August 29th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Community Conversations Results
Animal Services Issues Advisory for Hawthorne Cat Owners
Two NSP Homes Available for Re-Sale
Advisory Board Openings
Three-part Home Buyer Education Course
Mobile Simulation Lab
Back To School and Busy
10th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down
What's On "Alachua County Talks"
Commission Highlights

Community Conversations Results

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners invited citizens to participate in five public discussions entitled, "Community Conversations 2011." During the session, opinions were electronically surveyed on a number of local issues and participants were given opportunities to suggest solutions to local budget issues. The results of surveys and interactive activities have been compiled and are now available.

Click here to view the results.

For more information, contact Alachua County Office of Management and Budget at 352-374-5262.

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Animal Services Issues Advisory for Hawthorne Cat Owners

Alachua County Animal Services, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, and the City of Hawthorne are investigating numerous cat killings in the Ashley Oaks subdivision, located in Northeast Hawthorne. Officials believe that one or more dogs from adjacent subdivisions are responsible and attack cats at night.

Animal Services Director, David Flagler, advises cat owners to keep their cats indoors until the dogs can be located. He also advises dog owners to keep their dogs confined.

Animal Services is asking witnesses to come forward, if they have observed the dogs. If residents have information as to the description of the dogs, they are asked to contact Animal Services at 352-264-6880.
Although the dogs have not presented a threat to humans, people who are worried to move about their neighborhood can protect themselves with a pepper-based spray that has proven effective on dogs.

For more information, contact David Flagler, Alachua County Animal Services Director at 352-264-6890 or dflagler@alachuacounty.us.

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Two NSP Homes Available for Re-Sale

The Alachua County Department of Growth Management is pleased to announce that purchase offers are now being accepted for two recently renovated homes purchased by Alachua County through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, (NSP). Both are three bedroom, two bath homes. The sales price for the home located at 12017 NW 164th Terrace, Alachua, is $118,000, and the sales price for the home located at 22532 SE 59th Place, Hawthorne, is $92,000.

Each home features a new roof, Energy Star windows, appliances and has been painted inside and out, providing an excellent opportunity for a low to moderate income family to buy a home at an affordable price. Homes are being renovated to bring them into compliance with the standards of the minimum housing code as well as to increase the energy efficiency of each home. Three NSP homes have been sold to date, two more NSP homes are under contract, and two more homes are being renovated prior to sale.

Alachua County was awarded NSP funding by the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs to stabilize neighborhoods impacted by high rates of foreclosure or abandonment. Foreclosed homes have been acquired and rehabilitated within designated areas of the community. Homebuyers must meet NSP income requirements. For example, a family of 4 earning $69,960 would qualify to buy an NSP home. Buyers are required to complete an approved home buyer's education course, and cannot currently own a home at the time of an NSP purchase. Other program requirements must be met as well such as being approved by an institutional lender for primary financing to buy the home. Secondary financing is also available through NSP to ensure affordability. Alachua County requires that all offers be submitted by a licensed Realtor to ensure the buyer's interest is fully represented in the transaction. Buyer's Realtor will be paid a 3.5% commission from the proceeds of the sale.

Photos and prices of both homes as well as the NSP Information Packet are available on the Alachua County Department of Growth Management's website, by calling Jenny Poole, Housing Programs Coordinator, at 352-337-6283 or by contacting her at jopoole@alachuacounty.us Homes are offered for sale at appraised value after repairs have been completed. Offers are now being accepted and are due by 5 p.m., September 2, 2011, at the Alachua County Department of Growth Management (10 SW 2nd Avenue, Gainesville). Offers must be submitted by a State of Florida licensed Realtor. Offers submitted after the deadline may be accepted as back-up offers only, at the discretion of Alachua County. Homes are sold on a first-come, first-qualified, first-served basis. The Board of County Commissioners makes the final decision as to which offer to accept.

Realtors interested in showing NSP homes and submitting offers must contact Jenny Poole, Housing Programs Coordinator at jopoole@alachuacounty.us to obtain an offer package.

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Advisory Board Openings

Alachua County has several advisory boards with an unusual number of openings. These boards, made up entirely of volunteers, advise the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) on important issues and programs. Appointments are made by the BOCC, and some positions have very specific requirements.

Below are several open advisory board seats:

Alachua County's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
Alachua County's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee is looking for citizens actively involved in real estate, the banking or mortgage industry or residential home building. A previous requirement that the citizens also be active in regard to affordable housing has been suspended, as allowed by Florida Statute 420.0976, excerpted below:

"If a county or eligible municipality whether due to its small size, the presence of a conflict of interest by prospective appointees, or other reasonable factor, is unable to appoint a citizen actively engaged in these activities in connection with affordable housing, a citizen engaged in the activity without regard to affordable housing may be appointed."

The Alachua County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) is mandated by the State of Florida for all cities and counties receiving State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) funds. The AHAC's mission is to review the established policies and procedures, ordinances, land development regulations, and comprehensive plan of Alachua County and to recommend specific actions or initiatives to encourage affordable housing while protecting the ability of the property to appreciate in value.

The CHOICES Advisory Board
The CHOICES Advisory Board needs professionals who are willing to volunteer. The Board meets the first Monday of each month at 4 p.m. The CHOICES Advisory Board vacant positions include: An attorney with expertise in health care, one Certified Public Accountant, one health policy professional, one managed care employee, and a small business owner.

At the direction of the County Commission, the CHOICES program is scheduled to continue through 2013. The CHOICES Program is an Alachua County effort to provide primary care and preventive medical and dental services to the working uninsured in the County. The CHOICES Advisory Board provides oversight and ongoing review of the program's operations.

The Alachua County Human Rights Board
The Alachua County Human Rights Board (formally the Fair Housing/Human Rights Board) is looking for an attorney with experience in the areas of Labor & Employment, and/or Civil Rights Law. The Human Rights Board reviews complaint investigations and makes recommendations to the Equal Opportunity Manager for the enforcement of the Alachua County Human Rights Ordinance. 

The Board meets on an as needed basis, usually on the fourth Thursday of the month. Meetings begin at 5:30 p.m.

Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center Advisory Council
Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center Advisory Council has five open seats for its eleven member citizens' advisory council. The advisory council assists the Center by promoting community awareness of the program, advising the County on future policies and directions, and engaging in an annual review of the program. A citizen does not have to be a survivor of violence to serve on the council. All that is needed is a willingness to invest time in support of the Center's goal - to diminish the impact of sexual violence and facilitate recovery to victims and survivors of violent crime.

The Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center provides services to survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual violence and personal injury crimes. Established in the Gainesville/Alachua County community for more than 36 years, the program is available to support and assist anyone who is a victim or survivor of violence.

Click here and scroll down to apply for any of the County's advisory boards.

For more information, contact Advisory Board Program Coordinator, Mary Lowry at 352-264-6904 or mlowry@alachuacounty.us.

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Three-part Home Buyer Education Course

The UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension Office is pleased to announce a special three-part Home Buyer Education Course. These workshops will provide attendees with helpful information about the process of buying a home and the basics of homeownership. These classes also serve the education requirement to receive down payment assistance from county and state programs. All three sessions must be attended to receive a certificate of course completion.

Session One: Making the Decision to be a Homeowner; September 13, 2011, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
This requires getting budgets and credit worthiness in line, determining how much house can be afforded and understanding the responsibilities and costs of being a responsible homeowner.

Session Two: The Home Purchasing Process; September 20, 2011, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
This session covers the sales contract, home inspections, mortgage process, selecting homeowners' insurance, warranties and the closing process.

Session Three: Working with Housing Professionals; September 27, 2011, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 pm.
Questions will have been raised during the first two classes and as further research is done. This session provides an opportunity to have those questions answered as well as get valuable tips from those involved in the process of buying a home.

Cost of the series is $10.00 (for individual/couple); payment can be made at the first session.

Pre-register by calling 352-955-2402 (A minimum of 10 people required).


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Mobile Simulation Lab

The Emergency Medicine Learning & Resource Center (EMLRC)'s Mobile Simulation Lab spent last week with Alachua County Fire/Rescue under a contract with Florida's Department of Health to bring simulation education to EMS agencies throughout the State of Florida. The education focused on WMD and chemical/biological scenarios using high tech patient simulators. Examples of scenarios covered were: Pandemic Influenzas, Anthrax, Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, Ricin, Smallpox, Blister Agents, Nerve Agents, Cyanide, Pulmonary Agents, Burns and Blast Injuries, and Chemical Suicide to name a few.

EMLRC Clinical Programs Coordinator Eric Dotten conducted education sessions. EMS crews rotated through the simulation lab to "treat" Human Patient Simulators (high tech manikins) as they would a real patient.

The "SimLab" is a one of a kind, 45-foot motor coach complete with a full ambulance bay and emergency department area to bring unlimited real life scenarios to students. This type of simulation education can provide individuals, as well as teams, with immediate feedback on their skills, whether they practice in a remote rural health care setting or in Florida's more populated urban areas. The Mobile Simulation Lab is an important tool that is providing Life Saving Education throughout the state of Florida, for first responders such as EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, emergency physicians, nurses, and others.

More information about the SimLab can be found at www.emlrc.org. For more information, contact Alachua County Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief/Operations Harry Collins at 352-384-3132.


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Back To School and Busy

The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office was hands on at the 12th Annual Stop-The-Violence/Back–to-School Rally held August 13, 2011 at Santa Fe College. With a crowd of over 1500, Elections' volunteers were busy providing information, answering questions, and assisting attendees with voter registration. The event provided an opportunity for parents and students to gain helpful information from various community organizations and groups prior to the start of school.

On August 15th the University of Florida New Graduate Student Orientation was held on the University of Florida campus. Representatives from the Supervisor of Elections Office registered fifty-seven new voters and provided voter information to the 1200 students in attendance.


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10th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners together with the City of Gainesville, FloridaWorks of Alachua & Bradford Counties and the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System are sponsoring the 10th annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down Thursday and Friday, September 8 & 9, 2011 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multi Purpose Center located at 1028 NE 14th St., Gainesville, FL. The event will run from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon Friday.

In addition to the sponsoring organizations, numerous local non-profit organizations and state and federal service agencies will be present to offer services and materials to homeless veterans. Services will include medical screenings, VA claims assistance, employment services, and SNAP (Food Stamp) enrollment, among other services. Coffee and light refreshments will be served in the morning of both days, and lunch will be provided on Thursday. The US Department of Labor has provided $10,000 to support the two day event as a means of assisting homeless veterans gain access to services and programs that can help them re-establish the ability to become employed, re-housed, and re-stabilized in their living situations.

John Skelly, the Director of the Alachua County Poverty Reduction Program, said "This annual event has a great impact on those homeless veterans who attend, not only because it is a 'front door' to accessing needed services, but also because the event itself demonstrates to these veterans that the community still values them as human beings who served their nation truly and well, in ways that most of us never have."

For more information, contact John Skelly at 352-264-6749 or Theresa Lowe, Director of the Gainesville/Alachua County Office on Homelessness at 352-372-2549.

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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 on the show title to view the episode
Community Redevelopment
Peaceful Paths
Alachua Conservation Trust
Florida Organic Growers

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Commission Highlights

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

Constitution Week
The Board
proclaimed September 17 through 23, 2011 as “Constitution Week” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Constitution Week 2011.pdf

H.T.E Financial System
The Board authorized the Chair to sign the attached contracts with SunGard Public Sector to upgrade the County’s H.T.E financial system to ONESolution and the attached resolution & budget amendment to appropriate $233,267 from unallocated Capital Project Fund account and authorize expenditure of $35,000 from the Computer Replacement Fund.  Authorized the County Manager to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Library District to accept the District’s contribution of $36,800 to the project.  Also, authorized staff to increase the annual ITS computer replacement fund allocation by $18,000 to cover future replacement cost of the computer hardware. 
Amount:
$305,067.00
Attachment: SunGard HTE OneSolution License Final.pdf
Attachment: 
Budget Amendment for OneSolution.pdf
Attachment: 
long term cost analysis.pdf
Attachment: 
Resolution for Unanticipated Revenue.pdf
Attachment: 
SunGard HTE OneSolution Final.pdf
Attachment: 
fund 300 appropriated non-operating acct listing.pdf

Regulation of Firearms
The Board authorized to advertise the ordinance repealing various provisions of the County Code relating to the regulation of firearms as required by the 2011 State Legislature’s adoption of House Bill 45 (Chapter 2011-109, Laws of Florida)
Attachment: 2_FirearmsBill.pdf
Attachment: 
4_FirearmsRepealAd.pdf
Attachment: 
1_CodeProvisions.pdf
Attachment: 
3_FirearmsRepealOrdinance.pdf

Development of the Existing Fairgrounds
The Board directed staff to work with Airport Authority (GACRAA) and the City of Gainesville to develop a master plan process in the City of Gainesville Land Development Regulations and to develop a joint master plan for development of the existing Fairgrounds along with portions of the airport property
Attachment: 
Fairgrounds_Airport_Joint_Plan_BOCC_20110823.pptx

Quarterly Hiring Activity Report
The Board accepted the Quarterly Hiring Activity Report for the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2010-2011.
Attachment: 
3rd quarter fy2011 hiring activity report.pdf

Poe Springs
The Board voted not to approve the concept of designating Poe Springs as a public swimming area and vessel-exclusion zone. 
Attachment: 
327 46 Boating Restricted Areas.pdf
Attachment: 
68D 21 001.pdf
Attachment: 
Poe Springs Park Aerial.pdf

Kanapaha Park Community Center
The Board approved Option #6 in regards to the Kanapaha Park Community Center and soccer field lighting. 
Amount:
$2,091,835.00
Attachment: Community Center Floor Plan.pdf
Attachment: 
Community Center Costs and Value Engineering Report.pdf
Attachment: 
Kanapaha Community Center Budget Amendment.pdf
Attachment: 
E Agenda Funding Chart.pdf
Attachment: 
WSPP Community Center RESOLUTION.pdf

Letter to the County Manager
The Board authorized the Chair to sign a final of the attached letter to the County Manager addressing his failure to comply with Alachua County Employee Policy 4.6 (Equal Opportunity).
Attachment: 
Letter_County_Manager_EEO.pdf

Muscular Dystrophy Association Firefighter Appreciation Month
The Board proclaimed September 2011 as “Muscular Dystrophy Association Firefighter Appreciation Month” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
MDA Fire Rescue Prof of Alachua Cnty proclamation.pdf

Solid Waste Ordinance
The Board approved a solid waste ordinance to amend Chapter 75, Solid Waste, of the Alachua County Code of Ordinances.
Attachment: 
Solid_Waste_Ordinance_SummaryofChanges_07_25_11.pdf
Attachment: 
SW_Ordinance_Draft _08_01_11.pdf

Alachua County Animal Services Ordinance
The Board approved the amendments to ordinance, Chapter seventy two, Alachua County Animal Services Ordinance.
Attachment: 
Animal Control June 28 2011 Ordinance.pdf

Dangerous Dog Registration
The Board approved the resolution authorizing fee change for dangerous dog registration.
Attachment: 
Animal_Services_fee_revision.pdf
Attachment: 
Fee Sheet Resolution for Dangerous Dogs.pdf
Attachment: 
Affidavit of Publication.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.