Survey: Escambia Bad Place To Have Kids; Voters Unsure About Government Consolidation

September 30, 2009

A majority of Escambia County voters say that the county is a negative place to raise children, and county voters are about evenly split on the idea of consolidating the governments of Escambia County, the City of Pensacola and the Town of Century.

The survey, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc, was commissioned by The Better Pensacola Forum. The survey included 800 registered voters from across Escambia County.

survey.jpgA total of 59 percent of county voters gave Escambia County negative marks as being a place for a family raising children, compared to 48 percent one year ago. Respondents were concerned about schools, crime, traffic and public transportation.

An overwhelming 85 percent gave Escambia’s economy a negative rating. Concerns included economic conditions, poor job opportunities and a lack of vision and leadership in economic development efforts. Just under half of those survey felt that both Escambia County and Pensacola are on the wrong track.

Governmental consolidation — the idea of combining Escambia County, Pensacola and Century governments into one — was split with 42 percent in favor, 40 percent opposed and 18 percent undecided. Along racial lines, 56 percent of African Americans support consolidation compared to 40 percent of Caucasians.

Consolidation support and opposition numbers were essentially the same regardless of whether the voter lives in the city limits of Pensacola, in the suburbs or on the county.  Registered Democrats were more likely to be in favor of consolidation than Republicans or Independents.

When respondents were asked to reconsider consolidation if it meant more cost efficient services and a greater chance of economic development, growth and a better quality of life, 64 percent said they would be more likely to support consolidation.

Click here to read the entire survey from The Better Pensacola Forum.

The margin of error for the survey of randomly chosen voters had a marging of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.


27 Responses to “Survey: Escambia Bad Place To Have Kids; Voters Unsure About Government Consolidation”

  1. David Huie Green on October 2nd, 2009 9:54 am

    “Have you noticed the add-ons to your home insurance premium? Have you seen a charge for: FL Hurricane Catastrophe Emergency Assessment, for Citizens Insurance corporation emergency Assessment, for Florida Insurance Guaranty Association recoupment Surcharge? With bigger government you will be responsible for the welfare of more people. You are already being charged to keep insurance low for beach front owners.”

    But if we don’t insure those dwellings on the waterfront, the billionaires from other states who sell them to unsuspecting outsiders won’t be able to make more billions. Thus, it is our civic duty to help those who don’t know not to build on the doorsteps of each hurricane.

    David, 42 miles away and at 80′ elevation

  2. Jim on October 2nd, 2009 12:55 am

    Four counties in Florida have a 7.5% state sales tax. Escambia is one of them. Ever notice the difference in the infrastructure of Orange @ 6.50%, Osceola @ 7.00%, Volusia @ 6.50%, Lee @ 6.00%,

    Duval County/Jacksonville is an example the experts use to convince you consolidation is good. Jacksonville was so corrupt that they thought they had to vote for change. Has it helped?

    Escambia County Commissioners isolate themselves from responsibility by establishing commissions. Escambia Co. got rid of the private contractor garbage collector and now ECUA gives you less for your money and did you know, The county subsidizes the cost. So you are absolutely paying more for less.

    Will you be going to a baseball stadium in downtown Pensacola? What will be the cost to subsidize that? What’s wrong with a profitable port? The downtown crowd remind us of people that move next to an airport then complain about the noise. Pensacola was a port before anyone alive was born.

    Have you noticed the add-ons to your home insurance premium? Have you seen a charge for: FL Hurricane Catastrophe Emergency Assessment, for Citizens Insurance corporation emergency Assessment, for Florida Insurance Guaranty Association recoupment Surcharge? With bigger government you will be responsible for the welfare of more people. You are already being charged to keep insurance low for beach front owners.

    Elected officials are mostly in hiding and not taking a stand on much of anything until just before election time.
    They don’t get rid of incompetents, they don’t make waves. They pass the buck.
    Government today does not fix problems, it just throws more of your money into bad ideas.
    Escambia County needs to solve the problems it has before trying to sell us on a larger government.
    Perhaps the problems are too big for our current elected officials. Let’s replace them.

  3. Veronica on October 1st, 2009 5:53 pm

    I guess that explains why so many Alabama residents try to send their kids to Escambia County, Florida

  4. Jack moran on October 1st, 2009 6:44 am

    To “Wild Bill” . . .

    Perhaps It is not so much the “elected leaders” that are so self-serving and pushing the EAFO as it is the “UN-ELECTED” leaders . . .

    And why has Pensacola not properly annexed the development north of Texar to Ten Mile Road and over to include Warrington -could it be because those communities would not vote FOR annexation.

    We don’t need to REINVENT THE LAW – just use ANNEXATION laws already on the books. Allow people to JOIN the city IF THEY WANT TO, but leave those who don’t want to do so alone!

  5. Scobie Wilcoxon on October 1st, 2009 4:00 am

    Yeah, that’s it! More and bigger government! Why not?

  6. David Huie Green on September 30th, 2009 8:58 pm

    buzzards sit on fence posts?

    live and learn

    Jesse Jackson isn’t from here so you figure he would inherently do a better job over the city or county than any of the current people?

    Sarah Palin isn’t from here, so you figure she would inherently do a better job over the city or county than any of the current people?

    If you say yes to both statements, then I guess you actually mean it.

    David for better government

  7. Wild Bill on September 30th, 2009 6:32 pm

    Regarding the amazing (to himself anyway) David Huie Green’s comments.

    “Makes sense to me, after all anyone from somewhere else is smarter, wiser, more honest and better looking than anyone here in this county. ”

    Based on the track record of you and your fellow GOBs, I would respond with a resounding…………..YES!!!!!

    I suppose the view must be a little different from the top of your fence post perch David, but maybe if you swooped down to one side or the other once in a while you old buzzard, you might have a different perspective. I am sure it is difficult to break the binds the GOBs have on your ankles, but in the words from one of my favorite movies, “Waterboy”………”You can do it”.

  8. SJ on September 30th, 2009 3:51 pm

    Like I said Maybe from Cantonment North to the Alabama line needs to break off from Pensacola and Escambia County. Maybe we just need OUR own County. So we can keep our Taxes out of Pensacola. If we Potition a motion that we don’t want our Taxes spent at ALL in the City Of Pensacola. It is bad enough that it has apperentlly only the County that has made any Cuts. While the City of Pensacola has kept on spending. I say we have a big enough area to start a new County to Region 1. I agree No to Consoildation. Now we know what the County Offical’s are really after by doing this.

  9. David Huie Green on September 30th, 2009 2:20 pm

    “We need new blood and DEFINITELY NOT anyone with local ties. Look what an outsider has done for our Sherrif’s Department, we need that sort of change county wide.”

    Makes sense to me, after all anyone from somewhere else is smarter, wiser, more honest and better looking than anyone here in this county.


    That would be an interesting change of government: nobody “native” to Escambia County would be allowed to hold any form of office or other job here. Not sure it would be good for the employment situation, though. But as long as outsiders are gooder, we need the bestest.

  10. Wild Bill on September 30th, 2009 1:13 pm

    This whole town has been going to h*** in a hand basket for quite some time and consolidation will do nothing but make things much worse.

    The picture in the article pretty much says it all.


    Bad for kids.
    Bad economy.

    BAD LEADERSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bad leadership is our biggest problem. Hopefully voters will wise up and vote these self-serving commisioners and other leaders out of office. We need new blood and DEFINITELY NOT anyone with local ties. Look what an outsider has done for our Sherrif’s Department, we need that sort of change county wide.

  11. David Huie Green on September 30th, 2009 1:07 pm

    “I quote “We are getting rid of the sewer plant”, is what was stated on the radio.”

    That was funny, now that you point it out. I always thought it was funny that they were pumping their waste upstream and considering it gone.

    I must confess, I have been just as bad in times gone by. It used to irritate me to see how people dumped their garbage down near the Bluff Springs gravel lakes then I realized the river flooded at least twice a year and washed it all down to Pensacola “where it belonged” or at least that was my thought.

    Now I am properly ashamed of myself and wish all “waste” were recycled profitably and that we could all just get along, holding hands and singing Kum Ba Yah and that Escambia County returned to being so wonderful that hundreds of thousands more would feel the need to join us and tell us how much better it was “back home.”. Lord love ‘em.

  12. Tracy on September 30th, 2009 11:47 am

    This park project is only going forward to pad the pockets of the ones involved, just like the soccer complex years ago. I agree it’s going to be washed away with the first hurricane that comes our way. And who do you think they will turn to, to rebuild it! The only reason we are getting the sewer moved to the north end is they don’t consider the northern part of Escambia county part of escambia county!! I quote “We are getting rid of the sewer plant”, is what was stated on the radio. I am just waiting for the official letter from ECUA stating we have so many months to pay for sewer hookup or they will put a judgement on your home. That’s coming, just can’t wait to pay for flushing.

  13. Dale Perkins on September 30th, 2009 11:26 am

    It is very interesting to not how the Better Pensacola Forum downplays the losses regarding people’s opinion on consolidated government in the past year. The Better Pensacola Forum, Escambia County Voter Survey, Quality of Life, 2009 EXECUTIVE SPIN (oops, I mean SUMMARY), SAYS, “Voters are split down the middle in their support/opposition to a consolidated government.” (p.6)
    Yet when compared to the Better Pensacola Forum, Escambia County Voter Survey, Quality of Life, 2008 substantial reductions in support for consolidation are apparent despite a coordinated campaign in support of Consolidated Government by Escambia all For One. The following are direct quotes regarding consolidation from the 2009 and 2008 Better Pensacola Forum Voter Surveys:
    2008: “By a 3-to-1 margin (59% support – 22% oppose) voters support consolidating government services provided by Escambia County and the City of Pensacola. A majority of voters in all demographic subgroups support consolidation, with the exception of women. However, a plurality of women did support consolidation (48% support – 30% oppose- 22% not sure).” (p.29)

    2009: “Support and opposition to a consolidated form of local government is split down the middle with 42% supporting and 40% opposing, and 18% undecided). There were not meaningful differences between the demographic subgroups with the exception of race, with 56% of African Americans supporting consolidation as compared to 40% support whites.” (p. 28)

    The Forum tries to downplay the reversal in support for consolidation, 59% in 2008 versus 42% in 2009 by saying the wording was different. However, we all know both questions were designed to measure support for consolidation. Furthermore, who funds the Better Pensacola Forum and its employees? Is it the same people who recently financed the most expensive campaign in Pensacola History? Is it individuals who have contracts or do business with local governments. Is it the same old special interests that are always trying to dig money out of our citizen’s pockets and harming rather than helping economic development? Is it the same people who spend wildly with local media in order to influence the media toward their position? Is it ironic that despite all this coordinated effort in support of consolidation the voters are wising up and seeing it as consolidated power for a few special interests rather than consolidated government? I suspect the answer to all of these questions is yes.

  14. EMD on September 30th, 2009 11:09 am

    I have wanted to live in the country all my life. That dream has come true. And now, I hear the sounds of encroachment once again. I do not like urban or suburban living. Atlanta swallowed up every bit of country around them, and I hate to even drive through there now. Even Stone Mountain has been commercialized for many years. It was beautiful. Now, it is a like a carnival amidst the kudzu. More and more encroachment means less and less balanced ecology. What happens when we become the country of ocean to ocean cities? Where will Bambi and Big Ben live? And, where will people go for peace and quiet? Does anyone in local government ever think of these things? We need to do things to make our own environment better here in the north end of the county. Perhaps we should poll our children, and find out what things really interest them the most, and work towards educating them in those fields, instead of just having “school as usual.” If it does not already exist, perhaps we should educate them in how to obtain and run a business. Education in first aid, health and child care, and what marriage is really about, and how to stay married to the original spouse sounds good to me. So does teaching our kids how to do things in the correct order and why. Such as: “First comes love, then comes marriage, THEN, comes husband and wife with a baby carriage.” If this last thing sunk in, the county would have a lot more money.

  15. S.L.B on September 30th, 2009 9:08 am

    If Century,Florida thinks it’s the red headed step child that is and has always been neglected, wait until the Escambia County, City of Pensacola gets their way on this purposed consolidation and get their hands on our tax dollars.

    They will be too happy to take our $$ from us, but I promise you, we will not see anything back in return. We will still be that red headed step child no-one cares about and with nothing to show for it.

    If they need more money in the budget, they just have a meeting and vote to cut another service from the Town of Century. Think about all that they have taken from Century already (Health Dept, Dental clinic, Century Carver School, Janet Holley Office and possibly the Court House before it’s all said and done),
    with their budget cuts and yet they still don’t have enough money to pay for their “to do” list and expenses. So lets just combine Pensacola’s tax payers with the Northend tax payers and we will have more money in the pot to spend. I think we are much better off how we are now, than what we will be once we are combined with Pensacola.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but the rate of trying to survive on the northend with the taxes, food, insurance and utilities rising on a monthly basis, with no good paying jobs available, my family and I will never be able to afford to go and attend the 3,200-seat “multi-use” stadium, a grand maritime museum with a three story fish tank, Maritime Park that our tax dollars would be providing the Pensacola residents and visitors to enjoy.

    Enough is enough already, leave us alone!* VOTE NO TO CONSOLIDATION*

  16. Darryl on September 30th, 2009 8:56 am

    Not surprised; we left the area because of the job market; not only did it not have many jobs in my field, but the ones available were not what we were looking for.

    I’m not sure about the consolidation since what facts I’ve seen do seem to be Pensacola trying to get more support in tax base. But the “us versus them” mentality in the city/county will have to change eventually if the region as a whole wants to improve. Pensacola is land locked unable to expand its boundaries and therefore will always be trying to play catch up, and projects like the park on the bay front seem like desperate attempts to improve. I think public parks are very important, but not convinced on the baseball field (usually need a very large population to support the many games played). Is the complex to have an aquarium too? That is an attraction that has been over done and Pensacola is far too late to jump on that band wagon. The area is too prone to cling to old industries and not look to the future. The port in downtown is one example.

    The main issue the area needs to address is employment opportunities and small business development. Small businesses are the largest employers in any region, put more money back into their community than large corporations, and spread the risk of job loss during tough economic times. Relying on the old industrial jobs of the region is killing the area, both in pollution and in job loss as these industries shut down or move to more efficient or newer facilities. The region should be looking to the future with bold vision, and doing programs to promote small business development.

  17. Keep it real on September 30th, 2009 8:30 am

    Vote “NO” on consolidation. The promoters are pushing this issue to expand the City’s tax base. They need the additional revenue to finance their fiascos and the exorbitant city retirement system. You can bet the services in the county will not be increased but the taxes will increase under consolidated governement. If these people are sincere why don’t they just abolish the city charter and join the county?

  18. robert Hudson on September 30th, 2009 7:24 am

    EAFO will talk all day long about the water front in Jascksonville , but the truth is jacksonville has not been hit with a major hurricane in 40 years. I agree , the maritime park will be wiped out and we will get to build it over and over, no matter what taxes they want to raise.

  19. Guest Is Wrong? on September 30th, 2009 7:05 am

    Dear “guest”, it is you that have no vision when it comes to the Maritime Park. A 3,200-seat “multi-use” stadium, a grand maritime museum with a three story fish tank, and a beautiful park that will draw the entire community to downtown.

    Just picture it.

    $75 million washing out in the Gulf of Mexico with the next hurricane. And you, my dear North Escambia resident, get to pay for it if we get government consolidation.

  20. guest on September 30th, 2009 6:56 am

    There is no vision in Escambia. We had that nice piece of property down in front of the courthouse. Two people decided that we need a baseball park down there. Those 2 are deceased now. They were good men, but we do not need a baseball park in downtown Pensacola. Our great leaders in this county should have maybe wooed a large cruise ship company here. This would have generated some jobs. Alot of them. But we can add another baseball field to our other 350 of throughout Greater Escambia County.

  21. robert Hudson on September 30th, 2009 6:22 am

    Our form of government is not perfect , but at least my voice is heard. I want to know how EAFO is going to explain that if we consolidate, that we will not inherit these debts. Consolidate means to “make one’ and we in the county will be saddled with this debt , no matter what they say. Just really look at the city and ask your self . Do you want some one so spent happy , so tourist obessed, and financial ill -responsible, to manage your tax dollars? One more thing, Why is it the city always want us to join them? They need our tax dollars for their life styles. Well I do not wish to live in the city, never have, never will. So VOTE NO ON CONSOLIDATION

  22. robert Hudson on September 30th, 2009 6:02 am

    I and many others do no wish to inherit the debt of pensacola. And that is what will happen if we consolidate. Let us look at what pensacola can not fund now. No ECAT , No librarys, can not afford to fill in their own pot holes , government pension plan is broke , no Christmas decorations, all CRA funds must now go to Maritime park built in flood zone, on the bay front of a hurricane prone city, which we in the county had no say so in, and the ECUA for moving the sewer plant. And a non-working port. And it is a slick move to have the city go ahead and change its chater with a vote to a strong mayor, And guess what? We will have no say in that either! Maritime park being built , WOW no say in that either, but you can bet they will want us to pay for that also.

  23. Oversight on September 30th, 2009 5:38 am

    I’m a registered voter and I didn’t get surveyed nor did anyone I know. I’m sure if this poll was taken on the folks north of Cantonment the results would be quite different than those that make it appear that consolidation is favored because we’re the ones that’ll be impacted the most. Vote NO on consolidation, which is for a big Pensacola city government that’ll take what few dollars we do get and give it to the downtown crowd! If the city doesn’t want to be a city anymore, then the city voters should revoke their charter and they can become part of the county again.

  24. Jack moran on September 30th, 2009 5:35 am

    Could this be why the student population has been declining by 500 kids per year? Is the poor education they receive here in Escambia County on of the reasons famlies move away? Or is it a lack of affordable housing? Or a lack of jobs or low pay? Or high taxes? Hmmmmmmmm????

  25. bleh on September 30th, 2009 2:55 am

    They need to, Apparently Century can’t run anything themselves. Best to let pensacola handle it.

    The school systems are bad, no jobs here or any outlook for work , so why raise kids here?

  26. SJ on September 30th, 2009 2:34 am

    Wow, This speaks Volume!!!! of what the Voter’s think and how we feel here in District 5. Didn’t know all of Escambia felt the same way. I agree about the Leadership of this County. All of it. But Let’s hope this Survey is used to better Deside how this County needs to go Forward……………………..WOW AGAIN.

  27. robert Hudson on September 30th, 2009 2:31 am

    And why in the world would any one want the city of pensacola to call the shots for the whole county, the city is broke and if you think it is bad now, what till we consolidate.

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