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County Commission | District 5

Republican incumbent Jim Adkins is seeking his second term on the County Commission. He is challenged by Democrat Ramon Gutierrez. Barbara Behrendt, Times staff writer

Jim Adkins, 63

Rancher and retired fire chief

Ramon Gutierrez, 60

Real estate sales associate

A ranch manager, Adkins spent 25 years with the Brooksville Fire Department, leaving as chief in 1998. He was born in West Hamlin, W.Va., and has been a resident of Hernando County for 53 years. He is completing his first term on the County Commission and has been active in a variety of civic groups, including the Farm Bureau, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the Republican Executive Committee. Adkins is a veteran.Experience Born in Havana, Gutierrez came to Florida from New Jersey 26 years ago. He has worked as a real estate associate since 2006. He is currently a sales associate with Charles Rutenberg Realty. Previously, he operated a restaurant in Brooksville and has worked as an insurance agent, a mortgage broker and a stockbroker. He has also been a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
He is a graduate of Hernando High School with an associate's degree in administration from Pasco-Hernando Community College. EducationHe is a graduate of Memorial High School in West New York, N.J.
Adkins says people encouraged him to run again, but he says he would not seek a third term if he wins re-election this year. He cites several issues that he is most proud of during his first term, including helping out with lighting the old Spring Hill Cemetery, making county financial information more transparent and helping with efforts for countywide broadband service.Why are you running?After 26 years in the county, Gutierrez says he has seen the county progress, but not enough. "I want to give something back,'' he says. "I'm an immigrant, and I love America like the founding fathers did.''
The county needs to have water, sewer and communications available for use by future businesses and needs a fast permitting process, Adkins says. He also favors very low or no fees for utility connections and for permits. What does the county need to do to promote economic development? The county needs to work with the private sector to make government buildings more green and energy efficient. Also, young people and the unemployed need to be trained in new technology, optics, foundries, avionics and other specialty areas.
Investing in economic development will bring in businesses that will invest in the county's future, Adkins says. In the first round of tentative budget decisions this year, Adkins voted against increasing the property tax rate, instead seeking more budget cuts by the constitutional officers. He did vote for the tax rate increase during the final hearing.How would you save money in the budget, and where would you invest more? Is it time to increase the tax rate to make up for revenue shortfalls?Consider early retirement for most senior employees. Conduct line-item reviews of department budgets. Listen to county employees' concerns. Lock in gasoline prices. Consider a variety of revenue-producing ideas and not just property taxes.
Adkins favors more fees, using the honor system. What is your position on park user fees?Gutierrez says he would review the park fee schedule originally brought forward by the county staff. He would also consider placing vending machines in parks as a new revenue stream.
Home and acreage, vintage cars, farm equipment, savings accounts AssetsHome and property
LoanLiabilitiesMortgages and loans
Salary from County Commission; ranch income; retirement from the city of BrooksvilleIncomeSalary from Charles Rutenberg Realty and previous employer Trustway Insurance; unemployment and rent paid to Gutierrez through the Hernando County Housing Authority
Married; three grown childrenPersonalMarried; two grown daughters

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 5 encompasses most of the eastern half of Hernando County. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $62,579 a year.

Hernando County Commission District 5: Ramon Gutierrez (D), Jim Adkins (R)

Republican incumbent Jim Adkins is seeking his second term on the County Commission. He is challenged by Democrat Ramon Gutierrez.

Hernando County Commission District 5: Ramon Gutierrez (D), Jim Adkins (R) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:57am]
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