BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - Trudie Infantini has the reputation for being a lone wolf on the Brevard County Commission. It is a caricature that she is trying to dispel as she campaigns for her District 3 seat in this summer’s Republican primary.
“I did some research and I vote with the other commissioners about 90% of the time. However, there are times when I stand up for the public and that’s what makes the news,“ Infantini said. “And I’m not going to stop doing that.”
One of those times is now part of County Commission lore. On May 15, Infantini was demanding that some budget numbers be double-checked by staff as she disagreed with District 1 Commissioner Robin Fisher. He then made what she deemed to be a condescending remark. She got up and walked out of the meeting.
“I am tough, but this was two years in the making. I present facts. And when the facts didn’t match some others’ agendas, they became rude and began name-calling,” Infantini said. “I had had enough, especially with his blatant display of satisfaction to the rest of the board after the comment was made. I only missed three non-essential agenda items.
“I proved a point. Things have gotten better since then. There is now respectful disagreement – we now agree to disagree. Everything is handled with much more professionalism,” Infantini added.
While Infantini believes that county government is there to provide things for people that they can’t provide for themselves, like public safety, she also has several areas where she feels changes need to be made. And many of these changes mean spending cuts.
“We have many places where we overlap services with other agencies. We have redundant protection of wetlands with the St. Johns Water Management District,” infantini noted. “The budget is tight. We don’t need new a community center at Wickham Park and we don’t need new toys for the fire department. We are top-heavy in management. We need to invest in manpower.”
However, Infantini reserves her harshest criticism for Economic Development Zones – particularly the latest vote that sends nearly $200 million to the Titusville area for job creation.
“According to the Association of General Contractors of America, the construction decline put Brevard at 296 out of 337 U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of construction employment. Yet all of the money is going to Titusville to promote growth and jobs there,” she said. ““And they changed the rules to provide even more money by using real and tangible property in the calculations to make sure they could capture the value of the tangible equipment being put in the FPL plant.
“The EDZs are making decisions about millions of dollars of taxpayer money and they have no voter accountability. It’s just not right.”
Infantini noted many improvements since her election four years ago. “Detailed agendas are now posted online so citizens have a better understanding. I helped get rid of impact fees.
“Most importantly to me is that I know I’m looking out for 95% of the population. I am not parochial.”
The Republican primary for County Commission District 3 will be held on August 14, 2012. Candidates are incumbent Trudie Infantini, Jason Mahaney, and Helen Voltz. The winner will face Democrat Joe Pishgar on November 6, 2012.