HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — As Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman reaches her 10-year term limit in District 1, she has now switched gears to run against incumbent Pat Kemp for District 6.
Both women seem to agree to disagree on how to tackle certain issues happening in Hillsborough County.
“We are very different people,” said Pat Kemp.
“Our approach is just totally different,” Murman said.
Kemp, who has held her seat for four years, says impact fees on new developers haven’t been raised in years and has left the county unable to keep up with all of the growth.
“We have overcrowded roads, overcrowded schools, too few fire stations, that’s what happens when you do not make growth pay its own way,” said Kemp.
Kemp says the growth has gone too far, and the county is seeing more and more flooding issues, along with low water pressure.
“We cannot continue on this path of filling every green space in the county. It’s unaffordable, it’s not sustainable environmentally,” she said.
Murman says many of the decisions on growth that people are seeing now happened years ago before she was on the board — and because of the recession, projects were halted.
To build things back up, she says policies by the state reduced impact fees for developers significantly.
“We were stuck with unfunded mandate holding the bill to take care of our roads and really recover from the recession,” she said.
Once the Supreme Court makes a decision on the transportation referendum, she says that’s when the commission can really chart the course on how transportation issues in the county.
“We still have a backlog of maybe $8 billion worth of road improvements that need to be made,” Murman said. “Quite frankly, when I go out and talk to constituents, which I do very frequently, they tell me they want the roads fixed!”
However, Kemp says spending any more money on roadways and parking garages is not the direction the county should be going.
“We need to be spending [transit funds] on buses, drivers, ferries, CSX converting it to a commuter rail system,” she said.
The rails are already well placed, not only in Hillsborough County but in Pinellas too, according to Kemp. She hopes the county would get money from FDOT to help pay for the conversion.
Murman says she isn’t opposed to rail but doesn’t believe it’s a quick fix.
Kemp would also like to see money spent on building up HART and paying drivers more. She says they have been "first responders" in her eyes during the pandemic.
You can find out more about these two candidates, along with others in your area by going to the Election 2020 tab on ABCActionNews.com.