Alex Anthony is a former Wall Street investor and a successful businessman. Father of four, he lives in Miami Springs, in South Florida, where he calls himself a responsible citizen. After 12 years of living in a city of 14,000, Anthony chose to run for the local City Council, seeking the Group I seat that is being vacated by Councilman Bob Best. He is running against four other candidates, including Miguel Becerra, Helen Lawrence, Nestor Suarez, and Michael Windrem.
His views on the local government are far from the ideal libertarian view. While he sees problems in local services and facilities, he still hesitates in trusting free markets to take care of them and solve the government failures. But even though he favors expanding the local government with annexation, Anthony easily grasps the idea of lowering taxes, stopping regulations before they stop commerce, and privatizing a few services.
You can learn more about Alex Anthony's views and campaign on his website.
Alex Anthony agreed to answer the following Examiner.com questions.
Mr. Anthony, talk a little about yourself. What is your personal and professional background? And what has led you to become a candidate in Miami Springs?
I attended the University of Miami. After that, I worked at Bear Stearns on Wall Street in New York. I have resided in Miami Springs for over 12 years, I have four wonderful children, one of which served in the armed forces in Afghanistan, they attended Blessed Trinity School. As an involved parent, I have encouraged them to be involved in sports and extra-curricular activities such as with the Boy Scouts of America and little league at Prince Field.
From 1996 to 2005 I headed a service firm with over 900 employees which I later sold to a publicly traded firm named ABM Industries. Currently I am a businessman employing over 100 people and president of Drexel Insurance, a Miami based insurance agency. I have over 26 years of experience in business management and finance. I have been involved in organizations and companies which required a great deal of ingenuity, creativity and organizational skills to successfully overcome today’s economy and challenging obstacles. I want to use all of that experience and foresight to help to improve the City of Miami Springs.
What problems do you see in the current administration that need to be addressed?
The most pressing issues that need to be addressed include lowering our taxes, pushing for annexation, development of business along 36 street and Abraham tract, enhancing property values, addressing the financial issue with the golf course, addressing the issue with the Miami Springs pool, and revitalizing our business sector on and around the circle and along Westward. We also need to support and enhance programs for our seniors and our youth. We need to continue to fully support our exceptional police department. Finally, we need to proactively protect and preserve our unique heritage and way of life. Miami Springs is the best kept secret in Miami-Dade County.
In 2011 and 2012, Miami Springs had one of the highest property taxes in the county. What is your view on the millage rate and what reform would you propose if you seat on the Council?
We need to greatly enhance the tax revenue generated from the commercial sector via annexation and further development of businesses along 36 street, the Abraham tract, and in the heart of Miami Springs. Currently about 80% of the taxes being paid are collected from our homeowners and about 20% from our commercial sector. This ratio has traditionally been because we are primarily a bedroom community. We currently have several opportunities to dramatically alter this ratio and achieve a significant reduction in the millage rate for our homeowners.
Miami Springs also has a very large code of ordinances that regulate the town more than enough. There is even a Monthly Code Sweep enforced to facilitate the distribution of fines. Would you scale down the regulatory regime of the city or maintain it as it is?
Regulations and ordinances are necessary in order to preserve our community and keep our property values high. That being said, an excessive enforcement of regulations can result in residents and business owners moving out of Miami Springs or not coming in altogether. The most important thing here is to maintain a balance between necessary ordinances that preserve our beautiful city and promote our tax base.
Where do you stand on the idea of privatizing public facilities, such as the public swimming pool, in order to save the city money and decrease the size of the local government?
I am in favor of privatizing certain services only where it makes sense. Specific proposals would have to be provided and studied before a decision is made.
What would you say to those who argue the police force in Miami Springs is larger than it should be?
We currently have a police staff of approximately 40. Given the results in recent years and the extremely rapid response time, I would be hard pressed to second guess our police chief that has presided over such sustained success.
Talk more about your platform, Mr. Anthony. What major projects or reforms are you planning on sponsoring if you enter the Council this year?
My priorities include:
1. Lower our tax rates
2. Fiscal responsibility in each decision made
3. Economic Development
4. Maintaining and enhancing our quality of life.
5. Addressing ongoing issues like the golf course and the pool.
5. Preserving our heritage and the historic character of Miami Springs