Properly Manage Economic Growth
Safety Harbor is at an inflection point.
When my wife and I moved here 22 years ago, our downtown was sputtering. Fast forward to today, and our city is flourishing with dozens of new businesses that have created a vibrant downtown that people want to visit often and a robust industrial park that offers them good jobs if they move here. That growth has not only made Safety Harbor and exciting place to live and visit, but it's also helped keep our tax rate as one of the lowest in Pinellas County.
But we now have to look to the future and find ways to balance this growth with the challenges that come with it.
- We lack hard data to make informed decisions on whether we have a parking problem and, if so, how big it is and what the appropriate solutions are for it.
- We need to continue to look for ways to make it easier to open and operate a business in our city, and to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity to attract businesses that our residents consistently tell us they'd like to see in Safety Harbor.
- We need to embrace development agreements as ways to shape the inevitable development we'll continue to see in our desirable city so it provides the most benefit to Safety Harbor.
To be clear, there are downsides to these strategies. And that's why I worked hard when I was Commissioner to address those, including promoting improvements to our roads and sidewalks to make walking and bicycling easier so we can reduce demand for parking, and exploring ways to make housing more affordable, including accessory dwelling units, tiny houses and other alternative living arrangements that are underrepresented in our city.