After approximately 80 public speakers, the Leon County Commission voted to place a referendum on the 2020 ballot to fund a Children’s Services Council (CSC).
The vote was 7-0.
Supporters of the CSC had urged the Commission to place the question on the 2018 ballot. However, concerns about the lack of a plan and a complete buy-in by important stakeholders, such as the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, resulted in consensus around the 2020 date.
The initiative calls for a new property tax that will generate $7-8 million each year to fund children’s services.
County Commissioner Desloge voted for the motion arguing that the 2020 date will allow voters to know exactly what they are voting for. However, Desloge warned he would vote to repeal the motion if a detailed plan is not put in place over the next two years.
Approximately 80% of the speakers spoke in favor of placing the measure on the 2018 ballot.
But it was clear – in the discussion after the public speakers – that a majority of county commissioners were more interested in building consensus within the community than rushing the question to the 2018 ballot.
Several speakers held up the successful passage of the Blueprint sales tax and the half-penny sales tax for education as examples of the type of process that needed to be emulated by advocates of the CSC.
After the vote on the ballot measure, the Commission voted to address the consensus building process at their next meeting on July 10, 2018.
There were preliminary discussions about providing $150,000 to help the CSC advocates staff an effort to inform the community about the CSC initiative.