Proposal to expand Alachua BOCC and add single-member districts heading to Tallahassee

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Alachua Legislative Delegation approved State House Representative Chuck Clemons’ proposal to move forward in the legislative process with a referendum to be added to ballots in 2022.

The referendum would expand the Alachua Board of County Commissioners to seven members and assign single member districts to five of those seats, and add two at-large seats. As of right now, The BOCC is a five member board that is elected to at-large seats.

RELATED STORY: A state representative is proposing change to the Alachua County Commission

The delegation voted 3-1 to approve the proposal along party lines, with Clemons, State Senator Keith Perry and fellow State House Rep. Chuck Brannan voting for the proposal. State House Rep Yvonne Hayes Hinson was the lone member to vote against, stating that she, like members of the BOCC, felt that the proposal would be an overreach by the state government on to Alachua County.

“Now you are proposing to establish a system that is identical to the city commission of which none of you are happy with,” said Representative Hinson.

Perry felt attacked at some language that was sent to him from Alachua BOCC member Ken Cornell.

“The majority of the letter went into to accomplish a political assault Representative Clemons efforts require a myriad of misdirection and political deception. The bill is about as simple, anybody can read it. It’s two pages, you can read it real simply it allows you to have single member districts,” said Senator Perry.

Though Perry voted for it, he still feels that an expansion to seven members is the wrong move, but that aspect can be ironed out when the proposal goes Tallahassee and go through the committee process before potential being put on the the Capital floor and attempt to be approved before reaching the ballots of county residents in time for November of next year.

Cornell says he will continue to fight the bill as it makes its way to the state capital and he feels that the commission that is assembled today is one of the best when it comes to representing the rural areas of Alachua County.

“This county commission has actually taken a very proactive role of meeting not only with each of the small cities regularly and listening to their concerns. And if you look at the list of project that Commissioner Prizzia listed off today that reflects the fact that we are listening,” said Cornell.

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