Now Can We Vote?

Taylor County residents make a last minute plea for their voices to be heard, protesting to be allowed to vote on the proposed coal-fired power plant.

A group of Taylor County picketers continue their fight downtown Monday evening with another protest, urging county commissioners for a say on whether a coal-fired power plant should be built in Taylor County.

Diane Whitfield, a protester, said, "For social justice to be served, every single citizen has to have input to their representatives. At this point, the decision to invite a coal plant to this community was decided by a very small group of people. We would like the entire citizenry of Taylor County to vote on something with such huge consequences as a coal-burning power plant."

After the brief protest, the group goes inside to confront the commission, showing them a petition of more than 800 signatures.

Commissioners say their research gives them reason to support the plant with no need for a public vote.

Daryll T. Gunter, Chairman of the Taylor County Commission, said, "There's no need at this point to do it. This has been repetitive over and over with no new information shown, so there's no need."

The deadline for the supervisor of elections to finalize the November election ballots is July 24. This is the last commission meeting before then and possibly the group's last chance to change the commission's mind.

Patrick Comins, a Taylor County resident, said, "It's un-American. I hate to put that bluntly, but that's my viewpoint. The people really need to have a voice in this town, and we're not getting it."

While a majority of Tallahassee voters agreed that the City of Tallahassee should be a partner on the coal plant project, in Taylor County, many residents there strongly oppose the plant because of concern over the environment, health issues and property values.

There wasn't a motion passed at the commission meeting, so it looks like there will not be a referendum on the November ballot.