published: Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Commissioners firm up list of concerns for Legislative Delegation
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING - The Highlands County Legislative Delegation will visit the Highlands County Government Center in Sebring on Friday, Jan. 18 for its annual audience to take input from area constituents. As part of that session, the delegation will hear concerns from citizens, groups and other governmental entities.
Although the session is 10 days away, the group - consisting of new Florida State Senator Denise Grimsley and Florida House representatives Cary Pigman and Bill Galvano - wants the paperwork well in advance.
"The deadline is tomorrow," County Administrator June Fisher told county commissioners at their Tuesday morning session.
She presented a list of four concerns to be brought by the county to the delegation prior to this year's legislative session..
Among the items listed were the county's share of the cost for Medicaid services, Department of Juvenile Justice detention funding, the Communications Services tax and the shift of Department of Correction prison inmates to jails.
"What we did was, we reviewed the issues put forward by the Florida Association of Counties and narrowed them down to issues that might be specific to Highlands County," Fisher said.
After reviewing the list, Commissioner Don Elwell asked if there was a way to add to the list as presented. He suggested that commissioners might request the delegation hold the line on funding for invasive plant control as well as keeping library funding at current levels.
"I know we are in a very unique situation with our lakes and all the funding for spraying invasive plants comes from the state," he said. "I really would like to maintain that level."
When asked by commission chair Jack Richie if there had been a move to reduce lakes funding, Elwell responded it was his understanding such an effort had taken place in Tallahassee during last year's session.
"I believe they did make a slight reduction - and if they make such a cut statewide - that could be crippling to our lakes," he said, noting that each of the commissioners has lakes in their respective districts.
Elwell said the same theory would go for libraries, noting that funding in that area also had been on the chopping block in the past.
No other commissioners had additional items to add to the list.
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