Businessman Sam Roman is challenging incumbent Councilwoman Selena Smith for the Group 3 seat on the Royal Palm Beach Village Council. The election will be held Tuesday, March 13.
Roman, 48, was born and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico. He is a U.S. Navy veteran of six years, four years active and two years reserve, where he served in Operation Desert Storm on the USS Kitty Hawk. He is married to wife Tara with three grown children and three adopted children.
He has lived in Palm Beach County for 16 years and currently owns two businesses.
“I am founder and owner of Applied Advertising Solutions, which is a printing and direct mail company. I’ve been involved in the printing business since I was discharged from the Navy,” he said. “I also have a security agency where we provide armed and unarmed guard services for HOAs, faith-based organizations and retail.”
He is also an active community leader as the past president and current chairman of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We meet in order to help each other’s businesses flourish, and learn how to maneuver the business atmosphere when it comes to contracts with the county and government contracts, how to get certified and things of that nature,” Roman explained.
He has served on the boards of several community organizations, including the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. He is also past chair of the Small Business Administration of Palm Beach County, the Small Business Assistance Advisory Board, a board member of Boys Town USA, a board member of the Selective Service System of Palm Beach County and serves on the Palm Beach County Construction Industry Licensing Board.
“I have a beautiful wife who puts up with everything,” he said, explaining that many of his board meetings are monthly. “I like to be involved.”
He highlights his top accomplishments as being a successful business owner and community leader. “I like to be involved with the community and get things done for the community,” Roman said.
He believes he’s the best person to serve on the council because he is a community leader, a family-oriented person and proud Navy veteran.
“I have a proven history of getting things done and working with the community, working together in order for the community’s wishes and issues that are of concern, and things get accomplished for the community due to the experience that I already have,” Roman said.
Top goals that he would like to accomplish on the council include infrastructure improvements in the village, more youth programs, improving school ratings, and establishing more programs for veterans and seniors.
“I would like for the penny sales tax that was passed by the county to be used more toward our infrastructure in Royal Palm Beach when it comes to paving of the roads, dredging the canals and other infrastructure needs that may arise,” Roman said. “I want to make sure that the money is used specifically for what it was intended.”
The top issues in his campaign include the effect on the village of growth that is going on just outside the village’s borders.
“I don’t think we have any specific issues in Royal Palm Beach,” he said. “I am concerned about the growth that’s going on around our community from neighboring towns to the west, to the north, and how that is going to impact our inner communities in Royal Palm Beach.”
Roman believes that council meetings are conducted well, but he wishes the community would be more involved.
“I would like to see more involvement from the community at those council meetings,” he explained. “The meetings always give the opportunity for those present to make comment. But very rarely do we have anybody show up and speak to the council.”
He said more outreach to the community would improve involvement by inviting people to attend.
“We need to find a way of getting them more involved,” Roman said. “I know that now the council is looking for ideas on how to communicate more with the community, so I think that’s a step forward in getting the community involved in some of the issues at council meetings.”
He is happy with the way Village Manager Ray Liggins is doing his job.
“I believe he’s doing a great job,” he said. “Ray Liggins has a lot of experience. He’s part of the team that has brought the village through many years of leadership to where we’re at now.”
Roman did not want to offer suggestions on how he would improve village administration.
“Once I get more involved into the management of the village, I will be first to bring it up if I see that we can do things differently, working with the other council [members],” he said.
He feels that the village’s finances and budget are in a very good position. “It’s something that has been worked on for many years, and it goes back to having the right leadership in previous years,” Roman said.
He believes that Royal Palm Beach can ease traffic problems by working more closely with the Florida Department of Transportation.
“If we could work with FDOT in partnership, I believe that you could get more bees with honey than with vinegar, having communication with them, and the community,” Roman said. “I believe that it is a public safety issue within the community, so I think that it is very important to have communications and listen and work with those communities that want the traffic calming.”
He said future development to the west will have a great impact on the village if not controlled.
“I think it’s going to affect us greatly,” Roman said. “We have to make sure that we keep a very close eye on it when it comes to our way of life in the village, and also when it comes to the traffic. How is that going to affect our communities and our infrastructure? It could become a public safety issue.”
He said cut-through traffic will be reduced with the installation of traffic control devices, such as the speed humps being installed in his neighborhood on Sandpiper Avenue through a program recently approved by the council.
He said future development within the village will be restricted due to the limited land remaining.
“We have very little land left to do more development,” Roman said. “I would like to see more businesses come in to the village, but anything that is done, we need to take into consideration the way of living within the village, and we need to listen to our residents.”
The only change he would like to see in the way the council currently operates is to have himself occupy the Group 3 seat.
“I believe the council [member] sitting in that seat has a disconnect with the residents of the village,” Roman said. “I don’t believe that the wishes of the residents have been heard… The rest of the council, I believe they are doing a great job.”
He said that parks are an important part of the Royal Palm Beach community.
“Parks are what make our village wonderful,” Roman said. “I believe that we have great parks, and if we could have more, I’m all for it. It goes back to having more activities for our youth and family activities, and for the community to come together.”
Roman’s vision of the future of the village is to maintain the standard that has attracted residents in the past.
“It is very important to maintain our quality of life in Royal Palm Beach, to keep it as a unique community,” he said.
While growth is inevitable, Royal Palm Beach needs to see that it is “smart growth” in order to maintain its way of life, Roman said.
He said voters should vote for him because he will listen to the residents.
“I am the candidate who has the experience with businesses, community involvement and being a Navy man,” Roman said. “I am the one who is going to go to work for them.”