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You can rely on me to look at the issues fairly with the best interest of Hernando County in mind. I am not afraid of taking a stand on tough issues and I explain my position and the reasoning behind my decisions especially those that may be unpopular. 

There have been many changes over the years and there will be even more changes as we are moving forward. Although there will always be some opposition to change, I am standing as an advocate for the better and am looking forward to a bright future for Hernando County.

Property Taxes

The County receives most of its funding from property taxes. I don't believe that property owners should be the only source and have never voted for increases in your property taxes.


Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption

A Ballot Initiative in November could have various effects on property owners and the County. Every Florida citizens gets to vote on this - this is NOT an issue to decide for County Governments!

As a conservative, I have always supported lower property taxes and believe that property owners should not be the ones shouldering all tax burden. 


Cutting Red Tape and Getting Results

Government work can be complicated and I believe in simplifying it wherever and whenever possible. Here is one example:

When I first came into office, I asked why there were so many lime rock roads in parts of Hernando County and was told it was a drawn out process. 

After looking into the issue, I proposed a change to speed up the approval process.  

As a result of this change, paving of lime rock roads increased dramatically. In the years from 2008 to 2012, a total of 8.74 miles of lime rock roads got paved. Under the new process, from 2013 to 2017, 49.44 miles of lime rock road paving was completed.

Residents living in the affected areas are enjoying better air quality and a drastic reduction in dust and mud. 

 


Economic Development

The County has been aggressive in pursuing new companies to come to Hernando County as well as helping existing companies to expand and thrive, creating new and good paying jobs in manufacturing and high skills industries.

As a result, 11 major companies have already or are relocating to Hernando County and 14 existing companies have expanded their operations in Hernando County rather than relocating elsewhere.

Thus far, this has resulted in 550 new jobs, 560 retained jobs, and 821,000 SF of of operating and manufacturing space that has been added to Hernando Countys tax roll.  

Current economic development activity awill potentially attract  738 more new jobs, 590 retained jobs, and 623,000 SF of commercial and industrial space use. 

 


Tourism

Tourism is a major economic force in Hernando County. Visitors book hotel rooms, eat out in the many restaurants, shop in our stores, buy gas while enjoying what Hernando County has to offer. 

Spending from tourism has more than doubled since 2013 from 93.7 Million Dollars in 2013 to 188 Million Dollars in 2016. This means our local businesses are benefitting and tourism related tax revenue to the County has increased. 

In the employment sector, the economic impact of tourism has also increased and resulted in more jobs. Jobs in the tourism sector increased from 2090 people in 2013 to 2902 jobs in 2016.


Environmental Improvements

I am proud to have been instrumental in initiating the County's Gopher Turtle Relocation and Protection program by identifying and establishing a gopher turtle sanctuary within the County.

Previously, mandatory gopher removals were outsourced at a much greater expense to the taxpayers. The new program, is saving much of your tax dollars by keeping our gopher turtles in Hernando County.  


Coastal Conservation and Restoration

Hernando County is leading the state of Florida in its coastal conservation and restoration programs with several exiting programs:

  • Creation of new Sea Grass beds
  • Shallow Artificial Reef project (Reef Balls)
  • and the Oyster Bar restoration.

These efforts improve our water quality, improve and create new habitat for fish and other sea creatures, and provide opportunities for eco-tourism by offering exiting and wonderful diving, snorkling, and fishing experiences. 

Make sure to take a look at the photo gallery about these projects. 


Fun Things for Hernando!

1. Coastal Paddling Trail: In an effort to relieve recreational boat and kayak traffic on the Weeki Wachee river, Commissioner Wayne Dukes suggested the idea of a kayak trail to the Hernando County Port Authority.

As a result, the new Coastal Paddling Trail was developed utilizing existing boat launches at Linda Pedersen and Bayport Parks.  

This was another creative and low-cost solution that allows residents and visitors alike to explore the true nature and beauty of our coastal areas guided by strategically placed markers.  

2. TreeUmph! This new adventure course in the trees is located on the East side of the County. Looking for additional locations, this private enterprise was attracted to Hernando through economic development efforts adding a welcome addition to the Adventure Coast experience. 



Political advertising paid for and approved by Wayne Dukes, Republican, for Hernando County Commission District 2
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