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Hernando

BROOKSVILLE CC 2

FACING GROWING PAINS: Candidates Pat Brayton and David Pugh Jr. both name city growth as an important priority to manage wisely.

By DUANE BOURNE
Published October 26, 2004

The way Pat Brayton sees it, one way or the other, the election for Brooksville City Council will give the city a face lift.

Two new council members will replace veteran council members who have spent recent years dealing with the city's budget woes and concerns over development in and around Brooksville.

According to Brayton, the race for Seat 2 on the council boils down to experience versus naivete. The seat is being vacated by Richard Lewis, who is prevented from seeking a third consecutive term under the city's election laws.

Brayton, a former council member, says he is the experienced candidate. "I think I could be a great benefit," he said.

On the other hand, his opponent, political newcomer David Pugh Jr., thinks he can offer a new way of thinking.

Brayton and Lewis were both elected to the council in 1994 as part of a recall movement that removed then Vice Mayor Joe Bernardini and three of his political allies.

Six years later, in a three-way race, Bernardini beat Brayton for a council seat.

Brayton says his experience and know-how would be an asset to the city. In the last 12 years, he has served on various city advisory boards and the Brooksville Housing Authority Board.

"I spend a lot of time in this city of mine," Brayton said.

A proponent of upgrading the city's infrastructure, Brayton said Brooksville must rehabilitate aging water and sewer lines if it is to grow. He identified infrastructure as the biggest issue facing the next council.

"I don't want to call it an issue - rather a challenge," Brayton said. "To me, it is a challenge to get it done."

Pugh, a project manager for Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers in Brooksville and the son of the city's former parks and recreation director, agrees that building infrastructure to support development and a burgeoning tax base is important. But he said he wants to use his experience in the engineering field to develop sound policies and planning with regard to growth.

As part of his plan for growth, Pugh stressed the need for greater interaction with other governmental agencies, such as the Hernando County Commission. The council and the commission have tangled in the past over development issues and emergency services.

"The county has gone through a lot of growing pains," Pugh said. "I think the city could be wise to look at that and not follow those footprints."

Pugh added that the decisions, good or bad, made by council members in the coming years are ones that all Brooksville residents will have to live with.

That's the reason he tossed his hat into the ring, he said.

Pugh said what he might lack in experience, he makes up for with youth.

"I am not a career politician," he said. "I want to do what is right. As far as what I want to bring to the table, it's fresh thinking. I am going to be here for a long time."

THE CANDIDATES

PAT BRAYTON, 59, is a self-employed accountant who is a lifelong resident of Brooksville. He is a 1963 graduate of Hernando High School. He has an associate's degree in accounting from the Jennings A. Jones College of Business in Orlando. He is a member of the Hernando County Amateur Radio Association and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. He is married and has two grown sons. ASSETS: home. LIABILITIES: none. SOURCE OF INCOME: self-employment, wife's retirement benefits.

DAVID PUGH JR., 32, is a project manager with Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers in Brooksville. Born in Tampa, he has lived in Brooksville for 16 years. He is a graduate of Hernando High School and is attending classes at Pasco-Hernando Community College. Pugh is divorced with two children, ages 7 and 9. ASSETS: home. LIABILITIES: mortgage. SOURCE OF INCOME: Salary from Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers.

THE JOB

Brooksville City Council members serve four-year terms and set policy and approve budgets for the city. Though they run for specific seats, council members are elected at large by all city voters. They receive $5,400 per year for serving on the council - $6,000 if their colleagues name them vice mayor and $7,200 as mayor.

[Last modified October 25, 2004, 11:53:05]

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