The political committee backing the Leon County Children’s Services Council referendum held a press conference Wednesday to tout strong support from local leaders.
Joining Our Kids First Chair Jon Moyle at the event, held at the Brownsville Preparatory Institute in Frenchtown, were Leon Sheriff Walt McNeil, incoming Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor, Tallahassee Mayor Pro Tem Dianne Williams Cox, and Leon County School Board Member Darryl Jones.
“I work every day to keep our community safe and reduce crime. The best way to do this is to support our kids. The Leon County Children’s Services Council can help keep the children in our community healthier, happier, safer, and ultimately more successful — which benefits the entire community through a stronger workforce and a lower crime rate,” McNeil said.
Minor added, “A Children’s Services Council is a proven model to improve outcomes for our children. There is no greater service we can do our community and our kids than voting yes for the Children’s Services Council.”
In a news release Our Kids First said the more than 40 community leaders and representatives from a host of local organizations Children’s Services Council initiative.
The committee website lists backers ranging from prominent attorney Ben Crump to child welfare-centric organizations such as the Pace Center for Girls.
In the upcoming election, Leon County voters will decide whether to approve the CSC, which would create the 10-member board that would support initiatives geared toward helping the area’s youngest residents.
The members would include the School Board Superintendent, a County Commissioner, a School Board member, the local DCF administrator, a local child welfare judge, and five members nominated by the County Commission and then approved by the Governor.
Leon’s council would be the 10th such CSC in the state. It would have a 12-year lifespan and be funded through a property tax of up to 0.5 mills. It is estimated the tax would raise up to $8 million a year.
The referendum requires at least 50% support to pass. A recent poll indicated the measure would hit mark.