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County Commission race attracts another

Published Oct. 6, 2005

The list of people who want Chester White's seat on the County Commission has grown yet again.

Floral City resident Kenneth M. Zablocki announced his intentions Friday. He is the second Republican and third candidate to bid for the District 4 slot.

White is giving up his seat after this term to challenge Republican state Rep. Paul Hawkes.

Zablocki, 60, owns a 200-acre cattle ranch off Rooks Road in Floral City. He came to Citrus in 1982 after 23 years running an electrical contracting business in Clearwater.

Now he wants to help county government run better.

"I don't think our taxes are being spent wisely. I think property taxes are too high," Zablocki said during an interview Friday.

He noted that the commission has overseen slight millage rate decreases in recent years. But his own experience _ taxes on the ranch have increased from $1,300 to $2,000 in 13 years _ tells him change is necessary.

"Is that a discount? Does that sound like taxes are going down? We're a fortunate county. We get almost $20-million a year from Florida Power in taxes. I can't believe we need another $20-million from the taxpayers," he said.

If elected, Zablocki said he would review the county's spending and look for cuts. He couldn't mention any specific areas Friday, but did list one sacred cow: Sheriff Charles Dean's budget.

Zablocki said he also will try to represent Floral City residents better. He recently tried to persuade the county to install a streetlight in Floral City; officials told him the county couldn't grant his request.

In 1992, Zablocki was one of eight candidates seeking appointment to finish deceased commissioner Wayne Weaver's term. He was the only Republican in the running; Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, selected David Langer.

Zablocki is active in the Civil Air Patrol. The Korean War veteran also is a member of American Legion Post 155, Crystal River.

Also vying for the District 4 seat are Republican Joseph Cino and Democrat Allen Fort.

The general election will be Nov. 8, with the primary Sept. 8. Qualifying comes this summer, when Zablocki either must pay a $2,273.70 fee _ 7.5 percent of the $30,616 salary _ or present signatures from 671 registered Republicans, which represents 3 percent of the voters registered in that party for the 1992 election.