The race for Polk County Commisson, District 1, pits Lakeland-based developer and Realtor George Lindsey against Richard Castret, who is a real estate broker running with no party affiliation.
Lindsey is a Republican who says he has been preparing for this run for 30 years.
“My dad instilled in me many years ago a civic responsibility of being involved. Things are decided by the people who show up. So I show up,” told our editorial board recently.
Lindsey has served on the county’s charter review board and recently served as the board’s chairman.
He also served on boards for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Lakeland Association of Realtors, Rotary Club of Lakeland Christina, Polk County Builders Association and the Peace River Community Mental Health Organization.
As a builder, Lindsey said he as “probably read more impact fee studies than any elected official in this county.”
He is a proponent of keeping the county’s moratorium on impact fees, at least for awhile.
“In these times and in these circumstances, this (the moratorium) is the right thing to do,” he said. “I have talked to business owners who have said, were it not for this moratorium, I would not be expanding my business. I have heard from engineers that if it were not for this moratorium, my clients would not be moving forward.”
We don’t think the moratorium is a good long term-strategy for the county as it will cost the county taxpayer money in the long run.
We are encouraged by his willingness to revisit the issue in the future.
Castret ran an automotive business in Ohio for 30 years.
He is currently a real estate broker and owner of Advantage REC Inc. in Lakeland.
He believes that government has too much red tape and that bureaucracy is holding back small businesss and not helping with the economic recovery.
“The image of Polk County is damaged by empty buildings,” he told the newspaper’s editorial board.
He believes that there is still more fat in the county budget, even after years of cutting.
He disagrees with Lindsey on the merit of extending the moratorium on impact fees.
“In 2005 it looked like a good idea, but with it being extended, we’re going to have no tax base. Maybe they should not be back at 100 percent , but phased back in,” he said.
We agree with that.
Both men are running good campaigns and have a firm grasp of the issues facing the Polk County Commission.
We think Lindsey’s service on the Polk County Charter Review Board and his years of community service make him the best qualified of the two candidates.
We recommend George Lindsey for Polk County Commission, District 1.