By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
DAYTONA BEACH - Dale Heuermann said city leaders have great ideas to improve the community - they just aren't implementing them.
His wish to materialize something out of those ideas was what motivated him to run for the City Commission.
"I have critical thinking that allows me to think logically and outside the box," he said. "Once you come up with something outside of the box, you have to implement it."
Mr. Heuermann is running to finish Edith Shelley's term on the Zone 1 city commission seat after she resigned to run for mayor. He will challenge businesswoman Ruth Trager and broker Carl Lentz IV for the seat.
The 56-year-old grew up in the Daytona Beach area while his father worked on the Apollo program for NASA, and then moved to Newport Beach, Calif., where he served in the U.S. Navy and attended college. He returned to Daytona Beach to be closer to his parents when they got older.
His background includes private and public sector experience. In the past he was a mechanical engineer, a small business owner and the chairman of a board of trustees for a private school, and he currently works with his wife, Chris, as a licensed realtor for Exit Plan Realty in Port Orange.
Mr. Heuermann uses the acronym "ICE" to summarize his top priorities: improve neighborhoods, City Hall accountability, and employment opportunities.
To address the issue of blighted neighborhoods, Mr. Heuermann would direct more community redevelopment agency funding toward grants that would encourage people to move into residences in distressed neighborhoods.
"When there's a higher percentage of homeowners in a neighborhood, properties tend to be maintained better," he said.
Mr. Heuermann said city police are doing "a pretty awesome job" in keeping crime as low as possible in the city. Expanded bike patrols on beachside and community policing efforts have had a positive impact, he said.
On City Hall accountability, Mr. Heuermann said he believes commissioners - not city staff and the city manager - should set the direction for the city.
In doing so, he believes commissioners must be more proactive and attentive in their decision-making.
"Over the last six months I've seen several contracts (worth) over half a million dollars voted and approved with no discussion," he said.
Mr. Heuermann believes more employment opportunities will become available in the city if commissioners create an environment that does not deter businesses from setting up in the community.
"From talking to people in town," he said, "I've heard the city, whether intentionally or unintentionally, has a reputation for thwarting business by having too many regulations and having to go through 10 different departments to get approval for something."
He supports the University of Central Florida's business incubator at the Daytona Beach International Airport and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's plans for a high-tech research park because they would attract "significant-paying jobs" that would employ local workers.
Mr. Heuermann and his wife have five daughters from previous marriages, Lacey, Erica, Amelia, Sierra, and Aurora.
If elected, he wants to help the city evolve on a positive forward path.
"After watching things for a few years, I think I can get in there and help," he said. "Being an engineer (and) being a (business) manager, I think I can bring a different and new perspective."