Days before a vote by the Leon County Commission on the Children’s Services Council (CSC), the Tallahassee Democrat reported there were eight CSC’s in the state of Florida and that Leon County could become the ninth.
However, this is incorrect.
To date, nine Florida counties have created CSC’s that invest property tax dollars in the well-being of their community’s children and families, not eight.
In eight counties, voters have approved “independent” taxing authority for their CSC to ensure a dedicated funding source is available for children’s programs and services. In addition to Palm Beach, the other counties with independent districts are Broward, Hillsborough, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Pinellas and St. Lucie.
However, Duval County (Jacksonville) operates as a “dependent” CSC district, relying on funding from different sources, including county government, to pay for children’s programs and services.
Which CSC was left out of the analysis provided by the Tallahassee Democrat? The Duval County CSC.
Interestingly, the major difference between the Jacksonville CSC and the other eight is that the Jacksonville CSC is not supported by an independent taxing district.
Rather than relying on taxing authority for funds, the Jacksonville CSC funding comes from county government and other sources outside of government.
The Florida Children’s Council states that “Dependent Children’s Services Councils perform essentially the same functions as independent CSCs, but they do not have taxing authority. Their funding primarily comes from the county’s property tax revenues and falls under the county’s annual budget.”
Based on government documents, the Jacksonville CSC , which was created in 1994, works hand-in-hand with local nonprofit organizations to improve the health and lives of children living in Duval County. The Commission carefully monitors all programs that it funds, and closely tracks each program’s effectiveness and outcomes.
It appears that a voter referendum is only needed for those CSC’s that are seeking independent taxing authority. Otherwise, a CSC structure can be set up and funded by county ordinance.
Why is this approach not being discussed for Leon County?
Why was it left out of the analysis by the Tallahassee Democrat?
Do elected officials even know about this option?
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