Citizens Look to Slash Commissioners' Salaries

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Byline: JOE WILHELM JR.

A local citizens' group would like to see Clay County vote on whether or not the county commissioners' salaries should be cut in half.

The Citizens for Term Limits and Accountability Committee, Inc., filed petitions with the Supervisor of Elections to have the issue placed on the next ballot, the Board of Clay County Commissioners were informed Tuesday at its regular meeting. The five county commissioners earn a base salary of $61,875.

"We have today placed in the hands of the Supervisor of Elections a petition that will reduce the salaries of Clay County Commissioners to $37,000 a year," read Durwood Smith, a representative of the group. "We believe this is a fair salary for a part-time employee."

Smith also informed the commissioners that the group is also requesting an initiative that would require future amendments of the county charter to receive 60 percent of the vote of the electors in a general election to pass.

The commissioners were also asked to perform an audit of the $100,000 that Clay County budgets for the Clay County Chamber of Commerce.

"Are we receiving adequate economic development for that money?" asked Robert Maehala of Fleming Island. "One hundred thousand dollars is a big hunk of cash, and every tax dollar should be spent for the benefit of Clay County Citizens. I would just like to know if that money is achieving that benefit."

The commissioners did receive some good news in that the county was able to purchase the property currently owned by the Church of Christ, which sits between the Clay County Administration Building and Courthouse on Orange Avenue in Green Cove Springs. …