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Leon County plan is focused on jobs, environment, quality of life and sustainability through 2026

Leon County plan is focused on jobs, environment, quality of life and sustainability through 2026

Mother and son Sheryl and Brady Barlow enjoy a mid-afternoon walk on the J.R. Alford Greenway on the first day of fall Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. The pair said they were enjoying the cooler temps this week after a long, hot summer and rainy last week. After a brief return to warmer temperatures this week, fall weather is forecast to return late next week with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s.
Mother and son Sheryl and Brady Barlow enjoy a mid-afternoon walk on the J.R. Alford Greenway on the first day of fall Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. The pair said they were enjoying the cooler temps this week after a long, hot summer and rainy last week. After a brief return to warmer temperatures this week, fall weather is forecast to return late next week with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s.

Brady and Sheryl Barlow, Brady’s mother, enjoy a mid-afternoon stroll on the J.R. Alford Greenway on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. After a hot and rainy summer, the pair reported that they are enjoying cooler temperatures this week. After a brief return in warmer temperatures this weekend, fall weather is forecast to return next week with highs in upper 70s and lowers in the 50s.

The 40 initiatives that the Leon County Commissioners will tackle over the next five-years were outlined by them. This jump-starts their 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. The goals they set at their annual retreat this year focus on economic development and the environment, quality life, and governance.

Vince Long, County Administrator, acknowledged the difficulties in achieving such lofty goals but stated that the county was committed towards bringing them to fruition. The board will vote on the ideas developed at the annual retreat.

Here’s a breakdown on where the county is heading.Full retreat materials, with goals for the next five-year, You can find it here

Economic development

The county will push for its goal to grow the local tourism industry to $5 billion. The county is also exploring ways to leverage its $1 trillion federal infrastructure dollars, fostering research and businesses in magnetic technology and public infrastructure investment.

Roll call: Tallahassee-based technology companies

Nick Maddox, Leon County Commissioner, asked for an increase in the target percentages of Minority, Women and Small Business Enterprise from 20% to 30%.

Cristina Paredes, Director of Office of Economic Vitality, stated to commissioners that there are many opportunities for these organizations through the creation of an analyst post and fellowship to assist businesses with digitization.

She said that the goal is to offer true economic assistance to these companies.

The county wants to connect 7,000 students with jobs through workforce training through the Office of Economic Vitality. However, there are concerns that there may not be enough funding to bolster the programing or attract enough job opportunities to meet the goal. This is due to allocations from the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.

Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox listens during a commission meeting at the Leon County Courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

Nick Maddox, Leon County Commissioner, listens to the Leon County Courthouse Commission meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

OEV has been successful in attracting both small and large employers over the years through incentives.

Back story

The IA, consisting of all 12 county and municipal commissioners, will vote on a bonding structure to fund a variety of projects. This includes one that requires $20 million in funding from OEVs budgets for football stadium repairs at Florida State University. The total project cost rises to nearly $27million with the bonding.

Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier listens during a Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency meeting at City Hall Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

Kristin Dozier, Leon County Commissioner listens at a Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Meeting at City Hall Monday September 27, 2021.

Kristin Dozier, County Commissioner, was a vocal critic of the sales tax funding for the stadium repair project. However, I do believe that we will not be capable of achieving these goals, as well as those in the Strategic Plan, if OEV funding is not available through 2028. I will look at these goals after the IA vote and see if they are achievable.

Blueprint:OEV budget could be cut if Doak stadium repairs are not funded, but it could also help to boost the economy.

Environment

Due to anticipated funding, the county is increasing its commitment for the removal or upgrading of septic tank along the southern border where water-quality affects the health and well-being of the Wakulla Springs Basin.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor listens during a commission meeting at the Leon County Courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

Bill Proctor, Leon County Commissioner listens as he speaks during a Leon County Courthouse commission meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

The goal is to replace or upgrade 500 tanks in the Primary Springs Protection Zone within the next five years. The county met its goal by removing or upgrading 610 of its septic systems during its last five year plan.

Alan Rosenzweig, Deputy County Administrator, stated that the county should receive approximately $36 million in local sales taxes and state grant funding to address septic tank issues over the next five-years.

Quality of Life

The county set a goal for supporting organizations to redirect 100 people experiencing chronic homelessness into permanent supportive accommodation, which is approximately half of the population identified by the 2021 Point-in-Time count.

County Commission Chairman Rick Minor addresses the audience in attendance for the unveiling ceremony for the renaming of Gamble Street to Robert and Trudie Perkins Way Friday, Sept. 10, 2021.

Rick Minor, Chairman County Commission, addresses the audience at the unveiling ceremony of Gamble Street’s renaming to Robert and Trudie Perkins Way on Friday Sept. 10, 2021.

However, commissioners also added their own initiatives to improve quality of life.

Commissioner Rick Minor requested that the work being done to revive the North Monroe Street corridor and strengthen partnerships between the County Commission, Second Harvest of the Big Bend, be included in the five-year plan. This would address hunger at the local level.

He also requested that efforts to raise awareness in the community about child abuse, human traficking, and violence be made a priority through a partnership between the Leon County Sheriffs Office.

Brian Welch, County Commissioner of Leon County, directed staff members to search for federal infrastructure funds that could help rural broadband internet be brought to unincorporated Leon County.

See Also

County Commissioner Brian Welch listens to a speaker the Tallahassee Chamber annual conference in Amelia Island on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

Brian Welch, County Commissioner listens to a speaker at Tallahassee Chamber’s annual conference on Amelia Island, Sunday, August 15, 2021.

He also requested that a dedicated group be formed to clean up roadside litter throughout the county.

Follow the money County will decide whether to create a North Monroe task force and $1 million for LeMoyne Arts.

And: Florida lawmakers plan to spend federal broadband money

Commissioner Jimbo Jackson requested that the county continue to research and negotiate the purchase of Fort Braden Community Center, and the adjoining land, currently owned by the Leon County Schools Board.

Bill Proctor, Chairman of the Commission, urged county staff to support updating and expanding the Comprehensive Plan to include an annexation to a number of neighborhoods that make up eight voting precincts into the city.

Leon County Commissioner Jimbo Jackson uses his iPad during a commission meeting at the Leon County Courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

Jimbo Jackson, Leon County Commissioner uses his iPad to attend a Leon County Courthouse Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

Proctor claimed that residents in the area pay their city utilities, but are unable to vote in the city elections, amounts to taxation.

Governance

The county continues to pursue a goal set in the previous strategic plan. It is seeking 600 citizen ideas, improvements and solutions. The county is expected to conduct a series o listening sessions and surveys to solicit ideas from citizens-led groups.

Commissioners requested that ideas from the youth of the county be considered for the work.

Long explained to commissioners that we recognize that these ambitious goals will be difficult to achieve. These ambitious goals will require us to find new opportunities, new ideas, and new partnerships to achieve them.

Contact Karl Etters at ketters@tallahassee.com or @KarlEtters on Twitter.

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This article first appeared on Tallahassee Democrat Leon County’s 5-year plan will focus on quality of life, environment, and jobs

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