November 21st edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

County Manager Betty Baker Retires
Commissioners Pinkoson and Cornell Inducted
Recycle Used Holiday Vegetable Cooking Oil
County Launches LED Lighting Initiative
Second Annual Candlelight Vigil at the Survivors of Suicide Memory Garden
16th Annual Trashformations Art Contest?
Alachua County Thanksgiving Schedule
Veteran Employability Workshop
November NW 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project Update
November Extension Program
Commission Highlights

County Manager Betty Baker Retires

Alachua County Manager Betty Baker is retiring after many years of dedicated service to Alachua County. She will be missed by all who had the opportunity to work with her.

She was hired as the Administrative Services Director in 2001, was promoted to Deputy County Manager in 2012, and appointed to County Manager in 2013.

Prior to working with the County, she was the Assistant City Manager in Cincinnati for 12 years.  Ms. Baker has a B.S. in Criminology and Psychology from Florida State University, a Master of Education from Xavier University and a Master of Public Administration from Barauch College.  She is a National Urban Fellow, a Certified Public Manager, and a winner of the Cincinnati Select Women of the year award.

Everyone wishes her a long and enjoyable retirement.

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Commissioners Pinkoson and Cornell Inducted

During the November 18, 2014 Commission Regular Meeting, County Commissioners Lee Pinkoson, and Ken Cornell were inducted to the Commission. This officially began their four year terms on the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.

County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson was born and raised in Alachua County. He attended all local schools and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Business Administration.

Pinkoson is a retired Optician, and business owner. He was first elected to the board in 2002. He is beginning his fourth term on the Commission.

Find out more about Commissioner Lee Pinkoson.

County Commissioner Ken Cornell was born and raised in Gainesville, and attended Terwilliger, Ft Clarke and Buchholz prior to college. Cornell attended the University of Florida and earned his Master’s degree with high honors from the Fisher School of Accounting.  

He is a small business owner. He is also a  Certified Public Accountant and is currently a Broker-Associate and Senior Vice President with Bosshardt Realty Services, LLC.

Find out more about Commission Ken Cornell.

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Recycle Used Holiday Vegetable Cooking Oil

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department’s Hazardous Waste Collection Program is urging participation in the County’s Waste Vegetable Oil Recycling Program. The oil (peanut, corn, canola or olive oil) can be brought to the Hazardous Waste Collection Center (5125 NE 63rd Ave., Gainesville), Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It can also be disposed of at the County’s five rural collection centers (click for locations), open Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oil should cool, and be placed in a metal or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. The oil cannot mix with other fluids, such as water, petroleum products, or soaps.

The Hazardous Waste Collection Program converts used vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel. The biodiesel is combined with standard diesel and used to power County fleet vehicles and a biofuel electrical generator.

When disposed of incorrectly, these oils can cause damage to the County’s natural resources. If poured down drains or garbage disposals, the oil can harden and build up in the sewer system. As a result, fats, oils, and greases can accumulate and cause expensive sewage backups in sinks and toilets in residents’ homes or even neighbors’ properties.

Visit the Waste Vegetable Oil Recycling Program website.

For more information, contact Household Hazardous Waste Coordinator, Kurt Seaburg at 352-334-0440, or

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County Launches LED Lighting Initiative

The Alachua County Energy Management Team has launched its LED initiative, which is replacing current lighting in County parking lots with energy efficient LED lights. The team recently upgraded the lights at the Health Department and Community Support Services building (218 SE 24th Street, Gainesville), and retrofitted existing 400 watt Metal Halide fixtures with 49 LED lighting conversions. The old bulbs were at the end of their effective service life and frequently failing.

The new fixtures will save approximately $10,000 annually in energy costs, and have a life expectancy of 10 years or more. In addition, the County will realize a significant deferred maintenance savings with the elimination of labor and material required to replace the less efficient lamps.

These lighting upgrades are consistent with recommendations made in the Energy Initiative Report included in the Energy Conservation Strategies Commission (ECSC) Report submitted to the Alachua County Commission.

For more information, contact Alachua County Facilities Department’s Energy Specialist, Charlie Balanis at 352-384-3195.

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Second Annual Candlelight Vigil at the Survivors of Suicide Memory Garden

The Second Annual Survivors of Suicide Candlelight Vigil is Saturday, November 22, 2014, at the Survivors of Suicide Memory Garden in Cofrin Nature Park (4810 N.W. 8th Ave., Gainesville). Activities start at 4 p.m. with the ceremony beginning at 5:15 p.m.  The event is free and open to the community, and refreshments will be provided.  Those wishing to attend are asked to park at the University City Church of Christ parking lot, due east of Cofrin Nature Park (4626 NW 8th Ave., Gainesville). Handicapped parking is available at the park.

The Survivors of Suicide Memory Garden was dedicated last year with the purpose of serving those who have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide.  The garden offers a space for peaceful reflection to those who have experienced any kind of loss.

The vigil is sponsored by the Friends of the Crisis Center, in partnership with the Alachua County Crisis Center and the Survivors of Suicide Support Group.

Project Coordinator, Judy Broward stated, “The Friends would like to extend thanks to the Alachua County Commission and the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department for their support in the development and maintenance of the Memory Garden.”

Find out more about the Friends of the Crisis Center.

For more information, contact Project Coordinator, Judy Broward at, or Alachua County Crisis Center Director, Ali Martinez at 352-264-6792..

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16th Annual Trashformations Art Contest

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the Office of Waste Alternatives, and the Florida Museum of Natural History are hosting the 16th annual Trashformations Recycled Art Show and Competition. The competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on November 21, 2014, at the Florida Museum of Natural History (in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, Gainesville). The Trashformations exhibit is free and open to the public. There will be a special awards ceremony and reception for all participating students, their families, and teachers after the judging is complete.

Trashformations is a judged student art show and competition which helps expand recycling awareness and involvement. All artwork entered in the contest must be comprised of 70% or more recycled/recyclable/reused materials. Cash prizes will be awarded for winning entries in middle school, high school and college level categories.

Visit the Trashformations website.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5245.

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Alachua County Thanksgiving Schedule

Other than emergency services, all Alachua County government offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday (November 27, and November 28, 2014), in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Garbage and Recycling Collection:

The Thanksgiving holiday will not affect curbside residential solid waste and recycling collection services scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday in the Alachua County curbside collection area. Thursday and Friday services will be delayed one day. For Thanksgiving week, Thursday’s collection will occur on Friday and Friday’s collection will occur on Saturday. The regular collection schedule will resume on Monday, December 1.

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers and the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.  These facilities will reopen on Friday, November 28. The Hazardous Waste Collection Center will be closed on Thursday and Friday and will reopen on Saturday. The Office of Waste Collection will be closed beginning Thursday and will reopen on Monday, December 1.

For more information, contact Alachua County Waste Collection Manager, Milton Towns at 352-338-3233.

Animal Services:

The Alachua County Animal Services office (3400 NE 53rd Ave, Gainesville) will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28. The office will reopen on Saturday, November 29, at 9:30 a.m.

For animal emergencies during the holiday period, contact the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office at 352-955-1818.

Regular office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

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Veteran Employability Workshop

Alachua County, CareerSource North Central Florida, the City of Gainesville, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Santa Fe College, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Florida are hosting a Veteran Employability workshop on Thursday, December 4, 2014, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department (224 SE 24th St, Gainesville)

The workshop will address topics such as:

If you are veteran, service member or served in the military, and you are interested in attending the workshop, please RSVP online, or call Alachua County Veteran Services line at 352-264-6740. If you call, make sure to mention that you want to sign up for the Veteran Employability Workshop.

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November NW 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project Update

Alachua County Public Works is informing citizens with a monthly press release giving updated information on the 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project. During the month of October, the contractor completed the sidewalk widening on the north-side of the roadway from NW 43rd St to NW 40th Ter (0.3 miles). Sidewalk widening and signal work will continue throughout November and motorist should expect nighttime lane closures along the project corridor. Additionally the corridor has been reduced to one lane in each direction from approximately NW 31st Dr to NW 22nd St for water main relocation, gravity wall replacement and reconstruction work (clay removal). Public Works also encourages motorists to stay informed about the project by viewing the project report sheet.

Click to view the project report (PDF). This document will be updated monthly and changes/new information will be highlighted in red.

In addition to previously mentioned nighttime lane closures and lane reductions, traffic patterns will be altered from approximately NW 58th Blvd to NW 54th Ter to complete roadway widening and reconstruction.  The contractor has not scheduled the work at this time.

The current estimated completion date for the entire project is May, 2015. Contract time was extended to reconstruct a traffic signal that was knocked down as the result of a vehicle crash, for unforeseen underground conflicts, three cross drain failures and weather days.

For more information, contact Alachua County Transportation Engineering Manager, Brian Singleton at 352-548-1306 or

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November Extension Program

Commercial Horticulture Program

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

Beginner Beekeeper Short Course – November 22, from 9 a.m. (registration begins at 8:45 a.m.) to 4 p.m.  (with Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent)

Explore the world of honey bees and steps to becoming a beekeeper at the “Becoming a Hobby Beekeeper Short Course.” This course will allow the participants to receive a complete perspective of the process and expense involved with keeping honey bees as a hobby or alternative farm enterprise. It should allow the participant to decide if this is something they want to do.

Topics include: bee equipment and how to set up a hive, packaged bees & queens and sources for help, installing bees and how to get them off to a good start, honeybee pests, the Africanized honeybee, honey collection and extraction techniques.

The registration fee is $15.00 and includes program materials, refreshments, and lunch for the day.

Pre-register at least 3 days prior to classes by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

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Commission Highlights

Oath of Office
New Commissioner Ken Cornell and reelected Commissioner Lee Pinkoson took the Oath of Office.  The Board voted to make Commissioner Charles Chestnut the new Board Chair and Commissioner Robert Hutchinson the Vice Chair.

National Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award
The Board accepted the National Facility Maintenance Decisions Achievement Award for the Civil Courthouse HVAC Project.

Attachment: AWARDS.pdf

Alachua County Comprehensive Plan
The Board approved a request to amend the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan 2030 Plan Future Land Use Element Policies 6.1.8 and 6.2 to allow certain wood-based industrial uses in the Rural/Ag. land use. They approved transmitting the item to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in Tallahassee for review and comment.

Attachment: Wood-Based Industrial Ordinance.pdf

Attachment: Comp Plan Staff Report.pdf

Granite Parke Planned Development
The Board Approve the proposed replat of Granite Parke Planned Development Lot 23 based on the recommendation of the Development Review Committee and a finding of consistency with Florida Statues, the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan and the Alachua County Unified Land Development Code.

Attachment: GP_L23_Presentation.pdf

Attachment: GP_Orig_Plat.pdf

Attachment: GP_L23_Replat.pdf

Attachment:  GP_Bnd_Survey.pdf

Attachment: GP_L23_GM_SR.pdf

Attachment: GP_L23_CHAIR_SR.pdf

Budget Amendments
The Board conducted a public hearing, adopted resolutions, and approved budget amendments to amend FY15 budget for carry forward, re-appropriations, and other fund balance adjustments.

Attachment:  Legal Ad – Carry Forward FY15 to Sun.pdf

Attachment: Excess Constitutional Funds Analysis for Nov 18.pdf

Attachment:  Resolutions.pdf

Attachment:  FY15 Final Carry Forward Narratives.pdf

Attachment: Summaries By Fund and by Department.pdf

Attachment:  NEW BA Spreadsheet.pdf

Attachment: FY15 Reserves and Adjustments.pdf

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.