August 31 , 2007 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Board votes on impact fees
Haven Acres allowed 144 cats
Governor Appoints Marshall Knudson
Charlie Jackson appointed to COAA board
World Rabies Day September 8
E-911: Communications Technology Bureau
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Survivors of Rape Support Group
County Event and Meeting Reminder
Labor Day Holiday Waste Collection
Commission Meeting Highlights
Let’s All Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

 

Board votes on impact fees

The Board held a public hearing on August 28 to review the proposed amendments to the Alachua County Transportation Impact Fee Ordinance and the Impact Fee Administrative Manual. They voted to defer an increase until November 15, 2008, raise the Fee to 85% instead of 100%, and phase the increase in at the rate of 20% per year over 5 years.

To view the back up documents for the agenda click on the links below:

TranspImpFeeAmend2007.pdf

2007TranspImpFeeSummary.pdf

ImpactFeeAdminManual2007amendment.pdf

To watch the video tape of the meeting go to the Public Hearings folder in Video on Demand and click on the Aug. 28, 2007 meeting.

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Haven Acres allowed 144 cats

The County Commission voted unanimously to approve the staff recommendation to allow a private animal shelter, Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, in an ‘A’ (Agriculture) district on approximately 8+ acres located at 21023 Railroad Avenue in High Springs on Tax Parcel Number 01514-005-000.

The Board amended the recommendation by increasing the on site inspections from every 3 months to every 3 months during the initial 18 month reduction period after which the cat population must be reduced from the current 400 to 500 cats to 144 cats.

To view the staff report click here:

Haven_Acres_ZOX_04_07_Staff_Report.pdf

The staff recommendation begins on page 13 of the report.

To watch the video tape of the meeting go to the special meetings folder in Video on Demand and click on the Cat Sanctuary meeting.

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Governor Appoints Marshall Knudson

Governor Charlie Crist today appointed Marshall Knudson, Director of the Alachua County Crisis Center, Wayne Goodman, and Steve Roggenbaum to the Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council.

“The Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council will develop and implement a statewide strategy to reduce Florida’s suicide rate,” said Governor Crist. “I am hopeful that through their work, fewer families and communities will be affected by suicide.”

Earlier this year, Governor Crist signed House Bill 139 establishing the Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council. The legislation also established the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention within the Florida Office of Drug Control. The Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council will serve in an advisory capacity to the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention. In addition to the four gubernatorial appointments, the legislation designated 24 additional state agency and stakeholders as council members.

“Our statewide partners are extremely proud of the opportunity this legislation provides,” said Director Bill Janes of the Florida Office of Drug Control. “Tragically, six Floridians lose their lives every day to suicide, which is preventable in many cases. Our new state office and this council will help reverse this trend.”

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Charlie Jackson appointed to COAA board

The Board of Directors of the Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) has invited Alachua County Facilities Manager Charlie Jackson to serve on its board of directors for a one year term beginning January 1, 2008.

The COAA is headquartered in Atlanta, and their stated purpose on their website is to support project owners’ success in the design and construction of buildings and facilities through education, information and developing relationships within the industry.

Charlie commented that he looks forward to serving on the COAA board.

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World Rabies Day September 8

Around the world, rabies kills at least 55,000 people every year, or 1 person every 10 minutes. The death rate is highest in Africa and Asia where rabies in common in unvaccinated dogs. Human deaths in the United States are rare and are usually associated with exposure to native wildlife such as infected bats or exposure to rabid dogs in other countries. Rabies is endemic in Florida wildlife and occasionally spreads to our domestic animals, especially the cat. A total of 174 rabies cases were diagnosed in Florida in 2006, including 109 raccoons, 27 foxes, 20 bats, 10 cats, 3 horses, 2 dogs, and a bobcat, an otter, and a skunk.

Rabies is preventable and could potentially be eliminated by wide-spread vaccination of dogs, cats, and wildlife. In a call to action, international animal welfare and public health organizations have joined hands to raise awareness about this deadly virus. Next week, World Rabies Day will be commemorated with rabies vaccination clinics and educational programs around the world.

Alachua County Animal Services will participate in World Rabies Day on Saturday, September 8, 2007. Companions animals (dogs, cats, and ferrets) can be received rabies vaccinations and be licensed at the John M. Snyder Animal Shelter located at 3400 NE 53rd Avenue in Gainesville, Florida between the hours of 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The cost of the rabies vaccine and license will be: Dogs: $21.00 Cats and Ferrets: $14.00

For more information, please contact Alachua County Animal Services at (352) 264-6870.

Homeless cats in Alachua County will not be left out. On September 9, Operation Catnip will provide free rabies boosters for any cat that has “graduated” from the program. All cats that have been ear-tipped as a sign that they have been sterilized and vaccinated at Operation Catnip are eligible for free rabies booster shots that will last for 3 years. Alachua County homeless stray and feral cats that have not yet been sterilized are also eligible for free spay and neuter surgery at the September 9 clinic.

Operation Catnip is a nonprofit volunteer organization with the mission to reduce the number of homeless cats in Alachua County by spaying and neutering as many as possible. With an estimated 36,000 unowned cats living in the county’s backyards, porches, barns, businesses, and neighborhoods, the group has its work cut out for it. So far almost 20,000 cats have passed over Operation Catnip’s operating tables since the first surgery was performed in 1998. In addition to kitty birth control, all cats admitted for care also receive vaccinations to keep them healthy. The first rabies vaccination lasts only one year and requires a booster vaccine 12 months later. Subsequent rabies vaccines are good for three years.

Reservations for the clinic are required for all cats, and all cats must be brought in humane wire traps. Traps are available for loan from Operation Catnip.

For more information about Operation Catnip contact John Friary at (352) 380-0940 friaryj@vetmed.ufl.edu .

For more information about World Rabies Day see http://www.worldrabiesday.org.

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E-911: Communications Technology Bureau

Alachua County established the E-911 Office in 1987 under the Florida Emergency Telephone Number Act, which provided the framework for counties to build advanced 911 systems. Now, twenty years later, the office has grown and developed, becoming the Communications Technology Bureau which reflects its broader scope.

“Our range of responsibilities has changed dramatically,” Bureau Chief Susan Nelson said.

In 1987, E-911 staff assigned addresses by hand on paper maps while only two telephone carriers interfaced with the office. Emergency call takers answered desk phones and referred to a small screen for the callers’ fixed locations. Today, however, addressing is electronic. Nearly fifty telecommunications carriers provide services in Alachua County and 9-1-1 call takers use a computer-based phone and electronic map to locate callers.

Wireless phones heralded these dramatic changes, as calls no longer came from fixed locations. A way was needed to locate mobile callers, who often had no idea where they were. Today, mobile callers make up 60% of all 9-1-1 calls in Alachua County.

In the 1990s, the Federal Communications Commission ordered wireless carriers to transmit latitude and longitude coordinates from wireless callers and for 9-1-1 centers to receive and plot them on a map.

“You can’t pull just any map into a 9-1-1 center,” Nelson said. “It must be precisely accurate and contain many layers of information.”

In 1997, Alachua County Fire Rescue launched a Geographic Information System (GIS) program in the E-911 Office, and staff began the laborious task of transforming paper maps into electronic data. Staff then created a digital roadway database, purchased the hardware and software necessary to display the map in the Communications Center, and began collecting other data to assist emergency call takers.

“I was amazed at the amount of information the call takers requested to help them do their jobs better,” Bureau GIS Analyst Yelena Cummings said.

Utility service areas, water bodies, parks, golf courses, cell towers, aerial photography, highway mile markers, and more were added. All of the requested data was built by Bureau staff or obtained from the Property Appraiser’s GIS Enterprise System partners.

Acting as a GIS portal for this major project led the Bureau to other important projects. Bureau staff acted as the GIS gateway for the Citizen Inquiry Tracking System and the Disaster GIS Program and is currently working with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to bring the new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to fruition. The new CAD will be GIS-centric, and Cummings is preparing all of the required data to properly interface with the updated system.

“Yelena is the only person in the county that understands public safety, 9-1-1 location data and GIS analysis to the extent necessary to bring all of the CAD GIS data on line,” Nelson said.

On these major GIS projects, Bureau staff work hand-in-hand with the Property Appraiser’s office, which oversees County-wide GIS in an enterprise environment. ACPA programmers built a custom program allowing Bureau staff to update GIS data to the Enterprise system in near real time. Enterprise system partners can also use ACFR’s data as needed, and ACFR can use data stored in the system by other Enterprise partners.

“The most satisfying part of this work is knowing it makes a difference—we are literally saving lives and property,” Nelson concluded.

- Megan Crandall, Fire Services

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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

On the latest editions of Alachua County Talks, Jim Lynch , Director of Alachua County Veterans Services, discusses the Veterans Services division and the benefits it provides to Alachua County Veterans. And Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) Director Chris Bird gives a detailed overview of the functions that ACEPD performs in our community.

Alachua County Talks is shown on Community 12, Your Local Government Channel, so tune in. To view show times click here: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/comm/schedule.aspx

You can also view archived episodes of Alachua County Talks at the County’s Video On Demand webpage here: http://alachua.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

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Survivors of Rape Support Group

Beginning September 14, the Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center will be offering a special Support Group for women survivors of rape. Meeting weekly for 10 weeks, group members will engage in discussion about healing from sexual violence in the first hour of each group, and then in the second hour they will be introduced to yoga and meditation exercises designed to facilitate physical well-being.

Thus emotional, mental, and physical issues will be addressed in the group.

There is no charge to participants. Please call Laura Kalt at (352) 264-6760 to register.

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County Event and Meeting Reminder

World Rabies Day

Support Group for Women Survivors of Rape

Garden Tours of Local Florida Friendly Landscapes

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Labor Day Holiday Waste Collection

Residential curbside collection service for solid waste, recycling, and yard trash will not be affected by the Labor Day holiday. The regular schedule for these services will occur on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2007. The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers and the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station will also be open during regularly scheduled hours on Monday.

For more information, contact Milton Towns, Alachua County Waste Collection Manager at the Alachua County Office of Waste Collection at (352) 338-3233.

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

The Board proclaimed September 2007 “Muscular Dystrophy Association Firefighter Appreciation Month” in Alachua County, Florida.

 

County Manager

 

Community Planning Group

 

Community Services Group

 

Public Hearings

The Board held a public hearing to review the proposed amendments to the Alachua County Transportation Impact Fee Ordinance and the Impact Fee Administrative Manual. The Board did not approve the staff recommendation. Instead, they voted to defer an increase until November 15, 2008, raise the Fee to 85% instead of 100%, and phase the increase in at the rate of 20% per year over 5 years.

 

Commission Comments

Commissioner Chestnut requested the County Manager to report on the diversity efforts and results of attracting candidates to serve on the Commission’s Advisory Boards.

 

Appointments to Advisory Boards and Committees

Fair Housing/Human Rights Advisory Board

Energy Conservation Strategies Commission

Veterans Services Advisory Board

CHOICES Health Services Advisory Board

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Let’s All 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:

Get Involved - Click here for an application: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/bocc/advisoryboard.aspx

Applications are also available at the County Manager’s Office on the Second Floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. For more information, call (352) 264-6904.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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