Below are the news briefs from the Leon County Commission meeting that took place on May 9, 2023.
The county commission considered a program proposal report from the Mount Olive Affordable Housing and Community Development Corporation for an officer-in-resident program in high-crime areas, particularly in Bond, Griffin Heights, and South City. The proposal has the goal to “to reduce crime and foster a more positive relationship between the neighborhoods and law enforcement.” The proposal can be viewed here on page 125.
According to the proposal, “The law enforcement officer would be required to live in the home for at least five (5) years. Should the officer choose to leave the home after the required 5-year period, the County would agree to buy the law enforcement officer’s share of the home’s equity based on the appraised value. The County would then make the home available exclusively to another sworn law enforcement officer to take up residence.”
Commissioner Carolyn Cummings expressed her support for the idea but is “looking for more criteria” in order to move forward. The board moved to accept the report for further consideration.
The board of county commissioners considered Agenda Item 13 which determined which firm they would contract with for Bond Counsel. Previously, the board had worked with the firm Byrant Miller Olive, P.A., and they thanked them for their work in the past, but “The proposals submitted by Bryant Miller Olive P.A. and Kutak Rock LLP were deemed nonresponsive and were not scored,” or put up for consideration.
Commissioner Bill Proctor offered comments in light of the representation makeup of the firm they previously contracted with.
“Last week, Thursday, the State of Florida’s efforts against DEI, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the whole past four months of that kind of “anti” sentiment for diversity heightens my sensitivities, it heightens how I hear, and heightens what I read. And to know that we’ve had a black female as lead counsel for Bryant Miller Olive for the last long time, and that person at the last Thursday’s vote in the Capitol and that person’s been our DEI. County attorney I want to encourage with the discretion, which is yours, that black attorneys are utilized by your office, but the only one that I knew of was Bryant Miller Olive. So when the Florida Legislature, when all the smoke coming out of the stack is talking all that crap, and you give me such thin bases to understand how you arrived, how this committee arrived at that decision, that the kind of stuff that District 1…that’s why they vote for me.”
The board voted to approve contract services with Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A. for Bond Counsel services and George A. Smith, PPLC, for Disclosure Counsel services.
At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Rick Minor offered his disappointment that Florida lawmakers passed a bill, HB 1417, preempting local governments from passing ordinances related to landlord-tenant relationships. As Minor was speaking, Commissioner David O’Keefe nodded in agreement with Minor’s sentiment and Commissioner Proctor also expressed mutual feelings regarding the matter. The comments can be viewed here.
The meeting can be viewed here and here.