The Volusia County Council discussed whether or not a joint meeting with all municipalities is needed.
Now that all 16 cities in Volusia County have passed a resolution to add the half-cent sales tax for infrastructure to the ballot in November, the question of inviting all 16 cities to attend a County Council meeting prior to final county approval was raised by County Council Chair Ed Kelley at the meeting on Tuesday, March 20.
He wondered if it was still relevant since the resolution had received 100% support from the municipalities. His fellow council members said that it was. District 3 representative Deb Denys was vocal on her opinion, saying she didn't think it was asking to much to have the cities that have "skin in the game" to come before the council as a unified group.
“If we can’t agree to get out cities together and come to one place to discuss it, how the heck are we going to build collaboration in our communities?” Denys said.
Without inviting the cities to discuss the half-cent sales tax, Denys worried it would make the council look heavy-handed in its approach.
Kelley said he was fine with inviting the cities, but if the cities didn't show up, he didn't think the council should demand they be present when the council voted on the issue.
“I think that’s just a little overboard," Kelley said.
County Manager Jim Dineen said a representative from each city is usually able to sit in for a meeting if their mayor is absent, so he didn't think absences would be a problem. However, without city representation present, it could look like a council-only initiative.
“Unless people sometimes see that, they tend to think that we override everybody," Dineen said. "They tend to think that we do things strong-armed, which is not true.”
After some discussion, the council decided to aim for a joint meeting in early May.
"You just have to choose your battles,” said At-Large Representative Joyce Cusack to Kelley.