February 27 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Solar Power On!
Bio-reactor Project Summary
ACCESS Signup Deadline Approaching
Freedom Ride 2008 on Community 12
Local Food Stamp Hotline
BOCC/LPA Special Meeting (Revised Scheduled)
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Three Ways to Cast a Ballot
Commission Meeting Highlights


Solar Power On!

On Tuesday March 3, 2009 there will be a Solar Power On! Ceremony for the start up of the first Alachua County Government photovoltaic project. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station (LBEP) located at 5115 N.E. 63rd Avenue, Gainesville.
The array of solar panels at the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station, once operational, will produce an average of 150 kilowatts each day which is equivalent to approximately 15% of the electricity used to power the Leveda Brown Environmental Park.
The energy produced will feed directly into the grid of Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU). A feed-in tariff (FIT) from GRU will pay 32 cents per kilowatt produced for 20 years for the energy we feed into the grid. With all county offices looking for ways to reduce operational costs, the solar array allows the transfer station to be green and fiscally responsible.
Solar power is recognized as a key, regional job creation component for research and development, manufacturing and green collar jobs. The recent ECSC report also has short and long term recommendations related to solar energy. Alachua County Facilities Management has a long history of implementing solar for lighting, hot water and to some degree, photovoltaic power.
Sean McLendon, Alachua County Sustainability Manager notes, “Solar power is and will be in the future, an integral technology for all County buildings with the potential to, at a minimum offset some energy consumption and at a maximum create carbon-free, energy independence. With an estimated 36kw of solar photovoltaic power to be online by June 2009, County staff is looked to as a leader in the community by its early adoption and budding expertise in multiple departments and offices. This, along with our area’s geography, citizen support and not least, the GRU service area Feed in Tariff (FIT) makes Alachua County uniquely poised to be of regional if not national significance on this technology.”
For more information please call the Alachua County Division of Waste Management at 352-3274-5213.

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Bio-reactor Project Summary

The Southwest Landfill near Archer, Florida is one of the most studied landfills in the country.  Research began there in the 1980s.  The landfill is closed (no longer receiving waste), and is in its fourth phase of research, an investigation into using Reverse Osmosis to clean up contaminated water in the landfill cells.
This report summarizes the landfill’s third phase of research, which began in 1999 through 2008, a period during which the County and Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) staff, as well as University of Florida (UF) researchers focused on operating a 28-acre lined cell as a bio-reactor.  A bio-reactor is a large vessel where conditions for anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste (MSW) are optimized to allow accelerated production of methane gas.  GRU contributed to this effort by installing and operating engines design to convert the methane gas into electricity.
 This research included injecting significant levels of water into the wastes, the first time the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) had permitted such activity.  Researchers hypothesized that waste decay rate could be accelerated up to an order of magnitude faster than wastes that were not treated with re-circulated leachate.
The chief research findings were:
1.The acceleration of decay rates observed did approach an order of magnitude compared to “dry entombed” wastes.  This has important financial ramifications for landfill and closure design, and could significantly reduce long term care costs.
2.Various rates of recirculation were used, and compared to non-recirculation.  The addition of water at rates between 180 gallons/acre/day to 1,800 gallons/acre/day produced beneficial degradation rates compared to no water addition.  
3.GRU’s “modular” design approach – using three engines rather than one – was an appropriate design approach that allowed the utility to track gas production as it followed a declining production curve.
4.Recirculation led to significant financial savings, chiefly through avoided transport and treatment costs.
5.Environmental benefits achieved by using the engines, included:
1,500 tons (U.S.) of carbon emissions were avoided
9 million gallons of water were conserved
7,800 tons of fly ash production was avoided
6.Numerous practical operations lessons were learned that can improve future designs in the areas of gas pretreatment, lightning protection, and engine controller design that would likely increase generator availability and decrease maintenance costs.

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ACCESS Signup Deadline Approaching

Join us for the Alachua County Civic Education SerieS (ACCESS), your ticket to a behind-the-scenes look at Alachua County Government.
Learn about local government issues and gain access to County operations that most citizens never see. Each graduating class will produce a group of citizens equipped to engage in ways that help Alachua County become more representative of its citizenry’s needs.
County Manager Randall H. Reid said of ACCESS, “Thomas Jefferson believed an informed citizenry was democracy’s greatest safeguard and we agree. Where do you go if you want to make a difference in your community. . . ACCESS is the key.”
The deadline for enrolling is March 6. Classes begin March 16 and runs for seven sessions. ACCESS is free but space is limited.
For a complete schedule of classes, or to register online, visit our website www.alachuacounty.us/ACCESS.
To reserve your seat or for more information, call (352) 374-5219.

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Freedom Ride 2008 on Community 12

Community 12 TV, Alachua County is presenting “Freedom Ride 2008”, an in depth look at the civil rights movement in Alachua County during the 1950s and 1960s.
Features talks with

This special program will replace County Update for the beginning of March. It will air at 7 p.m. every night but Thursday and at 7 a.m. and midnight every day (all showings may be preempted by special or regular meetings, or other programming).

Click here to view this program.

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Local Food Stamp Hotline

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners have agreed to provide a one-time emergency allocation of $14,973 to the state DC&F (Department of Children & Families), to provide funds for a local hotline to answer questions about applying for Food Stamp Benefits (now named SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The local phone number is 352-955-5338. It will be in operation through June 30, 2009. The County Commission hopes that, by the end of June, the State of Florida will either provide funding for a local number, or improve their call center system.
This action was taken to assist local residents who want to apply for Food Stamps. Phoning the statewide call center is currently the only way to speak to DCF about applying for Food Stamp benefits. Only about 24% of calls in which a caller tries to speak with an agent in order to get answers, actually gets to speak with an agent, due to a huge volume of calls and inadequate staffing. Only 55% of residents eligible for Food Stamp benefits receive them.
Over 21,000 Alachua County residents currently receive Food Stamp benefits, but another 17,000 to 18,000 residents are eligible. If all eligible residents received Food Stamp benefits, Florida Impact, Inc. (a non-profit food assistance research firm in Tallahassee) estimates that an additional $18,000,000 would be spent in Alachua County each year for nutritional assistance. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that for every dollar in Food Stamp expenditure in a county, there is a $1.84 in economic impact created. Thus, even if the county only increases the number of eligible residents who actually receive benefits by 20% (increase the percent of eligible residents receiving benefits from 55% to 75%) the projected economic development impact within the county would be in the range of $6 million to $8 million in additional food assistance. The projected overall local economic impact would be in the range of $11 million to $14 million.
DC&F will report quarterly to the County commission regarding the use of the local phone number and the number of new applications assisted through this effort.

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BOCC/LPA Special Meeting (Revised Scheduled)

Please note: The March 5, 2009 BOCC/LPA Meeting has been cancelled. See below for revised schedule.
The public is invited to attend a series of joint special meetings with the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Local Planning Agency (LPA) on the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) in February and March. The purpose of the meetings is to review the major community issues and potential options and strategies identified in the EAR process for the Comprehensive Plan, and to receive direction from the BOCC and LPA for Public Hearings expected to begin in April. All meetings will be held at the Jack Durrance Auditorium, Room 209 of the County Administration Building (12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville) and will begin at 5:30 p.m.
These meetings will be followed by public hearings in the spring and summer to adopt the Evaluation and Appraisal Report by September 2009, including recommendations for update of the County’s Comprehensive Plan in 2009/2010.

Meeting Dates and Subjects

A full schedule of meeting dates with the County Commission and Local Planning Agency are posted on the County’s EAR website at http://www.alachuacounty.us/ear. A series of Issue Papers and a summary of all major issues and their identified options are also posted.
For more information, please call the Growth Management Department at 374-5249 or send an email to ear@alachuacounty.us.

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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

Click here to watch Chair of the Energy Conservation Strategies Commission (ECSC), Penny Wheat talk about energy and conservation strategies.

Click here to watch Angela Pate, Exectuive Director of the Florida Works Board discuss the Florida Works Program.

Click here to watch Gretchen Howard, Program Manager of the States Attorneys’ “Project Payback Program,” discuss the correlation between juvenile crime and truancy and the program’s efforts.

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Three Ways to Cast a Ballot

City of Gainesville voters are encouraged to take advantage of one of the three ways to cast their ballot for the March 24, 2009 City of Gainesville election.  Voters may choose to vote by mail, early vote or vote at their polling location on Election Day.   When voting by mail, voters can take all the time they need to review their ballot in the comfort of their own home.
Vote by Mail
To make your request, go online to VoteAlachua.com or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252 no later than 5:00pm on March 18, 2009 if you wish to have your ballot mailed to you.  Voters will need to make sure the address and signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections is current. 
To request a ballot for another voter, you must be a designated member of the voter’s immediate family or a legal guardian.  Requests can be made online, in person, by mail, by telephone or by fax.  All requests must include the voter’s name, residence address, and date of birth.  The request must also include the requestor’s name, residence address, relationship to the voter and driver’s license number if available.  Mail or fax request must also include the requestor’s signature.
A voter may designate in writing another person to pick up an absentee ballot starting Thursday, March 19, 2009.  The designee must have a note signed by the voter, a picture identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit.  The affidavit is available for download at VoteAlachua.com.  The designee may not pick up more than two absentee ballots per election, not including the designee’s own ballot and ballots for members of his or her immediate family.
Election Day in-office absentee voting is available for voters who may have emergencies that will not allow them to go to their polling place to vote.
All absentee ballots must be received in the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7:00pm Election Day.
Early Voting
Early Voting for the March 24, 2009 City of Gainesville Election will begin Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 9:00am and end on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 5:00pm.
Early Voting Hours
Weekdays, Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm
March 16, 2009 – March 20, 2009
Weekend, Saturday, 9am to 5pm
March 21, 2009 (early voting ends)
Early Voting Site
County Administration Building
Ground Floor - SOE
12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville
Election Day Voting
The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Election Day.  Florida Law requires voters to present picture and signature ID in order to vote, or you will need to vote a provisional ballot.  If you need to locate your precinct, go to VoteAlachua.com. 
For more information please view our website at www.VoteAlachua.com or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252.

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Commission Highlights

Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator

North Florida Resource Conservation & Development Council
The Board heard a presentation by Levin Gaston, North Florida Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. a 501(c) (3)

Alachua/Bradford Workforce
The Board heard a presentation by, Angela Pate and Ken McGurn giving an Alachua/Bradford Workforce Update.

Purchasing Month
The Board proclaimed March as “Purchasing Month” in Alachua County, Florida
Purchasing Month 2009.pdf

Sheriff’s Office
The Board heard a presentation from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), concerning the recommendation to create the Alachua County Traffic Safety Enhancement Act, and authorized the County Attorney to draft an ordinance, and advertise it for public hearing.

Arnold-Hanafin Corporation
The Board approved Arnold-Hanafin Corporation’s participation in the QTI Program for up to $68,000 over a period of four years, beginning FY2010, pending site selection. Direct staff to return with a resolution for approval in March once the company has selected a final location.
Amount: $68,000.00
2009 AH Project Matrix.pdf
Attachment: AH GPO FINAL.pdf
Attachment: AH QTI FINAL.pdf

The Board Approved 1) use of $70,000 of FDEP Cooperative Collection Agreement Grant Funds, and 2) a Budget Amendment to move $17, 100 from appropriated reserves in Fund 405 Waste Management Assessment Fund to capital budget in Fund 405-5541 and, 3) First Amendment to Agreement between Alachua County and Advanced Solar Technologies, Inc. dated October 28, 2008 for installation of an 11 kW Solar PV System on the roof of the Hazardous Waste Collection Center facility at the Leveda Brown Environmental Park.
Attachment 2 Budget Amendment 11kW Solar PV System.pdf
Attachment: Attachment 3 ACEPD Formal Request and FDEP Approval for Use of FDEP Grant Funds for Solar PV System.pdf
Attachment: Attachment 1 Advanced Solar 1st Amend Final.pdf
Attachment: Attachment 4 Spreadsheet with Return on Investment Calculation 11KW Solar PV System.pdf

Land Development Regulation Commission
The Board took the following action 1. Convened as the Land Development Regulation Commission (LDRC) and found the proposed code amendments consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. 2. Reconvened as the Board of County Commission and adopted the ordinance amending the Unified Land Development Code (ULDC).
LDRRev__ 2ndHearing_Exhibit A_021209.pdf
Attachment: ULDCRev_Ordinance.pdf
Attachment: Summary of Changes from First Hearing to Second Hearing.pdf
Attachment: ULDC Update Presentation Second Hearing.pptx
Attachment: ULDC Update Presentation Second Hearing.pdf

Greenbrier Rural Agriculture Residential Subdivision
The Board approved the proposed final plat for Greenbrier Rural Agriculture Residential Subdivision.
Attachment: GBHOA.pdf
Attachment: GMOSMP.pdf
Attachment: GBPlat_Pg2.pdf
Attachment: GBPlat_Pg1.pdf
Attachment: GBOSP.pdf
Attachment: GBACSBltr.pdf
Attachment: Plat022409GB.pdf
Attachment: Plat022409GB.ppt
Attachment: GBCHAIRSR.pdf

Southhampton Traditional Neighborhood Development
The Board approved the final plat for Southampton Traditional Neighborhood Development - Phase 1.
Attachment: SHPh1GMSR.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1OSP.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1Plat2.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1Plat3.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1Plat4.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1Plat5.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1ACSBltr.pdf
Attachment: Plats022409SHPh1.pdf
Attachment: Plats022409SHPh1.ppt
Attachment: SHPh1Plat6.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1CHAIRSR.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1HOA.pdf
Attachment: SHPh1OSMP.pdf

Special Use Permit
The Board
adopted Resolution Z-09-01 approving to amend an existing special use permit (Painter Canal on Lake Santa Fe) providing a revised restoration plan for the canal.

Attachment: ZOS0708 Citizen Comments.PDF
Attachment: ZOS0708 Powerpoint.pdf
Attachment: ZOS0708.ppt
Attachment: Painter Canal Landscape Plan.pdf
Attachment: Painter Canal SUP Report.pdf
Attachment: Painter Canal Environmental Resource Assessment Part 1 of 4.pdf
Attachment: Painter Canal Environmental Resource Assessment Part 3 of 4.pdf
Attachment: Resolution for Painter Canal.PDF
Attachment: Painter Canal Environmental Resource Assessment Part 2 of 4.pdf
Attachment: Painter Canal Environmental Resource Assessment Part 4 of 4.pdf
Attachment: ZOS0708 Staff Report.pdf

Mobile Home Park
The Board approved Resolution Z-09-02 (Manufactured/Mobile Home Park) with the bases as noted in the staff report.

Attachment: ZOM0209 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: Resolution for ZOM0209.PDF
Attachment: ZOM0209 Powerpoint Presentation.pdf
Attachment: Brittany Estates Background Information.pdf
Attachment: ZOM0209.pptx

FDOT Materials Office
The Board
approved Resolution Z-09-03 FDOT Materials Office and Facilities, with the bases and conditions as noted in the staff report.

Attachment: Enviromental Checklist.pdf
Attachment: Hazmat Registration.pdf
Attachment: Legal Description.pdf
Attachment: List of Attachments.pdf
Attachment: Maps.pdf
Attachment: Owner’s Affidavit.pdf
Attachment: Site Plan.pdf
Attachment: Zoning Application.pdf
Attachment: Resolution for ZOS0109.PDF
Attachment: ZOS0109 Powerpoint Presentation.pdf
Attachment: ZOS0109 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: Environmental Evaluation.pdf
Attachment: Project Description.pdf
Attachment: ZOS0109.pptx


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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: 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.