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Leon County Commission joins opioid settlement, denies gun buyback program, and will continue working on Lake Hall budget

Three complex issues with intricate solutions
051022 leon county commission meeting.bmp
Posted at 12:11 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 00:42:31-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — The Leon County Commission wants to preserve local history, bring money to the community to combat the opioid crisis, and figure out the best way to reduce gun violence.

All of these were agenda items at Tuesday's meeting.

Here's some insight into that meeting:

"I would like the commission to take a more proactive approach," Jeremy Block said.

Block lives in Tallahassee and wants the community to start a gun buyback program.

"Check with Florida cities instead of Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee that was cited in the staff report," added Block.

Tuesday night, the Leon County Commission found in that report, gun buyback programs may actually increase gun violence, so they voted against starting a new one.

Commissioner Kristin Dozier said, "they're really not as effective as you think at lowering the incidence of gun violence."

The commission says the Leon County Sheriff's Office and Big Bend Crime Stoppers Ceasefire Program, working alongside the new Council on the Status of Men and Boys, will do it best.

"Historical, history of the black community I remember when I was a kid Lake Hall was our South Beach, Miami," exclaimed Tallahassee resident, O’Neal “Boss-man” Jackson, at Tuesday's meeting.

$3.3 million, that's how much it will cost to renovate the Lake Hall Schoolhouse which was built in 1870.

Commissioner Dozier said, "this is the 4th time we've looked at the Lake Hall Schoolhouse, we're really trying to problem-solve how we can preserve this incredibly historic structure within a really challenging situation because it sits on two pieces of private property, two homes, and we would need public access from Thomasville Road."

That will cost an additional $866,000 to buy.

Tuesday night, the commission approved a budget discussion for their next workshop (they did not approve any funding for Lake Hall at this point.)

"There has been another opioid litigation settlement between the state of Florida and two different Walgreens entities," said Leon County Attorney, Chasity O'Steen.

That, plus over $813 million and $84 million dollar's worth of Narcan nasal spray will be distributed across the state over the next several years.

"Get some assistance if they've been addicted to opioids or if it's impacted the family," added Dozier.

That settlement is with three major pharmaceutical companies. The commission voted to be a part of it Tuesday night and the county is expected to get over $520,000 from that, plus more money from this newest Walgreen's settlement added at Tuesday night's meeting.

The Lake Hall Schoolhouse budget discussion will happen at the county's budget workshop in June.