January 16th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Call to Action on Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment
2014 - 2015 State Legislative Program
Free Weather Spotter Classes
County Receives Fifth StormReady Designation
Florida First Responders Appreciation Week
Mosquito-Borne Illness Alert Lifted for Alachua County
County Retirements
“NW 16th Ave Transformation” January Project Update
Animal Services Open House
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Waste Collection
FSASE Scholarship Opportunity Deadline March 16, 2015
Commission Highlights

Call to Action on Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment

Floridians understand the value of landconservation and clean and abundant water for people and wildlife. They cherish the natural areas that make Florida special. That’s why 4.2 million voters (75%) passed Amendment 1 Water and Land Conservation, ensuring that these values have a place in our state’s constitution.

Now the enabling legislation is in the hands of the Florida Legislature.  Alachua County has adopted the language below and urges citizens to participate in the legislative process.  To that end, here is an easy way to let your voice be heard.

Go to http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/Topics/wlc. This link goes to the Florida Senate Water and Land Conservation webpage set up by the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. Scroll down to the comment section to send your comments. 

If you agree with your County Commission’s position, feel free to cut and paste the following language:

Concerning the Florida Water and Land Conservation amendment funding, I am a citizen of the State of FL, who:

  1. SUPPORTS the reinstatement of funding to the State Land Acquisition Trust Fund to fully fund all the established Florida Forever programs. Protect the purpose of these programs: acquiring natural landscapes, working lands, historic and culturally significant sites, and protecting public access to recreational waterfronts.
  2. SUPPORTS allocating 10% of the proceeds designated for land management, restoration, and improvements for nature-based recreation, to local governments, with the remaining 90% being allocated to the state land management agencies. This funding should be allocated to the locality on a proportional share based on the acreage or the value of lands each locality manages for conservation and nature-based recreation.
  3. To the extent that Amendment 1 funding is allocated to water resources projects, Alachua County SUPPORTS projects that demonstrate a high return on investment by yielding permanent and substantial net improvements such as reducing groundwater pumping, increasing aquifer recharge, increasing water flows and levels, and/or reducing pollutant loadings.
  4. OPPOSES the use of Amendment 1 to supplant current funding for beach re-nourishment, springs protection, and other uses allowed in Amendment 1.

Other Water and Land Amendment resourses:
Alachua County Talks Water and Land Conservation Amendment Interview
Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Website
Alachua County Commission 2015 Florida Legislative Program

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2014 - 2015 State Legislative Program

The County’s legislative priorities for 2014 – 2015 have been compiled into a summary program.

Bills that the County is supporting include

Local Bills
1. Empowerment Center Human Services Campus - Capital Project
2. Resource Recovery Park - Capital Project

Statewide Bills
1. Amendment 1 – Florida Water and Land Conservation
2. Juvenile Detention Cost Share
3. County Medicaid Costs/Acceptance of Federal Dollars for Medicaid Expansion
4. State Tax Reform/Main Street Fairness Act
5. Mental Health: Funding for Persons With Behavioral Health Issues or Disabilities
6. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy
7. Enterprise Zone Incentive Program
8. Florida Association of Counties Guiding Principles

Click to view the Legislative Program.

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Free Weather Spotter Classes

Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Emergency Management division encourages residents to be prepared for severe weather by taking a “Weather Spotter” class from the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS Jacksonville office is offering online Weather Spotter training. The class is free, but requires registration.

According to Emergency Management Director David Donnelly, “Even with advancements in technology, such as Doppler radar, government officials still rely on a network of trained volunteers to be their eyes and ears on the ground, and to provide better weather watch and warning services.” He continued, “You can be the one to make a difference and be an asset to our community.” 

Class dates and times include (this is a single class repeated):

Friday, February 6, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Click to register.

Monday, March 23, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Click to register.

Wednesday, April 15, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Click to register.

For more information or to register by phone, contact Alachua County Emergency Management at 352-264-6500 or acem@alachuacounty.us.

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County Receives Fifth StormReady Designation

At the January 13, 2015, Board of County Commissioners Regular Meeting, Alachua County was recognized by the National Weather Service (NWS) for receiving its fifth renewal of the “StormReady” designation. In December 2000, Alachua County was the first county in Florida to be designated StormReady. On August 18, 2014, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville reviewed and approved the County’s most recent application.

In the three years since the last renewal, Alachua County has continued to improve its storm readiness program. Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Emergency Management Section has embraced social media and adapted it for weather warnings. Currently, weather watches and warnings are sent to Twitter and Facebook in an automated process utilizing NWS products. Additionally, the County purchased the Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS) to send weather warnings to individuals with sensory disabilities. Alachua County has also added weather warnings to its CodeRED notification system. Emergency Management has become an Alerting Authority under the Emergency Alert System (EAS), expanding its warning capability to television, radio, and cell phones.\

StormReady was developed by the NWS to recognize Emergency Management programs that have reached a level of excellence in preparing their communities for severe weather and hurricanes. Communities recognized as StormReady have successfully met specific storm preparedness criteria such as:

For more information, contact Alachua County Emergency Management at 352-264-6500 ,or acem@alachuacounty.us.

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Florida First Responders Appreciation Week

On December 31, 2014, Governor Rick Scott issued a proclamation recognizing January 5 – 9, as “Florida First Responder Appreciation Week.”

“There are few things as important to our community as our first responders,” said Alachua County Manager Lee A. Niblock. “They keep us safe and lead the way in responding to and recovering from emergencies. Alachua County is very appreciative of these brave men and women.”

The proclamation reads as follows:

FLORIDA FIRST RESPONDER APPRECIATION WEEK

WHEREAS, Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek and Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Smith were recently killed in the line of duty; and

WHEREAS, each loss of a law enforcement officer is heartbreaking, and losing two heroes in less than a month is a cry for peace and a signal to all Floridians to pray for our men and women in uniform who protect our communities each day; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s first responders include law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs who bravely and selflessly risk their lives every day to protect Florida families, visitors, and businesses; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s first responders do not hesitate to risk their own lives in order to save the lives of others, and their commitment to continued training, skill enhancement, and inter-agency coordination make them vital members of every Florida community; and

WHEREAS, acts of kindness and appreciation from citizens for first responders provide them needed encouragement and support to confront the dangerous and uncertain situations they face every day;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby proclaim January 5-9, 2015 as Florida First Responder Appreciation Week and encourage all Floridians to take time out of their day to show first responders and their families how much we value their service to our cities, counties, and state. Florida First Responder Appreciation Week will be an opportunity for Florida leaders at every level to demonstrate appreciation for all men and women who protect and serve our state as first responders, and an opportunity for Floridians to say, “Thank you,” to the first responders who keep them safe.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed at Tallahassee, the Capital, this 29th day of December, in the year two thousand fourteen.

View the News Release by Governor Rick Scott’s Press Office.

For more information, contact Alachua County Fire Rescue Chief William Northcutt at 352-384-3101.

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Mosquito-Borne Illness Alert Lifted for Alachua County

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua) has lifted the mosquito-borne illness alert that was issued in October after a human case of West Nile Virus had been confirmed.  Surveillance data indicate that the risk of human infection has decreased.

DOH-Alachua and local mosquito control continues surveillance and prevention efforts throughout the county.  “Although the risk has decreased, mosquito-borne infection can occur any time,” said Anthony Dennis, Environmental Health Director with the DOH-Alachua. FDOH-Alachua reminds residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by taking precautions to prevent mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business by remembering to drain and cover

DRAIN and COVER

COVER your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.

For more information on what repellent to use, consider using the EPA search tool to help choose skin-applied repellent products.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the web site for Surveillance of Wild-Bird Die-offs. For more information, visit DOH’s web site.

Report mosquito problems to the local municipal mosquito control, or the Alachua County Health Department at 352-334-7930.

For more information, contact Anthony Dennis at 352-334-7930.​

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County Retirements

During the morning Regular Meeting on January 13, the County Commission recognized the retirements of three long-term County employees.

Mr. Robert Wigglesworth retired with over 19 years of dedicated service. Mr. Orin Yaw retired after over 24 years of dedicated service, and Mr. James McNeil retired after over 33 years of dedicated service.

The County congratulates them and offers them appreciation for their many years of hard work.

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“NW 16th Ave Transformation” January Project Update

Alachua County Public Works is informing citizens on the “Northwest 16th Avenue Transformation Project” with a monthly press release giving updated information on the project’s progress.

The 4 mile project includes milling, resurfacing and reconstruction of Northwest 16th Avenue from Northwest 57th Terrace to Northwest 13th Street. It also includes widening 16th Avenue to 4-lanes from Northwest 57th Terrace to Northwest 55th Street, widening the sidewalks, upgrading the pedestrian facilities to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, addressing safety and operational issues through intersection and median opening modifications, and stabilizing the retaining walls along the corridor.

During the month of December, the contractor completed the median modifications from Northwest 43rd Street to Northwest 40th Terrace and continued with water main relocation, clay removal, and gravity wall replacement from Northwest 31st Drive to Northwest 22nd Street. Signal work, water main relocation, clay removal and gravity wall replacement will continue throughout January. Motorists should expect nighttime lane closures along the project corridor and daytime lane closures at Northwest 51st Street.

Additionally, the corridor has been reduced to one lane in each direction from approximately Northwest 31st Drive to Northwest 22nd Street. Staff encourages motorists to adhere to the reduced speed limit of 30 MPH through this section for the safety of construction personnel and motorists entering and exiting the roadway. Public Works also encourages motorists to stay informed about the project by viewing the project report sheet.

Click to view the Northwest 16th Avenue Transformation 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 Northwest 58th Boulevard to Northwest 54th Terrace to complete roadway widening and reconstruction. The work required to implement the new traffic patterns has commenced and is on-going.

The current estimated completion date for the entire project is May 2015.

For more information, contact Alachua County Transportation Engineering Manager Brian Singleton at 352-548-1306, or bsingleton@alachuacounty.us.

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Animal Services Open House

Alachua County Animal Services is hosting an open house on Saturday, January 24, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Animal Services Headquarters (3400 NE 53rd Avenue, Gainesville). The open house offers visitors an opportunity to meet animal services officers and learn about foster parenting and volunteer opportunities. There will be free microchipping (while supplies last) and door prizes.

Local animal groups will be available including Operation Catnip of Gainesville, the Veterinary Community Outreach Program at UF, and the Shelter-Neuter-Release program. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) forensic services team will give tours of their mobile crime scene investigation unit.

View/download the event flyer (PDF).

Animal Services Headquarters regular 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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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Waste Collection

Due to the observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 19, 2015, residential curbside collection services for solid waste, recycling, and yard trash will be delayed one day for the entire holiday week. The regular schedule for these services will resume the following week (Monday, January 26).

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers, the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station, the Hazardous Waste Collection Center, and the Office of Waste Collection will also be closed on Monday, January 19, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 20.

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

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FSASE Scholarship Opportunity Deadline March 16, 2015

2015 City of Gainesville Election Information
Offices on the Ballot
At-Large 1 Commission Seat
District 1 Commission Seat

Qualifying Dates
noon, Monday, January 26 through
noon, Friday, January 30

Voter Registration Deadline
Monday, February 16

Deadline to Request Mail Ballot
March 11, 2015 by 5 p.m.

City of Gainesville Election
Tuesday, March 17
Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter announces the opportunity for local college or university students to apply for a $1,200 scholarship through the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE).

 FSASE will award three $1,200 scholarships.  The deadline to submit applications to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections is March 16, 2015.

The scholarships will be awarded to full-time students attending an accredited Florida university or college.

Applicants must be enrolled or accepted as a junior or senior and be either a Political Science major, a Public or Business Administration major or a Journalism/Mass Communications major. 
Applicants must:

Applications may be obtained online at VoteAlachua.com or from the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at 111 SE 1st Avenue, Gainesville.  Completed applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Supervisor of Election of the County in which you are registered to vote. 

All Alachua County applications will be reviewed by the Supervisor of Elections Office and one finalist will be forwarded to the FSASE Scholarship Committee to represent Alachua County. 

The FSASE Scholarship Committee will select three winners ($1,200 scholarship) from the finalists submitted from Supervisors of Elections throughout the State of Florida.

The scholarship is awarded in June; therefore applicants must be a student post-June of the award year.

For additional information, contact the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections at 352-374-5252.

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Commission Highlights

Mr. Robert Wigglesworth’s Retirement
The Board recognized Mr. Robert Wigglesworth’s 19 years of dedicated service by presenting him a token of appreciation.

Mr. Orin Yaw’s Retirement
The Board recognized Mr. Orin Yaw’s 24 years of dedicated service by presenting him a token of appreciation.

Mr. James McNeil’s Retirement
The Board recognized Mr. James McNeil’s 33 years of dedicated service by presenting him a token of appreciation.

National Weather Service StormReady Community
The Board heard a presentation concerning Alachua County’s re-designation as a National Weather Service StormReady Community.

Veteran Services Advisory Board
The Board heard a presentation by the Veteran Services Advisory Board.

Attachment: 2014-2015 VAB Annual Report and letter.pdf

Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center’s Advisory Board
The Board heard a presentation by the Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center’s Advisory Board.

Attachment: 2014 15 workplan victim advisory board.pdf
Attachment: 
2014_15 VSRCC Board Presentation 2015.pdf

Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Board approved the Local 3852 Management Unit International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Amended Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Attachment: IAFFManagement Unit Proposed Agreement.pdf
Attachment: 
IAFF MANAGEMENT SUMMARY2014-2017.docxdg12182014.pdf

Administrative Services Director
The Board approved Manager Niblock’s request to add an Administrative Services Director position to the Manager’s Office.

Small-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment
The Board approved CPA-06-14: A small-scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the future land use designation from Tourist/Entertainment to Rural/Agricultural.
Attachment: 
CPA06ZOM0514.pptx
Attachment: 
Ordinance for CPA0614.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA0614SR.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA06ZOM0514.pdf
Attachment: 
Resolution for ZOM0514.pdf

Tomoca Hills Subdivision

The Board approved the proposed replat of Tomoca Hills Subdivision Unit 2, Lot 2 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: TH_Replat_U2L2_Presentation.pdf
Attachment: 
TH_U2_L2_CH_SR.pdf
Attachment: 
TH_U2_L2_REPLAT.pdf
Attachment: 
TH_U2_L2_BND_SUR.pdf
Attachment: 
TH_U2_L2_GM_SR.pdf
Attachment: 
TH_U2_Orig_PLAT.pdf

Town of Tioga Planned Development
The Board approved the proposed Final Plat of Town of Tioga Planned Development Phase 15 based on the recommendation by 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: TOT_Ph_15_Plat_2_of_3.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph_15_Plat_3_of_3.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph15_CH_SR.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_ZMP.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph_15_OS_Plan.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph_15_Plat_1_of_3.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph15_GM_SR.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Plat_Phase15_Presentation.pdf
Attachment: 
TOT_Ph_15_LS_Plan.pdf

Rezoning From Highway-Oriented Business Services to Agricultural
The Board approved Resolution Z-14-11, approving ZOM-05-14, a rezoning from BH (Highway-Oriented Business Services) to A (Agricultural).

Attachment: Resolution for ZOM0514.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA06ZOM0514.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA0614SR.pdf
Attachment: 
CPA06ZOM0514.pptx

Non-Residential PD Zoning
The Board approved ZOM-01-15: A request for a non-residential PD zoning district on approximately 96 acres.

Attachment: ZOM0115 Staff Report.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOM0115 Background Materials Part 1.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOM0115 Background Materials Part 2.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOM0115 Powerpoint.pptx
Attachment: 
ZOM0115 Powerpoint.pdf
Attachment: 
Resolution for ZOM0115.docx.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.