An architect and a banker have emerged from a crowded field of candidates to vie for the only vacant County Commission seat up for election this year. The race for the District 7 at-large seat at one point had eight candidates. Now, Democrat Joe Chillura, a Tampa architect with a prominent name and experience on the Tampa City Council, will square off against Republican Chris Hart, a banking consultant, to see who will take over for retiring Commissioner Rodney Colson.
Both candidates have served on the appointed City-County Planning Commission, and both think their knowledge and experience can help them win the commission race.
Chillura's platform includes improving regional cooperation among Hillsborough and surrounding communities, protecting the environment and creating economic opportunity through economic development. He says his background in planning and architecture will help toward his goals.
Hart's platform stresses a need to provide responsible and accountable leadership and restore trust and confidence in county government. He advocates zero-based budgeting, the practice of justifying county programs each year to ensure priorities are being met. Hart also proposes seeking public-private partnerships to help solve problems such as drug abuse and housing.
"I think the major issue facing Hillsborough County government in the '90s is growth management," Chillura said. "Because of the lack of it, government has literally gotten out of hand."
He supports implementing the current comprehensive plan, which he helped shape as a member of the Planning Commission.
Hart says financial management and sound fiscal policies are as important to the county as its planning.
"Someone could design these great plans of a perfect society, but if we can't afford it, it's like holding candy to children and saying, "No, you can't have it,' " he said.
Chillura has raised nearly $60,000 _ far more money than Hart's $25,000. But unlike Hart, Chillura faced the long, expensive process of winning a crowded primary and a runoff. Two Republicans who had planned to challenge Hart for the seat dropped out.
_ JENNIFER ORSI
The seven-member Board of County Commissioners sets policy for Hillsborough County government. Commissioners from districts 5 and 7 are elected countywide and serve four-year terms. Commissioners are paid $50,801 a year.
JOE CHILLURA, 51, is president of Chillura & Associates, a Tampa architectural firm. He was born in Tampa, attended Hillsborough High School and graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in architecture. He is a former member of the Tampa City Council, a former chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, a former member of the Tampa Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority and a former member of the City-County Planning Commission. He is married and has five children. ASSETS: Home, savings, investment property. LIABILITIES: Loans. INCOME: Business, investments.
CHRIS HART, 46, is a planner and management consultant for the American Institute of Banking in Tampa. He was born in South Carolina and graduated from Tampa's Plant High School and the University of Tampa, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration. He spent 20 years in the Army, serving in Vietnam, and retired in 1988 as a lieutenant colonel. His Army duties included assignments with the Department of Defense at NATO in Europe and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C. He is married and has a son. ASSETS: Home, investment property, stocks, savings, investments. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, loans. INCOME: Army retirement, investment property.