Q&A with Port Orange Candidates for City Council District 1 Seat.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
The City of Port Orange is holding a special election for residents to vote on who they want to represent them for the City Council District 1 Seat.
The Candidates, Johnathan Foley and Marcey Kinney spoke with Kristen Schmutz, News Editor for Belden Communications News, to further discuss their platforms, and what they will bring to the City of Port Orange individually if elected.
What is your take on transparency regarding city government issues?
Kinney: What I would like to see is more public participation. I want to help people to understand they have more of a say in City Government than they think they do. For example, the city of Port Orange has a great tool for understanding development projects, but many people don’t know about it. I want to further promote to residents that they have a voice, and start the conversations
Foley: As far as transparency goes the City does all business in the Sunshine in accordance with State Law. All council meetings are available on Spectrum TV, live streamed, recorded and posted to the City website. I personally try to be accessible as possible. In the three months I’ve served as Interim Councilmember, I make sure I answer all correspondence I receive, after taking the time to find the answers residents are looking for because accessibility and transparency go hand-in-hand.
If elected, how do you plan to further support small businesses here in Port Orange?
Foley: I am a huge supporter of Small Businesses, as I own a small business myself. The city already openly and actively supports the Port Orange South Daytona Chamber of Commerce and personally I always encourage people to shop local. I also believe in small business initiatives and love the idea of the Ridgewood Corridor- Targeted Business Initiative. I will continue to support small business initiatives like this one, and any that come to pass in the future.
Kinney: I feel that there needs to be a stronger support in the City for Small Businesses, for example a specific office focused on small business. I want to make room for small businesses on the main corridor. A prime example is the River Walk Project, I’d like to see more small businesses there over chain restaurants and businesses.
Do you have plans to keep property taxes low within the City of Port Orange?
Kinney: I firmly believe that the best way to keep taxes low is through good budgeting. My priority is to maintain services while keeping taxes low. I have budget experience, and I know that it can be done without cuts to essential programs our citizens rely on.
Foley: I do plan on keeping the Ad Valorem Taxes here in Port Orange low. The best way to keep taxes low is by being responsible with budgeting. Currently, Port Orange has the Lowest Property Taxes in Volusia County, and I plan to work hard to keep it that way.
What are your plans to help protect greenspaces?
Foley: Our greenspaces here in Port Orange are important, but there are challenges to protecting green spaces because certain properties are zoned to be developed. I am interested in hearing more about creating a trust, but I don’t think our residents will be happy about thousands of dollars going into buying property off the tax roll.
Kinney: The City of Port Orange is known as a Tree City. I am interested in the creation of a trust that will help keep greenspaces green by allowing people to donate to the purchase of preservation areas. I also believe that green space preservation is possible through smart development, but if we don’t start having these conversations how are we going to fix the problem?
How do you plan to reduce the density of future developments?
Kinney: Recent development in this city seems to be of the slash and burn type, and many of these Properties are going through the rezoning process. It’s time to start having conversations about zoning laws. These are the conversations that need to occur for the betterment of the city.
Foley: I’m all about ‘Quality over Quantity’, but you can’t just stop development. There are certain times when an opportunity arises where the city can work with developers and come to a compromise, as I did with the Madeline Commons Project. I’m wanting to come up with a way for the city to work with developers to bring more ‘quality over quantity' to Port Orange.
A voting period is currently open through the Supervisor of Elections Office in Deland through Friday, April 9. If you can’t make it out this week, then don’t fret because the Special Election is taking place next week, on Tuesday, April 13.
Be sure to get out there and vote Port Orange!
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