October 15, 2007 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Impact Fees Revisited
TV signal switch on Feb. 17, 2009
Three transportation projects announced
CHOICES reaches enrollment milestone
Lanes closures on SW 20th Avenue
Reid International Advisory Group Chair
Board heard update on Santa Fe River
Waste Watchers visit local grocery stores
Energy Conservation Commission advises
Commissioner Long speaks to students
Latino AIDS Awareness Day Recognition
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Town Hall Meeting: The Scott House
County Event and Meeting Reminder
Commission Meeting Highlights
Let’s All Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

 

 

Impact Fees Revisited

At the October 9, 2007 Public Hearing the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners voted to institute revised Impact Fees and to begin collecting the fees on March 1, 2008. The fees will be based on 85% of the 100% fee calculated by County staff. The fees will be raised by 28% per year over three years to bring the current fees up to the 85% level. The Board voted 3/2 to approve this plan with Commissioners Byerly and Pinkoson in descent.

This vote was an adjustment to the August 2007 vote which included a 4 year phase-in period and a November 2008 implementation date.

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TV signal switch on Feb. 17, 2009

By law, television stations nationwide must switch from the old method of transmitting TV signals known as analog to digital television (DTV) on February 17, 2009. Broadcast (antenna) TV viewers will need to take some easy steps to receive a digital signal.

For more information, please visit the DTV Answers website by going to this link: http://www.dtvanswers.com

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Three transportation projects announced

The Alachua County Public Works Department is pleased to announce the commencement of three important transportation projects. In speaking of the projects, County Engineer David Cerlanek said, “All of us at Public Works are excited about the upcoming and recently finished transportations projects. This County Commission’s dedication to funding infrastructure projects makes it an exciting time to be working for the County.”

The three projects are:

Mill and resurface of NW 182nd Avenue

On August 28, 2007, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners awarded a contract to APAC - Southeast Inc. for the mill and resurface of NW 182nd Avenue in High Springs. The project consists of the milling and resurfacing of NW 182nd Avenue from the County Line to US 41/27. The project also includes the addition of four feet wide, paved shoulders on each side of the road. The estimated cost of this project is $1.8 million. Funding for this project comes from Gas Tax Bond Revenues approved by the Board of County Commissioners in April of 2005.

Construction will begin on October 17, 2007, and will last approximately 85 calendar days. Daily lane closures may be in effect during construction. Travelers through this area should expect delays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.

 

Signalization of NW 143rd Street at NW 39th Avenue

On September 25, 2007, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners approved a contract with PAH Constructors, Inc. for the construction of a traffic signal at the intersection of NW 143rd Street at NW 39th Avenue in Jonesville. The estimated cost of this project is $144,000.00. Funding for this project comes from Impact Fees passed by the Board of County Commissioners in September of 2004. When completed the signal is expected to increase the overall safety and efficiency of the intersection and reduce delays on the eastbound approach.

Work is expected to begin in November of 2007 and be completed by the end of December. Travelers through this area during this time should expect delays from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m. weekdays.

 

Millhopper Road Bike Lanes

On August 14, 2007, the Board of County Commissioners approved a contract with AKCA, Inc. for the placement of additional striping for the Millhopper Road bike lanes from CR 241 to NW 43rd Street. When complete, the additional striping will provide enhanced safety for bicyclists.

Work will begin in the middle of October and should last three to four weeks. Travelers through this area should expect delays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, contact Alachua County Public Works Senior Engineering Technician Chris Zeigler at 352-374-5245 ext. 271.

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CHOICES reaches enrollment milestone

The Alachua County Department of Community Support Services is pleased to announce that CHOICES, Alachua County’s Health Services program, has passed the 1000 enrollees milestone, reaching 1004 currently enrolled participants.

CHOICES (Community Health Offering Innovative Care and Educational Services) began enrolling participants in October 2005. Since that time, CHOICES has responded to citizens and has implemented more ways to apply. Applicants may now apply online, by mail, or fax.

CHOICES also has Open Enrollment sessions before and after traditional work hours for the convenience of applicants -- Mondays, 7:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. and Tuesdays, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. -- no appointment needed. Open Enrollment is at the Community Support Services office (218 SE 24th St., Gainesville). Additionally, CHOICES has enhanced their outreach efforts so that staff can also enroll participants at the workplace.

CHOICES offers a broad range of health services provided by participating health care providers throughout the County. Services include:

Primary care (routine and sick visits)

Lab and Radiology services

Dental care

Prescription assistance

CHOICES is an innovative concept of healthcare and is funded by a voter approved 1/4 cent sales tax in Alachua County. We encourage Employers and Citizens to spread the word about CHOICES Health Services. CHOICES is making a positive impact in the lives of County residents, and wants to serve as many eligible citizens as possible.

Eligibility

Low-income Seniors age 65 and older may be eligible for dental care

If you or someone you know may be eligible, please call 352-264-6772 or visit the CHOICES website: http://www.acCHOICES.com for more information or to apply.

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Lanes closures on SW 20th Avenue

Lane closures will begin on SW 20th Avenue from SW 34th Street to SW 38th Terrace on Monday, October 14, 2007. The lane closures will be effective from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and will last approximately two weeks. Construction crews will be placing concrete pipe on the north side of the roadway as a part of the SW 24th Avenue 2-lane construction project, as part of the ongoing SW 24th Avenue Construction Project .

For more information, please contact Jennifer Spagnoli, the Alachua County Project Manager at 352-374-5245 ext. 217.

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Reid International Advisory Group Chair

On Tuesday October 9, 2007 at the annual International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Business Meeting, Alachua County Manager Randall H. Reid was appointed Chair of the ICMA Sustainability Advisory Group. Michal Willis, ICMA 2006 president and the current Executive Director of Wimbledon, London, England, was appointed Vice-Chair.

As reported on September 12, 2007 , Reid will join more than 30 International City/County Management Association (ICMA) members, with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability issues in their home communities, in a leadership advisory committee that will provide direction and guidance to ICMA to develop education, knowledge resources, tools, and techniques that support local leaders.

For more details, go to the County’s October 12 press release here: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/comm/pressreleases.aspx?pr_id=5646

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Board heard update on Santa Fe River

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will heard a staff update on the Santa Fe River Minimum Flows and Levels Process during the special meeting that took place on October 2 at 5:00 p.m. in the Alachua County Administration Building. Citizens can view the video of the update by going to the County’s Video on Demand webpage, scrolling down to the Commission Special Meetings Section, and clicking on the link for Unimporved Road Alternatives. The Santa Fe River update, was heard after the Unimproved Road Alternatives item; to go directly to the Santa Fe update item, click on the second link in the video window, underneath the video player.

For more information, please contact Robin Hallbourg of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department at (352) 264-6800.

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Waste Watchers visit local grocery stores

Paper or plastic? Learn the earth-friendly answer to this and other shopping questions from the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives. Representatives will be at a local grocery stores Thursdays in October to offer shoppers information about how to buy S.M.A.R.T. (Save Money And Reduce Trash).

Buy S.M.A.R.T. is all about using the 4 R’s when shopping: reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink. Can it be recycled after you’re done? Or reused? Is it over packaged? Is the packaging made from recycled content? Well if you are not sure visit the Office of Waste Alternatives staff at your local grocery store Thursdays this fall. The following is a list of locations and dates where you can find out more information about how you can Buy S.M.A.R.T.:

All shoppers who wish to be education on how to be a S.M.A.R.T. shopper will receive a free reusable shopping bag and a Buy S.M.A.R.T. pocket guide.

October 18 4-6 p.m.

October 25, 3-5 p.m.

Learn how to buy S.M.A.R.T. and remember Embrace Zero Waste! For more information on Buy S.M.A.R.T, please call (352) 374-5213.

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Energy Conservation Commission advises

This is an article from the Energy Conservation Strategies Commission. Established in March of 2007, they are producing a comprehensive report on energy use and its relationship to climate change and local socio-economic impacts. This report will be submitted to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners at a future date:

You probably know your automobile’s gasoline mileage (MPG, or miles per gallon), and the ‘Energy Star’ rating for some household appliances. But did you know that there is also a rating that can be assigned to your largest energy consumer - your home? Would it have been helpful for you to know this rating before you rented or bought your home?

The Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) provides a relative energy use index called the ‘HERS Index’. An Index of 150 represents the energy use of the “American Standard Building”, and an Index of 0 indicates that the home uses no net purchased energy (a ‘Zero Energy’ home). Each point on the Index represents 1% of total energy use. A home with a HERS Index of 200 (and monthly energy bill of $300) will use twice the energy as a home with a HERS Index of 100 (and monthly energy bill of $150.)

A Nationally Certified/State of Florida licensed rater performs an inspection and conducts specific performance tests on a new or existing home, and provides recommendations for cost-effective improvements to upgrade the home’s energy efficiency. For detailed information, visit http://www.natresnet.org .

The HERS Index is officially recognized by the federal government for verification of building energy performance for federal tax incentives; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ‘Energy Star’ program; the U.S. Department of Energy ‘Building America’, as well as the U.S. mortgage industry for ‘Energy Efficient Mortgages’; and to determine the value for carbon credits.

The Alachua County Energy Conservation Strategies Commission (ECSC) is considering inclusion of this HERS rating system in its May, 2008 final report for the County Commission. Should the total energy costs of owning or renting a home be disclosed, prior to making a final decision to rent or buy that home?

The ECSC wants to hear from you! Contact us at energy@alachuacounty.us , or at (352) 264-6802. Join us for our regular meeting in the Alachua County Administration Building, 5:30 p.m. every 1st and 3rd Monday; or visit our webpage on the EPD website at: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/epd/default.aspx?article=5196 to learn more about the advisory committee

We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions.

For more information, please contact Sean McLendon, Administrative Coordinator, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, at (352) 264-6800.

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Commissioner Long speaks to students

Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long began on October 3rd to speak to elementary and middle school students in Alachua County, as he has done for a number of years, in his words, sharing his life experiences, the obstacles he had to overcome, the pitfalls and challenges of life and what it’s going to take in order for the students to beat the odds. Commissioner Long focuses primarily on speaking to 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th grades.

Commissioner Long said of his school visits, “I know that many of the students come from families who are headed by single family moms, many have relatives either in jail or prison, know of someone who has been incarcerated for drug offenses or who has died a violent death related to drugs. A disproportionate number of them have family members who did not graduate from high school.” Commissioner Long says he tries to encourage the students that they can overcome these odds if they excel in school, avoid the pitfalls of drugs, gang violence, teenage pregnancy and dropping out of high school.

Commissioner Long has been volunteering his time each week in blocks of consecutive weeks, for a number of years.

His speaking schedule for this autumn is as follows:

For more information, please call the Alachua County Commission Office at (352) 264-6900.

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Latino AIDS Awareness Day Recognition

The Alachua County Health Department will recognize National Latino AIDS Awareness Day on Monday, October 15, 2007 by conducting free, confidential HIV and STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) testing for anyone who wishes to attend a special evening clinic that day from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Health Department main clinical site, 224 SE 24th St., Gainesville.

One feature of this clinic will be the use of the OraQuick Advance finger stick test for HIV. The results will be ready in 20 minutes from the time of the test. In order to expedite the testing, appointments will be taken by calling (352) 334-7960. However, walk-in testing will be offered as well.

Health Department Director Tom Belcuore advised that taking advantage of this type of testing program has positive effects for individuals and their community. “Part of the danger of HIV comes from those that unknowingly have the virus and can unknowingly transmit it to others. We wish to give the population at risk an opportunity to take control by taking this test.”

For more information regarding the special clinic, call (352) 334-7960. Media inquiries should be addressed to Bobby Davis at (352) 334-7964.

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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

On the latest editions of Alachua County Talks, Elmira Warren, Director of Alachua County’s Community Support Services Department, outlines in detail the services provided her department. And Alachua County Health Department Director Tom Belcuore gives a detailed overview of the Health Department functions.

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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Town Hall Meeting: The Scott House

The Alachua County Department of Parks and Recreation is creating an interpretive park on 3 acres of the former Scott Plantation on Hawthorne Road. The Scott-Phifer Committee and the Alachua County Historical Commission are holding a Town Hall Meeting to discuss it on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at the Grove Park Community Christian Church, 5717 SE 152 St., Grove Park, FL (travel east on Hawthorne Road and turn right at 152nd Street.) The event is free.

The Historical Commission is seeking senior citizens and other people who know about, or have heard stories of the former owners or relatives of the home such as the Scott’s, Waits, or Phifers. The commission is very interested in hearing stories or names of former descendants of enslaved African Americans who worked on the plantation prior to emancipation or as farm share croppers after the civil war. The commission would like to emphasize that if citizens have any information about these homes or activities surrounding that they please attend the meeting.

A copy of the original bill of sale which lists the names and ages of the African American slaves who worked in the area on this plantation from 1855 to 1865 will be available at the event. The names of citizens’ ancestors may be listed.

Please bring any old documents or pictures regarding this so they can be viewed during the event. Of particular interest are:

For more information, please contact Melanie at (352) 377-4217 or email kendragillum@hotmail.com .

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County Event and Meeting Reminder

3 more Waterways Master Plan meetings

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Recognition - Free HIV and STD tests

Waste Watchers visit local grocery stores

Garden Tours of Local Florida Friendly Landscapes

Town Hall Meeting: Scott-Phifer Houses

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

The Board proclaimed October 18, 2007 as United Nations Day.

The Board proclaimed October 2007 as White Cane Safety Month.

The Board proclaimed October 7-14 as National 4-H Week.

The Board heard the presentation and accepted the Annual Report from the Alachua County Poverty Reduction Advisory Board.

 

County Attorney

The Board considered advertising a Public Hearing for an Ordinance Repealing County Code Prohibiting Solicitation on Public Streets. They tabled the issue and asked the County Attorney to research the issue and report back.

Attachments:

The Board voted unanimously to increase the County Attorney and County Manager’s salary by 2% in keeping with the overall County employee increase.

 

Community Planning Group

In discussing the enclave resulting from a City of Alachua Annexation, the Board decided to:

1) Authorize the Chair to sign a letter to the Mayor of the City of Alachua requesting the City not annex parcel 5983 until other properties in the potential enclave are annexed too and authorized staff to participate in City of Alachua Public Hearing on this proposal and bring a court reporter;

2) Approve in concept initiation of annexation of County property into City of Gainesville in coordination with annexation of other potential enclave parcels by the City of Alachua and City of Gainesville.

 

Attachments

 

Community Services Group

The Board approved the CAPP Advisory Board’s recommendation regarding distribution of the additional $16,000.00 allocation for FY 08 CAPP funding

Attachments

 

The Board held a public hearing to review the proposed amendments to the Transportation Impact Fee Ordinance and the Impact Fee Administrative Manual. They voted 3/2 with Byerly and Pinkoson dissenting, to institute the following:

  1. To institute Impact Fees and 85% of 100% of the costs.
  2. to phase the increase in over 3 years at the rate of 28% per year
  3. To begin assessment on March 1, 2008

Attachments:

 

County Manager Reports

Concerning a new, unfunded mandate from the State to provide office space conflict resolution attorneys, the Board asked the Manager to provide the cost of all unfunded mandates and the amount of money the State revenue sharing program brings in. They directed the Manager to investigate space outside and inside Alachua County for the offices. They asked the County Attorney to continue to work with the Florida Association of Counties and the Criminal Defense Attorneys on this issue. They prohibited the County Manager from spending any money on space but authorized expenditure of funds to investigate the item.

 

Commission Comments

Chair Delaney and the Board discussed the preparation for the election of a new Chair and Vice Chair. Advise staff that letterhead will change and that documents requiring Chair signature after November 12 must reflect the new Chair.

The Board asked staff to prepare agenda item to re-establish funding for RTS Route 75 and bring back next Tuesday.

 

Advisory Board Appointments


Energy Conservation Strategies Commission

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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.