Sebastian Council wants State Legislators to let local leaders lead

SEBASTIAN — The Sebastian City Council knows what it wants to tell State Legislators when they meet next month at the Legislative Delegation meeting.

City council members want the state to stop issuing unfunded mandates and interfering with home-rule.

“That is really the crux of the problem,” Councilman Don Wright said of the state’s leaders telling local governments what to do and then not funding those requirements.

The council discussed bringing up to the Legislative Delegation concerns about the growing pensions and regional water districts.

“I have a number of concerns,” Wright told his fellow council members at a recent meeting. He went on to say that some cities in the state are going bankrupt due to state mandate pension plans and rules.

“I think we could use some help,” he said.

He also brought up the issue of regional water management districts, such as the St. Johns River district, which has implemented restrictive residential watering rules.

The City of Sebastian had its own rules for watering, which should have overruled the regional regulations. However, the city was advised that it must follow the district’s rules.

Wright said that he would rather see the management district devote its time and resources to developing new water sources than being “water police.”

Other council members agreed, including Councilwoman Andrea Coy, who pointed out that Sebastian pays taxes to the district but isn’t really represented on the board.

City Attorney Richard Ginsburg and City Manager Al Minner said they would take the council’s comments under advisement while crafting a document to be sent to the Legislative Delegation.

Ginsburg said they should couch their concerns and requests in terms that would promote enhancing local, home-rule.

“The bedrock of the position is home-rule,” Ginsburg said.

Mayor Jim Hill is expected to be in attendance at the Legislative Delegation meeting, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Indian River County Commission Chambers, 1801 27th St., Vero Beach.

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