August 27 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site Update Meeting
What’s On “Alachua County Talks”
Long Announces FAC Appointments
Alachua County Forever’s Sweetwater Preserve Clean up
Hummingbirds in Your Garden
Fall Gardening Classes
Alachua County Purchases First Wild Spaces
Buy SMART in September
YES Program
County Update TV on Channel 12
Commission Meeting Highlights


Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site Update Meeting

On Monday, August 31, 2009 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jack Durrance Auditorium (Room 209, County Administration Bldg., 12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville), the City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions are holding a joint public meeting to hear presentations about progress toward developing a final remedy on the Koppers Superfund site. This meeting includes discussion of the recent offsite sampling near the Koppers plant. The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department will also present the results of a recent sediment study on Springstead and Hogtown Creeks near the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site.

Presentations by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Alachua County Health Department, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, Gainesville Regional Utilities, and Beazer East are scheduled.

For more information about the Koppers site from the Alachua County Health Department, click here.

For more information, contact John Mousa, Pollution Prevention Manager, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department at 352-264-6805.                               

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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 Sol Hirsch, Library Director of the Alachua County Library District discuss Library District’s services, volunteer organizations, expansion projects, and how libraries are using new and emerging technologies to better serve citizens.


Click here to watch Alachua County Public Health Unit Administrator Jean Munden & Dr. Glenn Morris, Director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida discuss the coming flu season, vaccinations, swine flu, & extended hours at the County Health Department.

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Long Announces FAC Appointments

Florida Association of Counties (FAC) President and Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long is pleased to announce the following Alachua County appointments to the FAC Legislative Leadership Team:

In his letters to the commissioners Long said, “As President of the Florida Association of Counties, I would like to thank you for agreeing to serve as part of FAC’s Legislative Leadership Team. Your leadership is critical to all of us in ensuring that our diverse county family accomplishes great things and reaches broad consensus on competing interests.”

For more information, contact the Communications Office at 352-374-5204.

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Alachua County Forever’s Sweetwater Preserve Clean up

UF freshman in the College of Business enrolled in the summer Warrington Welcome class assisted Alachua County Forever (ACF) land managers with the maintenance of Sweetwater Preserve. On the morning of Saturday July 25th twenty students were divided into two working groups so they were either knee deep in water cleaning trash from Sweetwater Branch or in the floodplain forest removing non-native invasive air potato plants.

Because this was the student’s first semester attending UF, this event was for many, their first exposure to a natural area in Alachua County. These events are a win/win activity: the students are introduced to the local ecology and some environmental issues, while the ACF program gains needed assistance managing its preserves.

Invasive Plant Control:

It takes years of effort to remove invasive species from natural areas using a combination of selective herbicide treatment, manual removal and public education. Business students that worked with ACF’s Sandra Vardaman learned some of air potato’s history, identification techniques and how it is best removed from natural areas. They pulled up the plants by the tuber and disposed of them in bags. Air potato is native to tropical Asia, but was introduced to the America’s via Africa through the slave trade. It was first introduced to Florida in 1905 and has become one of Florida’s most invasive plants because it grows so quickly and out competes many of our native plants.

Cleaning Urban Creeks:

Since the upper section of Sweetwater Branch flows through downtown Gainesville it acquires a lot of trash that eventually makes it to Sweetwater Preserve and Paynes Prairie which are downstream. The students working with ACF’s Kevin Ratkus waded through the water to collect 500 pounds of trash and several car tires from the creek section within the preserve’s boundary. It was the largest quantity of trash collected in July’s creek & river clean-ups organized by Current Problems Inc. for UF’s College of Business. The City of Gainesville has installed a few trash traps in the stormwater drains to reduce trash getting in the urban creeks, but littering is still too common for these traps to eliminate waste into our surface waters. While removing trash the students learned about water quality issues, freshwater ecosystems and regional efforts to protect our local water resources.

Events like this are already scheduled for the students enrolled in the fall term Warrington Welcome class, thus keeping ACF Preserves in good condition and exposing incoming students to natural areas and issues in their new hometown. Alachua County

Forever appreciates the assistance that neighbors, friends and students donate to the County Preserves.

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Hummingbirds in Your Garden

The Alachua County Extension Office’s Master Gardeners Program invites the public to learn about the hummingbirds that visit Alachua County. Hummingbird expert and tagger Fred Bassett is giving a lecture on Friday, September 18, 2009, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Conference Center (1714 SW 34th St., Gainesville)

Bassett will talk about the use of specific plants and other techniques for attracting hummingbirds to a backyard garden during winter and summer. “Many people are unaware that hummingbirds may spend the winter in their yards if conditions are right. Leave a feeder up all winter, and you may have a special hummer spend the winter with you,” says Bassett. “It’s very exciting to play host to a tiny bejeweled winter visitor.”

Seating is limited. Free tickets are available prior to the event at either the Alachua County Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville) or Wild Birds Unlimited (4215 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville).

For more information, contact the Alachua County Extension Office at 352-955-2402..

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Fall Gardening Classes

The Alachua County Extension Office is pleased to offer the following free Fall Gardening Programs. All classes will be presented by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent at either the Alachua County Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville) or the Tower Road Branch Library (3020 SW 75th Street, Gainesville).

To pre-register, leave a message at 352-337-6209.

For more information, call the Alachua County Extension Office at 352-955-2402.

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Alachua County Purchases First Wild Spaces

In July 2009, Alachua County purchased two environmentally significant properties using funds from the Wild Spaces and Public Places Local Government Infrastructure Surtax. The 40-acre Gladstone Property was jointly acquired with the St. John’s River Water Management District and closes a hole in the District’s 6,000-acre Newnans Lake and Gum Root Swamp Conservation Areas in eastern Alachua County. The 92-acre Edwards property is on the south rim of Paynes Prairie State Park and was part of a larger purchase of 280 acres involving the District, the State Recreation and Park Service and the City of Gainesville. Both tracts will be managed by the County’s acquisition partners as new units of their respective preserves.

The Wild Spaces and Public Places Surtax was approved by the voters in the November 2008 elections, and creates an estimated $15 million to continue the efforts of the successful Alachua County Forever land conservation program. The remaining $15 million is earmarked for various Municipal recreation projects and a senior center. “We are fortunate to have a community that recognizes the important role that green spaces and recreational opportunities play in maintaining our quality of life,” said Ramesh Buch, Alachua County Forever Program Manager.

“With the new conservation funds, we will be able to conserve and pass on to our children the best of our natural heritage that will not only protect habitats for wildlife, but also preserve the ecological functions that sustains our human community.”
Alachua County Forever was created by the voters in 2000. It was initially funded through a 0.25 mill property tax capped at a total of $29 million.  To date the County has used $27 million of local dollars to leverage $52 million of federal, State and private funds to protect 17,400 acres of property.

For more information, contact Ramesh Buch at (352) 264-6800, or visit

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Buy SMART in September

Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives representatives will be at local grocery stores every Thursday in September from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., offering shoppers information about how to “Buy S.M.A.R.T.” (Save Money And Reduce Trash).

“Buy S.M.A.R.T.” is a County campaign teaching about the 4 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink). All shoppers who wish to receive tips on how to buy S.M.A.R.T. will receive a free reusable shopping bag or jar opener made of recycled tires and a Buy S.M.A.R.T. pocket guide.

The following is a list of locations and dates where we will be this September:

For more information, contact Jennifer Seitz, Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5245 or email

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YES Program

This summer, Alachua County students participating in the Youth Employment Start (YES) were able to work alongside Alachua County Employees.

The YES program recruits, screen, and readies young people for employment in Alachua County workplaces. YES matches skills with work to prepare students to enter the job market. Students work in various departments of Alachua County Government. Students are paid for their work, and receive valuable job experience.

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County Update TV on Channel 12

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

Click here to view this month’s show.

Features This Month

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Commission Highlights

Announcements by Mark Sexton Communications Coordinator

United States Constitution Month
The Board proclaimed the month of September 2009 as “United States Constitution Month” in Alachua County Florida.

Housing Assistance Program
Due to greater than expected demand, The Board approved a request for $38,841.00 from reserves to be spent for utility and housing assistance programs

One Stop Homeless Center & Senior Center
The Board heard updates on the One Stop Homelessness Center and the Senior Center by Fred Murry, Assistant City Manager of Gainesville and presentation by Gail Monahan, Executive Director, and Alachua County Housing Authority on the Office on Homelessness Accomplishments.

State of the Resources
The Board heard a presentation on the District’s “State of the Resources” by Steven Minnis, Director of Government Affairs, Suwannee River Water Management District.
State of Rersource_2009_Minnis.pdf

Budget Amendment
The Board approved a budget amendment transferring $10,000 from the State Attorney to the Public Defender.
Amount: $10,000.00

Attachment: CountyArryBA.pdf

Charter Review Commission
The Board discussed the Alachua County Commission’s Process to Empanel a Charter Review Commission pursuant to Section 4.2(B)(1) Home Rule Charter
ARTICLE IV Charter Review Commission.pdf
Attachment: CRC Applicants as of July 31.pdf
Attachment: 1999 Agenda Item.pdf

Budget Ammendment
The Board approved a budget amendment to  increase MSTU Fire Safety, MSTU Unincorporated, and Metamorphosis Program Utilities Budgets  

Amount: $9,000.00

Attachment: MSTU Fire Reserve Spreadsheet.pdf
Attachment: MSTU Unicorp Spreadsheet.pdf
Attachment: BUDGET_AMEND_MSTU.pdf

Enterprise Fund
The Board approved the Budget Amendment to provide supplemental funding to the 410 Enterprise Fund from MSTU Reserves.
Amount: $150,000.00
Bus Reserve Spreadsheet.pdf
Attachment: BudAmendMSTU.pdf

CHOICES Health Services
The Board heard and accepted the CHOICES Health Services Annual Report 2008-2009.
CHOICES_AR_08 18 09.pdf

Commission Comments
Commissioner Chestnut requested staff to provide information on Marion County’s Inmate Medical Program.

91st Street Project
The Board approved the revised 60% plans for the NW/SW 91st Street Project as presented and direct staff to proceed with the 90% plan development with the following changes:

From Station 86+50 to Station 87+60 follow the original path

Look in front of Cobblefield Development and determine how wide the additional asphalt is past the markings on the pavement.

Attachment: SW91stPresenation082509.ppt
Attachment: 91st Street Plans.pdf

Comprehensive Plan Amendments
The Board approved the transmittal of CPA 01 09 to the Florida Department of Community Affairs along with the other Comprehensive Plan Amendments approved for transmittal on June 9, 2009.
Attachment: Ex6_SISReport.pdf
Attachment: Ex15_TransIFOrd.pdf
Attachment: Ex2TodPotmapAmend.pdf
Attachment: Ex7InfraStrucMapAmend.pdf
Attachment: TND Conceptual Plan.pdf
Attachment: CPA0109_PP.pdf
Attachment: Backlog_Auth_and_other_funding.pdf
Attachment: TOD_TND_Land_Avail.pdf
Attachment: Ex8_exprstransit.pdf
Attachment: Ex9RapidTransMapAmend.pdf
Attachment: TND_Conceptual Plan_Memo.pdf
Attachment: Ex16_PropShareOrd.pdf
Attachment: Ex1_IntergovCoor.pdf
Attachment: Ex1_FLUE2.pdf
Attachment: Ex1_TME_Transmit_BOCC_082509.pdf
Attachment: Ex12_TripGen.pdf
Attachment: Ex16_GrowingEconomy.pdf
Attachment: Ex16_SBACOct2008.pdf
Attachment: Ex1_FLUE_1_Trans_BOCC_082509.pdf
Attachment: Ex1_CIE_Transmittal_BOCC_082509.pdf
Attachment: Ex11_I75Analysis.pdf
Attachment: Ex13_LOSAnalysis.pdf
Attachment: Ex14_GRUEmail.pdf

Buckingham East
The Board approved the Replat of Lot 25, Buckingham East, Unit 2
Attachment: BHL25CHAIRSR.pdf
Attachment: BHL25GMSR.pdf
Attachment: BHL25Plats082509.pdf
Attachment: BHRPL25.pdf


Town and Country Planned Development
The Board approved Resolution Z-09-10, Town and Country Planned Development with bases in the Staff Report
Attachment: ZOM0709 Powerpoint Presentation.pdf
Attachment: ZOM0709_ZMP_Correct.pdf
Attachment: ZOM0709 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: Resolution ZOM0709.pdf
Attachment: ZOM0709.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:

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.