Cornell vows to fight BOCC expansion vote

Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell will travel to Tallahassee to counter an effort by Republican state Rep. Chuck Clemons to expand the board of county commissioners from five to seven members.

Clemons filed House Bill 1493 on Monday. If it passes, Alachua County voters will weigh in on the following question: “Shall the board of county commissioners of Alachua County, Florida, be increased from five to seven members, with five of the seven members to be elected to office from single-member districts by qualified electors residing in each of those districts only, and with the two remaining members to be elected by all electors of the county at large?”

If the Florida Legislature passes the bill, it would trigger a referendum election on Nov. 8, 2022, the bill draft states.

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At a special meeting in December, the BOCC discussed Clemons’ then proposed bill and the impact it would potentially have on Alachua County.

In a Dec. 6 letter to Republican state Sen. Keith Perry, then BOCC Chair Ken Cornell said the bill is “a political assault on the Alachua County Home-Rule Charter and our citizens. The bill seeks to create a larger local government that would cost the taxpayers more money and reduce each citizen’s representation and voice.”

Cornell doubled down during the regular BOCC meeting on Tuesday saying that he is willing to address committee members in Tallahassee.

He said Alachua County consulting lobbyist Tom Griffin is “keeping an eye on the bill,” for the county.

“As soon as it gets scheduled to a committee, I will go on and speak one-on-one to the committee members and as a group,” Cornell said. “I’m poised and ready to do that.”

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