12-11-06 - Getting priorities in order is the main focus for Leon County commissioners voting on their top issues for the new year.
Leon County commissioners have narrowed 27 issues down to five, from the arts to crime to the economy.
The Leon County Commission says it is dedicated to developing the county economically. During the board's annual retreat, commissioners voted economic development as the number one priority.
Ed Depuy, Leon County Commission Chairman, said, "It's all about the health of our community. It's about being able to fund projects that we need, feed the kids that don't have the money for their lunches."
County commissioners say economic development isn't just about how many new businesses they can bring in. They say they are going to work hard on taking care of the existing businesses.
Depuy added, "We can do that by streamlining the permitting process and making it not so hard to get business done and to be approved for things here."
Priority two is the proposed performing arts center, a project in the making for 30 years.
Earlier this year the John's Building just two blocks south of the Florida Capitol was chosen for the site. Now commissioners say they will look into funding and if the community would support such a center.
Paula Smith of the Performing Arts Center committee said, "It's a great opportunity not just for the cultural amenities that we know of today, but also for education for our whole communities and our schools to participate in what can be Florida's classroom."
The rest of the top five priorities is a jail diversion program focusing on prevention and intervention, functional consolidation of city and county services, and working with Wesson School, Southside Senior Center.
Leon County's number one priority last year was the joint dispatch center with the city of Tallahassee, which is almost complete, so Commission Chairman Depuy says he has high hopes for this year's list.
Some other big issues included sewer service for Woodville, funding for Woodville Highway, and growth management.