September 14th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

County Receives FPL Rebate Check
Tentative Budget Passes First Public Hearing
Community Support Services on Alachua County Talks
Hurricane Preparedness with Pets
Phone Survey for Alachua County Residents
Tree Removal on Millhopper Road
Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board Citizens Work Group Announces Strategic Planning Summit
September Extension Programs
09-15-15 Special Meetings
Commission Highlights

County Receives FPL Rebate Check

Alachua County Facilities Management is pleased to announce the recent award of a $40,640 rebate check from Florida Power and Light (FPL) for the solar photovoltaic system on the roof of Fire Station #25 in Hawthorne. The check was awarded in accordance with FPL’s PV Rebate Program. The scope of the project included the installation of a 23,760 watt grid-tied solar photovoltaic system. The total project cost was $57,000 and was completed on April 29, 2015. It was completed on time and within budget.

The project came about through a series of events including the following:

While completing this task, the County was made aware of rebate opportunities with FPL and Duke Energy. In January 2015, the County submitted rebate applications for the Southwest Landfill, Fire Station 23 in Waldo, Fire Station 27 in Archer, and Fire Station 25 in Hawthorne.  Fire Station 25 in Hawthorne was selected. The Board approved of funding the project with $40,640 out of the Utility Saving Reinvestment Fund and the remaining $16,360 with general funds. The actual solar installation was done by Solar Impact of Gainesville. The project is projected to pay for itself in 2.2 years.

Project Coordinator Greg Nuetzi stated that, “This system will produce no pollution or hazardous waste and does not require any fuels that need to be transported or combusted. We are excited about this opportunity to improve our environment while at the same time providing a good return on investment for the citizens of Alachua County.”

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

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Tentative Budget Passes First Public Hearing

On September 8, in the first of two required Public Hearings to adopt the FY16 Budget, the Alachua County Commission unanimously approved the Tentative Budget, which includes $190 million in taxing funds.

In light of new revenue from a property value increase of approximately 2.9 percent, the Commission has called for a modest decrease in the General Fund Millage Rate. New revenues will be used primarily to cover healthcare and Florida Retirement System (FRS) increases for both the Commission Departments and all of the Constitutional Officers.

All Commission Departments and the Constitutional Officers (the Sheriff, the Property Appraiser, the Tax Collector, the Supervisor of Elections, and the Clerk of the Court) will receive a budget boost over last year’s adopted budget.

Budget highlights include:

View the FY16 Tentative and FY17 Planned Budget.

The second and final Public Hearing will be held at 5:01 p.m. on September 22, 2015. The hearing is in the Jack Durrance Auditorium located in the County Administration Building (12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville).

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

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Community Support Services on Alachua County Talks

This edition of Alachua County Talks, features an interview with Alachua County Community Support Services Director Susan Myers. In the interview, Myers discusses the office’s mission to provide comprehensive health and human services and to establish local and regional partnerships which positively impact the well-being of individuals, families and communities.

In speaking of the program Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “This interview brings insight into the essential work being done at Community Support Services to promote the well-being of our citizens.”

View the Interview Online.

For more information, visit Alachua County Community Support Services or email

View the complete Channel 12 Schedule.

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

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Hurricane Preparedness with Pets

Alachua County Animal Services is urging pet owners to be prepared this hurricane season by having a disaster plan that includes pets, and by bringing their pets when evacuating.

Pet owners should post a rescue alert sticker near the home entrance to alert rescue personnel that there are pets in the home. In the event that it is necessary to evacuate with pets, be sure to write “EVAUCATED” across the sticker so rescue workers do not spend valuable time looking for pets. Pet owners can receive these stickers for free from the ASPCA website.

It is also important to assemble a pet emergency preparedness kit, and keep the pet’s essential supplies in a sturdy container that can be easily transported. The kit should include the following supplies: 

Before disaster strikes, know a safe place to take pets. Talk with friends or family concerning alternative housing for pets. Contact pet friendly hotels and motels outside of the local area for an alternate place to stay. Explore boarding facilities or veterinary offices regarding their emergency shelter policies or procedures. 

If you are going to an Alachua County emergency shelter, you may bring your pet.  Due to health and safety regulations, all pets arriving at these shelters will be picked up by Animal Services and transported to the animal shelter to be housed until the threat is over and pet owners and pets can safely return home.

Make sure pets are wearing collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Pet ID tags should contain the pet’s name, owner’s telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Having pets micro-chipped in advance is strongly recommended as a more permanent form of identification. Make sure micro-chip companies have all current contact information on file. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name, and contact information on your pet’s carrier or crate.

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

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Phone Survey for Alachua County Residents

Alachua County is conducting a telephone survey to assist with evaluating several local environmental outreach programs. When residents are called, the interviewer will identify him/herself as being from the Florida Survey Research Center at the University of Florida. The survey takes most people less than 10 minutes to complete. Honest participation will help the County better serve residents and participation is greatly appreciated.

For more information, call Stacie Greco at 352-264-6829 or email

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Tree Removal on Millhopper Road

Alachua County Public Works has scheduled the removal of several dead and diseased trees on Millhopper Road between NW 43rd St and San Felasco State Park, beginning Monday, September 14, 2015. Brief lane closures will be necessary in some areas.

For more information, contact Alachua County Horticulturist Heather Martin at 352-214-7702 or

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Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board Citizens Work Group Announces Strategic Planning Summit

The Citizens Work Group of the Empowerment Center Advisory Board is holding a strategic planning summit on Monday, September 21, 2015, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center (1028 N.E. 14th Street, Gainesville). The goal of the summit is to increase both the effectiveness of the Citizens Work Group, and the services currently provided to Alachua County’s homeless citizens.

The agenda for the evening includes an overview of services provided, breakout discussions, and action planning.

Organizational stakeholders will be divided into breakout groups based on the type of serves they provide. Such services include (but are not limited to) permanent housing, transportation, community stabilization, and fundraising. Each group will have time to determine the services currently being offered, and then work to figure out what is lacking for the area’s homeless population.

Members from the City and County Commissions, as well as representatives from over 50 organizations, have been invited.

For more information or to participate in this public event, contact Alachua County Community Stabilization Program Manager Marie Small at 352-264-6716 or

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September Extension Programs

Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

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

First Time Home Buyers Education Program – September 14, September 21, and September 28, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This 3-part series offers resources that can help with buying, maintaining, and keeping a home. Upon completion of this program, participants will receive a certificate of attendance. The classes will cover the following:

Session 1 – Monday, September 14

Information on getting budgets and credit worthiness in line, determining how expensive of a home can be afforded, and understanding the responsibilities and costs of being a responsible homeowner.

Session 2 – Monday, September 21

Understanding the sales contract, home inspections and mortgage process, selecting homeowners’ insurance, warranties, and the closing process.

Session 3 – Monday, September 28

Question and answer time and an opportunity to get valuable tips from those involved in the process of buying a home.

The cost for the entire series is $10.00 per individual or couple.

Please pre-register by September 8, 2015, by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail). Subject to cancellation if less than 6 people register.

View/download the program flyer (PDF).

Environmental Horticulture Program

This program is being offered by Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers at the Thelma Boltin Center (516 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Gainesville).

Florida-Friendly Landscape™ Tour – September 19, 2015, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Alachua County Master Gardeners will be offering a tour of Florida-Friendly Landscapes in the Historic Duckpond area of Gainesville. These yards exemplify water conservation and environmentally friendly landscaping practices. The event starts at the Thelma Boltin Center, beginning with a Florida Friendly talk and exhibits. Parking is limited; carpooling/cycling/walking is encouraged.

Participants will tour the selected landscapes at their own pace (map will be provided). These landscape sites will have Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers as guides.

The tour is free. Pre-registration is recommended by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail). 

View/download the tour flyer (PDF).

4-H Program

This program is being offered by Matt Benge, Alachua County 4-H Agent, at the Tractor Supply Company (5440 N.W. 13th Street, Gainesville).

4-H Round-Up Open House – September 19, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Open House will give citizens who would like to volunteer, or learn about 4-H programs the opportunity to get information on activities, camps, projects, the youth fair and livestock show, and more.  4-H club leaders and members will be present to talk about different project areas and opportunities. Families are encouraged to attend and learn about Alachua County 4-H.

This 4-H event is free and open to youth ages 5 to 18. Visit the 4-H website.

View/download the open house flyer (PDF).

Agriculture & Natural Resources Program

This program is being offered by Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 N.E. 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Private Applicator Pesticide School – September 24, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent).

This workshop is designed to provide training for the private applicator agricultural pest control license.  The private applicator license is required for anyone that applies restricted use pesticides to their own farm, greenhouse, or nursery. Topics include: private applicator and regulations, equipment calibration and pesticide arithmetic, pesticide safety, and principles of pest control. 

3 Core & 3 Private Applicator CEUs will be offered for applicators that already have their licenses.

The full day registration fee is $20.00 (which includes lunch); the half day registration fee is $10.00 (with no lunch). 

Pre-register by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail) at least three working days prior to the program. 

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

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09-15-15 Special Meetings

The Alachua County Commission will conduct two Special Meetings on Tuesday, September 15, 2015. The morning meeting begins at 10 a.m., and the afternoon meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the Grace Knight Conference Room, located on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).

The 10 a.m. meeting agenda:

1. Continuity of Government (COG) exercise review and improvement planning

View agenda and backup.

The 1:30 p.m. meeting agenda:

1. Update on solid waste and resource recovery activities

View agenda and backup.

The public is invited to attend the meetings. They will be available to view live on Cox Channel 12 or on the County’s Video on Demand website.

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


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Commission Highlights

Homeless Veterans Stand Down Day

The Board proclaimed September 11, 2015, as “Homeless Veterans Stand Down Day” in Alachua County, FL. Attachment: Homeless Veterans Stand Down Day 2015.pdf

National Senior Center Month

The Board proclaimed September 2015 as “National Senior Center Month” in Alachua County, FL. Attachment: National Senior Center Month 2015.pdf

352 Cultural Plan

The Board heard the presentation on the 352 Cultural Plan. The Board directed staff to review the proposal and bring back a blue sheet item for Board approval. The Board also directed staff to work with the Active Street Alliance and other organizers of the Kinetic Street Event to coordinate the necessary steps to facilitate the event in the spring.

Attachment: 352 Arts Roadmap Presentation sept 2015.pdf

Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Director

The Board confirmed Sally Palmi as Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Director for Alachua County, at an annual salary of $92,000.00 effective October 5, 2015.

Attachment: FY16 OMB Positions.pdf
Attachment: Palmistatementofunderstanding.pdf
Attachment: SCPalmiResume2015.pdf

Budget Amendment and a Budget Resolution

The Board adopted Resolution 15-103, and authorized the Chair to sign a Budget Amendment and a Budget Resolution establishing Fund 247 as the FY16 State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program Fund. The Board also approved the FY16 SHIP Funding Certification. The Board authorized the Chair to sign the certification and directed staff to organize a community-wide housing summit/workshop with all applicable stakeholders in both the County and surrounding municipalities to identify funding sources, uses, and engage in a coordinated discussion of our County-wide housing initiatives. 

Amount: $611,600.00 Revenue

Attachment: SHIP Budget Resolution.pdf
Attachment: SHIP distributions 2015 2016 budgets.pdf
Attachment: BM15 212.pdf
Attachment: FY 2015 2016 SHIP Cert Final.pdf

Office of State Courts Administrator

The Board approved the Inter-Agency Agreement with the Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA), which provides for access to criminal history and other criminal justice-related information through the Judicial Inquiry System. The Board finds that accepting the duty to indemnify is in the best interest of Alachua County and the Board approves the Agreement between Alachua County and OSCA.

Attachment: JISAgreementForm.pdf
Attachment: CJUserAgreementFDLEOSCA.pdf

CHOICES Indigent Care Surtax Use Plan

The Board authorized the Chair to approve the CHOICES Indigent Care Surtax Use Plan for FY15/16

The Board conducted a public hearing to approve proposed FY16 millage rates for the General County, MSTU - Unincorporated Services, MSTU - Law Enforcement Funds, MSTU - Fire Protection Services, Alachua County Forever Debt Service Funds, and Adjusted Tentative Budget.

Attachment: 7a 15_72 MSTU Law Enf Millage Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: 8b 15_75 MSTU Fire Budget Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: Revenue Phase Report.pdf
Attachment: 6b 15_71 MSTU Uninc Budget Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: FY16 Millage Chart Tentative Budget.pdf
Attachment: 5b 15_69 General County Budget Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: 1 Agenda First Public Hearing Sept 08 2015.pdf
Attachment: 8a 15_74 MSTU Fire Millage Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: Expenditure Phase Report.pdf
Attachment: 6a 15_70 MSTU Uninc Millage Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: 5a 15_68General County Millage Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: 7b 15_73 MSTU Law Enf Budget Reso 15 1st PH.pdf
Attachment: FY16 Budget Development Changes to Tentative Budget.pdf

Solid Waste Final Rate Resolution

Concerning the Solid Waste Final Rate Resolution, the Board adopted the Final Assessment Resolution for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 and authorized the Chair to certify the non-ad valorem assessment roll to the Tax Collector.

Amount: Revenue: $7,660,148.38

Attachment: Final_Rate_Resolution_FY15_16.pdf
Attachment: Draft Certification.pdf

Preservation and Enhancement District Non-Ad Valorem Assessment

Concerning the Preservation and Enhancement District Non-Ad Valorem Assessment, the Board adopted the Resolution of Intent to continue the use of the Non-Ad Valorem Assessment, set the rate, and authorize the provision of notice to affected property owners on the Notice of Proposed Taxes ( TRIM- Truth in Millage).

Amount: $49,860.00


Alachua County Registry of Protected Public Places

The Board directed the Environmental Protection Department to consult with the Public Works Department and return with legal descriptions that include an allowance for future right-of-way where needed.

Attachment: 150908 Registry PowerPoint.pptx
Attachment: Exhibit 3 Conversion4Ever Memo from CAO.pdf
Attachment: Exhibit 2 Watermelon Pond Additions Registry Resolution.pdf
Attachment: Exhibit 4 Ordinance 08 016.pdf
Attachment: Exhibit 1 Buck Bay Flatwoods Registry Resolution.pdf

Wild Spaces & Public Places

The Board adopted the Attached Resolution (Exhibit 4) to add the Wild Spaces & Public Places oversight duties to the Land Conservation Board, authorize the Chair’s signature, and sunset the Wild Spaces & Public Places Citizens Oversight Committee.

Attachment: Exhibit 4 Proposed Resolution 14 050 Revision 2015.pdf
Attachment: 150908 WSPP.ppt
Attachment: Exhibit 2 WSPP Statement of Rev and Exp March 31 2015.pdf
Attachment: Exhibit 1 Resolution 14 050.pdf
Attachment: Exhibit 3 Proposed Resolution 14 050 Revision 2015_Redline.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.