The Leon County Commission met July 13, 2021. Provided below are notes from the meeting.
Chairman of the Board, Rick Minor, recognized Callen Neighborhood Association, Lafayette Oaks Homes Association, and Walden Place Homeowners Association for winning the Neighborhood of the Year Award. These communities made strides to keep their neighborhoods safe throughout the pandemic by taking steps such as, using digital methods to keep residents updated with new information and held food drives for families in need.
Chairman Minor also recognized Talithia Edwards for the Neighbor of the Year Award. He stated that Talithia is a proven leader in our community and has served on the COVID-19 Minority Outreach Taskforce over the last year. She also helped organize vaccination clinics and encouraged members of the community to get vaccinated.
Jacqueline Perkins, the daughter of Robert and Trudie Perkins, spoke during the Tuesday meeting regarding the renaming of Gamble Street after her parents. She thanked the Commissioners for supporting the change, and she stated that her parents made the sacrifice to make Tallahassee, the county, and the state of Florida better for all.
The County Commissioners voted, 7-0, to return to pre-pandemic procedures once the local emergency declaration expires on July 16, 2021. Several citizens spoke in support of keeping the virtual comments feature for future meetings to encourage citizens, who may not be able to attend a meeting in-person, to engage in local government.
Commissioner Kristin Dozier made a motion to vote to return to pre-pandemic procedures, however, withheld the vote on ending the virtual comments for citizens. She suggested that it would be better to bring the virtual comments back in September and discus it further. Dozier feels the virtual comments allows for more public engagement and it may be worth the cost to continue.
Commissioner Brian Welch and Chairman Rick Minor, among others, were in support of Commissioner Dozier’s motion and supported keeping the virtual comments as a permanent component for future meetings.
Vice Chairman Proctor made a motion to postpone the vote on changing the name of E. Pensacola St., to Obama Street, stating the roadway is not appropriate for the name change. He asked the Commissioners and staff to continue to search for the best roadway to suit the renaming. After debate, the motion passed with a 5-2 vote to delay on the naming.
Also, Commissioner Nick Maddox suggested when a roadway is changed to honor President Obama, the name should not be Obama Street, but it should be President Barack Obama Lane.
Commissioner Brian Welch did not support the renaming of E. Pensacola St. after President Obama. He asserted, that renaming the street does not help create jobs in the community or fix potholes. He also said that the renaming of a street after a president can be viewed as partisan and will offend half of his constituents.
The County approved, 4-3, funding for Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center’s (STAC) training proposal. STAC is a local nonprofit organization that provides direct support to human trafficking survivors including housing, employment, and counseling support. STAC coordinates with community partners such as health care and child welfare professionals, law enforcement, educators, faith communities, and other nonprofit organizations to provide training and education resources on how to recognize, report, and prevent human trafficking.
Commissioner Jackson and Commissioner Nick Maddox voted against the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center’s (STAC) training proposal, due to the County being the sole sponsor for the initiative. They expressed that the city and business community should participate in funding the proposal.
After discussion by Commissioner Dozier, the county approved the adoption of the proposed designation procedure for new canopy roads policy, however, with a slight amendment to the policy, suggested by Dozier.
Commissioner Dozier expressed concerns with a term outlined in the canopy roads policy, that states 100% of landowner’s consent is required to apply for the canopy road designation. She suggested changing the percentage rate to 90%, arguing it would provide a little more flexibility to work with landowners.
Jann Tucker Pettway was appointed by the Board for the county/city alternately appointed seat on the Board of Adjustments and Appeals for a three-year term.
Rica Calhoun was reappointed to the Higher Education Representative seat on the Leon County Educational Facilities Authority for a five-year term.
LaRoderick McQueen was appointed to the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission for the remainder of the unexpired term ending on June 30, 2023.
Carolyn Payne was appointed to the Canopy Roads Citizen Committee for the remainder of the unexpired term ending October 31, 2021 followed by a three-year term ending on October 31, 2024.
Liberty County requested a support letter by Leon County for mining a large deposit of fossilized shell, which has been proven effective in revitalizing Chesapeake Bay. Liberty County wants to complete a land swap with the state of Florida to mine the fossilized shell and eventually create new habitat for oysters to grow. According to Mr. Langston, a speaker who explained Liberty County’s request, stated there has been a global decline in oyster populations.
Commissioner Maddox made a motion for the Commissioners to address the concerns and letter of support for Liberty County during the next meeting in September. Vice Chairman Proctor voiced concerns regarding possible environmental issues that may come from mining the shell and agreed to look into it further. The motion passed unanimously.