- October 10, 2019
A 46-year-old Florida native born in Winter Park, Chris Adkins spent his life moving around in the counties of Orange and Seminole and sometimes, Eustis — where he helped out on a chicken farm by grabbing eggs, bailing hay and learning about hard work. Adkins’ parents married young and were together for less than a year, so he found himself often with his grandparents, who he said taught him honesty, respect and integrity.
With a background in multi-store sales, operations management corporate auditing and growth for Genesco from the mid-1990s through 2006, Adkins realized all the hours he spent traveling started to take their toll. So, he and his wife, Cori, opened a small property management company that was later adapted — after the recession — to include corporate housing. The Adkinses have two children — Nash, 21, and Jett, 18.
How did you find your way to Ocoee?
When I found out my wife (Cori) was expecting, I was the area manager for Central Florida. So, Ocoee was a place that was helpful to move around for work. It was also a place were my father’s side of the family lived. So at 23 years old, I bought us our first home in Historic Brentwood Heights.
Why are you running for the mayor seat?
I am (very) aware of the fact Ocoee has the highest millage (tax) rate in Orange County to comparable cities. It has for more than a decade, and in addition, (it’s) something that really frustrates me.
Our city adopted non ad-valorem fees as well — first starting with a firefighters fee. Now having (three) fees totaling more than $400 (added/in addition to your taxes), that go into the general fund. Not even for what they say, then distributed throughout the budget. (Even) being used as collateral to secure the bond we received in October 2017.
(The) efficient, productive, and accountable use of funds is where I’m disappointed. The city management and leadership has misled the taxpayers and citizens of Ocoee. … I’m running to get us back on track, accountable, transparent and most of all stop what I consider waste.
What is your vision for the city?
We need to hold developers accountable or make better decisions on who we work with. As a city, we need to grow but not at warp speed, full of apartments while neglecting so much of our city.
Sidewalks, resurfacing and expansion of our main infrastructure arteries has to keep pace. I will be sure to see exactly were we stand on these issues.
How do you differ from the other candidates?
At the end of the day, I am just a family man who cares about where I live. … I don’t own a bunch of properties or real estate. I don’t have developer friends or agreements with anyone but the taxpayers. It’s simple: I’m not a politician. I have a skill set that can help my city and no vested interest financially.
My opponents are both seasoned politicians. Mayor (Rusty) Johnson has held office in Ocoee for nearly 40 years. … George Oliver is a Super PAC-funded commissioner (who) just won re-election recently. So, I’m not sure why he is running, (because) he has two years still left holding office on his current term. His move cost taxpayers a significant amount of money.