Ocala’s new City Manager Rick Horst was the guest speaker at today’s Quarterly Luncheon of EDC investors. He shared the answer to the question some have had…why Ocala? Whenever someone new comes to town, our community usually wants to know why. Horst discussed what he saw on his visits and in his research about Ocala…it’s a community of citizens instead of taxpayers. He shared the story of a man who wanted a degree and paid tuition to a college for four years. However, when he showed up for graduation there was no diploma. Horst used the analogy to describe taxpayers as people who begrudgingly pay their taxes, but never become engaged in the process. Citizens are people who ARE the government. Yes, they pay taxes, but they are willing to “roll up their sleeves” and make the community a better place. Horst referred to the work done by the EDC Raising the Bar initiative as highly innovative. He pointed to the crowd of 350 top business and community leaders and said, “This is a group of citizens.”
So, what do you think? Is Ocala/Marion County truly a community of citizens, or are we simply taxpayers?