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Commission remains deadlocked over Citizens’ Bill of Rights: Commissioners once again fail to compromise on the divisive super-majority provision

The Citizens’ Bill of Rights continues to deadlock the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners, as once again commissioners couldn’t reach a compromise on the ordinance at the July 17 commission meeting.

Based on commissioner feedback at a June 21 workshop on the ordinance, Allara Gutcher, the county’s land use consultant, tried to provide some options for the commissioners to finally agree on a proposal concerning the Citizens’ Bill of Rights at this latest meeting.

After the commission failed to altogether remove the requirement for a super-majority vote at previous commission meetings (for the failure to get a super-majority vote), Gutcher presented an option at this latest meeting to remove the requirement for a super-majority vote only in certain geographical areas to help spur economic development.

The super majority vote clause of the Citizens’ Bill of Rights requires the votes of four commissioners to change most types of developments in the county as well as the Bill of Rights ordinance itself. Gutcher’s alternative option would do away with the super-majority vote requirement for developments in a district to consist of Economic Opportunity Zones within a mile of the following boundaries: Highway 27, Highway 90, each I-10 interchange and each city limit.

However, when Commissioner Gene Morgan, one of the two commissioners who have voted all along to retain the super-majority vote, asked Gutcher about whether the Citizens’ Bill of Rights as it exists was impeding growth in these areas, Gutcher responded that she wasn’t sure anyone could answer that question with absolute certainty.

Morgan and Commissioner Sherrie Taylor have remained steadfast in their opposition to removing the super-majority requirement. At previous commission meetings, they have insisted they won’t accept the proposal without any documented proof it would hamper economic growth.

By Randall Lieberman