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Special Delegation Meeting to be held December 7

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

An Alachua County Special Legislative Delegation Meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 7 at the NW Campus Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83rd Street. The meeting will address consideration of single member districts for the Alachua County Commission.

State Senator Keith Perry was elected chair of the delegation at their September 27 meeting. At that meeting, Perry raised the idea of a potential local bill for single-member districts for Alachua County, in which people voting for a commissioner from a district would have to live in that district. Currently, Alachua County Commissioners must maintain an address in the district they represent, but all County voters are able to vote for all five commissioners.

State Representative Chuck Clemons said at the meeting that there are two ways to get a proposal on the ballot: one is to collect signatures from 20% of the registered voters and present them to the legislature; the second way is for the legislative delegation to hold a public hearing with public notice given two weeks in advance. They would receive input from the public and place the proposal on the ballot by a vote of the delegation. The proposal would then require a simple majority of the Alachua County electorate to pass, possibly in November 2022. Clemons said that if the single-member district bill passed, the county commission would be expanded from five members to seven, with five members elected from their districts and two at-large commissioners. 

At the September meeting, State Representative Yvonne Hinson said that could lead to a “divisive commission, similar to what we’ve got going on right now with the City, where people have their own interests for their own district and not working together. I don’t see that happening on the county commission right now because they’re elected from the general population, making them more accountable to everyone. I just don’t think you ought to mess with that.”

For those wishing to speak at the delegation meeting, appearance forms will be available on-site.

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