Photo of Carol Ann Felts
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Carol Ann Felts Files To Challenge Carol Whitmore For County Commissioner Seat

Carol Ann Felts has officially tossed her hat into the ring challenging long time veteran, Carol Whitmore, for Manatee County Commissioner At-Large seat, also known as District 6, in the 2022 Election.  Ms. Felts and Ms. Whitmore, both Republican Candidates, are currently the only individuals who have filed for this commissioner seat.  Ms. Felts is a Myakka resident and an 8th generation Floridian whose family lineage relocated to the Florida Keys as English Loyalists from the Bahamas.  She graduated from Miami Senior High School and retired from an accounting career in banking, manufacturing, building, and agriculture industries.  When speaking of being a Florida native, Ms. Felts believes “I am blessed to have been born and raised in Florida with a deep connection to a state that many consider paradise.” 

 Ms. Felts primary reason to file for County Commissioner is due to “residents witnessing an era of unprecedented development, and so many conversations have been conducted on smart growth; yet, our current elected Commissioners have failed to produce a plan to lead the county into a new Era.”  Ms. Felts stated our county has a unique and fragile environment with a need to seek balance between an economy that provides residents with a good quality of life and a sustaining atmosphere for future generations.  Ms. Felts feels “I have a duty and responsibility to the residents; my ancestors, and tenth generation grandchildren, to contribute to the course this county pursues”.  There has been successful emphasis placed on development in the eastern part of the county.  However, this has diminished the importance of older communities and adequate infrastructure. Recently, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to transmit a text amendment to allow eastward development into agricultural lands.  Ms. Felts stated “the county still needs to address problems resulting from unprecedented growth such as traffic, stormwater, and utility systems,” and she is concerned the current mining in the County is placing residents and development in the path of another Piney Point fiasco.  

In regards to the Piney Point leak that took place in early April, Ms. Felts believes the deep well injection method is a temporary solution and has been faulty in the past when used by other Florida counties for regular waste water.  Ms. Felts stated, “The best course of action should be to consider ceasing all further mining permit approvals until finding a permanent solution that is more sustainable and constructive with resources.”

When questioned if the BOCC handled the COVID pandemic correctly, Ms. Felts response was “More effort should have been focused on identifying the county’s most vulnerable population, the elderly, especially ones in facilities, much earlier in the game, and the county should have taken steps that allowed families to have continued contact and support with vulnerable family members.”  

Ms. Felts is concerned about the amount of impact fees paid by residential developers to the county for the increase of needed infrastructure.  If elected Commissioner, Ms. Felts stated, “Our County is poorly utilizing impact fees due to constraints placed by state law.”  The county and state are both responsible for amending the structure, collection, and use of impact fees in a more productive way, and the bureaucratic restrictions need to be removed in a practical manner.  Ms. Felts often hears residents’ frustrations that there is a perception that county elected officials favor developers over citizens’ voices. 

Ms. Felts stated, “When it comes to Manatee County elections, there are 270,000 registered voters, and most cannot say what district they reside in or the name of their County Commissioners”.  Additionally, Ms. Felts believes all residents need additional education about the function of local government, better communication with elected representatives, and to not only vote merely based on name recognition.

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