The Tallahassee Charter Review Committee (CRC) held its sixth meeting today at City Hall with presentations made by City Commissioner Allan Katz and Bill Roberts of the Florida Airports Council.
Mr. Katz’s presentation centered around preparing Tallahassee for the next 5-10 years. It was clear in his comments that he does not believe that the current structure of government provides the best opportunities for Tallahassee moving forward.
While applauding the efforts of the current staff, Mr. Katz was concerned that the limits of what a City Commissioner can do results in a lack of political accountability. In short, he argued that unelected officials make a lot of the important decisions.
He told the CRC that separate authorities are worth exploring and that a separate utility authority would be a “touchy issue” due to the $33 million transfer to the general fund.
Commissioner Katz said he supported consolidation and commented that the impediments were the law enforcement issues and the relationship between city and county staff. He thought that a Mayor with more authority would help the move toward consolidation. He also added that future economic realities would dictate a move toward consolidation.
Mr. Roberts of the Florida Airports Council said that a separate airport authority would provide more focus on economic development and would provide a structure for surrounding communities to be involved with regional strategies. He talked about the successes of authorities in Sanford (just outside Orlando) and in Panama City.
The next CRC meeting is a public forum scheduled for March16, 2009 at City Hall. Citizens will be given 3 minutes to state their views.