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4 candidates file to run for tax district seats

They are seeking Seats 1 or 2 in the Tampa Palms community development district.

By MELIA BOWIE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 21, 2002


TAMPA PALMS -- The political race for the Tampa Palms taxing district began this week with several candidates vowing to devote more time and fiscal responsibility to the job.

Homeowners Jim Coolidge, Gene Field, Patty Maney and incumbent Mark Hensleigh have filed their candidacy papers with the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections. The four are vying for Seats 1 and 2 with the Tampa Palms community development district.

Patty Maney, 64, of Wyndham is seeking to replace outgoing Supervisor Curtis Stokes (Seat 2) on the five-member board.

Stokes, who is running for City Council, will end his term with the taxing district to run for Tampa's District 1 citywide seat.

Maney said her goals include establishing a research-oriented, resident friendly atmosphere if she is elected to the board.

"My keyword is revitalization of the community in a fiscally responsible manner," said Maney who moved to Tampa Palms with her husband four years ago.

A retired wholesale plant nursery owner for 17 years, Maney served as president of the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers Association.

Within the community she is a member of Resource Tampa Palms (formerly Tax Watch Tampa Palms) and is a voting representative for the village of Wyndham.

Maney also served as past president of the Tampa Palms Women's Club and chairman of the Residential Modifications Committee for the Tampa Palms Owners Association.

"I want to see more pre-planning . . . rather than dealing with things as they come up," she said, adding she has the time to devote to research and in-depth oversight. "I want to be more proactive."

Real estate agent Jim Coolidge, 53, of Treemont also is campaigning to replace Stokes on the taxing district board.

"I want to bring Tampa Palms to a higher level and a higher standard to increase our property values," said Coolidge. "I want to make sure there's an overall growth strategy for the area."

His goals include enhancing the community's family atmosphere: from sidewalks and jogging paths more conducive to bicyclists and inline skaters to encouraging family organizations and activities.

A former vice president with Coca-Cola before opening Coolidge Realty Inc., he is a member of the New Tampa Community Council.

Coolidge moved to Treemont eight years ago and is Neighborhood Watch coordinator there.

"If I do get the job, I'll try to get the pulse of the community and what they'd like to see," he said.

Incumbent Supervisor Mark Hensleigh (Seat 1) is completing a four-year term on the taxing district board. He filed with the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections but said he remains undecided on running again.

"I'm not sure," he said Wednesday. "It's been an interesting 31/2 . . . four years. I will say I have enjoyed it (but) there's been some challenging times."

During Hensleigh's tenure as supervisor, the district approved a plan to outsource Tampa Palms' landscaping -- a move estimated to save the community nearly $300,000.

However, he is not without challengers.

Asbury resident Gene Field, announced his intent to run for Hensleigh's seat this week.

He issued a statement but did not return phone calls for comment by press time.

A semiretired chief executive officer who worked in the automotive industry, Field now serves as chairman of TEC, a chief executive officer think tank that coaches local executives.

He moved to Asbury in 1998 and served as chairman on Resource Tampa Palms this year.

His goals, if elected, include reducing the complexity of district operations, encouraging resident participation now and on future boards, as well as developing ways to reduce debt without raising taxes.

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