July 14, 2006 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

County Manager's Budget Message

Commissioner Long Elected FAC 2nd Vice President

Papajorgji Elected to URISA Board of Directors

ADA Expo 2006

Mercury Thermostat Recycling Program

Lear to Buy SMART in July

Commission Meeting Highlights

Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards





County Manager’s Budget Message

County Manager Randall H. Reid has completed the FY07 Budget Message and has presented it, along with the proposed budget, to the Board of County Commissioners.

“This advance copy of my FY07 Alachua County Budget Message is a broad look at issues, programs and budget enhancements in the FY07 Alachua County budget.”

Budget at a Glance

It is the responsibility of the County Manager to present a balanced budget that reflects the requests of the appropriate constitutional and department officials of the County. I have chosen to present a budget that utilizes the additional growth realized beyond last year’s approved FY 07 planned budget to add enhancements, add fund balance, and recommend a 0.1000 mill reduction in the General Fund Millage Rate. This reduces the potential General Fund revenue increase by $1,131,675 and returns it to our property tax payers. Again, roll back for the countywide millage is calculated to be 7.8378. General Fund ad valorem revenue would go down by $12.4 million if we were to adopt a roll back.

When considering this recommended budget, the Commission should remember the additional revenue sources that are available and future planned revenue enhancements such as the fire and storm water assessments. The Commission may wish to alter this recommendation by increasing capital projects funding, increasing fund balance, or considering a higher level of millage rate reduction. I would recommend any higher millage rate reduction concentrate on eliminating some of the major new expenditures and enhancements, rather than reducing fund balance or capital project funding.

The options available to the Commission are greater than normal this year. Historically, this Commission has made the need to address our deficits in infrastructure and maintenance a well-communicated priority. Short-term millage rate reductions, although somewhat popular, may have negative consequences such as losing the opportunity to make-up part of these infrastructure deficits this year. Citizens have mentioned to me that reductions in the millage rate, while nice, might best be spent on addressing the problems so vividly pointed out in the recent past. A lowered millage rate is always politically difficult to rise again.

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Commissioner Long Elected 2nd Vice President of Florida Association of Counties

During the Annual Meeting of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) on June 27-30 in Collier County, Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long was elected and sworn in as 2nd Vice President of the FAC. Commissioner Long ran against Commissioner Elaine Tucker of Okaloosa County.

Founded in 1929, the FAC is a non-profit association representing the interests of Florida’s 67 counties. The FAC states that their mission is to “preserve and promote democratic principles by working to keep appropriate authority at the level of government closest to the people, and to increase the capacity of Florida counties to effectively serve and represent the citizens of the state through legislative action, education of public officials, and enhancement of public awareness about the role and functions of county government.”

The 2nd Vice President of the FAC sits on the Association’s Executive Committee. The five positions on the Executive Committee are one-year terms; however, once candidates are elected to 2nd Vice President, they typically run unopposed for the next ranking position on the Committee.

Among other duties, members of the Executive Committee oversee the administration of and provide policy guidance to the FAC Executive Director; adopt policies regarding the operation of the association and the conduct of association affairs; and recommend an annual budget to the Board of Directors.

Commissioner Long said of his election, “I’m extremely honored and humbled to be elected by my colleagues from around the state to serve in a position of leadership. I look forward to serving on the Executive Committee over the next couple of years, as well as serving as president in the future.”

Commissioner Long has been active in the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) since being elected as a County Commissioner in 2000. His FAC experience includes; former member of the FAC Board of Directors; current board member of the Florida Counties Foundation; past vice chair of the Finance and Accounting Committee; member of the Urban Caucus, Florida Counties Foundation Curriculum Committee, Florida Counties Foundation Bylaws Committee, past member; President Select Committee on Article V, past member; President Select Committee on Medicaid Reform, past member; President Select Committee on Impact Fees and School Concurrency; an active participant in the FAC County Commission Lobbyist Program.

For more info., visit www.fl-counties.com.

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Papajorgji Elected to URISA Board of Directors

Juna Papajorgji, Manager of Alachua County’s Growth Management Department’s GIS Division, has recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is the premier association of professionals that use Information Technology including Spatial Information Technology and Science in support of the understanding and the management of urban and regional systems.

Each year, URISA members elect a President and three directors to the twelve member URISA Board. Terms are for three years and begin at the close of that year’s annual conference.

The Directors will lead the association and manage the budget, staff, multiple working groups, committees, liaisons and partnerships with numerous federal/state/local government programs and efforts. The Board will also provide technical and scientific leadership to the many standing science and policy making institutions in the geo-professional field.

This prestigious and very deserving honor represents a clear recognition by her peers of Juna’s dedicated service to her profession and an acknowledgement of her relentless pursuit of excellence.

In addition to the valuable contributions Juna makes to Alachua County, she is also a co-founder of GISCorps, a program of URISA that coordinates short term, volunteer based GIS services to underprivileged communities throughout the world.

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ADA Expo Celebration 2006

The Equal Opportunity Offices of Alachua County and the City of Gainesville are sponsoring an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Expo Celebration 2006, which will take place July 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at The Sidney Lanier Center, 312 NW 16th Ave., Gainesville. Other sponsors are The Center for Independent Living and The Sidney Lanier Center, with transportation provided by MV Transport.
Special presentations will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the following topics:
• Employment/Vocational Rehabilitation
• Hurricane Preparedness
• Animal Legal Rights (presented by Florida Service Animals, Inc.)
• Disability Housing (presented by Gainesville Housing Authority)

Vendors and exhibitors will be present with assistive devices and equipment, such as hearing aids, TDD/TTY machines, and wheelchairs. Individuals will be able to register with County Emergency Management for special needs assistance in the event of a hurricane or disaster. Zoe and Rusty, world famous guide dogs, will be present as spokes-dogs for animal legal rights.

Free transportation will be provided for persons with special needs. Please RSVP by July 21 to MV Transport at (352) 375-2784.

For persons requiring special accommodations please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275, TDD (352) 374-5284 or the City of Gainesville Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 393-8481, TDD (352) 334-2069.

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Mercury Thermostat Recycling Program

The Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection Center has been chosen to participate in a pilot program to collect mercury thermostats from homeowners. The pilot program between Alachua County Environmental Protection Department and The Thermostat Recycling Corporation will accept all brands of wall mounted mercury thermostats. The mercury switches contained in the thermostat will be transported to a company for proper disposal.

Alachua County was one of a select few counties across the country invited to participate in the pilot program. There is no cost for dropping off the mercury thermostats; the intention of the program is to increase homeowners’ awareness of the heavy metal mercury that is contained in the non-digital thermostats, which has long lasting effects on the environment. Other mercury containing devices such as fever thermometers and fluorescent lamps are also accepted for collection.

The disposal location for mercury containing thermostats, as well as other household hazardous waste, is at the Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection Center, located at 5125 NE 63rd Ave., approximately 2 miles north of the airport off Waldo Road.

From more information citizens can call the Alachua County Hazardous Collection Center at (352) 334-0440. Citizens can visit The Thermostat Recycling Corporation on the web at http://www.nema.org/gov/ehs/trc/.

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Learn To Buy S.M.A.R.T. In July

Learn the earth-friendly answer to this and other shopping questions from representatives of the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives. The “Waste Watchers” will be at a local grocery store every Thursday in July to offer shoppers information about how to Buy S.M.A.R.T. (Save Money And Reduce Trash).

The Waste Watchers will be available to speak with shoppers about buying recycled products, purchasing products with minimal packaging, and buying reusable items instead of disposables. Shoppers can learn how Buying S.M.A.R.T. can save money and help the environment. All shoppers that visit the Waste Watchers display will receive a free reusable shopping bag made from recycled plastic.

The Waste Watchers will be at the Publix at Hunter’s Crossing (NW 43rd Street) on July 20 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. and the Publix on Main Street on July 27 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Learn how to Buy S.M.A.R.T. and be a Waste Watcher! For more information on Buying S.M.A.R.T, please call (352) 374-5213.

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Recognitions, Proclamations, and Presentations


Constitutional Officers/Other Governmental Units


Advisory Board and Committee Reports


County Attorney


County Manager


Support Services Group


Community Planning Group


County Manager Reports


Commission Comments

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Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

The Alachua County Commission is committed to citizen involvement on its 33 advisory boards
and is soliciting applications for the following vacancies:

Applications are available in the County Manager's Office on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE First St., Gainesville, or on the Web at: http://boards.alachua.fl.us/app/application.aspx


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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.