Jon Sidney Larkin, local Real Estate Broker and fourth-generation Pasco County resident, threw his hat into the political ring for the first time by filing for a place on the ballot for the office of Pasco County Property Appraiser on Friday, June 24, at the Pasco County Courthouse in Dade City at 10:30 a.m. Larkin, a Democrat, wants to bring his real-world experience to craft workable solutions to meet the needs and challenges facing the Property Appraiser’s Office and its staff.
“I’ve never climbed the political ladder,” said Larkin. “The only ladders I’ve climbed were in orange groves,” he said. “But I think that my lack of political motivation is an advantage that will serve the citizens of Pasco County well.”
Larkin has more than two decades of experience in agribusiness and commercial fleet transportation as a controller and production manager. In this role, he at one time managed more than 470 acres of citrus groves and 2,775 acres of cattle operations. He led many of the environmental and compliance concerns of the company, including permitting, compliance, and USDA review of cattle, citrus, pastures, wetlands, and wildlife.
Larkin was also responsible for coordinating the appraisal process for properties and real estate tax abatement, including researching zoning, future land use and legal descriptions. He led the company’s staff and contractors by creating training programs, emergency preparedness plans, workplace safety inspections, and offering leadership initiatives for motivated employees.
“I think it’s time we look outside of politics for roles that aren’t really political, like the Property Appraiser,” he said. “This is a position that requires proven leadership from those who have successfully operated in the private sector – stewards of the land who have a real sense of its value and potential. That’s why I’m entering this race—I feel strongly that Pasco County, a place my family has called home for four generations, deserves a fair and accurate accounting of real estate and personal property values.”
Larkin will be facing either Pasco County Commissioner Ted Schrader or Gary Joiner, director of operations for the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office. Both are Republicans with long records of public service.
Larkin’s goals, if elected, include to bring the online presence of the Property Appraiser’s Office into the 21st Century, making www.Appraiser.PascoGov.com mobile friendly and able to be easily accessed and interacted with by the public and appraisers in the field via smart phones and tablets. Another is to post current maps online, and make the secure records portal an efficient resource that is updated in real time. He also vows to help reduce homestead fraud by identifying those receiving homestead exemptions illegally.
“I’m not running for public office to make this my new career,” said Larkin. “I believe I can bring real, lasting progress to this Office and then transfer a smooth running operation into the hands of my predecessor four or eight years down the road. Again, my life isn’t in politics, but my goal is to make sure property values in Pasco County are realistic and well documented for my term and create policies and procedures that allow those who follow me in this Office to do the same.”
Larkin, 44, is a graduate of Pasco High School in Dade City and of nearby Saint Leo University, then known as Saint Leo College. He married his high school sweetheart, Lorie Owens, 18 years ago. They have two sons, ages 10 and 14, who attend Pasco County public schools. His wife, Lorie Larkin, is a teacher at San Antonio Elementary School in San Antonio, Florida.