Mayor Frank Hibbard is Guest Speaker at Rotary Club Meeting
(l-r) Rotarian Jared Brown, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, Doug Hilkert, President Rotary Club of Clearwater
Jared Brown introduced Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard at a recent Wednesday noon meeting of the Rotary Club of Clearwater held at the Belleair Country Club. Mayor Hibbard was first elected to the Clearwater City Council in March 2002 and was elected Mayor in 2005 and re-elected in 2008. A graduate of Florida State University he holds a B.S. degree in Business; a B.S. in Economics and an M.B.A. He has served as Volunteer Executive to the United Way of Pinellas County; the Board of Corporate Partners at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center; and a Board Member of the Jim Moran Institute of Entrepreneurial Study, Florida State College of Business. Mayor Hibbard is a graduate of the class of 2000 Leadership Pinellas, and the class of 2007 Leadership Florida. He serves as Chairman of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization and as chairman of the board of TBARTA -- Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.
Mayor Hibbard spoke about the urgency for adopting a city budget, in light of the changed economy and drop in value of invested reserves. A large percentage of city expense is for employees salaries, but a reduction of employees would mean a drop in services for the community.
Many beach projects are necessarily on hold but a bright spot is noting the large number of people enjoying the new beach walk in the evening. Hibbard said that someday he hopes to publish a book, one that could perhaps be titled, Save Us.
He said that individuals, and governments from city to national, need to realize that we are in danger of losing all that we value and have enjoyed in past years, adding “Unless we as individuals change our ways, we could lose our currently enjoyed freedoms. Crushing debt is stifling progress of individuals and governments. We have brought this debt on ourselves by overspending beyond our income, living beyond our means. We are a debtor nation, but the individual is the possible cure.”
“We need to individually realize that it is up to us to get out of debt, to build asset reserves, avoid overspending for things we do not need or material goods we cannot afford. We need to help our children understand that income has a limit.”
He added “Adults must set the example, teach children to accept responsibility for whatever they do, respect all people, of all ages and respect and nurture our natural assets and respect the property of others.”
He advocated that citizens serve as volunteers, mentors and help others to understand that they can become better persons and more successful through improving their education. Teach that opportunities are available through self improvement and by experiencing new challenges. “The best athletes like to improve themselves by competing with others who are better than they are.” In conclusion, Hibbard stated that money cannot buy our national freedoms or make a house a home, but excess debt can cause us to lose our freedoms and our homes.
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