Does Leon County Need a Children’s Services Council?

Does Leon County Need a Children’s Services Council?

Now that the Leon County Commission has signaled support for a ballot initiate that would fund a Children’s Services Council (CSC) through an increase in property taxes, voters will soon have to decide if such an organization is needed.

The creation of a council means Leon County citizens will be asked to support $7-8 million in new taxes to finance an organization with the sole mission of addressing children issues.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber recently took the position that a needs assessment should be completed before moving forward.

Is there evidence that a CSC is needed in Leon County?

When the issue was discussed at the Leon County Commission meeting, Commissioner Lindley, while supportive of the idea said , “We don’t know exactly what the money would go for, who would do it. There are just a lot of questions.”

Commissioner John Dailey said that a CSC could address issues from crime to economic and health care disparities.

It was reported by the Tallahassee Democrat that Kelly Otte, executive director of PACE Leon, said a CSC would help address issues including childhood starvation and poverty.

Mimi Graham, director of Florida State University’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy, said the CSC’s approved in nine other counties have been tremendously successful.

Publicly available information shows that Leon County ranks pretty well when comparing child well-being statistics to other Florida counties.

For example, according to the 2017 Florida Kids Count Child Well-being Index, Leon County ranks 18th out of 67 counties in the state of Florida. This ranking is better than 70% of all counties.

Also, these rankings show that Leon County is doing better than seven of the nine counties that currently fund a CSC.

A needs assessment will provide more detailed information about what children outcomes could be improved and identify what service areas are not currently being effectively addressed by the Leon County non-profit community.

This information will be valuable for voters who will be asked to support a new tax for a CSC.

16 Responses to "Does Leon County Need a Children’s Services Council?"

  1. Investing in children could lead to less incarcerations and state dependency in the future. Ultimately, it can save you money later on. In addition, it would make Tallahassee a safer environment which we all want and need.

  2. Absolutely NO , NO, NO new tax for some do gooder program ! THEY, preach just a penny here and a penny there —you will never miss it—-for what ? When these people have children , they should raise them at their expense—not mine ! In fact, we should do away with this rediculous school “”lunch program”” which has morphed into feeding THEIR kids 3 meals a day and even extending into the no school summer months. What idiots dream up this preversion of spending tax payer dollars. NO , NO, NO, —this Childrens Service Council BS is DOA at the ballet box !!!

  3. I’m a transplant from Broward County. In 2000, Broward voters approved a ballot measure to establish a Children’s Services Council. At the time, we were told the millage rate would be so low for this program that the average property owner would only pay about a dollar per year. Indeed, I paid a mere $1.25 the first year the tax appeared on my TRIM notice in 2001. When I sold that same home in 2016, the CSC line item was over $25 (my home value during that time only increased 80%, not 2,000%).

    Of course, the new CSC couldn’t just occupy an existing building in a relatively-modest section of the county. Instead, they had to build a new building on a piece of prime commercial real estate in an area that consists of mostly 55-and-older communities (6600 W Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33319).

  4. There are plenty of unmet needs for children in our community, the biggest of which is for afterschool enrichment, which now is too expensive for multi-children family and too few spaces in free/vouchered programs, as well as without the transportation that would give access. We can rail all we want about missing/defective parents, but if we mean to solve the problem we have to provide the services to do that.

    And surely everyone understands that the reason it will be on the ballot in November (even without the complete assessment) is that it will be the last opportunity to vote without the requirement for 75% approval of tax/fee increases which will be on the constitutional amendment ballot in November.

    NOTE: I will oppose that amendment because it is always the poor, disfavored and/or without lobbying influence who lose out when governments decide how to spend our taxes. We each have a personal moral responsibility for the poor among us. Although we should not assume government takes care of that personal moral responsibility with collective action, we cannot escape the evidence that government doesn’t do an adequate job with current revenue. We need a council that is outside schools and outside other child services to give input and provide funding for interventions that produce results.

    1. There are already many programs for lower income children. And the fact is, people should not have children thinking they can depend on tax-payers to fund their needs: “too expensive for multi-children families and too few spaces in free/vouchered programs”. Those of us who waited to have children til we were married & could afford them AND worked 2 or 3 jobs to pay for what they needed should not have to fund other people’s children also. Raising children is so much better with a married partner, but certain segments of our society don’t seem to want to be bothered with that. How they live their lives is their choice, but govt., i.e. the taxpayers should not have to enable everyone’s irresponsible choices.

  5. Vote NO on this latest corrupt self enriching scheme put out for your warm and fuzzy feelings = your approval to give cart blanche to our local crime family AKA our dirty self interested local “Usual Suspects”.
    They keep on trying and trying to re-package their efforts to turn us into broke-@ss FloridaFornia.
    Vote NO….#ell NO!!!

  6. A vote for an illiberal politician (ie., Lindley) is a vote to tax yourself more.
    We already have two assessments (local and state) to our property tax bills for schools. Why do we need a third, especially if we don’t have school-aged children?
    How about a property tax assessment to start a fund that would subsidize gun purchases for the poor in Leon County?

    Would you go for that one, you libtards?

  7. This is a Jessica Minor special! She quit her last failed venture INIE, which was supposed to be a “chamber for non profits”. now she wants to create a special taxing where she’s the queen and doles out political favors for her husbands FAILED political campaigns. Enough is enough. I hope our county commission votes NO on the Jessica and Rick Minor property tax hike!!

    1. You are very close to the truth here. You could pick ANY relative of an elected leader, ANY relative of the inner circle of lobbyists (see COCA), ANY relative of senior local government staff – and they would be the logical person to head up virtually any non-profit in the area. Makes it easier to feed at the trough. There are few exceptions, very few.

      1. The insiders always take care of each other. County Comm. Nix Maddox supported Rocky Hanna. Surprise, Mr. Maddox was named Ex. Director of the Leon Co. Schools Foundation. The Foundations does not pay his salary from their raised funds. We as tax payers pay his $75,000 plus salary plus fringe through Leon County Schools. He gets a double scoop of insider love and care. The school board scoop and the county comm. scoop.

  8. It’s not needed. And do away with the fire services tax/fee too! County government does not need to keep overstepping it’s boundaries!

  9. Please tell me what children in Leon County need that they do not have I have volunteered for five years at Sabal Palm School(an underperforming school). They have countless books, computers, listening stations, special instructors, free breakfasts, free lunches and snacks…and good teachers. What they do not have is high performing parents. If we need anything in Leon County is a program that encourages parents to read to their children, revere education and aspire to be responsible for self.

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