I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Coffee With a Commissioner 7-25-2017

We held our monthly coffee with the commissioner this morning at the McDonald's  on Blue Angel and Hwy 98.  We had a very good turnout, many were interested in discussing neighborhood safety.

In particular, one attendee was concerned about an abandoned house that continues to be vandalized in his neighborhood.  "This is bringing in people that are squatting in there, doing drugs!" he stated.  Administrator Jack Brown was present, and he discussed the code enforcement process, what it is, what it does, and what it does not do.  We will be monitoring this situation going forward to the best
of our ability.

Another two attendees wanted to know about a project that was recently approved by the planning board.  "I'm told this complex is going to be HUD (low income) housing--I don't want this in my neighborhood because this will have a detrimental effect on my property values."  We discussed that process with the assembled group, encouraging them to continue to attend the meetings and to
verbalize their concerns at the planning board level and also to the full BCC meeting.  I expressed my own concerns about this situation to the assembled group.

Next we talked about the budget, the jail, and the current issues surrounding public transit/ECAT.
The dialogue was good, and this was a good cross-section of the community that came by to say hello and express their concerns about a variety of topics.

The final issue we discussed, which I brought up, was the subject of raising the sheriff's MSTU for law enforcement.  Initially, several of the group supported raising the rate on the citizens in the unincorporated parts of the county, which would cost the typical homeowner about $40 extra yearly.  Once we discussed the fact that Pensacola Residents pay about twice the amount per citizen for police and their crime is about twice as high as the County's--several realized what is obvious......there is not a direct correlation between what is spent on LEOs and the crime rate--it is more to do with demographics.  I told the group that they may be interested in following this week's budget meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

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