The Hometown News is running a series of candidate profiles for the November election and posed the basic same three questions to all candidates in each race. Each candidate was asked to abide as closely as possible to a 150-word limit for all three questions.

John Haugh

St. Lucie County has one of the highest – if not the highest – aggregate ad valorem tax rates in the state. As far as the particular area of influence in the elected position you seek, what suggestions would you offer to help reduce the tax burden on your constituents?

An ad valorem excise is levied based on value. If a homeowner’s property value goes up, then by cause and effect the tax bill is going up. However, Port St. Lucie’s millage represents only two line items of the multiple items found on a property owner’s bill. There has been speculation the housing market will drop, but I don't see that happening. I foresee Port St. Lucie continuing to grow and feel people will continue to move here. Continuing to lower the millage rate would be the best solution for tax relief for residents.  

What do you view as a weakness on the current board or in the office you seek, and how would you work to improve that area?

I don’t really feel the current board has any glaring weakness. I am running because the incumbent is not seeking reelection, and I don't want there to be a void in leadership. I feel I am the missing piece to balance out the dynamics of the council. I am middle class and have two children in the St. Lucie County School system, so I am concerned with not only Port St. Lucie’s present but it's future as well.

What professional strengths would you bring to the position that you believe make you the best candidate?

I have a degree in communications and will offer fair, honest leadership. I don't care if you are Democrat, Republican or Independent, I will hear your concerns and complaints. I am an account manager for a supply company that has remained open throughout the pandemic. It is important to use my strengths and experience with budgets, planning and management. I feel I will be able to communicate with my fellow council members, the city manager and city attorney so I can vote responsibly for what is the will of the people. 

David Pickett

St. Lucie County has one of the highest – if not the highest – aggregate ad valorem tax rates in the state. As far as the particular area of influence in the elected position you seek, what suggestions would you offer to help reduce the tax burden on your constituents?

Port St. Lucie only controls two of the many line items on our tax bill: The PSL General Fund and the voter-approved tax for the Crosstown Parkway. The city has lowered the millage rate for five straight years, which is good for the taxpayer, but the City Council needs to continue to find new funding sources such as grants to help offset the costs for projects. Also, property values continue to increase, which brings in additional revenue. The city needs to keep this in mind for the future and find ways to provide the services with those funds while lowering the overall millage rate.

What do you view as a weakness on the current board or in the office you seek, and how would you work to improve that area?

The new councilmember will have a lot of catching up to do in a short period of time. I have been preparing for this role for over a year, attending many Council meetings and watched many online and on Channel 20. I have attended the retreats and strategic planning sessions, as well as community planning meetings on both Floresta Drive and the Southern Groves Jobs Corridor. I have studied the city budget, strategic plan, and the Parks and Rec Master Plan. I have also met with councilmembers, staff, and other local leaders in our community to hear their vision.

What professional strengths would you bring to the position that you believe make you the best candidate?

I have a love for our community and a passion to serve. During my long military career, I held various leadership roles, managed property and was responsible for billions of dollars’ worth of government property. Being a good steward of the taxpayers’ money was necessary and prepared me for dealing with the city’s $500 million budget. I hold a master’s degree in emergency management and have both real-world and classroom experience dealing with disasters. I have the leadership ability, the drive and determination necessary to help lead the seventh-largest city in Florida.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.