Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oldsmar hopefuls share ideas for stimulating economic growth

OLDSMAR — Seven people are vying for the mayoral and two city council seats — the largest race this town of about 14,000 has seen in nearly a decade.

With the March 9 election a month away, the public on Tuesday had a chance to hear the hopefuls respond to questions about taxes, tourism, growth, their visions for Oldsmar and other subjects.

But the topic that dominated a political forum hosted by the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce was job stimulation.

At a December council meeting, business owner and incumbent Mayor Jim Ronecker told the council that the city might have to spend more money than ever this year to stop the flight of businesses from the area — and to retain them. He has not yet quantified the value of that assistance. By his own estimation, 40 percent of his neighbors in a business park off Forest Lakes Boulevard and Mears Avenue vanished last year.

Ronecker is seeking another three-year term as mayor and said he plans to streamline the permitting process, brand the city better and offer incentives.

"We've got to look for creative ways to give incentives whether it be fixing up the facades of buildings or attracting a new business," he said. "We need to have a buy Oldsmar type mentality where if you live in the city, you need to buy from businesses in the city."

Ronecker's opponent, City Council member Suzanne Vale, also wants to develop a buy-in-Oldsmar program. She pledged to do that very thing at the start of her campaign and said she has kept that promise. But economic development entails reaching out to high-end industries Oldsmar may not normally approach, she said.

"I think we really need to be going after the biomedical and those pharmaceutical companies," said Vale, who after six years on the council is term-limited from Seat 2. "They provide high paying wages and they're clean jobs."

The woman hoping to replace Vale, former City Council member Janice Miller, said job creation is the responsibility of the chamber, not government — a view shared by her opponent, Tom Eckert, and Seat 4 hopeful Loretta Wyandt.

Political newcomer Linda Norris offered the boldest solution of the evening: She said she's moving her company from Tampa to Oldsmar. Providence Painting Inc. has been in Tampa since 1999.

"I'm going to lead by example," said Norris, who also said she would donate her $8,400 council salary to local nonprofits such as Oldsmar Cares if elected to Seat 4. "I'm in the process of renovating my garage in order to bring the base here."

Robert Brown, another novice running for Seat 4, said stimulating economic growth is "not always a matter of building something new.

"A lot of it is just explaining to people who we are, where we are, what we have to offer."

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

Oldsmar hopefuls share ideas for stimulating economic growth 02/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 7:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]