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KYC Election Guide

Hernando County Commission, District 1

Republicans Michael Burmann, Richard Matassa, Nick Nicholson and Regina Werder-McGuire

Someone new will be sitting in the District 1 commission seat this November with the decision by Jeff Stabins to not seek another term. Four candidates qualified for the Republican primary: Michael Burmann, Richard Matassa, Nick Nicholson and Regina Werder-McGuire. The top vote-getter in August will face Democrat Arlene Glantz, Independent Joseph Swilley and write-in candidate Jose Luis Monegro in November. Werder-McGuire did not respond to numerous requests for an interview or return a questionnaire about her candidacy. Barbara Behrendt, Times staff writer

Michael Burmann, 52 Home inspector Richard Matassa, 43 Engineer and contractor Nick Nicholson, 65 Engineer Regina Werder-McGuire, 77 N/A
Party Republican Republican Republican Republican
Experience Burmann is a native of Woodstock, Ill., who came to Florida 26 years ago. He is a home inspector who worked for a time for the My Safe Florida Home program. Previously, he had worked as a community construction manager and a project manager for two Tampa home builders. He is the chairman of the Hernando County Housing Authority. Born in Chicago, Matassa moved to Hernando Beach in 1979. He operates Samsson Construction Inc. and A Civil Design Group. He is a member of several engineering organizations, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce and the Hernando Builders Association. He also has served on several county committees, including the Hernando Business and Economic Development Committee. Nicholson is the owner of Nicholson Engineering Associates. 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. N/A
Education Graduate of McHenry High School in McHenry, Ill., and attended Northern Illinois University Graduate of Springstead High School, two engineering degrees from the University of Miami Civil engineering degree from Cleveland State University, master's in civil engineering from University of Kentucky and MBA from University of South Carolina N/A
How would you handle the revenue shortfall and the budget? Burmann said he would have a hard time agreeing to a tax rate increase because he believes other cuts can still be made. He doesn't agree with cutting a certain percentage across the board but rather setting priorities for what is important, such as public safety. He also supports using volunteers to cut county staff costs. Matassa is opposed to an increase in the property tax rate. As for how to cut the budget to deal with falling revenues, he said that is not his job. His job is to give the county staff a figure and "they meet it or they get replaced.'' Matassa also said that union workers need to consider pay and benefit cuts to bring their compensation more in line with the private sector. Nicholson said there is still more to cut from the budget before a property tax rate increase should be considered. He noted that although the county staff dropped from 366 to 182 from 2007 until 2012, wages only dropped 33 percent, indicating the staff was top-heavy. The county needs to better scrutinize contracts and purchases and analyze each position for need. N/A
What do we need to do to enhance economic development? The county needs to work on bringing in more companies like the Walmart Distribution Center, with well-paying jobs. But Burmann says that the county needs to be careful about the kinds of companies that come. The area would have trouble supporting a high water-use facility. But the county might consider a desalination plant in the future to provide water and create jobs, he says. Matassa believes that with fewer government regulations, free enterprise will attract the development the county needs to thrive. He is not a proponent of using economic incentives to lure companies. "It's not the government's function to pay people to bring jobs,'' he says. "Provide a strong community, and people will want to be in it.'' 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, such as running sewer lines in front of some vacant commercial properties, and in-fill construction should be encouraged. N/A
Hernando County need mass transit and THE Bus?
Burmann would eliminate the fixed-route system known as THE Bus. It is not efficient and does not serve those it should, such as workers and the elderly. More riders seem to be "teens going from shopping mall to shopping mall'' who don't need mass transit, he says. THE Bus is a luxury that rural Hernando County cannot afford, Matassa says. Those who need mass transit should move to more densely developed communities that lend themselves to mass transit. If the private sector decides a bus is beneficial, the private sector should fund it. Nicholson says all people should be served by the transportation they need and not just the elderly, but also workers. The system would need schedule changes to accommodate workers. The county should continue to look at ways to make the system more efficient. N/A
Should user fees help pay for parks? No. User fees rather than property taxes should pay for the parks, Matassa says. If people were not willing to volunteer to help with the parks, he says, they must not consider them that important. 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. N/A
Assets Home, two vehicles and cash Home, property, vehicles, stocks, bonds and savings Home, property and vehicle House, van with trailer and household goods
Liabilities Loans and mortgage Loans and mortgages Loan Loan and credit card debts
Income Salaries from home inspection business and West Hernando Christian School Salaries from businesses Salaries from Nicholson Engineering and Withlacoochee Equities and
disability payment
Military retirement and salary from an unnamed employer
Personal Married with one daughter and one son Married with four children Divorced with a grown son N/A
Website N/A
Email N/A
About the job: Hernando County commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district for the seat they are seeking. Commissioners run for four-year terms. Their job is to set policy and the budget for county government operations. The annual salary for a commissioner is currently $62,523. District 1 encompasses most of northern and central Spring Hill.

Hernando County Commission, District 1

Hernando County Commission, District 1 07/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 4:30am]
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