August 29, 2008 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Commissioner Pinkoson appointed to FAC Growth Policy Committee
County’s use of hybrid vehicles in fleet saves money and gas
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Public meeting on 3,240 acre addition to Barr Hammock
Public Works to hold public meeting on 91st St. resurfacing
Hunger Abatement Plan to be developed at Gainesville-Alachua County Hunger Summit on September 18
Acupuncture therapy to treat survivors of rape trauma
Avoid long lines at the polls on November 4—Vote by Mail
County Update TV on Community 12
Commission Meeting Highlights
Alachua County Advisory Boards


Commissioner Pinkoson appointed to FAC Growth Policy Committee

President of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) and Suwannee County Commissioner Randy Hatch has announced that Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson will serve as Co-Chair with Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter for FAC’s Growth, Environmental Planning and Agricultural committee.

The Florida Association of Counties is a non-profit association representing the interests of Florida’s 67 counties. The Growth, Environmental Planning and Agricultural committee helps develop the association’s legislative platform for the upcoming legislative session as it relates to growth management and planning issues and broad based environmental planning issues. Commissioner Pinkoson will help insure the discussion is guided appropriately so that consensus can be reached on these issues and the association can identify a set of priorities to advocate at the capital.

“Pinkoson is dedicated to Alachua County and to ensuring that counties can continue to protect growth management and the environment in the best interest of the state of Florida,” said President Hatch. “FAC is committed to working with the state legislature to restore a strong partnership to better serve the people of Florida.”

Each year FAC represents Florida’s 67 counties, focusing its legislative efforts in preserving “home rule.” Home rule is the ability of local governments to set or remove regulations to better serve the unique environment of their county and its citizens. What may work for a large urban county does not necessarily work for a small rural county. The FAC promotes the idea that each county should have the authority to make this imperative unique decision.

Commissioner Pinkoson’s history and commitment to the environment qualify him to lead FAC in determining statewide policy that carefully balances the “home rule” authority with the interests of the state, personal, and professional rights. The stated mission of the FAC 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.”

For more information, contact Cragin Mosteller of the FAC at 850-294-9307 or

Return to Top


County’s use of hybrid vehicles in fleet saves money and gas

Alachua County has been incorporating hybrid vehicles in its transportation fleet since 2001. In that time, Fleet Manager Ray Griffin says Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids have saved 12 and 5 percent respectively on fuel and maintenance costs over their traditional full-gas counterparts.

Alachua County currently has 33 hybrid vehicles in the fleet. Griffin estimates that using these hybrid vehicles will save the county $95,000 over eleven years.

Alachua County was one of the first counties in North-Central Florida to introduce hybrids into a fleet. Fleet Management began by investigating whether hybrids could save the county money. After careful deliberation, they purchased two Priuses to assess how well they would work in the County fleet.

“I was hesitant at first, until we got them in here,” Griffin said. “I didn’t know how well the hybrid electric/gas motor would work, or what the maintenance would be like.”

Fleet attitudes changed when the benefits of using the hybrids began to emerge—benefits that go beyond increased fuel economy.

“The cars are well built,” Griffin said. “They are very clean, low emissions vehicle. And as far as maintenance, they do exceptionally well.”

Griffin went on to explain that hybrid vehicles use a regenerative-braking system that uses energy from braking to recharge the batteries. This puts less wear on braking systems and fewer, if any brake jobs over the life of the vehicle.

“I can’t remember having to put new brakes on them since we’ve had them,” Griffin added.

Some of the Prius models are now reaching the end of their six to seven year life with the County, which is the optimum time to sell them. The resale of the hybrids is generally twice that of their counterparts after their time in Alachua County’s fleet.

Prius hybrids are currently averaging 44-45 miles per gallon, while Escape hybrids average 28 mile per gallon.

For more information please contact Alachua County Public Works at 352-374-5245 or on the web at .

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 to the right to view streaming video of the episodes.

Click here to watch Emergency Management Chief David Donnelly give an overview of Alachua County Emergency Operations.

Click here to watch Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter discuss the current elections cycle.

Click here to watch County Engineer Dave Cerlanek give an update on County road projects.

Return to Top


Public meeting on 3,240 acre addition to Barr Hammock

Residents can help shape the future of Barr Hammock Preserve. Alachua County will soon acquire 3,240 acres directly north of Barr Hammock Preserve that encompasses much of Levy Prairie. The new property will be managed as part of Barr Hammock Preserve, and as such will require amending the existing Barr Hammock Management Plan. The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department will hold a public meeting to solicit public feedback on the plan on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 6 p.m. in Micanopy Town Hall, 706 NE Cholokka Blvd., Micanopy, FL.

The property will be acquired with assistance from a Florida Communities Trust grant and the Conservation Trust for Florida with the goal of protecting, preserving, and enhancing the unique natural and cultural resources found on the property and providing an enjoyable and educational passive recreational experience.

Residents can view the draft management plan by calling the Alachua County Forever office at 352-264-6800 or by viewing it online at (scroll down to New Barr Hammock Plan dated August 5, 2008).

Residents who are unable to attend may submit written comments prior to the September 3 meeting by email to or by U.S. mail to:

Alachua County Forever Program

Alachua County Environmental Protection Dept.

201 SE 2nd Ave. Suite 201

Gainesville, FL 32606

Return to Top


Public Works to hold public meeting on 91st St. resurfacing

The Alachua County Public Works Department will be hosting a Public Meeting for NW/SW 91st Street resurfacing from SW 8th Avenue to State Road 26. The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lawton Chiles Elementary School cafeteria located at 2525 Schoolhouse Road in Gainesville, FL.

The purpose of the meeting will be to present the preliminary design plans to the public and to receive comments. An informational presentation will provided at 6:30 p.m. followed by a period of public comment.

If accommodations are needed for persons with disabilities, contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 or TDD 352-374-5284.

For additional information, contact Chris Zeigler, Public Works Department, at 352-374-5245 ext. 271.

Return to Top


Hunger Abatement Plan to be developed at Gainesville-Alachua County Hunger Summit on September 18

In Alachua County, roughly 69,000 persons are eligible to receive assistance from the federal Food Stamp Program, which provides funds on an electronic card that can be used to purchase groceries. In a county with a population of around 230,000, that’s 30% of the population.

Those eligible for food stamp assistance have yearly incomes below 135% of the federal poverty level, which for a single person is $10,400. Alachua County and Florida food stamp programs serve 55% of residents eligible for Food Stamps. For comparison, Oregon serves 89% of its eligible residents. Florida is among the bottom of the 50 states in this regard.

While federally funded food programs in Alachua County are under serving eligible residents at rates far below the rates achieved by other states, local food banks and charities are reporting unprecedented demand for food assistance. Local food kitchens like the St. Francis House and the Salvation Army have been seeing a sharp increase in population at the end of each month, when families run out of both food and money.

Alachua County’s Community Support Services Department through its Poverty Reduction Program has collaborated with 5 co-sponsors to develop a Hunger Abatement Plan. Development of that plan begins September 18, 2008 at the Gainesville-Alachua County Hunger Summit, which takes place 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the MLK Jr. Activity Center, 1028 NE 14th St. Gainesville. Co-sponsors are the Department of Children and Families, School Board of Alachua County, City of Gainesville, United Way of North Central Florida, and the Alachua County Medical Society.

Keynote speaker will be Ms. Kate Houston, Deputy Under Secretary of USDA in charge of Food and Nutrition Programs nationwide. Other speakers include Mr. Doug Beach, Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and Dr. Daniel Boyd, Superintendent of the School District in Alachua County.

Alachua County Poverty Reduction Director John Skelly says that there is enough food in the community, but that distribution is the challenge. “Tons of restaurant and grocery store food is discarded every month in Alachua County,” says Skelly. “We know we can do better, and are thrilled to be involved in the community effort to do so.”

To eliminate hunger, Skelly says the Hunger Abatement Plan must focus on its root causes. “We need to help strengthen families and individuals that have been hit hard by economic hardships. I believe improved access to adequate nutrition services the common good. This will pay off in dividends of stronger families, increased self sufficiency, and safer communities.”

For more information, contact Alachua County’s Poverty Reduction Program at 352-264-6749.

Return to Top


Acupuncture therapy to treat survivors of rape trauma

Beginning September 15, Alachua County Department of Community Support Services’ Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center will be offering a free and confidential support group featuring acupuncture therapy for survivors of rape trauma. Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization to be effective in treating common post-trauma symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, pain, migraine, stress, addiction, and digestive trouble.

This 12-week program consists of group and individual counseling sessions. Group sessions will be held 1-3 p.m. on Mondays. The first and last group counseling sessions will all be held at Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center. The remaining ten group counseling sessions will be held at Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine and include individual acupuncture therapy. Individual counseling sessions will also be held once a week at various times to fit member schedules.

There is no charge for group members; funding is provided by the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund. Limited spaces are available for this group. Group members must commit to attend all sessions.

Please contact Linda Murray, LMHC, Victim Advocate Therapist, 352-264-6768 or toll free at 1-866-252-5439 if you are interested participating.

Return to Top


Avoid long lines at the polls on November 4—Vote by Mail

The Primary Election is over and the Supervisor of Elections Office is now focusing its efforts on preparing for the November 4 General Election. Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter is encouraging voters to avoid the long lines at the polls on November 4 by requesting to Vote by Mail.

“We are expecting a record turnout and are encouraging voters to take advantage of the option to Vote by Mail or Vote Early at one of our three early voting sites,” says Carpenter. “The lines will be long at the polling places and the ballot could have as many as twelve amendments on it. It will take voters additional time to read through all the amendments and cast their ballot.”

When Voting by Mail, voters can take all the time they need to review their ballot in the comfort of their own home. Any voter may Vote by Mail. To make your request, go online to or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252. Voters will need to make sure the address and signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections is current. All Vote by Mail requests must be made no later than 5 p.m. on October 29, 2008. The Supervisor of Elections Office must receive all ballots by 7 p.m. Election Day.

The form for registering to vote, updating your voter information or updating your signature is available online at , at the Supervisor of Elections Office at 111 S.E. 1st Ave., at any Alachua County Public Library branch, or by contacting the Supervisor of Elections Office for sites were voter registration applications may be obtained. All mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked no later than the October 6 deadline.

Remember voters who have moved within the County may update their address by calling the Elections Office at 352-374-5252, but voters who have moved from another Florida county or from out of state must complete a Florida Voter Registration Application.

For more information, visit our website at or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

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

Return to Top


Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

Announcements - Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator


Presentation: Rosa Parks Presentations by Reverend Griner


The Board proclaimed August 2008 as "Muscular Dystrophy Association Firefighter Appreciation Month" in Alachua County, Florida.

MDA Firefighter month 2008.pdf


The Board proclaimed Saturday, August 16, 2008 as "Stop the Violence Awareness Rally Day" in Alachua County, Florida.

Stop the violence Proclamation 2008.pdf


The Board approved the 6.2 payment to Alliance for Innovation.



The Board approved the revised Jonesville Park Site Plan.

Jonesville Site Plan 2008 Changes.pdf


The Board deferred to the Sept. 2, 1:30 p.m. meeting the First Amendment to Interlocal Agreements for Fire Suppression and Initial Emergency Medical Services with the City of High Springs, Town of Lacrosse, Town of Micanopy, City of Newberry, and City of Waldo and Authorize the Chair to execute the documents

fire lacrosse 08112008.pdf
fire newberry 08112008.pdf
fire high springs 08112008.pdf
fire micanopy 08112008.pdf
fire waldo 08112008.pdf


Advisory Board Appointments

Term Ends
Appointed As

Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
Joe Hancock June 30, 2012 Alternate

CHOICES Health Services Advisory Board
Patricia Hughes November 30, 2009 Nurse
Harold L. Monk III April 30, 2012 Citizen-at-large
Dr. Caroline Rains November 30, 2010 ACMS Representative
Stephen J. Oliva November 30, 2009 WellFlorida Rep

Energy Conservation Strategies Commission
Erich Christian November 30, 2008 Energy Expert

Veterans Services Advisory Board
Nicklous Ross August 31, 2010 VA Representative
Don Sherry August 31, 2010 Korean War Veteran
Jesse Bishop August 31, 2010 Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran
Richard E. Davis August 31, 2010 Citizen who is a Veteran
Bob Gasche August 31, 2010 Marine Corps League representative
Peter Sabo, Jr. August 31, 2010 American Legion representative
Terry Martin-Back August 31, 2010 Gulf War Veteran
Gregory N. Williams August 31, 2010 Citizen who is a Veteran

WellFlorida Council
Tim Bowen September 30, 2010 Health Care Purchaser
Thomas Cappello September 30, 2010 Health Care Consumer
Patrick Lubitsky September 30, 2010 Health Care Consumer or Provider

Poverty Reduction Advisory Board
Bonnie Burgess No term end date League of Cities Representative, Alternate

Gayla Beach June 30, 2010 Private Sector Seat 5

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.