March 12 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Environmental Film Fest
National Census Road Tour Stops in Gainesville
Phifer Flatwoods Preserve Prescribed Fire
What’s On “Alachua County Talks”
New Spray Urethane Roof at the Sheriff’s Office
Gopher Tortoise Habitat Management Grant
Model T Conference in Alachua County
County Receives Energy Rebate Checks
Eleventh Annual Air Potato Round Up

Upcoming Cooperative Extension Programs
Rain Barrels for Sale
The Cotton Club Museum & Cultural Center
Underage Drinking Meeting
Cover the Uninsured Week
Flu Vaccination Encouraged
Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal
Vendor Purchasing Meeting
Commission Meeting Highlights

 

Environmental Film Fest

Alachua County has become a partner with The Hippodrome Theater and GoGreenNation.org in presenting the first annual Gainesville Environmental Film and Arts Festival (GEFAF).

GEFAF, running from March 19, 2010 to 28, 2010, features environmental feature films and documentaries and culminates in an outdoor environmental fair with music, art, entertainment, food, eco-information booths and a free family film on March 27. Activities conclude on March 28 with eco-tours of the region’s natural resources.

To view the schedule of films and events click here.

In speaking of the festival, GEFAF Co-Director Shirley Lasseter said, “GEFAF will reach thousands of people interested in learning about environmental and social justice issues, exploring our natural treasures, connecting with those working to protect them, and create a more sustainable community.”

“This event was organized to raise awareness of environmental issues in our North Florida region,” said Co-Director Trish Riley, “We want to inspire our community to address environmental issues through lifestyle adjustments, business, and the arts.”

The Gainesville Environmental Film and Arts Festival is still actively recruiting volunteers from all backgrounds and seeking local sponsors.

To visit the GEFAF website, go to http://gefaf.org Scroll down to see information on becoming a VIP Festival Pass Holder.

For more information, Shirley Lasseter at 352-215-9918 or Trish Riley, 954-384-9466 or email Ecofilmfest@gmail.com

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National Census Road Tour Stops in Gainesville

The 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour (part of the largest civic outreach and awareness campaign in United States history) stopped in Gainesville on Wednesday, March 10th, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Farmers Market at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza (111 E University Avenue, Gainesville).

The road tour attempts to motivate America’s growing and increasingly diverse population to complete and mail back the 10-question Census form when it arrives in the mail between March 15 – 17, 2010.  Traveling for more than 1,540 days and more than 150,000 miles across the country, 13 road tour vehicles provide the public with an educational, engaging and interactive experience that brings the 2010 Census to life.

Participants learn about the 2010 Census and the positive impact their participation can have on our local community and the nation.  Attendees will be able to view a sample 2010 Census form and learn how the information collected is used.

The Representation vehicle – assigned to the Southeast Region – parked near the plaza during the weekly Farmers Market.  The vehicle’s theme made the point that the census is a key tool to support our country’s democracy and ensure that everyone is represented.  Census numbers are used to apportion seats in the United States House of Representatives among the states.

For more information, click here, or contact Alachua County Senior Planner, Ivy Bell at 352-374-5249.

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Phifer Flatwoods Preserve Prescribed Fire

Staff from the Alachua County Environmental Protection Land Conservation Program and the Alachua County Public Safety Wildfire Mitigation Program successfully conducted a prescribed fire at Phifer Flatwoods Preserve east of CR 325. The preserve is located in southeast Alachua County, south of the intersection of State Road 20 and County Road 325, and north of the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail and the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area. A total of 81 acres adjacent to Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail were burned. The burned areas can be viewed from the Preserve Marsh Trail.

Prescribed fire is a valuable tool that reintroduces beneficial fires to the fire-dependent natural communities of the preserve, reduces accumulated fuels thereby reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires, and enhances ecological restoration of the pine flatwoods and marsh communities that depend on fire to thrive.

The staff at the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park helped plan logistics and allowed the County to use the Rail Trail as a fire break and for operational access to the burn units.

Phifer Flatwoods Preserve was acquired with funds from Alachua County Forever and Florida Communities Trust (FCT). The land within the Preserve is a mosaic of wetlands and pine flatwoods. A tributary of Orange Lake, Little Lochloosa Creek, flows across the property near the eastern boundary. It will be managed to protect, preserve and enhance the unique natural and cultural resources found on the property and to provide an enjoyable and educational passive recreational experience. The Gainesville-Hawthorn Rail Trail runs for almost 3 miles along its southern boundary. The Preserve is open to the general public and is accessed from the Rail-Trail with a parking facility located at the southwest corner of the intersection of County Road 325 and CR 2082.

For more information call 352-264-6800.


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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.

Click here to watch Gainesville Environmental Film and Art Festival (GEFAF) Co-Directors Shirley Lasseter and Trish Riley discuss the Festival, which runs from March 19 to the 29th, 2010.

Click here to watch Neil Seldman, President of the Institute for Local Self Reliance , give an overview of Resouce Recovery Parks and the benefits of potentially locating a resource recovery park in Alachua County.

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New Spray Urethane Roof at the Sheriff’s Office

In keeping with the Energy and Water Conservation Program initiated by the Board of County Commissioners, Alachua County Facilities Management Division is finalizing a Spray Foam Urethane roofing project at the County’s Sheriff’s Office.

The benefits are as follows:

This roofing product is installed using a hybrid silicone coating. It is guaranteed for 15 years and has a life expectancy of 100 years. The project cost is $205,000 to foam the 54,000 square feet roof as compared to replacing the same roof with built up gravel roof system costing well over $1M. This is a major savings to the County.

Alachua County Capital Projects Coordinator, Dave Kanzler stated “we are serious about reducing energy consumption while reducing roof repair and or replacement cost. The County will include this project into the list of projects qualifying under the rebate program.”

Other County buildings that have already received a new Spray Urethane Foam Re-Roof include the Civil Courthouse 2008, Public Safety Headquarters 2009, and the Public Works Administration Building 2009.

For more information contact Charlie Jackson, County Facilities Manager at 352-374-5289.


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Gopher Tortoise Habitat Management Grant

In February, 2010, Alachua County Forever (ACF) was selected to receive $8,100 to improve habitat for gopher tortoises on Barr Hammock Preserve. The funds will be used on a 44-acre site, and used to control woody species and improve tortoise habitat.

Funds were made available by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in an effort to ensure that protected lands support gopher tortoise populations at levels that will ensure the long-term security of the species. Currently, protected habitat in public ownership represents 40% of the estimated gopher tortoise habitat remaining in the state. FWC manages only 10% of the publicly owned gopher tortoise habitat statewide and has therefore identified the need to partner with other public agencies.

The Barr Hammock Preserve is located in south central Alachua County approximately one mile north of the Alachua/Marion County line. It was acquired with funds from Alachua County, Florida Communities Trust (FCT), a North American Wetland Conservation Act and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The Conservation Trust for Florida (CTF) was a partner in the grant applications for acquisition and has agreed to assist Alachua County with the management of the Preserve. The preserve will be managed to protect, preserve and enhance the unique natural and cultural resources found on the property and to provide an enjoyable and educational passive recreational experience.

ACF staff is planning to open the Preserve to the general public in 2012 contingent on funding and other priorities. Group tours and educational trips can be scheduled by contacting the Alachua County Forever Program at 352-264-6800 or the Conservation Trust for Florida at 352-466-1178.

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Model T Conference in Alachua County

It was like a scene right off of the silver screen in the Roaring Twenties as more than 230 people representing Model T clubs from 29 states and Canada puttered around Alachua County in their antique “horseless carriages” from February 28 through March 4.

Headquartered at the Best Western Gateway Grand, the four-day annual conference scheduled daily road rallies throughout the County including stops at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Gainesville Raceway.

“This was the first time but hopefully not the last time this wonderful conference will take place in Gainesville,” said Nancy Fischer, CMP, Director of Sales for the County’s Tourist Development office.

These historic automobiles were produced during the period 1908-1927 and were the first mass produced automobiles in the world.

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County Receives Energy Rebate Checks

In the FY2009 budget cycle, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners approved of the County-wide Lighting Upgrade Project replacing T8 (32 watt) lamps with over 31,125 T8 (25 watt) lamps yielding an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 annual reduction in electrical cost. This project earned the County a rebate through GRU’s Customized Business Rebate Program of $35,948.86.

Mr. Charley Balanis, Alachua County Energy Management Supervisor, remarked, “Though the wattage reduction per lamp (7 watts) may not seem significant, when calculated over thousands of lamps County-wide, it becomes significant in Demand, kWh, costs and GHG reduction.”

The 25 watt bulbs have a five-year life expectancy, and over this period will save the County between $750,000 to $1Million.

The County used in-house maintenance crews, community service workers and interns from the University of Florida who worked with GRU Representatives, Mr. Jeff Johnson and Ms. Atawa Rollins (Large Account Manager) in satisfying rebate submission requirements.
Alachua County also received a rebate check in the amount of $2,064 from the State of Florida’s Office of the Governor Energy Office for using solar in the new Fire Rescue Station#10.

At the County Commission meeting on February 23, 2010, the Board directed staff to develop a process and a separate financial account into which utility savings from conservation and efficiency enhancements to County facilities are sequestered.  These funds will be reinvested in conservation enhancements through each year’s capital improvements program.

For more information, contact Charlie Jackson, Alachua County Facilities Manager at (352) 374-5289.

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Eleventh Annual Air Potato Round Up

The eleventh annual Air Potato Round Up took place on Saturday, January 30, 2010 in Gainesville. This event takes place each year in an effort to raise citizen awareness to the problem and control this invasive exotic plant which chokes out native plants. Approximately 1,200 volunteers showed up to this event and helped remove 13,270 pounds of air potato and 1,740 pounds of other invasive plants.

Current Problems Inc, a volunteer organization with a mission of preserving and protecting the water resources of North Florida, worked at Tumblin’ Creek with 22 volunteers. Staff from the Alachua County Forever program also led crews of volunteers at the Sweetwater Preserve (and adjacent Evergreen Cemetery) and at the Bishop and Henderson Tract.

Commissioner Pinkoson and Commissioner Byerly were among the volunteers that worked to collect 334 pounds of trash while also rounding up air potatoes. Commissioner Byerly commented that, “cleanups like these are very satisfying to participate in, because you can see the immediate benefit to the environment and the community with your own eyes.”

The Air Potato Round Up has become a key tool in educating the public about invasive species and the critical role that homeowners play by choosing landscaping plants that are native to their region.

To learn more about Florida Friendly Landscaping please visit www.FloridaYards.org. The hard work of citizens to help rid this community of invatsive plants and trash is appreciated.

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Upcoming Cooperative Extension Programs

Commercial Horticulture Programs

All of these programs are held at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Expand Your Plant Palette - March 16th, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
This is a video conference with presentations from some of the best plants-men in Florida. Topics include new landscape plants including the 2010 Florida Garden Select program and tropical flowering trees.

There is no cost to attend this conference. Pre-register by March 12 by calling 352-337-6209.

Worker Protection Standard (Train the Trainer Workshop) - March 24th, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Under FAWSA and WPS, agriculture employers must ensure that agricultural workers and pesticide handlers employed in the state of Florida receive protection from agricultural pesticides and information concerning pesticides.  The Worker Protection Standard Train the Trainer (WPS TTT) Program promotes the development of a working population of knowledgeable WPS trainers of agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, in order to prevent and reduce pesticide exposure and related illness.

Cost to attend this class is $5.00. Pre-register by March 19 by calling 352-337-6209.

Environmental Horticulture Programs

Turf Boot Camp - March 17, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).
Attendees will learn about pest management and lawn disease problems as well as different grass types and lawn care techniques. Also covered is correct watering and fertilizing.

There is no cost to attend this class. Pre-register by March 15 by calling 352-337-6209.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening - March 23, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Newberry Branch Library (110 S. Seabrook Drive).
Attendees will learn an innovative way to grow vegetables in a limited space. Also covered is vegetable gardening basics and how to use raised beds for increased efficiency.

There is no cost to attend this class. Pre-register by March 19 by calling 352-337-6209.

For more information about any of these programs, call 352-955-2402. For other gardening classes visit http://alachua.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml.

Family & Consumer Sciences Programs

Before You Tie the Knot - March 15 & 16, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Before You Tie the Knot is a premarital preparation course. Topics include:

Completion of this course is required to receive a $32.50 reduction of marriage license fee and a waiver of the three day waiting period. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion and a copy for the Clerk of the Court.

There is no cost to attend this two evening class. Pre-register by March 8th by calling 352-377-6209.

For more information about this program call 352-955-2402. For alternate class dates, or view the complete brochure, visit http://alachua.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml.

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Rain Barrels for Sale

Alachua County Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Works are offering Rain Barrels for sale for $45.00 (tax included) on a year round basis (while supplies last).

Rain barrels can be purchased Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hazardous Waste Collection Center (HWCC) located 5125 NE 63 Ave (2 miles north of 39 Ave off Waldo Road), and at the Alachua County Public Works Department, located at 5620 Northwest 120th Lane, Gainesville (off of 441 near Deerhaven). Rain barrels are also available Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon at the HWCC only.

For information about the SYSTERN Rain Barrel, click here.

To learn more about water conservation, click here.

\For more information, call HWCC at 352-334-0440 or the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5213.

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The Cotton Club Museum & Cultural Center

Alachua County presents “The Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center”. This 30 minute program explores the history of the Alachua County segregation-era black music venue located in Gainesville’s Springhill neighborhood, and offers an in depth look at ongoing efforts to refurbish the building as an area black history museum and cultural center.

The program traces the Cotton Club building from its beginnings as a PX store at Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida during World War II to its post war years as a movie theater for African Americans, to its memorable run as a concert hall hosting world famous musicians including Ray Charles, B.B.. King, James Brown and more. Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center board Chair Vivian Filer and co-chair Otis Stover are interviewed, as are former Alachua County Commissioner and Cotton Club patron Thomas Coward and University of Florida Director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment Director Dr. Charles Kibbert, and many other people involved in the project.

To view The Cotton Club Museum & Cultural Center immediately on Video on Demand, click here.

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

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Underage Drinking Meeting

The Partners in Prevention for Substance Abuse Community Coalition (PIPSA), the University of Florida, the Alachua County School Board, and the Alachua County 4-H Youth Development Program are sponsoring a Town Hall Meeting to address underage drinking. The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 25, 2010 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Middle School Auditorium located at 1001 SE 12 Street, Gainesville.

The Town Hall Meeting will increase community awareness on the issue of underage drinking, discuss solutions to address this problem, and provide resources for parents, youth, and other community members. This event is open to the Gainesville and Alachua County community and attendees will be eligible to win prizes.

For more information, please contact Gwen Love, chair of PIPSA, at (352) 244-0628, ext. 3831. Additional contacts include Dave Khey, Coalition Coordinator for PIPSA, at (352) 226-6050, Maureen Miller, Coordinator for Alcohol & Other Drug Prevention, GatorWell Health Promotion Services, UF Division of Student Affairs, at (352) 273-4463, or Kate Fogarty, Youth Development Specialist, UF�s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, at (352) 273-3527.


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Cover the Uninsured Week

March 14 – 20, 2010, is “Cover the Uninsured Week.” Alachua County’s CHOICES Health Services has joined organizations across the United States to recognize and raise awareness of this initiative.

Today, forty-six million Americans are uninsured. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says it created the Cover the Uninsured initiative to promote awareness of this growing health care crisis. Through Cover the Uninsured, policy-makers, health care professionals, grassroots organizers, faith leaders, business communities and active citizens work together to promote the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative’s stated purpose. The initiative also promotes national, state and local programs that endeavor to expand access to health care.

CHOICES Health Services provides affordable quality healthcare to Alachua County’s working uninsured. CHOICES also supports the University of Florida Equal Access Clinic and the Helping Hands Clinic in their efforts to expand healthcare access to County residents.

For more information about Cover the Uninsured visit Covertheuninsured.org.

For more information or to apply for CHOICES Health Services, call 352-264-6772 or visit acCHOICES.com.

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Flu Vaccination Encouraged

The Alachua County Health Department is encouraging citizens to get vaccinated against H1N1 Swine Flu. While activity is well below the levels seen in the summer and fall of 2009, surveillance systems have detected a potential for increased local activity.

“Receiving an influenza vaccine is a primary preventive measure against influenza infection.” stated Jean Munden, Administrator of the ACHD. “In addition to getting a flu shot, staying home when ill, practicing proper cough etiquette and washing your hands are effective personal means to protect yourself and the community from a variety of illnesses.”

Flu shots are being offered at the Health Department’s main Gainesville clinic located at 224 SE 24th Street, phone number 352-334-7950, and the City of Alachua satellite clinic located in the Hitchcock’s shopping plaza located at 15530 NW US Hwy 441, phone number 386-462-2542.

There is no cost for the H1N1 vaccine at the Health Department. Citizens who normally receive their vaccines from providers other than the Health Department should contact them for vaccine availability and costs.

General media inquiries should be directed to Paul Myers at (352) 334-7793.

For more information, visit http://www.alachuacountyhealth.com/.

The goal of the Alachua County Health Department is to promote, protect, maintain and improve the health and safety of all citizens and visitors.

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Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

On February 16, 2010, Alachua County signed a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the local management and disposal of pharmaceutical waste. As part of the program the County’s Environmental Protection Department will provide technical assistance to local hospital, pharmacies and other medical facilities on best management practices.  This new outreach effort will enhance the nationally recognized pharmaceutical waste collection program at the County’s Hazardous Waste Collection Center. 

“Improper disposal of pharmaceutical wastes can be harmful to  local water resources, fish and wildlife. Alachua County appreciates the State’s assistance in developing local capacity to better manage these special wastes.” said Chris Bird, Alachua County Environmental Protection Director. 

For more information, contact Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, Water Resources Supervisor Gus Olmos at 352-264-6806 or gus@alachuacounty.us.

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Vendor Purchasing Meeting

The Alachua County Administrative Services Department’s Purchasing Division is holding a Vendor Workshop Session on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville).
Any vendor wishing to learn about conducting business with the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and the Alachua County Library District are encouraged to attend.

“If you want to shorten the learning curve on how to do business with the County or the Library District I highly recommend that you attend this very informative workshop,” said County Purchasing Manager Larry Sapp.

For more information, contact Purchasing Agent Matt Stevens at 352-374-5202.

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Commission Highlights

Announcements
The Board
heard announcements by Mark Sexton Communications Coordinator
Attachment:
Announcements

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
The Board proclaimed March 2010 as “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Developmental DisabilitiesAwareness1.pdf

Florida Scenic Byway Day
The Board proclaimed March 26, 2010 as “Florida Scenic Byway Day” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Florida Scenic Byways Day1.pdf

The Orthopaedic Institute’s Team Haitian Relief Efforts Day
The Board  proclaimed February 10, 2010 as “The Orthopaedic Institute’s Team Haitian Relief Efforts Day” in Alachua County, Florida
Attachment: 
Dr Rosenberg Haiti Medical Team.pdf

Dr. Mark Atkinson and Team Haitian Relief Efforts Day
The Board proclaimed February 11, 2010 as “Dr. Mark Atkinson and Team Haitian Relief Efforts Day” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Dr Atkinson Haiti Medical Team.pdf

Partners for a Productive Community
The Board
heard the Status Report on the Partners for a Productive Community program.  The Board requested information on:

the costs for stimulus funded positions

Trends on other social services program expenditures

Suggested Speaking to Ed Jennings in his capcity as HUD regional Director

 Financial Reports
The Board
accepted the audit reports from the County’s Independent Certified Public Accountants, Carr, Riggs and Ingram LLC as well as the FY2009 Comprehensive Financial Report (CAFR), and the Florida State Comptrollers Annual Financial Report (AFR).  The Board authorized the Chair to sign the Management response letter and to certify the AFR to the State.  Authorize the Clerk to transmit the completed CAFR and Single Audit Report to the Auditor General.
Attachment: 
Certification Letter request.pdf
Attachment: 
Management Response Letter Bocc 2009.pdf
Attachment: 
2009 Alachua County CAFR.pdf
Attachment: 
AFR before Certification.pdf

Rain Barrel Program

The Board  adopted the Resolution and approved the Budget Amendment to increase the Water Quality Budget by $14,850 for the Rain Barrel program.
Amount: $14,850.00

Attachment: BA_Rain_Barrel.pdf
Attachment: 
Resolution Rain Barrel Sales Unant Rev.pdf

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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.