Although Ed Turanchik is often referred to as a former Hilslborough County Commissioner, he's spent over a decade in the private sector, and his most recent turn as head of InTown Homes trying to develop affordable housing in West Tampa has definitely given him ideas on what he believes city government is currently doing wrong.
As the Tampa mayoral candidate unveiled a position paper Thursday afternoon, he wanted to emphasize that his ideas on how to run the city of Tampa come from his recent experiences trying to navigate what he calls Tampa's "byzantine development rules, that made doing the right thing, the hard thing."
"I think there's too much of an attitude in the city that puts the convenience of the city employee ahead of the convenience of the customer, and under my administration, that's not going to be the case."
In a program he puts forth called Houses to Homes, Turanchik is proposing that the city turn foreclosed homes into livable houses for those citizens who can't currently qualify to purchase homes because they're not FHA qualified. Turanchik says these homes need to be fixed up from their current conditions, and he wants to re-tool the city's Housing Department and Construction Services department, as well as work with banks, "to make it very easy for someone who makes $22,000 a year, to own a home where they can pay $500 a month in rent."
Turanchik refers to the plan as "Joe the Plumber goes back to work," saying that a $35,000 home can easily be upgrade to a $70,000 home by adding improvements like a new roof, adding a new A/C system, upgrading plumbing and the electrical system, and putting in new appliances among other things. "People who are out of work are going to go back to work, rebuilding and rehabbing the homes in the market that are dirt cheap."
Turanchik says he would "re-tool" existing down payment assistance programs, along with working with the lending, mortgage and construction industries to make this happen.