Local leaders voice support for the creation of a Children’s Services Council as November ballot approaches

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A group of local leaders is showing support for the creation of the Children’s Services Council in Leon County; the issue is coming up on the November ballot.

The group, which includes both City and County Commissioners, says a CSC has worked in other counties, and it could work in this community.

Mayor John Dailey, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox, Leon County Commissioner Rick Minor, State Attorney Jack Campbell, Sheriff Walt McNeil, Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna, School Board Member Darryl Jones, School Board Member Rosanne Wood, School Board Member Alva Striplin, TMH CEO Mark O’Bryant, Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce CEO Sue Dick, Capital City Chamber of Commerce Katrina Tuggerson, local advocate Talethia Edwards, Ben Crump, multiple attorneys, and many others were at the press conference.

They all agree: The community cannot afford to leave any children behind.

Sheriff Walt McNeil spoke about his “All-In” initiative in Leon County. He says juvenile crime often stems from bad circumstances for children, perpetuating a cycle through adulthood. He believes the CSC could change that.

“We know that this is in fact that piece of the cloth that’s going to pull this community together in a way that we start to stabilize, create jobs, and create opportunities for the least of these: our children,” said Sheriff McNeil.

Although Thursday’s press conference was in favor of a CSC, others have spoken out strongly against it, going as far as to create a “No Blank Check” coalition. City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has voiced his concerns as well.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor suggested creating a Children’s Services Agency, funded by law enforcement budgets.

“Citizens within our community who have asked for a new, a reimagined allocating of dollars for public entities that provide law enforcement,” he said in a press conference.

Commissioner Proctor and others say it’s not the right time for a tax increase; proponents of the CSC say the community and the children can’t wait.

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