County officials expressed concern this morning that there were problems with current deals involving the city of Pensacola. Specifically, commissioners and county staff raised issues about negotiations with City Administrator Bill Reynolds over operations and funding of the Escambia County Area Transit and West Florida Public Library systems.
Reynolds has addressed the ECAT and library issues in an email statement.
“Library conversion has went very smoothly and I am unaware of any issues of contention between the city and county on the matter. Both groups have formed transition teams, and all issues have either been resolved or on the way to being resolved. From the city’s perspective, we are grateful for the efforts the county has made in making it a smooth transition,” Reynolds wrote. “On ECAT, the city council has expressed the desire to have the ability to have a say in the operation of the system in the city limits. In the latest draft of the interlocal agreement, the county made clear that the county will have “exclusive authority over the management and control over the mass transit system.”
I believe that we can solve this issue if the county would agree to language that would give the City the right to have an annual meeting by request to review the impacts of decisions on residents of the city. (The actual language proposed: “WHEREAS notwithstanding that exclusive right over the management and control of the mass transit system, the City of Pensacola shall have the right to an annual report and meeting with Management of ECAT to access the impact of transportation operations upon the citizens of the City of Pensacola.” There was also some audit information from Finance which didn’t appear to be at issue.)
The county is not interested in the language. I communicated to the county that I was inclined to bring the interlocal forward on Monday with the above language and have council approve (or if they decide that they no longer want to have the opportunity then so be it as well). The County can then determine what they need to do. City Council specifically asked for input on this.”