February 15th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

02-16-16 Plum Creek Public Hearing
2016 ACCESS Spring Classes
Jury Duty Scam Warning
Alachua County Talks - Alachua County Library District
ACFR Unveils Two New Bariatric Ambulances
“Come Together: Housing for All” Affordable Housing Summit
Upcoming CERT Classes
Storm Spotter Class
Deadline Almost Up to Register to Vote for the Upcoming Election
A Known Case of Zika Virus confirmed in Alachua County
February Extension Programs
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Lunch and Learn Event
Commission Highlights

02-16-16 Plum Creek Public Hearing

The Alachua County Commission will conduct a Public Hearing to consider transmittal of the Envision Alachua Sector Plan/Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA-01-14) on February 16, 2016, beginning at 5 p.m. The hearing will take place in the Eastside High School Auditorium (1201 S.E. 43rd Street, Gainesville). The hearing may be continued to Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 5 p.m. if necessary.

Those wishing to show pictures, charts, graphs, or other documents will need to have them available on a USB Flash Drive, or CD. The County will not have a document cameral available. Those with documents are encouraged to bring copies to share with the County Commission.

View the meeting agenda and backup.

View the Envision Alachua Sector Plan Application and Staff Report.

Questions or comments should be sent to planning@alachuacounty.us, or mailed to:

Alachua County Growth Management Department
3rd Floor
10 S.W. 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601

The Hearing will not be available to view live on Cox Cable Channel 12, or on the County Video on Demand website. It will be recorded and played after the meeting. Visit the Video on Demand website to view the recorded meeting and view the Channel 12 schedule to see when it will be available.

For more information or to comment by phone, contact the Alachua County Growth Management Department at 352-374-5249.

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2016 ACCESS Spring Classes

The public is invited to participate in the Alachua County Civic Education SerieS (ACCESS) classes, beginning on April 7, 2016. The free program runs for eight sessions (on Thursday mornings). Space is limited. The registration deadline is March 27.

ACCESS offers Alachua County citizens an opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes tours, hear lectures, and interact with your elected and public Alachua County officials from the Board of County Commissioners, Constitutional Officers, Courts, the Library District, and (new this year) the School Board. Each ACCESS graduating class produces citizens better equipped to engage in ways that help Alachua County become more representative of its citizenry’s needs.

County Manager Dr. Lee A. Niblock invites ACCESS participants to, “Meet the men and women who serve the County and hear about the vast variety of discretionary and mandated services provided to you through your local government.”

The ACCESS program provides valuable information for those already active in local government or new to government involvement.

To view a complete schedule of classes and to register online, visit the ACCESS website.

For more information call 352-374-5262.

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Jury Duty Scam Warning

Alachua County is alerting residents that local citizens are being targeted by phone calls threatening them with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service. Clerk of the Circuit Court J. K. Irby is warning area citizens to be on their guard against the so-called “jury duty” scam.

The scam works like this: A person receives a phone call from someone claiming to be with their local police, sheriff’s department, or the county courts. The caller states that the person has missed jury duty and that there is a warrant out for their arrest. In some cases, the scam may be used to trick a citizen into providing sensitive personal information “to clear it up.” The caller says he’ll need some information for “verification purposes”— your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number all leading to identity theft.  If the citizen responds to the caller, he or she is instructed that they can pay a fine, and to send money to the caller (who is, in reality, a scammer) in order to avoid arrest. The citizen may be asked to provide a bank account number, wire money, or put cash on a prepaid debit card like a Green Dot MoneyPak or similar card and send it to the scammer.

This scam preys on citizens’ unfamiliarity with how the jury duty summons process works. The caller may appear to be very legitimate – with Caller ID showing a local number with police department information and an official-sounding voice on the phone.

Here are a few things citizens can use to spot these scams: 

Irby says, “Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a court official seeking to scam our local citizens. Persons receiving such a telephone call or email should not provide the requested information and should notify the Clerk of Court’s office or the Alachua County Sheriff’s office.”

For more information, contact Alachua County Clerk of the Circuit Court J. K. Irby at 352-374-3636.

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Alachua County Talks - Alachua County Library District

This edition of Alachua County Talks features an interview with Alachua County Library District Director Shaney T. Livingston. Livingston discusses the varied services provided by the Alachua County Library system, including digital, mobile and traditional library services.

In speaking of the program, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “The Alachua County Library District is a wonderful resource available to the citizens of Alachua County. Director Livingston shares a wealth of information on the many ways our library system enriches our community. “

Watch this episode of Alachua County talks.

For more information, visit the Alachua County Library District online or call the 352- 334-3900.

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ACFR Unveils Two New Bariatric Ambulances

Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) has expanded its transport capability with the addition of two new bariatric ambulances. These ambulances operate from Station 10 on the east side of Alachua County, and Station 16 on the west side.

“The bariatric program was designed to meet the growing needs of our community and allow us to provide safe, comfortable medical transportation for our bariatric patients,” said Alachua County Assistant Chief of EMS Jeff Taylor. 

The ambulances are stocked with all of the equipment that standard ambulances carry, but with a couple of key differences.  Each unit is outfitted with a hydraulic Mac lift and can accommodate Stryker bariatric stretchers designed to safely transport patients weighing up to 1,600 pounds. 

“The standard equipment carried on our ambulances is often insufficient to handle our larger, heavier patients,” Taylor said.  “The addition of these units to the fleet allows us to significantly lower the risks to both patient and provider associated with these transports while increasing the patient’s comfort and dignity.”

For more information, contact Jeff Taylor at 352-384-3131 or jetaylor@alachuacounty.us.

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“Come Together: Housing for All” Affordable Housing Summit

Alachua County is hosting the “Affordable Housing Summit” on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Alachua County Health Department (224 S.E. 24th Street, Gainesville). Registered participants are encouraged to arrive by 8:30 a.m. Although registration is full, seating may be available on a first come, first served basis. The media is invited to attend and cover the event.

The theme of the summit is “Coming Together: Housing for All.” It is widely acknowledged there are issues with affordable housing in Florida, and each community must come together to address these problems. The goal of the summit is to identify Alachua County’s housing needs and priorities, potential solutions and viable action items to advance affordable housing for all. A summary report with a menu of recommendations will be presented to the County Commission at a later date (to be announced). The report will be shared with other organizations and will be available for the public.

Topics such as: fair housing, Housing First, affordable rental housing, inclusionary housing, and tiny houses will be discussed. As part of the housing summit, a tiny home will be built on-site outside in the parking lot during the meeting. Visitors are welcome to view the progress on the home and tour the other model structures the day of the event.

Participants are encouraged to donate much needed supplies such as toiletries, coats, blankets, linens, and towels for residents of GRACE Marketplace and Dignity Village. Donation bins will be available at the summit and all supplies will go directly to GRACE Marketplace.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Growth Management Housing Programs Office at 352-337-6284.

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Upcoming CERT Classes

Alachua County Emergency Management is enrolling citizens for its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program. The seven classes are on Wednesday evenings (from February 17, through March 16, 2016), and each session runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Classes are held at the Alachua County Emergency Operations Center (1100 SE 27th Street, Gainesville). The classes are free, and the registration deadline is February 15.

Alachua County Emergency Management Coordinator Ebbin Spellman said, “Hurricane season is just around the corner, but we can be impacted by other incidents such as wildfires, extreme weather, manmade and technological hazards to name a few.” He continued, “CERT teaches citizens how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.”

Class topics include:

Click to register online.

For more information, call Alachua County Emergency Management at 352-264-6500.

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Storm Spotter Class

Alachua County Emergency Management, in cooperation with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, is sponsoring a Storm Spotter class on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The class is at the Alachua County Public Health Auditorium (224 S.E. 24th Street, Gainesville).

The training will teach skills that will allow attendees to become local volunteer storm trackers.

Alachua County Emergency Management Director, David Donnelly said, “Even with advancements in technology, such as Doppler radar, government officials must still rely on a network of trained volunteers to become their eyes and ears on the ground 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.”

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

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Deadline Almost Up to Register to Vote for the Upcoming Election

Voter Registration Deadline
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Party Change Deadline
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deadline to Request Mail Ballot
March 9th by 5 PM

Early Voting
Fri., March 4th thru Sat., March 12th
9 AM to 5 PM except Thursday, March 10th
Thursday – 10 AM to 6 PM

Early Voting Locations
Supervisor of Elections Office
515 N. Main Street - New

Millhopper Branch Library
3145 NW 43rd Street

Tower Road Branch Library
3020 SW 76th Street

PPP & Gainesville Election
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
 Polls open from 7 AM to 7 PM

If you are not registered to vote for the upcoming election, you are just about out of time. Tuesday, February 16, 2016 is the last day to register to vote or change your party affiliation for the March 15, 2016 Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville Election. Voters are encouraged to verify and update their registration status online at VoteAlachua.com by clicking on the link, “My Registration Status.” The Supervisor of Elections Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. to accept voter registration applications. The new office is located at 515 North Main Street, Suite 300, Gainesville.

Registration forms are available online at VoteAlachua.com. You may use this form to register to vote, change your party affiliation, update your voter information, or to update your signature by downloading the application, and returning the completed signed form to our office. You may also register to vote in person at the Supervisor of Elections Office, at a Florida Driver License Office, at any Alachua County Public Library, at any of our outreach event, or by mail.

For a list of other facilities in the county where voter registration application forms may be obtained or to view our outreach calendar, please visit our website or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252. To vote in the Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville Election, mail-in applications must be postmarked no later than the February 16th deadline.

Florida is a closed Primary state. This means in a Florida Primary Election, you may vote only for candidates of the political party in which you are registered.

All registered voters living within the Gainesville city limits are eligible to vote in the Mayor race. Only eligible City of Gainesville voters living in Gainesville District 4 may vote in the District 4 race.

Sample Ballots Online

Voters may view the sample ballot for the March 15th Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville Election online at VoteAlachua.com by clicking on “Elections & Records” from the menu on the left side of the page then “Sample Ballots,” or they may view their individual ballot by clicking on “My Registration Status” in the upper right hand corner.

Audio Sample Ballot

An audio sample ballot is also available in MP format or in text version on the Supervisor of Elections’ website at VoteAlachua.com by clicking on “Elections & Records” from the menu on the left side of the page then “Sample Ballots”, or if you prefer, you may borrow a CD with the audio format from one of the following locations:

Any Alachua County Library
Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida, 222 S.W. 36th Terrace, Gainesville
Division of Blind Services, 3620 NW 43rd Street, Suite C, Gainesville
Supervisor of Elections Office, 515 North Main Street, Suite 300, Gainesville

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

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A Known Case of Zika Virus confirmed in Alachua County

In a recent “Daily Zika Update,” State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong added a known case of Zika virus in Alachua County.

Please see details below:


Communications Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In an effort to keep Florida residents and visitors safe and aware about the status of the Zika virus, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong will issue a Zika virus update each week day at 2 p.m. Updates will include a CDC-confirmed Zika case count by county and information to better keep Floridians prepared.

As of today, two new Zika cases have been confirmed with one in Alachua County and one additional case in Broward County. Dr. Armstrong’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency has been expanded to include Alachua County.

Today, Governor Rick Scott directed State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong to activate a Zika Virus Information Hotline for current Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning on traveling to Florida in the near future. The hotline will be managed by the Department of Health, and will answer questions on the Zika virus and the state’s preparedness efforts. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735.

Yesterday, at the request of Governor Scott, the CDC hosted a conference call with Florida health care professionals - including OBGYNS, doctors and those who work with pregnant women - on how Zika is spread, its symptoms, treatments and proper precautions. Nearly 600 phone lines dialed in to participate in the briefing and question and answer session.

All cases are travel-associated. There have been no locally-acquired cases of Zika in Florida. None of the confirmed cases involve pregnant women. For more information on the Zika virus, click here.

State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellents when enjoying the Florida outdoors.

More Information on DOH action on Zika:

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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February Extension Programs

In a recent “Daily Zika Update,” State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong added a known case of Zika virus in Alachua County.

Please see details below:

Environmental & Community Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Denise DeBusk, Environmental & Community Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

Grow Potatoes with Success – February 18, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Potatoes are easy to grow in the garden. Soil preparation and variety selection will be covered in the class. Also covered are cultural techniques and how to harvest and cure potatoes.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Getting Ready for Spring – February 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Springtime in north Florida is a great time to garden and attend to “spring cleaning” in landscapes. This class will focus on pruning, mulching, irrigation, and other spring cleaning chores.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening – February 25, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Learn what crops to grow in spring gardens and about the efficient technique of growing vegetables in raised beds.

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

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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Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Lunch and Learn Event

The Alachua County Office of Sustainability invites citizens to a “Lunch and Learn” event about Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) on Friday, February 26, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The free event is in the Grace Knight Conference Room, on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).

Participants will learn about this alternative means of financing clean energy projects. Representatives from Gainesville Loves Mountains will speak about the policies and history of PACE. Gainesville Loves Mountains is a group of concerned volunteers with diverse perspectives on energy solutions for Gainesville’s future.

The event is part of a regular series of workshops and information sessions for the Water Energy and Waste Opportunities for Conservation (WEWOC) program by Alachua County’s Office of Sustainability. They offer the Lunch and Learn events as an opportunity for community discussion and empowerment. 

Parking is available in the City parking garage (105 SW 3rd St, Gainesville) on the second (green) floor of the deck. Tickets are validated from the County Manager’s Office. Participants are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch.

For more information, contact Program Development Specialist for the Alachua County Office of Sustainability Rachel Wayne at 352-264-6986 or rwayne@alachuacounty.us.

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Commission Highlights


The Board heard the following announcements by Production Coordinator Alan Yeatter:

Mr. Yeatter informed the Board that the new audio and video system has been installed in the Boardroom. The new equipment will provide a high resolution picture and better audio.

A new session of ACCESS Program classes are beginning on April 7, 2016. The deadline to register is March 27, 2016 is free to the public. The program is a total of 8 sessions that will educate the public on the various operations provided by the local government. For more information contact (352) 374-5262.

Clerk of Court Irby warned the citizens of Alachua County that there is a scam currently operating in Alachua County. The citizen will receive a call that claims they have missed Jury Duty and must pay a fine or face arrest. He wanted the citizens to know that the Clerk Office will not contact you by phone if you have missed Jury Duty. The citizens should at no time provide funds to anyone claiming you must pay for a cost associated with Jury Duty.

Local Food Week

The Board proclaimed February 7 - 14, 2016 as “Local Food Week” in Alachua County, FL.
Local Food Week 2016.pdf

Sheriff Sadie Darnell
The Board heard a presentation by Sheriff Sadie Darnell on the Teen Driver Challenge Program.

Strike Out Hunger Food Drive and Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway

The Board approved the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc.’s request for financial support for the Strike Out Hunger Food Drive and Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway.
Amount: $5,000.00
IRS 501 C3 Determination Letter .pdf
Attachment: Florida Department of Consumer Affairs Solicitation Letter.pdf
Attachment: Thanksgiving Financial Support Form .11.19.15.pdf
Attachment: 2015 Strike Out Hunger Food Drive Brochure. 4.8.15.pdf
Attachment: 15 01 Financial Support of Special Event or Program 100915.pdf

Wild Spaces Public Places Ballot Initiative

The Board adopted a County project list for inclusion in the renewal of the Wild Spaces Public Places Ballot Initiative and added the City of High Springs to the City of Newberry Rail Trail to the list.
Ballot Initative Responses.pdf
Attachment: Full Packet 112015.pdf
Attachment: 120115 Newberry.pdf
Attachment: Proposed County List.pdf
Attachment: Parks and Recreation Projects List.pdf
Attachment: 112415 Archer.pdf
Attachment: Map series Nominations through Acquisition.pptx
Attachment: WSPP Timeline.pdf
Attachment: DRAFT Ordinance 121515.pdf

No More Homeless Pets Network

The Board approved the Agreement and Release for the No More Homeless Pets Network. The Board approved the waiving of the indemnification policy.
Agreement Alachua County and Best friends Animal Society.pdf

Cell Phone/Tablet Policy

The Board approved the Cell Phone/Tablet policy, as presented.
16 05 Cell Policy revised 120215.pdf
Attachment: Resolution Cell Phone Tablet Policy.pdf

BBI Construction Management

The Board approved proposed improvements and executed the Budget Amendment and CM at Risk Contract with BBI Construction Management, Inc.
Amount: $18,000
Attachment: PRESENTATION_2nd_Floor_Admin.pdf
Attachment: CM at Risk with GMP between Alachua County and BBI Inc for Admin Bldg renovation bid # 15 530.pdf


The Board directed staff to develop an Interlocal Agreement with RTS which enhances service levels to expand weekend and holiday span of service and add the eastside enhancements to the Budget Discussions.
2015 RTS Revenues.pdf
Attachment: 0209RTSFY2017.pdf
Attachment: RTSHomeWorkanalysis.pdf
Attachment: 0209RTSFY2017.pptx
Attachment: 2015 RTS Expenses.pdf
Attachment: TotalUnincorpratedService.pdf

Melrose Fire Services

County Manager Niblock stated that he and Fire Chief Northcutt would be taking a trip to Palatka to discuss the fire services payment arrangements for the Melrose area

Alachua County League of Cities

The Board asked the County Attorney to provide clarity on the legal status of the entity the “Alachua County League of Cities” as it relates to the application of the Sunshine Law

Windsor Volunteer Fire Services Agreement

Concerning the Windsor Volunteer Fire Services Agreement, the Board approved scheduling a consolidated fire and rescue delivery discussion at the next available special meeting.

Quit-Claim Deeds

The Board adopted the Resolution to vacate the portion of SW 65 Avenue as requested and execute the two Quit-Claim Deeds and authorized the Chair to execute any additional documents necessary to complete this transaction, subject to the approval of the County Attorney.
Attachment: SW_65_Ave_Resolution.pdf
Attachment: SW_65_Ave_Smith_QCD.pdf
Attachment: SW_65_Ave_DavisGanace_QCD.pdf
Attachment: SW_65_Ave_LocationMaps.pdf

SW 95 Street

The Board approved vacating the portions of SW 95 Street, SW 99 Street and SW 103 Street as requested. The Chair was authorized to execute any additional documents approved by the County Attorney, necessary to complete this transaction.
Attachment: SW_95_99_103_PH_pptscan.pdf
Attachment: SW_95_99_103_St_LocationMaps.pdf

Sugarfoot Oaks/Cedar Ridge Preservation and Enhancement District

The Board held the Public Hearing and adopted the Resolution of Intent to use the uniform method of collecting non-ad valorem assessments for collection, disposal, recycling and management of solid waste throughout Alachua County and for community maintenance in the Sugarfoot Oaks/Cedar Ridge Preservation and Enhancement District for Fiscal Year 2016-17.
Alternative March 1 timeline ltr_TC2015.pdf
Attachment: ResInt 16 for 16_17 Public Hearing.pdf
Attachment: Alternative March 1 Timeline ltr_PA2015.pd

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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