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Legislative delegation meets, listens, explains Featured

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The Jackson County Commission meeting on Monday draws large crowd. The Jackson County Commission meeting on Monday draws large crowd. Homer Hirt | TIMES

The crowd overflowed the Jackson County Commission Chambers on Monday to hear, make statements, and to question the Jackson County legislative delegation.  The meeting, scheduled for 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM, began a bit late, but under the gavel of State Representative Brad Drake it proceeded in an orderly fashion.

The agenda began with Interim President of Chipola College Sarah Clemmons stating the case for support of that college’s baccalaureate degree program.  “We give students in our area an opportunity for several baccalaureate degrees, we do it efficiently, and we do it at less cost than major universities,” she explained.  

Next came Jim Dean, Marianna’s City Manager, who appealed for consideration for funds for Marianna’s proposed City Hall complex.  “We have raised thirty five percent of our needs.  We ask for consideration by the state in the upcoming budget to provide us the balance,” Dean said.

Brett Cyphers, Executive Director of Northwest Florida Water Management District, expressed his thanks for support of the District’s efforts, efforts that are vital to the future of the state in general and of the northwestern sector in particular.

County School Board member Stacey Goodson explained the status of the proposed K-8 school, planned for donated land off Caverns Road, “The school will replace buildings that are aged, are in bad traffic areas, and that will require, in the close future, extensive repairs.  We can show that the new construction will be safer for students and will provide cost effectiveness to the state and the county.” Newly elected Superintendent Larry Moore echoed the presentation.

Education official Shirl Williams spoke briefly of proposed changes to student assessments, and urged thoughtful review of any legislative efforts.

Attorney Nevin Zimmerman was called to the stand to review the status of the proposed incorporation of the Compass Lake in the Hills area. Three other citizens of that area spoke briefly, either pro or con.  Representative Drake then asked for any comments from the floor that did not pertain directly to the Compass Lake subject. 

At that time, Drake opened the discussion to those present who wished to speak, pro or con about Compass  When a couple of “boos” sounded from the audience after one presentation he cautioned attendees and suggested strongly that everyone respect the right to be heard.  

Drake then announced that it would be impossible for this year’s legislature to consider any legal change for Compass Lake or Compass Lake in the Hills.  “At least three state governmental departments must review any such proposed action before the Legislature can consider it.  The matter cannot meet this schedule for this year,” he said.

As the last act of the day, Representative Brad Drake and State Senator George Gainer tossed a coin to see who would be the recognized Jackson County 2017 Delegation Chair.  Drake, a person with close family ties to Jackson County, won the toss, and has officially assumed the mantle.  It should be noted that the coin in use was borrowed from Mrs. Phyllis Daniels, who had listened intently and silently throughout the proceedings, but thus contributed in a large way to the future of her county! It should also be noted that Mrs. Daniels had her quarter returned to her.

(The Publisher and the Staff of the Jackson County TIMES commends Representative Drake and Senator Gainer for holding this meeting, and commends those citizens that participated.)

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