Home  About Sarah  Environment  Growth  Be Involved  Contact

Promises Made & Kept
Contact Sarah


Four, eight, twelve, and sixteen years ago, I campaigned on platforms of issues and promises. I was very careful not to make promises I couldn’t keep. I also limited the issues in which I promised to engage to only those about which I felt most strongly. I feel I have kept all of my promises to you and fulfilled my obligations to the best of my abilities.

The environment: The preservation of our precious natural resources and the restoration and protection of our waters has been my first priority and biggest commitment. I have worked diligently and passionately to promote every environmental initiative in Martin County and the rest of south Florida. With the help of many others, I feel my efforts are yielding positive results. But, environmental protection requires perpetual vigilance and no victory is final.

Growth management: I promised to vote for controlled, well-managed growth and good development. As my voting record attests, I have done just that. I have been labeled a “no growth” and “anti-development” commissioner by some, but I simply believe that we should grow according to our existing laws. Our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan tells us precisely how and where new development may occur and the protection that must be accorded our resources and existing residents in the process. However, this Comprehensive Plan was constantly being altered, amended, and ignored by our former Commission majorities.

Twelve years ago, our Commission majority approved a record 28 amendments to our Comprehensive Plan. I objected to most of those amendments because they were inconsistent with our Comprehensive Plan, the Florida Statutes, and adopted Long Range Transportation Plan, and they were financially infeasible, requiring much more data and analysis. The State of Florida agreed with me. The Department of Community Affairs in Tallahassee agreed with me. They objected to 23 of the 28 amendments.

One would hope that the State’s objections would have put the brakes on our former Commission majority’s ambitious plans to shred our Comprehensive Plan. To the contrary, the Commission majority redoubled their efforts even more for the next 4 years. The Commission majority approved the notorious Valliere clustering amendment. Then, in 2009, the Commission majority approved a wholesale rewrite of our Comprehensive Plan, written by a pro-development faction named the Future Group. In 2010 the Commission majority, not content with the camel’s nose under the tent, ushered the entire camel into the tent by approving amendments allowing commercial, industrial, and increased residential densities throughout our agricultural areas. They created free-standing urban service districts.

None of the disastrous Comprehensive Plan amendments approved in 2009 or 2010 by the majority Board provided any demonstration of need. No financial feasibility assessments were provided.

We found ourselves in the same predictably dreary reality of every overdeveloped county in south Florida: an overzealous local government Commission majority was lured by special self-interests to overdevelop while turning a blind eye at the deficient infrastructure to handle the building boom that they created. Then, after the construction dust cleared, the profits were made and the profiteers were gone, we turned a fresh eye to the infrastructure the previous Commission majority ignored while the boom was hot.

Fiscal conservation: I believe in conservation in all things.  I warned that the housing bubble would burst. My fellow Commissioners ignored my predictions. As property values skyrocketed and our treasury grew accordingly, instead of reducing our property tax millage rates, our majority Board grew County government by leaps and bounds. Flush with impact fee dollars and gas taxes at the height of the building boom, the majority Board approved multimillion dollar loans to build new infrastructure. We are now saddled with $4.5 million debt payments for the next 20 or so years that were supposed to be funded through impact fee revenues which are a small fraction of what they were during the boom.

I have fought very hard and at every opportunity over the past 16 years to keep our county’s spending rational and responsible and conservative. I have tried to keep County contracts reasonable, reduce the amount spent on outside consultants, and oppose expensive new projects which have to be funded by borrowing and bonding against our future.

It has been my genuine pleasure and honor to serve you.

Home | About Sarah | Promises Made & Kept | Accomplishments | The Environment | Growth & Comprehensive Plan | Fiscal Responsibility & Taxes | Stay Involved | Contact Sarah