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Local officials discuss funding needs

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Meeting held on Tuesday

Local elected and community officials are coming together to tackle Marion County’s greatest funding needs. Heeding citizens’ call for a unified front against persisting economic woes, the leaders met on Tuesday to launch a countywide conversation about Marion’s capital funding priorities and develop a joint vision for the community’s future.

“We are listening to the collective sentiment expressed by many of our residents asking for greater collaboration in dealing with our community’s major funding challenges,” said Marion County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Carl Zalak III. “This gives us a fresh opportunity to work proactively and join strengths as we prioritize capital needs that will advance our community.”

Zalak represented the County Commission at the meeting, which was also attended by officials from the cities of Belleview, Dunnellon and Ocala; the towns of Reddick and McIntosh; Marion County Public Schools; and the College of Central Florida. Zalak first brought up the idea of having the local agencies come together during the County Commission’s Jan. 23 strategic planning workshop.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the officials shared some of their respective infrastructure funding concerns, as well as thoughts on Marion County’s strengths and opportunities. The group will continue to meet with the goal of penning a list of top capital funding priorities.

“We will continue to bring our respective agencies’ voices to the table and share perspectives as we seek the solutions our residents have entrusted us to find,” Zalak said.