The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) did not like the recent proposal to let voters decide whether to expand the commission, but it likes the amended proposal even less.
On Wednesday state Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-District 21, changed his reform bill to eliminate two proposed at-large seats on the BOCC, leaving only five seats that voters would decide on a district-by-district basis. The House Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee promptly approved the bill as amended.
“It would shrink the representation by four-fifths for the citizens of Alachua County,” Mark Sexton, the county’s communications and legislative affairs director, told Mainstreet Daily News.
Sexton said the BOCC took issue with the way the committee handled Wednesday’s proceeding. He said the county had its lobbyist in line to speak at Wednesday’s proceeding, but the chair, Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-District 60, did not allow him to comment.
“We have one public comment, by Tom Griffin with Alachua County,” Toledo said as Griffin stood to come to the microphone. Then she immediately said, “waving in opposition,” and moved to member debate and the final vote.
Sexton said the county will take a different approach at the next committee hearing, which it expects on Monday.
“Because the chair of the first committee did not allow our lobbyist to speak in opposition to Representative Clemons’ bill, county commissioners and staff will be attending the next meeting,” Sexton said.
Clemons told the committee he amended the bill after hearing from citizens who did not want to expand the commission but did want to vote by district. He said HB 1493 puts the issue on the ballot, “so that, without bias or favor from the legislative delegation, the electors in Alachua County could decide whether they want to keep the status quo, or would they like to bring in and elect their county commissioner from a district.”