission | District 1

The District 1 County Commission race has three candidates vying for the seat being vacated by Jeff Stabins. They are Democrat Arlene Glantz, Republican Nick Nicholson and Independent Joseph Swilley. Glantz is a retired attorney, Nicholson is an engineer and Swilley is a heating and air-conditioning technician. There is also a write-in candidate in the race: Jose Luis Monegro. Barbara Behrendt, Times staff writer

Arlene Glantz, 69

Retired attorney

Nick Nicholson, 65


Joseph Swilley, 52

Air-conditioning and heating technician

Experience Born in Brooklyn, Glantz came to Hernando County 5 1/2 years ago. Early in her career, she worked at several New York companies, including serving as vice president for financial planning and asset control for Drexel, Burnham Lambert in New York City. After earning her law degree, she worked in several practices before landing at Gross & Levin LLP in Elmhurst, N.Y. She spent nine years with the firm. Glantz is a member of the board for the Timber Pines Community Association. Nicholson is the owner of Nicholson Engineering Associates in Brooksville. Born in Ohio, he has been a resident of Hernando County since 1986. A disabled veteran, he served for seven years on the county's Planning and Zoning Commission, is chairman of the Hernando Waterway Restoration Council and serves on the Florida Building Commission. His previous employers include King Engineering, Coastal Engineering and the city of Spartanburg, S.C. Nicholson does not live in District 1 but will move if elected. A native of Orlando, he came to Hernando County in June 2000. For the last three years, he has worked for Craig W. Krueger Air Conditioning and Heating in Spring Hill. Prior to that, he worked for 11 years as a field service technician for Kodak. He also previously worked as a technician on a variety of projects for Mackay Communications in Jacksonville.
EducationBachelor's degree in economics from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz; master's in business administration in finance from the New York Institute of Technology; and law degree from St. John's University School of LawCivil engineering degree from Cleveland State University; master's in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky; and master's in business administration from the University of South CarolinaPassed his GED in the Navy, completed electronic technician classes and other classes while in the Navy. He completed a variety of training classes while with Kodak and is a certified heating and air-conditioning technician.
How would you handle the county's continuing revenue shortfall and the budget? Glantz favors looking at new revenue sources rather than continuing to cut the budget or raise the property tax rate. She proposes several ideas to do that, including selling advertising in library books and regulating local sweepstakes and Internet cafe games, which she says could be a significant source of new funds.Nicholson says the commission needs to cut more from the budget before considering a property tax rate increase. He also has expressed concern that the county staff is still too top-heavy, and that each job should be analyzed to prove it is needed. The county needs to better scrutinize contracts and purchases because the county spends so much on large purchases, he says. Swilley does not favor any tax increase. Instead, he would consider privatizing some county departments and scrutinizing others for cost savings, such as the fleet department. He questions the vehicle replacement program and would favor taking vehicles away from some county workers. He also believes cutting the salaries of top county employees would set a good example of leadership.
What needs to be done to enhance economic development?Hernando County needs to focus on providing adult technical training to the local workforce because the home-building industry is not enough to sustain the county's economy, Glantz says. She has been working with the county Business Development Office, the school district, Pasco-Hernando Community College and the business community on the proposal to seek state funding for such a training program, to be based at Nature Coast Technical High School.Change the county's reputation as being anti-business to become more user friendly, Nicholson says. Though the airport is a great asset, he says the county as a whole should be promoted. Infrastructure should be expanded in such ways as running sewer lines in front of some vacant commercial properties, and he says in-fill construction should be encouraged .The county needs to become more business-friendly and make the permitting process as quick and helpful as possible. Also, Swilley says, the county needs to attend trade shows and use every means possible to make its assets known to potential new companies.
Should user fees help pay for parks? Fees might be appropriate for certain park events and possibly for parking. But Glantz says she would rather see the county raise money for the parks by creating corporate sponsorships which would allow local teams and businesses to advertise in the parks.Those who use the parks should help pay for them, Nicholson says. Prisoners could be used to help maintain parks. He says the parks should remain open, but the county needs to find more ways to cut costs. The county should be able to cut enough spending that there will be no need to charge fees to use parks, Swilley says. If that could not be done, he would be in favor of a small fee to ensure parks are kept open.
Does Hernando County need mass transit and THE Bus?The county must keep THE Bus. A mass transit system is necessary infrastructure and needed to attract business, Glantz says. It is also needed by residents who have no other transportation. The county would lose substantial funding if it ends service on THE Bus.Nicholson says all people should be served by the transportation they need and not just the elderly. The system would need schedule changes to accommodate people who work, he says. The county should continue to look at ways to make the system more efficient.Swilley says he does not believe THE Bus can survive in the current economy since ridership is so low. He says he would give the idea another look when the economy turns around.
AssetsHome, real estate, savings and investmentsHome, property and vehicle Home and rental properties
LiabilitiesCar loanLoan None
IncomePension, Social Security, trustee feesSalaries from Nicholson Engineering and Withlacoochee Equities, disability paymentSalary from Craig W. Krueger Air Conditioning and Heating
PersonalMarried; two grown sonsDivorced; one grown sonMarried; one grown son, three grown daughters, one adult stepdaughter

About the job: Hernando County commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district for the seat they are seeking. Commissioner set policy and the budget for county government operations. District 1 encompasses most of northern and central Spring Hill. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $62,579 a year.

Hernando County Commission District 1: Arlene Glantz (D), Nick Nicholson (R), Joseph Swilley (I)

The District 1 County Commission race has three candidates vying for the seat being vacated by Jeff Stabins. They are Democrat Arlene Glantz, Republican Nick Nicholson and Independent Joseph Swilley. Glantz is a retired attorney, Nicholson is an engineer and Swilley is a heating and air-conditioning technician. There is also a write-in candidate in the race: Jose Luis Monegro.

Hernando County Commission District 1: Arlene Glantz (D), Nick Nicholson (R), Joseph Swilley (I) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:59am]
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