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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Marion commissioners approve legislative priorities for 2024 session

On August 1, the Marion County Board of County Commissioners approved several priorities for the 2024 state legislative session.

These priorities are designed to benefit residents and range from requesting funds for different projects around Marion County to ensuring that the county’s natural resources are protected.

The priorities, which fall under three sections, each focus on a different area. All three sections are centered around improving the overall quality of life within Marion County.

Matthew Cretul presents the 2023 2024 Legislative Priorities at the August 1st Board meeting.
Matthew Cretul, Marion County’s Legislative Manager, presenting the 2023-2024 legislative priorities during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting on August 1, 2023 (Photo: Marion County Public Relations)

The first section consists of appropriation (or funding) requests to support infrastructure improvements within the county. This includes giving residents in north Marion County (Lowell) access to clean drinking water, as well as requesting roadway and utility infrastructure improvements that are designed to provide local travel alternatives to Interstate 75.

The second section contains priorities that are designed to expand or reverse the existing language in Florida statutes. These priorities include: raising the maximum amount of a certain type of funds that the Marion County Building Safety department can carry forward; allowing Code Enforcement officers to respond to anonymous complaints; expanding Consultant’s Competitive Negotiations Act (CCNA for short) continuing contract thresholds each year to take into consideration rising costs; and language amending legislation requiring utility service boundary agreements between municipalities and counties within unincorporated areas.

According to Marion County, the priorities in the second section will be submitted to the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) so that counties around the state can consider supporting them.

The third and final section is composed of priorities that aim to benefit Marion County directly, though they might not have a direct legislative component. These include advocating for the return of swimming at the headsprings of Silver Springs, securing grant funding for the Florida Crossroad Commerce Park, supporting septic to sewer programs, continuing support for the mission of the Fort King Heritage Foundation, and supporting Marion Senior Services and the Southeastern Youth Fair.

“These priorities will help fund projects that benefit the citizens of Marion County and exponentially help our county stay on top of the growth and prosperity currently happening all over the county,” stated Dr. Matthew Cretul, Marion County’s Legislative Manager. “As we break down each section, it is important to understand that each section of priorities works independently of one another, but creating or supporting these priorities helps our Marion County Commissioners expand opportunities within Marion County and in some cases, around the state.”

Cretul added that it is important for Marion County to identify the most important priorities before the start of the legislative session. This helps the county be better prepared to advocate for the projects and requests that will benefit the county’s residents once the session begins.

The Florida 2024 legislative session starts on January 9, 2024, and it runs for 60 consecutive days.

To learn more about the Marion County Board of County Commissioners’ legislative priorities, visit the Marion County website or contact the county’s Legislative Manager via email at: Matthew.Cretul@MarionFL.org.