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.

Incumbent Jolien Caraballo

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?

Since being elected in 2016, I have worked alongside our Council to lower the city’s mileage rate and am proud to say every year we have done just that. My goal on the Council is to provide you with the highest quality municipal service at the lowest rate possible, but we have not just stopped at property taxes. Our departments have made significant adjustments to decrease other incremental fees and taxation: permits, utility tax, Solid Waste and stormwater fees have either been reduced or held at the same rate of the previous year. I am a strong advocate for reforming our business taxes and will continue to work with our Council in our shared goal of providing fiscal relief to all taxpayers.

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 uncertainty of the future post-COVID is a challenge that we will face as a community. No one has a crystal ball, but the ability to prepare for the potential revenue and budgetary decreases while managing tremendous growth requires an incredible amount of foresight. While we may not know what the future may bring, I am confident that with our City Council and our city manager’s leadership, we will navigate these waters driven by data and the best emergency management practices available.

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

In the last four years, I helped our citizens stay safe, lowered taxes and supported positive outcomes in our local economy. I am a strong and professional voice on our Board. As a former business leader, I have contributed my knowledge to aide our Council in understanding local challenges in our small business community. I am a fierce advocate of home rule and making sure our citizens’ local voices are making the local choices, and not Tallahassee or Washington D.C. Besides advocacy from a legislative perspective, I have been one of the champions on our Board fighting for every available appropriation and/or grant dollar to help keep your local spending as low as possible. A vote for me is a continuation of the proven policies and decisions that have worked over the last four years. 

Challenger Thomas C. Anthony Vincent

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?

To reduce the tax burden on our citizens I have proposed increasing our tax base. We will do this by zoning with slightly more density in Southern Grove. This will allow us to lower the property tax bill and not just the 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?

We need a new generation of leadership that is bold, visionary, and empathetic. We don't need just a vote on the Council – we need someone who works with local residents and businesses in the community as well.

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

Before running for office, I served with the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County and the public defender’s office. I want to bring the economic and judicial experience I have learned to the table for the benefit of the city and its residents.

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