September 13th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

County Receives $100,000 in GRU Rebate Checks
County Resolution Asking State Government to Expand Medicaid
National POW/MIA Recognition Day
4-H Round-Up Open House
Final Budget Meeting
September Extension Programs
Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation on Alachua County Talks
Commission Highlights

County Receives $100,000 in GRU Rebate Checks

In 2010, the Commission approved of a Utility Savings Reinvestment Program (USRP) authorizing all rebate checks to be deposited into the USRP account.

Funds from this account are used to fund future energy related projects. In FY2013, Alachua County Facilities processed the necessary paperwork with GRU qualifying several projects for rebates. Those projects include improvement at the County’s Jail ($92,024.00); air conditioning replacements at the Transfer Station ($2,516.00); air conditioning replacement at Public Works’ Fleet Building ($676.00); air conditioning replacement at the Work Release Building ($2,532.00); air conditioning replacement at the Facilities Shop ($1,228.00); and air conditioning replacement at the Sheriff’s Offices ($1,024.00), for a total of $100,000.00.

Return to Top


County Resolution Asking State Government to Expand Medicaid

          WHEREAS, the Alachua County Commission is dedicated to their citizens gaining access to quality healthcare; and,
          WHEREAS, by accepting the estimated $50 billion in federal dollars over the next 10 years, Alachua County and Florida citizens will benefit from their rightful share of their Federal tax dollars. It will also benefit the State, as well as Counties and Cities as they continue to be challenged by declining revenues; and,
WHEREAS, the expansion of Medicaid will cover an additional one million Floridians who will otherwise remain uninsured; and,
          WHEREAS, the beneficiaries of Medicaid expansion will include many of the most disadvantaged individuals and families in our community and state who are living at or below poverty level; and,
          WHEREAS, accepting the Medicaid Expansion will return a fair share of billions of dollars, paid by Florida taxpayers,  to the state as well as counties and cities at a time when they continue to be fiscally challenged by declining revenues; and,
          WHEREAS, Alachua County has demonstrated its commitment to healthcare to those who fall through the cracks by instituting the voter approved CHOICES program which has provided over $56 million to date for healthcare for  the working uninsured; and,
          WHEREAS, with the CHOICES program sunsetting in December of 2013, the Medicaid expansion would allow CHOICES enrollees to transition to the Medicaid program and continue to receive quality healthcare.
WHEREAS, Medicaid expenses are the responsibility of the Federal and State governments, Alachua County will oppose increasing the burden on the Counties to expand this program in the future.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners hereby finds and determines that:
1.  It is hopeful that the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate and Governor Scott,  will recognize this unique opportunity to provide  healthcare access to a large segment of our population and have it paid for with federal tax dollars that are currently leaving our state; and
2.  The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners urges the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate and Governor Scott to fully support the acceptance of federal dollars for Medicaid Expansion.
DULY ADOPTED in regular session, this 10th day of September, 2013.

Return to Top


National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. In 2013 the remembrance will be on Friday, September 20th. There are 1,645 American personnel listed by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. About 90 percent of the 1,645 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control, according to the National League of Families.

After pouring over more than 1,000 reports concerning service personnel killed, wounded or lost in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, I am condensing a story of someone who never returned from that war.

On a normal resupply mission, a UH1H helicopter departed from Marble Mountain Airfield, Da Nang, South Vietnam on April 3rd, 1972 and disappeared over Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. The pilot radioed he was lost and believed he was south of Quang Tri City. All contact with the aircraft was soon lost. On board were Chief Warrant Officer Two Larry Alfred Zich, Specialist Four Edward Wayne Williams, Specialist Five Allen Duane Christensen and Warrant Officer One Douglas Lee O’Neill.

Search efforts were conducted, but no trace of the missing aircraft or its four crewmembers could be found. The hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to or around the suspected crash site and eventually the names turned over to the Joint Military Team requesting any information available. The crew of four was officially listed as missing in action.

Specialist Four Edward Wayne Williams who was serving as the door-gunner on this aircraft, is one of my classmates from Clearwater High School, Florida, class of 1969. With no further information ever being received by the US government and the Vietnam Ceasefire Agreement of January 27, 1973 passed, his status was officially changed to missing-presumed dead effective October 30, 1978.

My classmate, Wayne, is now officially declared dead. With no shred of evidence ever being found to identify him from the time his helicopter lost contact with friendly forces on April 3, 1972. Until now, it leaves many unanswered questions of his fate.

While the law of the land has provisions to finally declare someone dead after a period of time with no forthcoming information, it does little to provide closure to families and friends. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Wayne and pray for final closure for his family.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a Federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.

On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Friday, September 20, 2013, and every recognition day afterwards, we should thank our veterans for serving this great nation and demand a full accounting for the safe return of our personnel and remains.

Freedom is not free.

Return to Top


4-H Round-Up Open House

Alachua County 4-H is having a free 4-H Round-Up Open House on Saturday, September 14, 2013, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the UF Horse Teaching Unit (1934 SW 63rd Avenue, Gainesville). The Open House is presented by the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Service.

The Open House will give citizens who would like to volunteer, or learn about 4-H programs the opportunity to get information, including: activities, camps, projects, youth fair & livestock show, and more.

4-H is open to youth ages 5 to 18 and is free. Click to visit the 4-H website.

For more information, contact Alachua County 4-H Agent, Matt Benge at 352-955-2402.

Return to Top


Final Budget Meeting

At the September 24, 2013, Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) Regular Public Hearing, the BoCC will adopt the FY14 Budget.

This meeting is the final opportunity for residents to speak to the BoCC about the budget before it is adopted, and the County encourages public input on this item.

The Public Hearing begins at 5 p.m. in the Jack Durrance Auditorium, on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building (12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville).

The meeting will be broadcast live on Cox Cable Channel 12, and on the County’s Video on Demand website.

Return to Top


September Extension Programs

Environmental Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Growing Citrus – September 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Learn to grow oranges, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit in the backyard. This class will also cover variety selection and freeze protection.

Growing Greens & Lettuces – September 26, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Lettuces and greens are fast and easy to grow in the garden. Learn about proper timing and variety selection for success. Includes collard, turnip, mustard and unusual Asian greens.

There is no cost to attend these classes, but space is limited. Pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Florida-Friendly™ Landscape Tour – September 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning at the Senior Recreation Center (5701 NW 34th Street, Gainesville). Parking is limited, carpooling is encouraged.

The Alachua County Master Gardeners will be offering a tour of Florida-Friendly Landscapes™ in the Gainesville area. These yards exemplify water conservation and environmentally friendly landscaping practices.

View the program brochure.

The tour is free.  Pre-register at least 3 days prior to the tour by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

These programs are being offered by Brenda C. Williams, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Required Financial Management Class for those filing for bankruptcy – September 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This program has been approved to issue certificates evidencing completion of a personal financial management instructional course in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code. Attendees must bring a case number to class.

View the program brochure.

Cost to attend this class is $10.00 (cash only) for course materials. Pre-register by September 12, by calling 352-955-2402.

Healthy Cooking: Slow Cooker Techniques – September 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This program includes a demonstration of tips to make successful recipes in the slow cooker. Taste samples of finished recipes will be provided. Cost is $3.00 payable at the door.

Participants must pre-register one week prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Commercial Horticulture Program

This program is being offered by Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent, at the Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Green Industries Best Management Practices – September 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

This workshop is designed to provide training in Best Management Practices for anyone working in the lawn, landscape, pest control, or municipal grounds areas.

Cost $25.00 includes materials and lunch. See attached brochure for more information.

For more information about these programs, call 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Office calendar for additional programs offered by the Extension Office.

Return to Top


Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation on Alachua County Talks

A new edition of Alachua County Talks featuring an interview with Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation President Christine Janks is available. Carson Springs is home to more than 50 exotic and endangered species, including cheetahs, lions, tigers and giraffes among other animals. Janks will discuss the foundation’s efforts to preserve these species through animal rehabilitation and human education.
In speaking of the program Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “Carson Springs provides a remarkable opportunity for Alachua County residents to learn about exotic and endangered species up close.”

View Alachua County Talks: Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

For more information visit the Carson Springs Wildlife Foundation or call 352-468-2827.

Click to subscribe to the County’s YouTube channel (and receive updates when new videos are published).

View the complete Channel 12 Schedule.

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

Return to Top


Commission Highlights

Constitution Week
The Board proclaimed the week of September 17-23, 2013 as “Constitution Week” in Alachua County, Florida
Constitution Week 2013.pdf

Bishop James E McKnight, Sr Day
The Board proclaimed September 14, 2013 as “Bishop James E McKnight, Sr Day” in Alachua County, Florida
Bishop James E McKnight Anniversary 2013.pdf

2013 Tax Roll
The Board ordered the 2013 Tax Roll to be extended prior to completion of the Value Adjustment Board hearings.

Current Conservation Lands Assessment
The Board approved the letter of opposition to the State regarding Current Conservation Lands Assessment results and authorized the Chair’s signature.
Exhibit 2 LCB Letter to BoCC 130827.pdf
Exhibit 4 ModelCriteriaDetails.pdf
Exhibit 1 State Surplus Lands Assessment Alachua County.pdf
Exhibit 3 Chair Letter re State Conservation Lands Assessment.pdf

Energy Rebate Checks
The Board accepted six ceremonial energy rebate checks from GRU totaling $100,000.

Special Assessment District
The Board directed staff not to move forward with the establishment of a Special Assessment District for the use of alternative surface treatment on NE 35 Ave., NE 255 Dr. and Quail St. from NE CR 219A to NE SR 26 located in the Melrose area due to the lack of required votes recommending approval.

FY14 Millage Rates and Adjusted Tentative Budgets
The Board conducted a public hearing and approveed proposed FY14 millage rates and adjusted tentative budgets for the General County, MSTU - Unincorporated Services, MSTU - Law Enforcement Funds, MSTU - Fire Protection Services and Alachua County Forever Debt Service Funds. They adopted the FY14 Financial Policies, adopted the FY14 Schedule of Fees and Charges for Services, and approved the FY14-18 Comprehensive Capital Improvement Program.
1 Agenda First Public Hearing Sept 10 2013.pdf
2b Comprehensive Financial Polices.pdf
7a 13 74 MSTU Law Enf Millage Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
3a 13 69 Reso Fee Schedule 1st PH.pdf
6a 13 72 MSTU Uninc Millage Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
8a 13 76 MSTU Fire Millage Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
2a 13 68 Reso Financial Policies 1st PH.pdf
6b 13 73 MSTU Uninc Budget Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
8b 13 77 MSTU Fire Budget Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
5a 13 70 General County Millage Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
5b 13 71 General County Budget Reso 14 1st PH.pdf
7b 13 75 MSTU Law Enf Budget Reso 14 1st PH.pdf

Bidding Process
The Board adopted Ordinance 13-XX; amending Section 22.02 and 22.09.5 to allow for field change orders, and updates to Section 22.11, Exemptions from the Bidding Process.
field change orders Final.pdf

Solid Waste Final Assessment Resolution

The Board adopted the Solid Waste: Final Assessment Resolution for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and authorized the Chair to certify the non-ad valorem assessment roll to the Tax Collector.
Amount: Revenue: $8,566,879.98

Attachment: Final_Rate_Res_2013.pdf


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.