BoCC honors service, ponders poverty

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At the Nov. 5 meeting of the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), Jaime Ross, President of the Florida Housing Coalition (FHC), presented Quincy’s Phyllis Moore with an award, honoring her work with the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program (SHIP).  

SHIP provides funds to local governments to encourage the creation of partnerships that produce and preserve affordable homeownership for lower income families.

“Phyllis is admired so greatly by her peers across the state that she received a standing ovation at our statewide conference in Orlando,” said Ross. “She was the only person receiving an award that received a standing ovation.”

When receiving her award, Commission Chairman Doug Croley asked all in attendance to rise to their feet and give Moore a “Gadsden County standing ovation.” The audience stood and erupted into vigorous applause. 

Moore said, “I give it all to God. He is the one who made all this possible. I have to continue to trust in him and continue to do what is needed in Gadsden County.” 

Ross also described issues with the SHIP program that need to be addressed.

“Unfortunately, Gadsden County, like the rest of Florida, hasn’t been receiving all the SHIP funding that it should,” said Ross. “We are going to do everything we can this legislative session to see that SHIP funds are sent to local governments and not swept away for other purposes.”

Another emotionally charged moment in the meeting came when District 4 Commissioner Brenda Holt spoke of her experience at a Farm Share food distribution event, held Tuesday at the Gadsden State Farmers Market in Quincy. The event was created to distribute nutritious food, donated by area farmers, to low-income families.

“From the tomato house all the way down past the Horseshoe Lounge, there were cars, bumper-to-bumper, waiting to get food,” said Holt. “If people don’t believe that there are jobs needed in this county, they should’ve seen that today.”

Later, Holt expressed her desire to start having town hall meetings to better meet the needs of the citizens of Gadsden County.

“A few years ago we had town hall meetings in every town,” said Holt. “I don’t think it would hurt us one bit to go back to that at least once.”

In other Gadsden County business:

• The BoCC unanimously voted in favor of the construction of a cell-phone tower, to be erected on the northwest corner of the Peavey and Sons Construction site at 39 Schwall Road in Havana.

• The board approved an amendment to the lease agreement for the Capital Regional Medical Center-Gadsden Memorial Campus. The amendment will allow for the construction of additional physician office space which, in turn, would help increase the availability of physician services in Gadsden County.

• The board also approved an amended license agreement with the Florida Rural Broadband Alliance LLC, for wireless communication equipment facilities located on county-owned property. The amendment allows for the construction of additional facilities designed to help boost Gadsden County’s wireless broadband signals.