Outside special interests caused Jefferson County to be named as the only county in Florida to have the toll road run through it on its way to Georgia. This coming Thursday evening, hundreds of Jefferson County residents, citizens and taxpayers are expected to descend upon the county courthouse asking our county commissioners to pass a resolution to protect our community.
The county resolution document asks the Florida Legislature to consider removing Jefferson County as the terminus for the Suncoast Connector. This resolution was specifically requested by our Legislative Delegation, Senator Montford and Representative Shoaf during the legislative delegation meeting held October 2, 2019.
Citizens for Responsible Government of Jefferson County is working with county commissioners and citizens to ensure our voice will be heard this coming Thursday. We need everyone who loves our rural community’s way of life to attend and speak out to have this resolution passed by our county commission. We fully expect our commissioners to listen, represent and vote according to the overwhelming opposition against a toll road running through our county.
Unfortunately, outside interests have a staunch ally in Commissioner Betsy Barfield who has made it very clear that she supports the proposed toll road in Jefferson County. This is evidenced by not only her recent absences at several local toll road forums, but also her having an 11th hour pro-toll road resolution placed on the Thursday agenda to confuse the process of approval.
In the latest edition of the Monticello News the headline reads: Toll Road Debate Continues Unabated: Barfield Under Fire for Missed Forum. The story clearly shows how Commissioner Barfield has failed the citizens of Jefferson County.
Commissioner Barfield has missed the opportunity multiple times to engage her constituents and listen to their concerns. We are at a critical point in the toll road planning process. Jefferson County cannot afford to send mixed messages to decision makers.
WE call upon Commission Barfield to immediately resign as the county’s Task Force representative. CRG and many others will be demanding her resignation at Thursday’s commission meeting.
Fortunately, Jefferson County citizens have witnessed true leadership in the fight against the proposed toll road in Jefferson County. The Clerk and Comptroller, Kirk Reams, is that leader. When the voters of Jefferson County wanted information about the toll road, it didn’t come from our current Task Force designee, but rather it came from Mr. Reams.
Thank you, Mr. Reams. He placed the resolution on the agenda for consideration at the upcoming County Commission meeting.
This is a “all-hands on deck” moment for Jefferson County. We must ensure that our county commissioners lead the charge to protect our rural community and not be duped by unfounded promises of economic development and broadband. On the former, where’s the economic studies supporting the benefits (there none, because it’s a falsehood)! On the latter, broadband is being used to extort support for the toll road that won’t be built for at least 10+ years!
There’s little evidence of any benefits to Jefferson County and it’s time to assert leadership from our county and it begins with passing our resolution Thursday night to take Jefferson County specifically out of the state’s plans – at least until we get a better understanding on how it impacts our quality of life here in Jefferson County.
See you all at Thursday’s commission meeting. Wear something red.
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Authored by Mike Willis, President of CRG