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Eugene Kowalski

Why did you decide to run for political office? How do your life skills prepare you for this position? With the current proposals for multi million dollar development projects in the City of DeBary, I believe my 40 years in construction, as a professional estimator, project manager, builder and real estate developer is experience from which the city will benefit.

Give an example of how you have served your community. How does this example make you the right choice for this position? My experience includes 40 years of experience working in the development of projects with city, county and state governmental agencies. I have reviewed utility proposals for city governments. I have attended meetings to trouble shoot development projects for cities.

What is the number one issue on the minds of the businesses in your region? How would you address this issue? Small business need to increase their bottom line. This means more traffic to increase their revenue and less financial burden placed on them by the city. Increased promotion of the city will draw new patrons to their establishments. The community would benefit from a socially oriented hotel for visitors to stay with amenities such as a rooftop bar and restaurant for all to enjoy.

What do you think are good industries to attract to this community? Why? Good industries for our community include the tech sector, medical industry, banks, light industrial and tourism. These are clean and green industries that will not pollute our environment.

What infrastructure project(s) do you feel is necessary to move this community forward? Sanitary sewage is a health issue. At this time storm water is mixing with drain field sanitary water. Mosquitos breed in this water and infect the residents.Improving the roadways is necessary to facilitate good flow of traffic. Dirksen road could be four lanes with more adequate turn lanes to help alleviate traffic congestion for the upcoming Junction Project.

  • A new road will be necessary to service the new Duke Energy 255 acre industrial site.
  • Storm sewer infrastructure is important to move storm water away from structures and populated areas.
  • Fiber optics is necessary for businesses and residents wishing to have high speed internet.
  • Planning for a new school and new fire station will be necessary.

What do you plan to do to prepare this community for the I-4 corridor expansion? The I-4 expansion from Orange County to Seminole County may make travel easier to Volusia county increasing traffic in our cities. The city has state road 17-92 and several county roads that need attention to manage an increase in traffic. These roads need state and county action. I have been discussing options with Mr. Roger VanAucker about up grading the road system. A strong city manager will be necessary to get action from the Volusia County and the State of Florida on road modifications and new roads. The Duke Energy 350 acre solar and the Duke Energy 255-acre industrial site will need a new road possibly a Saxon extension to the site. Highbanks road is currently over burdened. The Junction Project will add more vehicles, Dirksen will need more lanes. I would be one vote out of five and the mayor directs the city manager on what are priority projects.

Do you see Sunrail as more of a positive or negative for SW? In what way(s)? Positive if you like development, negative if you don’t like development. I prefer managed growth. I don’t believe we should stop growth.

What opportunities/challenges do you see on the horizon for SW Volusia? The steady expansion brought by the Sun Rail will pose many challenges to the community of DeBary. Having an experienced full-time city manager, preferably a local resident would help greatly. The possibility of Billion Dollars of Development could be overwhelming for city council members and a city manager with limited experience with the complexities of projects of this proportion. This could lead to supporting a proposal without understanding all the components or ramifications.

What do you believe are the main assets SW Volusia has to solve problems in the area? What does SW Volusia lack? The St. Johns River is an underutilized asset of SW Volusia. There is huge potential to increase visitors through tourism activities related to the river and thereby growth of related business. There is a lack of willing qualified residents running for city council and Mayor offices. The compensation for the time necessary to investigate the issues is disproportionately low.

What ideas do you have to bring more of a sense of community to SW Volusia? A common sense and transparent approach is needed in local government.
The lack of transparency in allowing a city manager and staff to sign confidentially agreements with the developers does not help with a sense of community.
Sense of community will come when the citizens trust the city manager and council. Town hall meetings sharing the actual facts, figures and impacts of projects and actively listening to the citizens feedback will engage the public and improve their ownership of the growth and their sense of being involved and a part of the community.

What role do you feel the local business community plays in SW Volusia? Local businesses are the life blood of our community. The local businesses could support and assist the candidates to make better decisions for the city.

If you are elected what role do you think you would play in economic development in SW Volusia or the area you will be representing? I would like to engage with a new Full Time City Manager to oversee the economic development of the city.

How do you propose to eliminate barriers to conducting business in SW Volusia? The Volusia County Economic Development Meeting of August 10, 2018 showed little or no permits for commercial development in DeBary. Good economic growth requires a balance of small and large commercial developments, and both should be encouraged and recruited. It seems the current city manager is only entertaining large developers at this time.

What strategies do you have to cultivate technological literacy in our region? Schools and up to date curriculum are important. Partnering with local businesses to provide input in school planning and curriculum is important and essential to technological literacy. This may require reaching out to subject matter experts from other areas to assist. My limited research indicates no new school being discussed in our area.

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