In a meeting dominated by supporters of the creation of a Children’s Services Council, the Leon County Commission voted 6-1 to move forward with a public hearing scheduled for June 19th that will determine if a referendum will be placed on the November ballot.
If approved in November, 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.
Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desolge held to his public position against the creation of the council. However, Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, who had publicly voiced opposition, changed her position and stated she felt committed to let the issue move to a public hearing.
After the hearing, Commissioner Lindley explained why she changed her mind.
“We had announced the public hearing for June 19 and, after hearing so many people – pro and con – were preparing for that event, I just felt I couldn’t in good faith vote against a full public discussion,” said Lindley.
Chairman Nick Maddox voiced finacial concerns, but also decided to move forward with a public hearing.
These votes, with the support of County Commissioners John Dailey, Bill Proctor, Kristen Dozier, and Jimbo Jackson rounded out the support to move the proposal to a public hearing.
Three commissioners that supported the public hearing – Maddox, Lindley, and Jackson – made comments that indicated their support for a public hearing did not mean they will automatically support the issue on June 19th.
Their concerns focused on the impact of raising taxes and the lack of clarity on exactly what children needs would be addressed and how.