October 17th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Josiah T. Walls Building Dedication
Alachua County Forever Bond Burning Event
18th Annual Trashformations Recycled Art Competition
Benny Beckham Retires
Be Election Ready! It’s as Easy was 1 – 2 – 3
Commission Highlights

Josiah T. Walls Building Dedication

On Sunday, October 16, the County dedicated the building at 515 N. Main Street in Gainesville as the Josiah T. Walls Building. This building is the home of the Alachua County Property Appraiser and the Supervisor of Elections.   

Speakers at the dedication included Alachua County Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson, Alachua County Commissioner Charles “Chuck” Chestnut, IV, United States Representative for Florida’s Third District Ted Yoho, Josiah T. Walls Bar Association President Aubroncee Martin, and Alachua County Historical Commission Melanie Barr

A man born into slavery, Josiah T. Walls went on to become the only person in the history of Alachua County to serve as the Mayor of Gainesville, a County Commissioner, a School Board Member, a State Senator, and a US Congressman.

Read the Gainesville Sun article on the building dedication.

See the Building Naming Resolution.

View the Josiah T. Walls Building plaque.

“The Commission is very proud to dedicate this building to this outstanding citizen who played such an extraordinary part in the history of Alachua County,” said Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson. “It is particularly appropriate that, having been so successful in holding office, his name will be affixed to the building that houses the Supervisor of Elections.”

For more information, contact Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979.

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Alachua County Forever Bond Burning Event

Alachua County held a “Bond Burning” on Friday, October 14, at 9 a.m. The event was on the bridge of Sweetwater Preserve. This event celebrated the early retirement of the second and final Alachua County Forever (ACF) Land Acquisition Bond.

The bonds were issued to finance a land acquisition program, as approved by voter referendum in November of 2000. The purpose of the program was to protect local water resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and to provide new resource-based recreation opportunities for our citizens. The referendum authorized the issuance of $29 million in Environmental Land Acquisitions Bonds, with repayment in 20 years or less. The ACF bonds were combined with matching state, federal and non-governmental acquisition funds to make possible the purchase of 14,893 acres of lands valued at $56,779,151.

“Thanks to the diligence of Clerk of the Court J.K. ‘Buddy’ Irby and his Finance Director Todd Hutchison, the County’s short-term financing strategy resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest savings,” said Alachua County Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson. “And we were enormously successful at leveraging these dollars to acquire and preserve these precious lands.”

The debt was paid for by a levy of up to ¼ mill on all taxable property within the County. The County intentionally issued debt with the flexibility to prepay the debt without penalty using proceeds collected from the ¼ mill in excess of the required debt service payments. Through a combination of just-in-time funding, low-interest rates and County increases in taxable assessed values, the County was able to pay the first 10-year bond off in 8 years.

The County issued the second and final bond issuance on December 16, 2010, with a 10-year maturity, and refinanced that issuance in 2012 because of very low interest rates. Given the combination of lower interest rates and the ability to pre-pay the loan before the scheduled maturity, the County paid off the second loan in full by July 2016.

“The Alachua County Forever program is a good example of a promise made and a promise kept,” said Alachua County Manager Lee A. Niblock, “In this case the second bond, payoff was 3½ years earlier than anticipated.”

View a Gainesville Sun article about the event.

For more information, contact Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979.

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18th Annual Trashformations Recycled Art Competition

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the Office of Waste Alternatives, and the Florida Museum of Natural History are hosting the 18th annual Trashformations Recycled Art Show and Competition. The competition begins at 6 p.m. on November 18, 2016, 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.

Trashformations is a judged student art show and competition which helps expand recycling awareness and involvement. “Artists are invited to change their perspective on waste,” said Waste Alternatives Specialist Eilanwy Slyboom. “Our recycled art competition provides a great opportunity to discover the incredible potential in the trash bin.”

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 categories.

Participating artists are asked to enter the competition online on the Trashformations website by November 11, by 5 p.m. Final artwork must be dropped off on November 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Florida Museum of Natural History. There will be a special awards ceremony and reception for all participating students, their families, and teachers after the judging is complete.

Visit the Trashformations Facebook event.

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

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Benny Beckham Retires

At the Tuesday, October 11, County Commission Regular Meeting, the Board recognized the retirement of Alachua County Zoning Administrator Benny Beckham. Beckham leaves the County with over 43 years serving resident’s planning and zoning needs.

County Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson said, “He is one of the incredible public servants in Alachua County. We know we will have to be calling him for advice, and where to find some paperwork for the next few years.”

“After 43 years doing planning and zoning he has knowledge and experience, but what I find most incredible is the way he has helped people out,” said Alachua County Growth Management Director Steve Lachnicht.

Mr. Beckham said, “I hope I have made a difference in some people’s lives in Alachua County.”

Congratulation and enjoy your retirement. You have certainly put in the work.

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Be Election Ready! It’s as Easy was 1 – 2 – 3

There are 3 ways to cast a ballot in the November 8th General Election. Voters may choose to vote by mail, early vote or vote at their precinct polling location on Election Day.


If voting by mail, remember to mail your ballot early.  Due to changes in postal standards, it could take 5 days for our office to receive your ballot.  All mail ballots must be received in the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m., Election Day, November 8th. Supervisor of Elections address is 515 North Main Street, Suite 300, Gainesville, 32601. 

To request a ballot and Vote-by-Mail, voters may make their request online at www.VoteAlachua.com or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

Voters will need to make sure their address and signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections are current. Your mail ballot may not count if the signature does not match the signature on your voter record. You may update your signature by filling out a voter registration application form in person or online at www.VoteAlachua.com.

All signature updates for use in verifying mail ballots and provisional ballots must be received in the Elections Office prior to the start of the canvassing of the mail ballots by the Canvassing Board.

To request a ballot for another voter, you must be directly instructed by the voter and be a member of the voter’s immediate family, or the voter’s legal guardian. Immediate family means the voter’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent or sibling of either the voter or of the voter’s spouse.

Requests can be made online, in person, by mail, by telephone or by fax. All requests must include the voter’s name, residence address, and date of birth. The request must also include the requestor’s name, residence address, relationship to the voter and driver’s license number if available. Mail or fax request must also include the requestor’s signature.

The last day to request your ballot be mailed is Wednesday, November 2, 2016, by 5 p.m. A voter may designate in writing another person to pick up their mail ballot starting Thursday, November 3, 2016. The designee must have a note signed by the voter, a picture identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit. The affidavit is available for download at www.VoteAlachua.com. The designee may not pick up more than two mail ballots per election, not including the designee’s own ballot and ballots for members of his or her immediate family.

The Supervisor of Elections may not provide a mail ballot to a voter or a voter’s immediate family member on the day of the election unless there is an emergency, to the extent that the voter will be unable to go to his or her assigned polling place. In order to provide a mail ballot on Election Day, an affidavit is required.

Vote Early

Early Voting for the General Election will be available starting Monday, October 24, through Saturday, November 5th, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday, October 24, through Saturday, November 5
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Supervisor of Elections Office
515 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601

Millhopper Branch Library
3145 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606

Tower Road Branch Library
3020 SW 75th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608

Florida Law requires voters to present picture and signature ID in order to vote, or vote a provisional ballot.

Vote at Your Precinct

Any voter may vote in the precinct of their residence between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th. Florida Law requires voters to present picture and signature ID in order to vote, or you may vote a provisional ballot. If you need to locate your precinct, go to www.VoteAlachua.com and click on “Precinct Voting.”

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

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Commission Highlights

Mr. Benny Beckham Retirement
The Board recognized Mr. Benny Beckham for his forty-three years of dedicated service by presenting him a token of appreciation.
October Retiree Benny Beckham.pdf

Manufacturing Month
The Board proclaimed October 2016 as “Manufacturing Month” in Alachua County, FL
Manufacturing Month 2016.pdf

Three Minute Local History Presentation
The Board heard a Three Minute Local History Presentation by the Alachua County Historical Commission on the Moore hotel in Hawthorne
Moore’s Hotel Presentation Bonita Dewiliby.pdf
Moore’s Hotel of Hawthorne Powerpoint.pdf

Alachua County League of Cities
The Board heard a presentation by representatives of the Alachua County League of Cities.

Lethality Assessment Program
The Board heard a presentation by Sheriff Sadie Darnell’s staff on the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Lethality Assessment Program.

High Springs Community Redevelopment Plan
Concerning the City of High Springs Community Redevelopment Plan, the Board deferred the item and asked for more information on the percentage of the recurring $150,000 that is spent on physical construction projects
High Springs CRA Plan.pdf

Haile Plantation Entry Sign Landscaping
Concerning the Haile Plantation Entry Sign Landscaping project, the Board approved funding for the attached landscaping, irrigation, and lighting and approved attached budget amendment.
Amount: $6,964.00
BOCC 121112_p14.pdf
BOCC 052416_p9.pdf
BOCC 012213_p4.pdf
BOCC 02052013_p2.pdf
Landscaping Proposal.pdf

CHOICES Evaluation Review Committee
The Board approved the CHOICES Evaluation Review Committee funding recommendations
Amount: $465,000.00
CHOICES RFA 17201 ERC Funding Recommendations Final.pdf

Children’s Services Advisory Board
The Board received the presentation and referred the findings to the Children’s Services Advisory Board for further review and subsequent recommendations to the BoCC.
WellFlorida Council Presentation on the Childrens Needs Assessment.pdf

CAPP Supplemental Funding
The Board approved the CAPP Supplemental Funding Distribution Recommendations.
Amount: $150,000.00
Previous Award List_CAPP.pdf
CAPP Supplemental Funding Recommendations.pdf

United Nations Day
The Board proclaimed October 21st as “United Nations Day” In Alachua County, FL
United Nations Day 2016.pdf

Entrepreneur Month
The Board proclaimed October 2016 as “Entrepreneur Month” in Alachua County, FL
Entrepreneur Month in Alachua County 2016.pdf

National 4-H Week
The Board proclaimed October 2nd through 8th as “National 4-H Week” in Alachua County, FL
4 H Week 2016 Proclamation 2016.pdf

White Cane Safety Awareness Month
The Board proclaimed October 2016 as “White Cane Safety Awareness Month” in Alachua County, FL
White Cane Safety Awareness Month 2016.pdf

Envision Alachua - Hawthorne
Concerning the Envision Alachua - Hawthorne proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments, the Board is drafting a letter to City of Hawthorne (with a copy going to the State) stating County concerns and requesting consideration of the following conditions:

Protections of wetlands are being applied to wetlands that impact County wetlands system and therefore the County requests the City meet or exceed County requirements

Consider a wetland and protection area clustering to minimize impacts as a result of protection areas spread out across the property.

Develop standards to minimize light pollution, noise, odors, and traffic impacts to adjacent rural lands to apply to the PUD zoning.

Attachment: Staff Presentation EA Hawthorne Oct112016.pdf
Preliminary Staff Report EA Hawthorne Sept212016.pdf

Remote Parking
The Board held and approved the Second Public Hearing to Amend the Unified Land Development Code to Permit Remote Parking

Attachment: ULDC_TempParking_Application.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.