The Pensacola City Council did pass a resolution at its Feb. 13 meeting to establish an 11-person task force to “tweak” the three ordinances recommended by Mayor Ashton Hayward and passed by the body last May. The task force is expected to make recommendations on viable solutions to help the city help the homeless.
In his Feb. 7 “Upwords”, Hayward announced that he and Councilman Larry Johnson were working together to establish “an advisory committee on improving human services…comprised of professionals and advocates, tasked with collecting data and producing a set of fiscally-responsible, realistic, and actionable recommendations.”
By the Monday, the advisory had been renamed a task force that would be formed by the city council and would report back to the Pensacola City Council within eight months. The resolution failed to get the necessary votes at the agenda review to be added to the Feb. 13 regular meeting, but, thanks to lobbying by advocates for the homeless, it was brought back up on Thursday and received the necessary votes to included on the agenda.
Councilman Johnson said at the beginning of the discussion on the resolution that Rev. Nathan Monk would be the mayor’s appointee to the task force. He also addressed some of the public’s criticism directed to the council earlier in the meeting.
“Someone said I didn’t have a heart and I do,” said Johnson. “Sometimes you don’t know what’s going on up here and why we do certain things and you’ll never know.”
In support of his resolution, he said, “Tonight we’re trying to do the right thing. We had unanimous vote to look an ordinance and to tweak it, I look for this task force to look at all ordinances and tweak them. Thank you for very much my fellow council members.”
Council members Charles Bare and Sherri Myers made suggestions for additional groups to be added to the task force. Myers brought up the Community Action Program and the need to have to have people with disabilities and women represented.
The council passed an amendment made by Bare to allow the task force to add more members as it deemed appropriate, but not to exceed 15 members.
The resolution forming the task force was passed unanimously.