APRIL FOR HERNANDO
April Johnson-Spence District 2 County Commission
I want to LISTEN to you, LEARN from you, and LEAD Hernando County.
APRIL'S VISION FOR HERNANDO COUNTY
April 5, 2021
Hernando County is a wonderful place to live, work and play. The steady increase in population growth is evident in the economic development of retail stores, restaurants, and home sales. While this growth is good for our county, it does come with some challenges that we must manage in a positive way. Our infrastructure is not setup for this growth and we have to stop being reactive. It is important that we preserve and maintain our identity in Hernando County. After all it is why most people moved here or want to move here in the first place. I will fight for you!
As YOUR commissioner, I will improve access and connection to our government for YOU, the residents of Hernando County. The best way to hear from my constituents is to be present in the daily happenings in and around OUR community. I am already very active in the community attending meetings and workshops on a regular basis. This allows me to organically see the needs of our community. I will continue this outreach which will allow me to resolve issues for residents by connecting them to the correct county departments. I will be YOUR representative in my efforts to best fulfill my role as YOUR public servant.
A commissioner’s role is to work in conjunction with the current administration’s day to day functions and to be a liaison between the community and staff to facilitate what is best for the community. We currently have an effective administration and staff working for Hernando County and I look forward to working with them to accomplish the goals set forth in our comprehensive plan. I have been fortunate to serve in many roles in this community as a boots on the ground contributor. This experience has afforded me a firsthand view of the county’s challenges and successes.
A common theme that I hear is that some of our current BOCC do not listen or respond to the people respectfully. That is unacceptable. I will always treat the people of Hernando County with respect even when we disagree on issues. I will be elected to represent the best needs of all residents in the county. Improving the government's public reach via social media, online access and in person community input forums will be a top objective during my term. More transparent communication will help bring back a sense of trust with our local government.
My experience as a business owner and working for both non-profit and for-profit businesses has given me an appreciation for the power of collaboration. Collaborations work to achieve greatness in communities and private/public partnerships can solve many communities' needs without wasting taxpayers’ dollars.
We all want to keep more of our hard-earned money and continuous tax increases are NOT the key to accomplishing more for the community. The more money government has the more it will spend. It is understood that we need taxes for infrastructure and to run our county. What we don't need is to waste money on projects against the communities wishes. I have been fighting alongside the residents of Hernando Beach (District 2) against overdevelopment of the Weeki Wachee Preserve into a large park project. That proposed project comes with a large price for development, maintenance and at a cost to our environment and the residential community it will be placed in the middle of. We currently have 23 parks that the current and past BOCC and previous administration neglected. If they were not good stewards of our tax dollars then how do we trust them to do it with this new project? Let's get creative and focus on collaborating with the private sector to create recreation opportunities for the community.
With my suggestion the current administration hired a grant writer for the county to help bring much needed state, federal, and private funding. I will work hard to insure that position is used for issues such as mental health, veterans services, economic development, community education, senior support services, law enforcement needs and more. County government can co-sponsor grants in collaboration with smaller non-profits and businesses, utilizing their position and status to bring much-needed funds into the county. A government cannot be everything to everyone. Instead, it can support the private sector by bringing in additional resources through grants, funding initiatives, and strategic partnerships. Many service groups, non-profits, and for-profit businesses utilize volunteers to help with tasks which makes their trained staff more efficient. This does several things: the volunteers walk away with a sense of purpose and accomplishment and feel like part of their community; the staff can be more effective at their work; the tax dollars go farther making the government more effective.
Internships with high school and college students can provide a great tool to build support for Hernando County and can groom our youth to follow in our footsteps. We also have an amazing senior population in this community that we can support in volunteering. They can bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and vast skill sets to support our county resources. Creating a volunteer/ internship program in the county will help to build pride in our citizens and grow advocates for Hernando County.
My formal education, business knowledge, boots on the ground experience, connection to resources and love for OUR community brings a fresh perspective to our government’s response to the human condition. We must ensure that EVERY Hernando County resident is able to utilize our robust infrastructure for the betterment of themselves and their family. Our community’s health is highlighted by the employment opportunities, affordable housing options, and the social services provided in the county. We are losing that battle on many fronts and I know we can do better. We can expand on those resources so that our citizens can thrive. Inclusive workshops highlighting the county's needs and community mapping programs can help us create a picture of how healthy Hernando County is and how we can improve for our future. When we understand the areas for improvement we can then work together on a solution. As YOUR Hernando County Commissioner, I will bring the humanistic approach to leadership in our county, which is just what Hernando County needs!
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by April Johnson-Spence, Republican for Hernando County Commission District 2