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The Apopka Voice City Commission Digital Forum: All five questions in one place

The Apopka Voice recently concluded its 2024 City Commission Digital Forum. Each day for a week, they asked the candidates one question about Apopka's biggest issues. All five candidates were given the opportunity to answer. Here is a quick reference to what Eric Mock had to say. To read all of the candidate answers, click here.


The first Apopka City Charter Review meeting/workshop is scheduled for January 10th. Several issues will be discussed in the process, but what would you like to add, delete, or edit from the current charter if you were on commission?

"While the Apopka City Charter is not lengthy, there is one item that has been mentioned more than others, changing the form of government from a strong mayor-council to a city administrator-council. Taking the current form of a strong mayor as written in the charter, it is clear as to the delegation of responsibilities and who is responsible for making those decisions. The ratification/voting of approval or disapproval is the responsibility of the council. I do believe either way, the charter needs to be clarified with the most common language possible, making clear what is ratification and providing updated/improved language relating to Sec. 2.06, council-employee relationship. The current charter is clear in stating “no city commissioner shall in any manner dictate the appointment or removal of any city employee, nor shall a city commissioner give orders to any employee other than orders by action of the city council to the city clerk and/or city attorney.” Considering the most recent removal of the city attorney, I’d be willing to bet the conversation revolved around this section. Seeing that the council did remove by vote the last city attorney, it would be wise to carefully and with legal input clearly state what can and cannot be done to remove a city employee. Section 2.06 clearly states “in any manner,” “any city employee,” does this mean you can request a termination during a city council meeting ? Or does it mean you cannot ? Back to possible change in government form, we currently elect our city mayor and have for many years. Voters decide who the mayor should be. We just completed a vote for mayor and completed a recall vote for mayor. The voters of Apopka decided. If voters decided to change from strong mayor to city administrator, what are the specifics of how would this be done? Will it be a simple majority vote of the city council? Or will voters elect the city administrator? If you took the current city charter and replaced the responsibilities of the mayor over to the city administrator, what real difference would you have from the current form of government? Unless….. you change how the city administrator can be elected. If the city administrator is elected by a simple majority vote of the council, this would be a significant change. Yes, voters elect commissioners, but the question is, do voters want to turn over electing whomever to run the city to the commissioners? As we’ve already seen, the council has voted to remove a city employee, do we as Apopkans want to allow commissioners to remove the city administrator? One wrong decision and we are now turning over the person who leads the city? Whether anyone agrees, this past year’s conduct of the council has made it more difficult to recruit top-notch candidates for critical positions. I’ll reserve my final comments and decision once I’ve reviewed what the charter review committee’s final report is, but for now, I’d vote to retain the current form of government regardless of who is mayor. It is the voters of Apopka’s decision that will ultimately decide."


The Apopka City Center has languished for years. As a commissioner, what would you do to get it moving forward?

"This question, I’m sure, is on the minds of many Apopka residents as they commute on Hwy 441 and Hwy 436. I attended the groundbreaking and was excited to see what was planned for the City Center area. Months went by before the short black screen was put up, and I thought, “they will start the groundwork soon.” After several months of no groundwork and then the removal of the black screen, I really began to wonder. The answer to this question is one of my campaign pledges. I’d like to provide quarterly updates on projects that the council has approved. After my first run for seat 4, I was determined to gain as much knowledge as possible in understanding the process of development in Apopka. Development Review Committee, Planning Council, and lastly the City Council are just a few of the steps in developing a project here in Apopka. A short 3-4 minute update during the Commissioners Report would provide updates and not leave us hanging as to why, when, and what happened. One of the first things I’d do as a Commissioner is inquire of the Planning Department as to the progress of the City Center project. I’d follow protocol to ensure not to overstep council responsibilities and ask for an update meeting with the developer. My goal would be to understand where the project is in the development cycle. What are the bumps in the road, so to speak? Is there something that I as a commissioner can help with? Communication is key. If there is an impasse, can I help get both sides talking again to get the project back on track and completed? In the City Charter question, maybe there should be additional expectations within the Charter/code to better define timelines to all parties when it comes to development in Apopka. What should next steps be if there is an impasse? Both parties want the same thing, great looking, completed projects in a timely manner."


Many believe that Apopka struggles to manage its population and developmental growth. This issue encompasses many factors, including infrastructure, schools, and public safety. As a commissioner, what would you do to manage Apopka's growth properly?

"Roads, schools, drinking water, reclaimed water, utilities, and waste management are a few of the items most think of when thinking of infrastructure. Orange County Public Schools are responsible for schools in Apopka and our county. I do not believe there are any who’d disagree; seeing multiple portables sitting on a school campus, whether the school is old or new, is logical. With the current occupancy expectations of 120%, it would be hard to imagine how a new school would ever be built where there wouldn’t be a portable. I will work with the OCPS Apopka’s elected representative to ensure Apopka’s needs are front and center for our schools. Schools with overcrowding concerns need to be addressed with OCPS. OCPS and Apopka have an elected representative on the school board. Go to the board and speak up during the public comment. Take friends who feel the same way as you. Have them speak. Share your concerns. Stopping or suspending development will not address school overcrowding for many years. As a commissioner, I will review the comprehensive plan for Apopka. What has been built, what is scheduled next and what developments are in progress and which ones are likely to come up for approval/denial soon. I will work closely with the Apopka Planning Department and the public to update the comprehensive plan addressing future land use designations and allowable densities with as much green space as possible to ensure a sustainable growth plan for our city. Improved, safe roads are critical with population growth. The cost to build new and improvement of current roads are partially paid with development impact fees. I will work closely with the City Planning staff and the public to address the transportation needs of our growing community. My goal as a commissioner would be to proactively plan for growth. Growth will happen and having good planning in place will address the multiple factors mentioned. At the 2024 budget planning, what would a budget look like if we had everything we needed, then prioritizing what we want. Knowing when new developments come online, we know in advance what we will need for additional police, fire and EMT’s along with needed infrastructure. Are there roads that Apopka should consider taking over from Orange County ? Should Apopka take ownership of anything that is substandard? Apopka taxpayers will be responsible for the bill if upgrading is needed. I will work closely with staff in considering if roads are up to standard or need significant financial investment to bring them up. Impact fees never cover the real cost of needed infrastructure. How much are the gaps? Do we take impact fees and supplement with general city funds to meet those needs now, or do we wait years to allow impact fees to accrue, before moving forward with construction projects?"


What is your moonshot for Apopka? It might take more than one budget cycle to complete - but think big and explain how it can be accomplished. Or, if you prefer to keep millage rates low and the government small, explain why you think that's a better plan for Apopka.

The term, moonshot, might denote something that seems impossible, but something we can aspire to. Our country did achieve a moonshot back in 1969 when two astronauts walked on the moon after seven years of planning, testing, evaluating, succeeding and sometimes failing. We did achieve the goal and the reason the goal was achieved, they executed the plan. I believe anything can be achieved. It is up to us to choose whether we want to invest in the goal and execute ! Apopka has what thousands are looking for, living in the sunshine state. Apopka is strategically located in central Florida. Lake Apopka, Wekiva Springs, completion of the 429, Kelly Park Interchange are just a few of the driving factors that have facilitated the growth of our city. Apopka has open land. Yes, it is being snatched up and one day, Apopka will no longer be on the outskirts of Orlando. When you have open land and are in close proximity to a growing metropolitan area, growth will happen. Apopka’s responsibility, along with the Council, is to ensure the comprehensive plan is updated and addresses future land use designations along with allowable densities that provide for a pleasant home town feel. Back in 2015, numerous leaders of Apopka, spent countless hours developing a Vision Plan, Grow Apopka 2025. In April of 2016, the City Council adopted the Vision Plan via resolution 2016-13. We are just 2 years away from the ending vision date. While some items have been achieved most have not. One of my 1st year to-do items will be to resurrect the plan that was adopted. Pull together similar public leaders represented on the first plan to review and facilitate executing a revised plan. There are still individuals who are part of Apopka that were part of this original vision plan. The Plan has action items along with timelines. Of the action items there is one item completed at 100% and all the remaining items are in the 10-25% completion. Five community forums were held with hundreds of people in combined attendance. As a commissioner, I will work to ensure that resolutions that are adopted, have the vision and leaders necessary to put plans into action. Thomas Edison was right, 1“Vision without Execution is Hallucination.” I often hear people state, “why can’t we have something like Winter Garden and Plant Street in our downtown?” I like what is on Plant Street. I call it the old town feel architecture mixed with a twist of modern. Walking Plant Street during any event, you feel an at home feel. It took years to create this and Apopka can create something even better. I say, “go better or don’t go.” Apopka’s next steps would be to determine what a future downtown would look like and where best to establish this new reimagined downtown. Is there a way we can legally change the traffic pattern of 441 from Bradshaw through downtown ending somewhere in close proximity to 436/441, removing 441 as the main thorough-fair? Should we make one-way traffic east/west on two streets allowing for a larger center of downtown ? First step would be to create a visual of what that would look like. UCF has incredible students working on their masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning program. I’ve seen their work and it is amazing to visualize what can be. I’m sure UCF and these masters students would be happy to assist in creating a vision. If the current downtown is not viable to change the traffic pattern, then where is the next best location ? Working with City staff, local leaders, UCF and the Apopka public, as commissioner, I’ll help execute a new reengaged plan. I believe reimagining a new downtown will provide additional revenue when we create a reason for customers to show up.


What sets you apart from your opponent(s)? Why are you the best choice for Seats 3/4?

"I believe there is a distinct difference between my opponent in how I would conduct myself on the dais. I’m a seasoned professional with years of experience in a highly regulatory field, leading organizations, facilitating daily operations, managing and developing budgets, while providing guidance to reach strategic goals and providing support and development for a large staff, I’m skilled at interacting with professional decorum and respectful communication, even when I have an opposing view. I listen carefully and weigh as much information as possible to understand before making a comment or directing an action. As an example, the request for a forensic audit. This request was made several council meetings ago and I’ve still not heard what the scope will be. The only thing I’ve heard from my opponent is a full audit going back to 2018. In my past business life, we were audited yearly as required by state law just as the City of Apopka. Auditors follow a common set of 1.”accounting rules, requirements, and practices issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).” To request a forensic audit, I’d be sure to have the evidence when making that statement. Enough time has gone by to clearly explain what the scope should be. Without a scope, unless the scope is a full audit back to 2018, no accounting firm will bid on the project. Scope designates how much time will be needed to complete, personnel needed and what it will cost. I’m not an accountant, but I’d be hard-pressed to think a full audit back to 2018 would cost less than $1,000,000, taking months to complete. My experience in business provides me with an understanding of operations and what it takes to run smoothly, with focus, to ensure policies and processes are working to provide quality outcomes. Our current Charter does not provide for the Commissioner's management responsibilities of the administration functions of the city; the Mayor and city manager are responsible for this. I would be respectful and allow these individuals to operate as they deem necessary. If voters desire a change in administration, that opportunity will come in 2026. If voters want a change in the way commissioners conduct themselves, that opportunity comes in March of 2024."


Your support plays a crucial role in fueling campaign efforts.

This campaign is driven by a shared vision for a better future, and I invite you to join us in turning that vision into reality. Your contribution, no matter the size, plays a crucial role in fueling campaign efforts. It allows me to amplify my message, engage with the community, and implement initiatives that will make a lasting impact. 

I am grateful for each contribution, big or small. Your belief in our campaign is a powerful force that propels us forward. Together, we can make a difference.

"A Voice of Reason"

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Protect city reserve funds.

Provide quarterly developer progress updates.

Ensure critical infrastructure is up-to-date for future growth.

Support the collaboration between City, County and State

to improve transportation.

Move Apopka forward in a positive direction.

Increase transparency in government operations.

Advocate for ethical practices and accountability.

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A Caring Neighbor

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Apopka Chamber of Commerce Member

2x Vistas at Waters Edge HOA President

Sertoma Member

Leading Businessman

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Apopka Planning Council Commissioner

Apopka Chamber Committee on Elder Affairs and Family Support

Bike/Walk Central Florida Stakeholder, Planning/Work Group

City of Apopka Vision Zero Champion

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