Kevin Cannon is a resident and deputy mayor of Winter Springs running for the position of Winter Springs Commissioner District 2. He was previously elected to the role of commissioner in 2014 and again in 2018. He currently serves as a member of the Florida League of Cities Utilities, Natural Resources and Public Works Policy Committee and was appointed to a 3-year-term with the Florida Department of Health Research Review and Advisory Committee for Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems.
Cannon’s platform includes upgrades to city drinking water and sewer systems, and managing development and traffic congestion issues. He has raised $28,150 in campaign contributions, most of which come from individual Florida residents and the candidate to himself. His campaign expenditures total $18,307. Learn more.
Victoria K. Colangelo
Victoria Colangelo is a 39-year-old Winter Springs resident running for the position of Winter Springs Commissioner District 2. She currently serves as the CEO and founder of the Mitigation Banking Group, which involves a practice where a project for environmental enhancement or protection is conducted by the banker in order to reduce the severity of unavoidable impacts within an area. She previously served as the director at large for Urban Land Institute Young Leaders, president of the Florida Association of Mitigation Bankers, treasurer of the Florida Environmental Professionals of Florida and the Central Florida Chapter.
Colangelo’s platform lists her top priorities as sustainable living, smart growth, fiscal responsibility, clean and safe drinking water, wastewater compliance, and preservation of the environment. She has raised $49,139 in campaign contributions, most of which come from individual Florida residents and the candidate herself. Her campaign expenditures total $31,670. Learn more.
The questions below were either directly submitted by voters or were created by OCN based on what the voters told us were their priorities.
Q: Explain your participation in local government. For example, have you ever volunteered for a local municipal board? Do you regularly attend Winter Springs City Commission meetings? For incumbents, did you regularly attend City Commission meetings before you were elected?
Victoria Colangelo: In 2019, I served on the Seminole County Parks & Preservation Advisory Committee and have been on the board of directors for several environmental groups! I listen to the audio or attend the commission meetings; however, I would like to propose a live streaming video. Our current meetings are four-plus hours long!
Kevin Cannon: Extensive community service in this city, regularly attending (Winter Springs City) Commission meetings. Learning how the city operates and advocating to the Commission on issues of concern of our residents is essential preparation for a candidate wishing to lead this city. I did so for years. My opponent never has in 15 years.
Q: Do you think a candidate can be involved in developing land, selling real estate, etc. and lead the community without being tainted?
Victoria Colangelo: I am focused on environmental protection and preservation. I will not be involved with developing or selling any land in Winter Springs!
Kevin Cannon: Opportunity for conflicts of interest (financial or philosophical) is too great when local elected officials have direct financial ties to real estate and development because they will make land use planning and zoning decisions. My opponent sells real estate and mitigation credits so developers can destroy wetlands. I never have.
Q: How do you plan to improve communication with your constituents so more residents can get involved in the local decision making process?
Victoria Colangelo: If you have been watching my campaign, you can see I know how to communicate and get exposure! I would do the same for the City of Winter Springs! In addition, I would allow open “commenting” on the City of Winter Springs Facebook page for full transparency.
Kevin Cannon: The city should prepare and distribute a next-day summary of the Commission meeting with highlights of important actions taken. Continue the 6:30 p.m. Commission meetings with multiple opportunities for residents to speak. These, together with greater use of emails and electronic media (i.e. video), will help resident participation.
Q: What do you offer to the position you’re vying for that you believe others do not?
Victoria Colangelo: As an 18-year entrepreneur in the environmental restoration industry, I will bring my business and environmental background to the dais. In addition, I am a mom to three girls in three different Winter Springs Schools. I am invested in this community!
Kevin Cannon: As a pharmacist and lawyer I ask the tough water quality and development questions. My education enables me to find ways to limit overdevelopment in our City and navigating the legal means of doing so. I have no financial ties to real estate and development. My opponent does.
Q: How do you plan to handle current and future traffic congestion?
Victoria Colangelo: I would suggest that the City of Winter Springs invest in a traffic study during peak hours. This will help us understand rush hour and not have it averaged as a sum for the entire day. Currently our traffic has increased approximately 1% a year in Winter Springs for the past 10 years.
Kevin Cannon: Traffic congestion is caused by commuters and the explosive growth outside our city. I have worked personally on the improvements to State Road 434 (turn lanes and amp; roundabouts), to S.R. 419 (sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes) and S.R. 417 noise abatement walls. My opponent did not attend nor advocate at any of these meetings.
Q: What are you going to do about the terrible driving habits of other people? How are you going to enforce safer driving?
Victoria Colangelo: Having a fully staffed police department on the roads, monitoring traffic will make sure that our city is safe!
Kevin Cannon: Traffic enforcement can only be done by our police. Right now we have the highest number of officers in WSPD in about a decade. The chief plans to ramp up a traffic enforcement divisions. Written warning and education in the schools is also essential.
Q: How do you plan to deal with any issues caused by displaced wildlife due to increasing growth and development?
Victoria Colangelo: I would encourage that our city invest in new recycling bins with lids & wheels; and offer straps to retrofit onto trash cans to deter wildlife eating unhealthy trash. I would also encourage the city to plant wildlife food gardens, in an effort to restore wildlife habitat that has been destroyed by nearby urban sprawl development.
Kevin Cannon: Preventing the destruction of wetlands and environmentally sensitive habitat by developers is essential to reduce wildlife displacement. Our newest tree protection ordinance creates incentives for developers to turn wetlands over to the city for conservation rather than the developer buying mitigation credits from my opponent used to destroy sensitive habitat.
Q: Have you studied the impact of overgrowth on government services and how expansion will affect property values in the future?
Victoria Colangelo: I am educating myself daily on the impact of overgrowth on our natural resources, such as our Consumptive Use Permit (CUP) Drinking Water allowance. I am also studying the deterioration of our wastewater plants due to the recent boom in population!
Kevin Cannon: Many local governments are desperate for tax base revenue and thus have a build-baby-build philosophy. That is not Winter Springs. Our strong financial posture allows us to focus on growth that is managed and compatible with our bedroom community.
Q: How do you plan to protect local remaining green spaces?
Victoria Colangelo: I want to utilize our natural landscapes to accentuate our beautiful city with increasing Winter Springs’ walking score with the presence of outdoor dining and major landscape features. I will work with applicants to protect as much green space by incentivizing applicants to keep our trees & wetlands!
Kevin Cannon: We continue to strengthen our tree protection ordinance, obtain natural lands; incentive transfers to wetlands into city conservation and we have replanted thousands of trees in the city.
Q: How do you plan to fix and pay for future water problems?
Victoria Colangelo: The city is working on obtaining bonds for $100 million to cover our future water treatment plants. However, we need to budget for routine maintenance and repair for our current wastewater plants which have two consent orders from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showing violations of unauthorized spillage of sewer water due to the failing infrastructure.
Kevin Cannon: Our drinking water meets or exceeds all safety requirements. We will continue to improve taste and smell by reducing chlorine and sulfur. New sewer plants will be built in about two years. About half of the funds are in hand and low interest SRF loans will be used for the rest.
Q: As we see growing evidence of climate change, what are your specific plans for sustainability in our communities?
- Septic to sewer conversions
- Restoration and preservation of land around Lake Jesup
- Planting native trees and remove the exotic species
- Restore hydrology
- Increase our walking score
- Provide regulation to monitor fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus.
Kevin Cannon: Our city staff is working on a report with new stormwater retention pond design criteria, which will help reduce flooding. Our new fertilizer ordinance will help prevent the runoff that’s causing algae blooms. We have raised $1 million in the Arbor Fund and have planted about 4,000 trees in three years.
Q: What will you do to quell public safety concerns at a time like this?
- Convert to fiber optics to ensure we don’t lose cell service during a storm.
- Clear and drain all ponds and treatment plants prior to a storm to avoid flooding.
- Encourage 24/7 monitoring cameras at residents
- Check all fire hydrants and communities with gates to make sure they are operational.
Kevin Cannon: Winter Springs fortunately does not need to quell public safety concerns. We fully fund and staff our WSPD and our city stands with our police officers. Our crime rate for the first nine months of 2022 is down double digits versus the same time in 2021. Thank you WSPD.
Q: How do you plan to recruit more business and commercial to build a better tax base?
Victoria Colangelo: I want to recruit local businesses to ensure high paying jobs such as the GID Research/Technology (A.K.A Walmart property). We should feature our natural landscapes, such as Lake Jesup and incorporate nature into our future plans.
Kevin Cannon: We must assure that our home values (86% tax base) remain highest in Seminole County by managing growth in a smart way with compatible and needed projects (restaurants, retail, doctors, gyms, banks etc.) that add to our quality of life. Empty storefronts were 70% eight years ago. Not now.
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