Councilman David DeMarois was elected to Seat 5 on the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council in March 2017. After serving one three-year term, he is now seeking re-election, facing a challenge from longtime community activist and former Councilwoman Marge Herzog. The election will be held on Tuesday, March 17.
DeMarois, 71, has a long record of community service in Loxahatchee Groves. He bought the property he lives on in 1979 and built his home there in the mid-1980s. He served as a Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District supervisor for 19 years, chairing the LGWCD board for 10 of those years.
“During the time that I was with the water control district, I worked with the crews and staff and boards that we had,” he said. “During that 19 years, we did a pretty good job for the people. We didn’t have near the complaints. If we got 40 complaints the whole year, that was a lot. We addressed those problems within hours.”
Married to wife Cheryl, DeMarois has two grown daughters, Kim and Karen. He is a Vietnam War veteran, serving in 1968-69, and had a 30-year career with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. He also served as a reserve officer with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for 33 years.
DeMarois said that he is running for re-election because he would like to see the completion of things that have been put in place during his council tenure over the past three years.
“We’ve got the new manager. That’s going to reflect that we have a new start,” he said. “We started accomplishing a lot of things and getting these roads repaired. I want to see that get through. I want to see the OGEM [open-graded emulsion mix] roads repaired. I want to see the canals cleaned out, and just follow through and help the people wherever we can.”
DeMarois noted that there are problems with the new solid waste contractor that need to be resolved.
“We’re going to have to look at that and see if we can straighten it out,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of complaints. It’s just part of doing business, on a daily basis, for a town.”
DeMarois added that Loxahatchee Groves officials recently went to Tallahassee to seek additional funding for town roads.
“Hopefully, we’ll get some of that, and we’ll be able to make more progress, but now we’re doing more things with people,” he said. “They haven’t seen it in three or four years, and now they deserve it. We’ve made great progress in my three years. I just want to finish it up. This will probably be my last term, since I’m 71.”
His vision for the town is to have commercial operations centralized on Southern Blvd.
“Every time we bring something up, somebody on the council doesn’t want it for some reason, but if we don’t do that, then we have to have the taxpayers eat most of the cost,” DeMarois said. “Because we have so much [agricultural] property, that takes care of a lot of the income we would have coming in. So, I would like the commercial to expand a little bit on Southern.”
He would also like to consider limited commercial uses on Okeechobee Blvd., pointing out that some commercial has already been approved there.
“I think it would be nice if we could put in something on Okeechobee for the town people, but I don’t know what will happen as far as that goes,” DeMarois said.
He said some commercial on Okeechobee Blvd. would help offset the cost of having so much agricultural land in town, which pays a lower tax rate, and the large number of churches, which pay no taxes. “We’ve got a lot of properties paying no taxes,” he said, explaining that the gas tax revenue that the town receives must be used on roads. “It can’t be used for any other parts of government.”
The only changes he would like to see are improved solid waste pickup and improved roads. “I’d like to see Loxahatchee Groves basically stay the way it is,” he said.
DeMarois is complimentary of the current town staff, suggesting that perhaps a few more people are needed to fill in the workload that town took over from the LGWCD.
“We’re going to have to pick up some other equipment to keep it up, but we’re almost there, and maybe one or two other people for the water district [work],” he said.
He is also happy with the service that the town has been receiving from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
“The sheriff has been working with us, so I’m looking forward to working with the sheriff again,” he said. “We’re getting pretty good service out of him.”
DeMarois considers the town to be in pretty good shape now, with many projects getting done.
“Things are going pretty smoothly,’ he said. “We’re getting a lot of rock put down and taking care of the roads, and people aren’t complaining about the roads so much.”
DeMarois said that he is the most qualified to serve due to his many years of experience, first with the LGWCD and then with the town.
“I have worked with South Florida Water Management people and the canals, and I have the knowledge of what needs to be done there. With the roads, I know what needs to be done, and that’s what I push for,” he said. “I try to take care of those safety issues for the roads and canals, too. They flood, and we have no way of getting help in here for people who are down for a day or two because our roads are flooded. That’s why we need to keep our drainage as good as possible.”