By Tamas Mondovics
Riverview, Apollo Beach, Ruskin and Sun City residents had a chance for some face-time with Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, District 6, countywide last month. Beckner’s office hours, which are designed to give residents the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner for a few minutes one-on-one, was held last month at the SouthShore Regional Library located at 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin.
“The event is held one Wednesday every other month in locations around the county,” said Renee Warmack, Legislative Aide to Commissioner Kevin Beckner. “These events allow residents to meet the Commissioner without having to travel to County Center in downtown Tampa. No appointment is necessary and residents are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.”
During the two-hour session, Beckner spoke separately to about a dozen residents addressing a number of topics and said that most residents were mainly interested in the biggies or “re-occurring” issues, such as traffic, transportation, public safety and community beautification just to name a few.
Eager to meet their commissioner for the first time, Valencia Lakes residents Dan and Pat Dohany hoped to ask Beckner about what they see is as a lack of vibrancy in and around their community. “We realize that Big Bend Rd. has a lot going on, but the rest of the community seems somewhat depressed and we are wondering about what the county is doing about bringing some life to the area,” Pat said, adding that they were also hoping to see what Beckner had to say about getting some more traffic lights installed on SR 301.
When asked about the recent County Government reorganization, Beckner said that he was very optimistic and pleased and praised County Administrator Mike Merrill for the job he was doing.
“Mike has done an outstanding job with his leadership, putting together a very competent and responsive staff to the needs of our office and to the people we serve,” Beckner said, adding that Merril’s focus is on customer service.
When asked about concerns over communication between county government and residents, or its seeming lack of, Beckner promised that communication is an issue that he is taking up with county staff to discuss how meetings are communicated.
Pleased with the turnout, Beckner said, “The Ruskin and Sun City Center and SouthShore area is one of my favorite to visit. The residents are always very active and interested in the wellbeing of their community.”
For a full listing of Beckner’s office hours, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.