Ellisville Fighting Back - No mandatory
Columbia County, FL
(posted April 8, 2010 04:20 am)
Several local residents have formed a group to work
against Columbia County's new mandatory connection
Lake City Reporter
which was sold out on Main Street by 11:30 am
Tuesday. Both copies of the LCR in the Downtown
Almost two dozen Lake City residents, living both
inside and outside the Ellisville Utility service area,
met Tuesday night at the Mason City Community Center.
Their stated intention was to form a political action
committee against the county's mandatory connection
ordinance for the Ellisville Utility.
The purpose of the group — named Citizens Against
Forced Utilities — is to "remove the mandatory utility
connection and all fees associated with it," said Elaine
Reeves, the group's newly elected chairwoman.
The county recently adopted two utility ordinances.
One ordinance created a utility service area at
Ellisville, while the other mandates utility connections
for residents within adopted service areas.
"We want the mandatory connection ordinance
repealed," said Toby Witt, the group's newly elected
The group agreed to form a PAC, elected officers and
agreed to start working toward gaining signatures for a
The group will have to submit PAC paperwork, open a
bank account, create a petition following the state
election office format, hire an attorney to write the
petition and then get that petition certified by the
supervisor of elections, Witt said.
Reeves said CAFU is "shooting for" 3,200 signatures,
but only 2,632 signatures — 7 percent of registered
voters from the last general election — from three
different county districts are required to complete the
"It's a very attainable goal," Reeves said.
The deadline to submit the petition is noon June 18,
Once it is completed and verified by the supervisor
of elections, it will go before the county commission,
she said. If they do not accept it, it will go on the
November ballot for citizens to vote on, Reeves said.
"My biggest gripe is they (the county) didn't ask for
our opinion," she said.
Tony Lambert of Lake City, a resident living within
the adopted Ellisville Utility service area, said
joining a group like this is critical.
"We feel like any forced government intrusion needs
to be stopped to govern for the people," he said. "If
the county commission feels like they can force us
without any say from us, we need to make our voices
Mark McRae of Lake City, a resident living outside
the affected service area, said the ordinance is
"We should not be forced to hook up to something we
don't want and we should not have to pay for it," he
said. "Give us our free choice. They (the government)
are there to do our bidding, not force us against our
CAFU will hold regular meetings the first Tuesday of
each month at 7 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on the
corner of U.S. Highway 41 and County Road 349, but
Reeves said a special meeting could be called before
that. All citizens are welcome to attend, she said.
"We need to let them (the county commissioners) know
we're not gonna sit here and take it," Reeves said.