Candidates running for Tarpon Springs Commission, Seat 4 answered small business questions during the first forum of the race, held earlier this month.
More recently, each candidate expressed his view on economic development and making Tarpon Springs a year round destination:
"There is very little promotion of this town's businesses. When you drive down 19, if you don't know about this place, you'll drive right by it. We have more to offer, in my opinion, than any other city in north Pinellas County and that's not advertised. If elected, I would really push to use our Economic Development director to find non-budget ways to promote the city. First, we have to take care of what we already have here before we start talking about bringing in other businesses. We have to think outside the box. I don't think we can afford to go into 2013 being complacent. We have to examine everything brought before us."
"I think it really began when we hired the Economic Development Director and stepped up the efforts to begin a broad-based promotion of our area. This effort needs to be spent with very first class promotion materials like brochures and mail outs about Tarpon Springs. In my mind, the effort really needs to be tweaked and concentrated on with regular updates. When we bring businesses in here, everything should be improved. We are on the right track, but we need to make sure that we don't drop the ball with what's going on."
"I want to make Tarpon Springs one of the friendliest cities for small businesses wanting to come in. It's hard to do it right now, but I think we can open up the city for newer businesses and different kinds of businesses. If we can put lunch places in downtown or a little sandwich shop, what you end up doing is not only bringing people to Tarpon, but you're making people who live in Tarpon want to stay in Tarpon. If we can lower impact costs and advertise Tarpon, it will make people want to stay in Tarpon to eat, shop and whatever else they may want to do. Instead of going elsewhere, they will want to stay here. We need to keep our character as a city, but we also need to modernize a little bit."
"It is difficult for any Florida city to become a year round destination, point due to the global economy and the fact the tourists we see throughout Florida are from all over the world. I do not think we can see an economy not linked to tourism anywhere if Florida. We gear our growth to meet the needs of the tourists who come from all over the world and we need those people to make our year successful. To depend on the local business and just those who live here year round will cause all cities to have to downsize. We are dependent for growth on those individuals who visit in the winter and we need them to return to a clean and sparkling area each time with events and a vibrant business community or they will not return."
Tarpon Springs residents will go to the polls March 12.
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- Meet the Candidates: David Banther
- Meet the Candidates: Jim Bouldin
- Meet the Candidates: Tommy Frain
- Meet the Candidates: Tim Keffalas