May 30, 2008 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Development Services Division Manager Steve Lachnicht named Director of Growth Management
Department of Fire Rescue Services changes name
Animal Services begins pit bull spay/neuter program
GIS Division features public map display
Citizens can help prevent mosquito-bourne illnesses
Community Agency Partnership Program seeks applications from community organizations
County Update TV on Community 12
Foster Grandparent Programs needs volunteers
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Male Survivors of Rape Trauma Group extended
Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Support Group begins June 3
4H announces lineup of Summer Day Camps
Commission to conduct “Sales Tax Initiative” meeting
County Event and Meeting Reminder
Commission Meeting Highlights
Alachua County Advisory Boards


Development Services Division Manager Steve Lachnicht named Director of Growth Management

Alachua County Manager, Randall H. Reid, announced this week that he is appointing Steve Lachnicht as Director of the County’s Growth Management Department, effective June 1, 2008. He will be filling the Director position that was vacated six months ago by Rick Drummond’s appointment to Assistant County Manager.

For the past eight years Lachnicht has served as Manager of the Development Services Division in the Growth Management Department. As such, he has been responsible for overseeing the complete revision and update of the County’s Land Development Regulations, and for the direct supervision of ten employees assigned to the Development Services Division who are engaged in the review of development proposals, including applications for rezoning properties and submittals for development plan approval. As part of his duties in Alachua County, he has made numerous presentations to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and has conducted many outreach programs throughout the community, leading broad-based public discussions about important policy issues as well as responding to many community interest groups for educational presentations.

Lachnicht is an AICP Certified Planner who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida International University in Environmental Studies and a Masters of Public Administration from Florida State University.

Lachnicht is a bicycle commuter who endorses progressive planning concepts including sustainability and transit oriented design (TOD). TOD is a policy in the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan that promotes pedestrian, bicycle, and alternative transportation modes.

Lachnicht is also a graduate of Leadership Gainesville. Prior to his employment with Alachua County, Steve had extensive experience in both the public and private sectors in Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

For more information, please call Alachua County’s Growth Management Department at 352-374-5249.

Return to Top


Department of Fire Rescue Services changes name

The Department of Fire Rescue Services is changing its name and organizational structure. Its new name is the Department of Public Safety. This name more accurately reflects all of the services provided by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. The Department of Public Safety provides a full range of emergency and non-emergency services to the citizens and visitors of Alachua County.

The reorganization utilizes the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as a structural guide. The NIMS is used everyday on emergency responses by the Department for efficiency and consistency across jurisdictional boundaries. This provides an organizational outline, as stated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for “a consistent, nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.” ( ) This standard template of organization allows for effective communication and coordination of all resources. Click here to view a new organizational chart of the department.

Key changes to upper levels of the Department include re-titling the Fire Chief/Director of Emergency Services (Will G. May Jr.) to the Director of Public Safety and re-titling the Deputy Chief (Ed Bailey) to Fire Rescue Chief/Deputy Director. The upper level of the Department is organized into four Sections, each headed by a Section Chief that reports directly to the Department Director. The four Sections and their Chiefs are: Fire Rescue Chief Ed Bailey, Emergency Management Chief David Donnelly, Wildfire Mitigation Chief Jeff Bielling, and Administrative and Finance Chief Cheryl Anderson-Ellis.

The Fire Rescue Section under Chief Bailey is organized into three Branches and Command Staff. Each branch is headed by a Branch Director. Assistant Chief Chad Bradt, Assistant Chief Harry Collins, and Fire Marshal Mark Smith each lead an assigned Branch. The Command staff consists of a Senior Staff Assistant and Health & Safety Officer.

The Emergency Management Section under Section Chief David Donnelly has two branches and staff. The branches are Readiness led by Eric Bertsch and Planning led by J. “Danny” Hinson.

The Wildfire Mitigation Section under Section Chief Jeff Bielling also has two branches; Wildfire Mitigation Group headed by Lori Hazel, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist and the Office of Strategic Planning headed by Enid Ehrbar, Senior Planner.

The Administration/Finance Section, under Section Chief Cheryl Anderson-Ellis, is organized into three branches and two offices. The Branches and Offices are; Communications/E-911 Branch headed by Susan Nelson, General Accounting Branch headed by T.J. Joyner, Revenue & Collections Branch headed by Melinda Sowers, Office of Information Technology headed by Ron Burchfield, and the Office of Contract Coordination headed by Keith Godwin.

The commitment of the Department of Public Safety to its mission of “protecting life and property by providing quality service that is responsive, respectful and courteous” continues to grow and strengthen with this reorganization.

For more information, contact Department of Public Safety at 352-384-3101.

Return to Top


Animal Services begins pit bull spay/neuter program

Alachua County Animal Services (ACAS) announces the beginning of its pilot program, funded by a grant from PetSmart Charities, to help low-income families spay or neuter their pit bull breed dogs. Appointments for those who qualify are now being accepted and the first surgeries will be performed June 21, 2008.

Alachua County residents who qualify under the federal guidelines for low-income (see Figure 1) may schedule their pit bull breed dogs for spay or neuter surgery at the Animal Shelter. The cost of the surgery, plus rabies vaccine and dog tag (if necessary), is being subsidized by a $10,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.

Qualified pit bull owners should come to the shelter to establish eligibility for the program. Owners will be required to show proof of identification and either proof of government assistance or a recent pay stub (within two weeks) to establish eligibility. Proof of residency in Alachua County will also be required. Once these eligibility requirements have been met, an appointment will be set for the procedure.

On the day of their appointment, owners will need to bring their dogs to the shelter at 8:30 a.m. sharp for an initial exam and intake. Late-comers will be required to set another appointment time. Animals cleared for surgery must then be picked up at 4:30 p.m. sharp that same day. ACAS closes at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and does not reopen until the following Tuesday, so Saturday afternoon pickup times must be strictly observed.

This pilot program at ACAS joins other local spay neuter programs, such as the PitNip spay/neuter program administered by Helping Hands Rescue, West End Animal Hospital in Newberry (352-472-7626), and the Humane Society’s Gallenkamp spay/neuter voucher program (352-373-5855), among many others, in the fight to control the population of unwanted pets of all types.

PetSmart Charities, Inc., is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues, and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. Since 1994, PetSmart Charities has funded more than $70 million in grants and programs benefiting animal welfare organizations, and through its in-store pet adoption program, has helped save the lives of more than 3.2 million pets. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working to help find a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit or call 1-800-423-PETS.

Residents interested in scheduling their pit bull for a surgery appointment should come directly to ACAS (5300 NE 53rd Ave., Gainesville) with the necessary information to determine eligibility.

Figure 1 – Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, 2008

2008 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Size of Family




































For each additional person add:


$5,400 annually

$450 monthly

$104 weekly

For more information or for questions about eligibility, please contact Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

Return to Top


GIS Division features public map display

The GIS Division of the Department of Growth Management is featuring a display of its map collection on the second floor of the County Administration Building in the Boardroom, the hallway and the lobby. The maps have been created over the last eight years and are a result of the build up of a rich geographic data library.

Most of the maps are final representations of major countywide projects such as the Future Land Use and the Rural Clusters for the Comprehensive Plan, the 10 Year Master Plan for Health and Human Services, the Substandard Housing study, the Strategic Ecosystems studies, and the Commissioners Redistricting. Others are area representations of major activities and operations in the County, such as New Development, and Zoning Code Violations. There are also a number of maps that apply to Historic Preservation and Tourist Attractions.

Many people have contributed both informational and compositional talents to the creation of these maps. Current contributors include Graduate Intern Odenis Vitoreli, GIS Specialist James Collins, GIS Analyst Robert Jensen, and GIS Systems Programmer Timothy Clark. The GIS Division acknowledges and thanks the many who are no longer with the County who also made great contributions.

To view Growth Management’s full Map Collection composed of over 90 maps, go to:


To order a wall size paper copy of these maps, please place a web request with the GIS Division at:

For any questions, please contact GIS Specialist Jimmy Collins at 352-491-4666.

Return to Top


Citizens can help prevent mosquito-bourne illnesses

The Alachua County Health Department (ACHD) emphasizes the importance of protection against mosquito-borne diseases. The advent of warmer weather and recent rainfall has increased the numbers and activity level for mosquitoes. These conditions have raised the potential for the transmission of mosquito borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Alachua County’s surveillance system, comprised of sentinel chickens, surface water larvae counts, light traps, dead bird reports, citizen complaints, and signals from the medical and veterinary community, have detected the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the County. “Within the past week, a horse and a chicken have been confirmed as being infected with the virus,” said Paul Myers, Assistant Alachua County Health Department Director. “We urge all citizens to take steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Symptoms of West Nile virus (WNV) infection and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and confusion. Physicians should contact the local county health department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness. State of Florida Department of Health laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne diseases.

The ACHD advises citizens to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following the “5 D’s”:


Repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended to protect against mosquito exposure. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options. Always use repellants according to the manufacturer’s directions.


Rid the area around your home of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.


Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

Dusk and Dawn

Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

Monitoring wild bird deaths can help officials track the spread of some mosquito-borne diseases. Anyone who discovers a dead bird is encouraged to report it via the Internet. The bird mortality reporting system is located on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website at: . Citizens may also report dead birds to a county health department or local FWC office.

For more information, contact Paul Myers, Alachua County Health Department, at 352-334-8892.

Return to Top


Community Agency Partnership Program seeks applications from community organizations

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners reminding those agencies who are seeking County funding through the Community Agency Partnership Program (CAPP), and who have already attended one of the required pre-bid workshops, that the deadline for submitting applications is 2 p.m., Wednesday, June 25, 2008. No applications past 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 will be accepted. Applications are time-stamped upon submission. Applicants are encouraged to allow time for limited downtown parking. There will be no exceptions.

CAPP is seeking applications from non-profit organizations for community funding. Agencies must have a physical location in Alachua County and have current 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

There are 2 categories of funding. One category is called “Poverty Reduction” and is for programs that serve to reduce poverty among Alachua County residents.

The other category is called the “Underserved” category. Programs in this category must introduce or educate underserved residents of Alachua County in the arts, culture, history or environment. Underserved persons are those who have limited access due to geography, economics, disability or other conditions.

For more information, please visit or contact Alachua County’s Community Agency Partnership Program at 352-264-6707.

Return to Top


County Update TV on Community 12

County Update is a half hour news program providing citizens in-depth information on County programs, services and initiatives. County Update airs on Community 12 and the Video On Demand website.

Features This Month

Click to view the video via Video On Demand

Return to Top


Foster Grandparent Programs needs volunteers

The Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program is currently seeking interested seniors to serve special-needs children in our community, especially in local child care centers and after-school programs.

The next training session for new volunteers will begin on June 16, 2008. Alachua County residents ages 60 and over who live on a limited income are encouraged to apply.

Volunteers serve 15-40 hours per week, working one-on-one with special-needs children in schools, child care centers, foster homes, after-school programs, and other nonprofit organizations throughout the County. In return for their service, volunteers receive an hourly stipend of $2.65, a daily meal, assistance with transportation, an annual physical examination and supplemental insurance.

For more information, call 264-6757.

Return to Top


What’s on Alachua County Talks?

Check out the latest editions of Alachua County Talks on Community 12 TV by viewing the Channel 12 Show Schedule , or click on the images below to view streaming video of the episodes.

Click to watch Codes Enforcement Director Rick Wolf discuss issues surrounding codes enforcement in Alachua County.

Click to watch John Mousa, Pollution Prevention Manager for the Environmental Protection Department discusses the Koppers/Cabot Superfund site.

Return to Top


Male Survivors of Rape Trauma Group extended

Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center is excited to announce that its first Male Survivors of Rape Trauma Group has been so successful that it will be extended, at the request of group members, beyond its initial 10 week end date. The group will also be opened to include new members until June 4, 2008.

Prospective members are screened to ensure the safety of all group members and the cohesion of the group.

If you are a male survivor interested in attending, please call Rita Lawrence at 352-264-6764 or 1-866-252-5439.

Return to Top


Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Support Group begins June 3

Beginning June 3, 2008, The Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center will be offering a support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Many survivors suffer in silence, afraid to tell anyone. Survivors can experience effects of the abuse years and even decades after it stops. Some of these effects might be depression, a deep sense of shame, intrusive memories of the abuse, alcohol or substance abuse, and unhealthy relationships.

Meeting weekly for 10 weeks, group members will explore issues related to healing. The group is facilitated by trained Advocate Counselors. There is no charge to participants. All materials will be provided.

There is still space in the group for new members.

Please call Laura Kalt or Sue Ahn at 352- 264-6760 by Monday, June 2, 2008, to be screened or to discuss your interest.

Return to Top


4H announces lineup of Summer Day Camps

The Alachua County Extension Office is pleased to announce its lineup of 4H Summer Day Camps. These camps are available to non-4H members.

The Junior Master Gardeners

June 16-20, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., ages 8 - 10, cost: $25. Registration deadline: June 12. Discover the pleasure and beauty of our plant world. Make your own stepping-stone and container garden. Learn about bugs, plants and more at this fun summer day camp.

4-H Fish Camp

June 26-27, from 8 a.m. to noon, ages: 8 and up, cost $5. Registration deadline: June 20. Catch and release fishing and fish identification at the UF/IFAS Fisheries Department.

Intergenerational Cultural Arts - Pine Needle Basket Weaving

July 1-3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., ages 11 & up, cost $4. Registration deadline: June 20. Learn how to make pine needle baskets, a cultural art that has been around for generations.

Gingerbread House Workshop

July 14-17, from 9 a.m. to noon, ages 10 and up, cost $12. Registration deadline: July 3. Learn how to build a gingerbread house from scratch. Limited to 10.

Fun with Drawing

July 28-29, 9 a.m. to noon, ages: 8-13, cost $5 per person. Registration deadline: July 18. Beginner’s class focuses on drawing the human face.

Crafty Kids Workshop

July 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., ages eight and up, cost: $15. Registration deadline: July 18. Round robin craft activities will keep you hopping. Supplies, snacks, and lunch included.

Beginner Sewing

August 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, ages 8 -11, cost: $15. Registration deadline: August 1. Kick off a love of sewing and quilting. Cost includes pillow supplies, snacks, and lunch the first day.

Fashion Revue Camp

August 12, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Aug 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., ages 12 and up, cost: $15. Register by August 1. Intermediate to advanced sewing & clothing construction. Cost includes snacks, lunches and some supplies. Students provide their own sewing machines, fabric, patterns, and notions. Limited number of sewing machines available first come first serve.

For more information, or to get a registration form, contact the Alachua County Extension Office at 352-955-2402 or visit . Space is limited so register early.

Return to Top


Commission to conduct “Sales Tax Initiative” meeting

The Alachua County Commission will conduct a special “Sales Tax Initiative” meeting on Tuesday, June 3, 2008, at 5:30 p.m. in the Jack Durrance Auditorium, room 209, of the County Administration Building located at 12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville.

The Commissioners will continue to discuss the possibility of putting a capital projects sales tax on the 2008 and/or 2010 ballot. They will continue to hear presentations concerning this citizen lead initiative at this meeting. Citizens interested in this topic are urged to attend and lend there voices to this important discussion. Projects to be discussed include transportation, land conservation, recreation, and schools.

For more information contact the Alachua County Communications Office at 352-374-5226.

Return to Top


County Event and Meeting Reminder

Adult Survivors of Sex Abuse Suport Group

Pit Bull Spay/Neuter Program

Community Agency Partnership Program (CAPP) application deadline

Return to Top


Commission Meeting Highlights

Announcements - Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator


The Board proclaimed May 2008 "Community Action Month" in Alachua County, Florida

Community Action Month 2008.pdf


The Board rejected the settlement offer on the Ferguson v. Alachua County dangerous dog case.

chronology of events.pdf


The Board directed staff to engage in formal discussions with the City of Gainesville for the City of Gainesville to accept ownership and maintenance of San Felasco Park, Forest Park, Copeland Park, and Squirrel Ridge Park.

Map 4 County Parks.pdf


The Board deferred the 2008 Poe Springs Park Management Scope of Services issue to the next and asked staff to prepare a summary outlining the changes in the scope of services.

Poe Springs Scope 05 01 08.pdf


The Board approved the construction contract with John C. Hipp Construction Equipment Co., Inc. for County Project No. 6311 Mill and Resurface of SW 8th Avenue from SW 122nd Street to SW 75th Street.

Amount: $2,016,430.48

final plans.pdf


The Boardheard the presentation of the 2007 Black on Black Juvenile Offense and Prevention Report. They asked the Communications Coordinator to highlight the subject on the “Alachua County Talks” television show.

2007 B on B Juv Offense Prev Report.ppt
2007 B on B Juv Offense Prev Report Handout.pdf


The Board authorized staff to proceed with the City of Gainesville in development of the joint Comprehensive Plan Amendments for the Urban Village as described in the letter of April 16, 2008 from the MTPO Chair, and authorize the Chairman to send a letter to Mayor Hanrahan indicating the County's wish to proceed with the development of the joint plan, and requesting City staff coordinate with County staff in development of a work program for the joint Comprehensive Plan amendments.

MTPO Letter April 16 2008.pdf
Chair Letter to City on Urban Village.pdf
Urban Village Plan 5 Map.pdf


The Board approved the transfer of $250,000 from General Fund Reserves to provide matching funds to No Homeless Pets, Inc. for the start-up costs of a low-cost spay/neuter program for Alachua County. Release of these funds is subject to No Homeless Pets, Inc. securing funding (either cash or in kind) for the remainder of the proposed budget and entering into an agreement with the County outlining the provisions for the release of the designated funds Authorize staff to negotiate an agreement with No More Homeless Pets, Inc. to be approved by the Board.

Amount: $200,000.00

NMHP Spay-Neuter Clinic 4-23-08.pdf
Reserve adjustments for FY08.pdf


The County Manager gave an update on the talks with the Municipal Fire Authority. The board made it clear that they did not consider city to city responses a county fiscal responsibility. They authorized the Chair to send a letter to the six MFA cities, and to copy the MFA, informing them that proper notification was not received to cancel their fire service contract and cities must individually cancel their contracts


Public Hearings

The Board approved an ordinance amending Ordinance 07-16 to authorize all persons to conduct solicitation activities on public streets in the unincorporated area of Alachua County during the period from 7:00 a.m. of the Friday before Labor Day through 12:00 p.m. (midnight) on Labor Day of each year.

ADV PH Legal.pdf


The Board approved the ordinance including the City of Newberry within the law enforcement MSTU boundaries.

ADV legal.pdf

Return to Top

Alachua County Advisory Boards

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

Get Involved - Click here for an application:

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.

Return to Top


Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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