Leon County Commission sets state,
By Julian Pecquet
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
The Leon County Commission approved its priorities for state and federal funding during a workshop Tuesday after hearing from its lobbying team.
The county’s wish list adds up to
$36.85 million, including $11.4 million for the widening of Woodville Highway
from two lanes to four between Gaile Avenue and Capital Circle Southeast and $5
million each for a joint-dispatch center housing city and county dispatchers and
for a Lake Jackson Ecopassage to enable wild animals to safely cross U.S. 27.
The county also agreed on policy stances, including fighting state limits on local governments’ property taxation rights. But commissioners withdrew a proposed amendment to state law that would have allowed it to increase the local business tax up to 50 percent.
“The combination of the recent economic uncertainty of the national market,” county staff wrote in the workshop presentation, “and a proposed tax on businesses would create severe opposition in the local business community.”
Commissioner Cliff Thaell also asked the county's lobbyists to work with the state to try and get tax breaks for rental properties that provide low-income housing.
And Commissioner Bob Rackleff urged lobbyists and county staff to stay flexible and have projects ready to go, pointing out that presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed spending billions of dollars on local infrastructure projects if he’s elected.
“Such a program,” Rackleff said, “will reward local governments with projects ready to go.”
State and federal appropriation requests
Joint Dispatch Center: $5 million
Capital Circle Southeast: $6.75 million
Capital Cascades Trail - Segment 3: $2.5 million
Woodville Highway: $11.4 million
Lake Jackson Ecopassage: $5 million
Lake Munson: $4 million
Woodville Sewer: $2 million
Tower Road Park: $200,000