INDIAN RIVER COUNTY ― The Indian River County Board of County Commissioners voted on Nov. 9 to join Florida’s Small County Coalition.

Commissioner Susan Adams was voted to be the Indian River County representative in the coalition, with Comm. Joe Earman as the county’s alternate.

According to a letter from coalition Chair Terry Burroughs of Okeechobee County inviting Indian River County to join, the Small County Coalition was established in 1991 at the request of legislators from small counties to bring a focus on and support for issues pertaining to small and rural counties. Since its creation, the coalition has worked with the legislature, state agencies and various organizations to encourage positive policies and programs that address the challenges faced in Florida’s small communities.

“As the chairman of the Small County Coalition, I want to convey that the Small County Coalition leadership would very much like to have the Indian River County Commission consider becoming a participating member of the coalition,” Chair Burroughs wrote. “I and other commissioners have requested that I reach out to your commission with the specific request to join with 39 other commissions that are currently coalition members.”

On the Treasure Coast, Martin County is a member of the coalition. St. Lucie County is not.

The cost of participating is an annual charge of $4,850, with no additional registration fees or assessments.

The item was brought to the table by Chairman Joe Flescher, who presented the opportunity as another lobbying avenue that would benefit Indian River County.

“The Small County Coalition has done a lot for many of the small counties,” Comm. Flescher said. “There’s been some great success, we’ve seen their work.”

Regarding the cost, Comm. Flescher said “I believe that’s a small amount to pay for such a tremendous benefit, to have another element of support and lobbying efforts in maintaining our home rule as a small county. I think the taxpayer will benefit greatly for our involvement.”

The motion to join carried unanimously.

Next came the selection of a representative and alternate. Comm. Susan Adams volunteered to be the representative, and she suggested Comm. Joe Earman as the alternate.

“I think that this is a really good group,” Comm. Earman said in accepting the nomination. “We’re right on the borderline, the cusp of being a large county or a small county, but a lot of our issues identify more with the smaller county folks.”

The motion carried unanimously to appoint Comm. Adams as representative and Comm. Earman as the county’s alternate.

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