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News from the Legislative Delegation Meeting

Rob Bradley, Republican member of the Florida Senate, representing the 5th District in North Central Florida since 2016, attended his final Legislative Delegation Meeting in Trenton on Monday, October 7. Sen. Bradley ends his career as this area’s state senator because of term limits. He previously represented the 7th District from 2012 to 2016. Senator Bradley, a Green Cove Springs native, now lives in Fleming Island.
State Representative Charles “Chuck” Clemons, Republican, of Newberry was also at the hearing to hear the needs of Gilchrist County.
The meeting opened with prayer by Rep. Clemons and pledge to the flag led by Sen. Bradley. Both men made opening remarks. Clemons said he wished the United States Congress had a balanced budget like the State of Florida. The state passed their largest budget, 91.8 billion dollars, last year. He also went on to credit Sen. Bradley with doubling the springs restoration funds from 50 million to 100 million in the budget.
Sen. Bradley reflected on the value of the environment of North Florida and went on to talk about the 7 million going to Gilchrist Schools for the new additions such as a cafeteria and auditorium on the Trenton High campus.
Commission Chairman Todd Gray thanked the delegation for all the assistance to Gilchrist County. He also asked the delegation to remember the area’s need for high-speed internet broad band. He also reminded them of how the cost of Medicare effects small counties. Then he requested the widening of State Road 26 because it is a main corridor to the East and as the area grows it will effect the economic development.
Clerk of Court Todd Newton reported that he appreciated the chance for citizens to have their license reinstated if they only had an unpaid traffic ticket or some minor infraction. Sen. Bradley reminded those gathered that the reinstatement only happened for minor infractions not those who are behind on child support. Sheriff Bobby Schultz thanked the delegation for their support of the new county jail project. Schultz is the Vice President of the Florida Sheriff’s Association and made a request on behalf of all state Sheriffs law enforcement be allowed to fly drones. Sheriff Schultz requested that drones would be very helpful on crime scenes and natural disasters. He also made requests concerning court security and verbal threat of a mass shooting.
Tax Collector Michael McElroy thanked the delegation for their support of the county.
School Superintendent Robert Rankin reported that the school district was making progress on the new facilities on the Trenton campus, tearing down some old buildings. He also said they would need the last 7 million from the state to finish the project. Rankin said he expected the new auditorium at THS to seat between 1,000 and 1,200 students.
Sen. Bradley stated that he had filed a bill last week for beginning teacher salary to start at $47,500 a year. Currently the minimum salary for beginning teachers across the state is $37,636.
Fanning Springs Mayor Trip Lancaster gave the delegation a update on the 5 million sewer project in Levy/Gilchrist. He also reported on all the economic development currently happening in Fanning Springs including the Best Western that is under construction at this time. Mayor Lancaster said the Best Western will provide 40 new jobs for the Fanning Springs area.
Joshua Aken spoke on behalf of the Tobacco Free Partnership. He talked at length about the dangers of tobacco use and how popular vaping has become.
Michael Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River Inc., spoke about his environmental concerns for this area of Florida. Several other citizen spoke about their personal concerns including Rosemary McDaniel who prefers that people would not discharge firearms on their private property.
The delegation ended with Rep. Clemons talking about what a pleasure it has been to serve along side Sen. Bradley in Tallahassee to represent this area.