Who is the CCFC and Why are they Here?

on Tuesday, 07 March 2023.

Dear Readers:

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc. is seeing positive changes in county governance.

While we still have concerns about other perennial issues, here's a list of the good things we've observed at recent County Commission Meetings. They are:

  • Holding Public Hearings on important Planning and Zoning/Board of Adjustment and other projects to solicit public input
  • Truly "listening" to their constituents, which translates into better decision making
  • Asking specific, detailed questions to fully understand the issues and details to make intelligent, thoughtful decisions
  • Doing extensive research on topics to come to BOCC meetings prepared to ask the above-informed questions
  • County Staff has increased its professionalism on virtually every metric
  • Fewer gotchas than in the past as planning has improved
  • Attempts at transparency are showing results with generally quick turnaround times for public inquiries

But we still have concerns about these ongoing issues in our county leadership:

  • At recent BOCC meetings, commissioners discussed working towards economic development, creating workforce housing, improving healthcare, and managing Franklin County's growth. The CCFC has been working towards these same initiatives for years and will do what it can to help the BOCC facilitate the achievement of these plans. However, I remain concerned that the County does not have high-level decision-making ability and is frequently influenced by outside agencies and individuals to further their own agendas. We need to hire or contract with talent that can better deliver on our County's future.
  • Communication with Franklin County citizens could be much improved. Understanding that non-resident property owners and retirees pay almost the entire ad valorem tax burden is imperative. County government should be expected to explain better and justify ever higher spending so that our Golden Cows won't be chased away.
  • The operations and leadership of Weems Hospital need a critical review, and current explanations are a train wreck just around the bend. Although voters were promised a brand-new hospital in 2007, with less than one patient per night, as reported by Weems's internal statistics, that 2007 promise is realistically impossible to justify.
    Now, Weems is revisiting an idea it turned down cold a few years ago: constructing and operating a new Emergency Room. All we need to understand is that there is a vast difference between what Ascension Healthcare offered us regarding money, a full-service hospital system, and accredited Emergency Room physicians, and the patchwork of care that Weems offers today and likely into the future.
  • Strategic Planning for the County and its future is almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is beyond the current internal resources of the County. Yet, without such, we will likely see ourselves whipsawed by the next economic downturn, future regulations, or ever-increasing unfunded mandates.
  • Control of the county budget and resources is of great concern to the CCFC, with County spending up double digits each year. Grant money may never be as plentiful as it was during Covid and after the infusion of millions of dollars in federal support. The County has significant trouble forecasting its budget concerning economic trends that could explode ad valorem taxes and force substantial cutbacks.
    Often, grants pay additional employees for the specific period and purpose covered by the grant. However, after the grant period runs out, the County is left with additional ongoing employee salaries and costs, contributing to a ballooning budget.
  • The County has established an unnecessarily harsh Public Engagement policy. We'd like to see more back-and-forth communication as appropriate during meetings where issues directly impact taxpayers, some evening meetings to allow working people to attend, and meetings held throughout the County closer to where people live.

Regarding the CCFC: If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to review our established goals at our website, www.ABetterFranklin.com. If we can help you in any way to pursue those goals, please get in touch with us!

The CCFC has been organized on behalf of our County for both taxpayers and leadership. We hope you will help support the CCFC as it continues to work hard for a better, more representative, and transparent government for Franklin County. You can support our efforts through your membership dues (not tax-deductible due to our filing status)

Please send your contributions to the address below. Your funds will be used as advocacy tools for a better Franklin County government.

Thank you.

Allan J. Feifer

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc.
Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc.
P.O. Box 990
Eastpoint, Florida 32328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(850) 653-5571

Commissioner Contacts:

Commissioner Cheryl Sanders - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 850-697-2534

Commissioner Ottice Amison - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 850-653-7860

Chairman Ricky Jones - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 850-670-4427

Commissioner Noah Lockley - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 850-653-4452

Commissioner Jessica Ward - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 850-323-0325

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