October 31st edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Irrigation Limited to One Day a Week Beginning November 6
Alachua County Forever Bond Burning and Josiah T.Walls Building Dedication Videos
Energy Finance Business Forum
Waldo Fire Station Groundbreaking
11-01-16 Special Meeting
FDOH-Alachua Emphasizes the Importance of Preventing Mosquito-borne Diseases
HAPPYween Family Funday
Make Your Vote Count
November Extension Programs
Commission Highlights

Irrigation Limited to One Day a Week Beginning November 6

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department is informing residents that beginning on Sunday, November 6, 2016, landscape irrigation is limited to one day per week in Alachua County.

The restrictions apply to the use of private wells, city water, and surface water. The use of a hand-held hose with a spray nozzle, micro-irrigation, reclaimed water, and the irrigation of vegetable gardens and fruit trees are exempt from the schedule.   

The County’s irrigation schedule is as follows:

No irrigation is allowed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (as this is when evaporation is the greatest)

Many landscapes survive in the winter with little to no irrigation. Turning off irrigation systems can save additional water and money.

“Landscape irrigation can account for over 50% of residential water use in Florida,” said Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Water Conservation Coordinator Stacie Greco. “Minimizing watering promotes healthier lawns and landscapes while conserving Florida’s water resources. We depend on groundwater for our water supply, as do our springs, lakes, and rivers.”

County staff actively enforces irrigation restrictions and responds to citizen complaints or concerns regarding wasteful watering. To report wasteful watering, call 2-264-6800.

For more information, visit the Alachua County Water Resources website or contact Stacie Greco at 352-264-6829 or Sgreco@alachuacounty.us.

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Alachua County Forever Bond Burning and Josiah T.Walls Building Dedication Videos

Watch the Bond Burning Ceremony to celebrate the repayment of Alachua County Forever bonds.

Watch the Josiah T. Walls Building Dedication Ceremony.

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Energy Finance Business Forum

Alachua County invites businesses in the area to attend the Alachua Count Energy Finance Business Forum on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. The Forum is from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Freedom Community Center at Veterans Memorial Park (7340 S.W. 41st Place, on the corner of Tower Road and 41st Place). Refreshments will be provided.

The Energy Finance Forum will cover Property Assessed Clean Energy’s (PACE) application in the commercial sector and how it can complement local finance options. This forum is focused on commercial and industrial sectors.

Alachua County has several PACE providers serving this community who will present. PACE is an innovative finance mechanism that can work in conjunction with other local finance options. PACE can be used to improve energy efficiency, install renewable energy or improve the wind resistance of structures.

Learn more about the PACE program.

View the Energy Finance Business Forum’s Facebook event.

Businesses can comment by posting on Facebook and Twitter, using #energyforum.

For more information, contact Alachua County Strategic Initiatives Manager Sean McLendon at 352-548-3765 or smclendon@alachuacounty.us.

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Waldo Fire Station Groundbreaking

On Friday, November 4, 2016, at 10 a.m., the Alachua County Commission is holding a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the site work and construction of the new Alachua County Fire Station #23 in Waldo. The address of event is 14377 N.E. US Highway 301, Waldo. The public is encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Alachua County Manager Dr. Lee Niblock is the Master of Ceremonies. The event includes comments from the Alachua County Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson, Waldo City Manager Ms. Kim Worley, Alachua County’s Facilities Director Charlie Jackson, and Alachua County Fire Chief William Northcutt.

“With this new station, along with Fire Station #9, the County Commission is again demonstrating that public safety is at the forefront of their budget priorities,” said County Manager Lee A. Niblock, “Nothing is more important than welfare and safety of our citizens.”

The new fire station should be completed by June 2017, at a cost of $2,122,904. The single story concrete masonry facility will feature energy efficient equipment and sustainable design building features, with 100% back-up generated power. It is 5,684 square feet. The building will be certified as Green and Sustainable pursuant to the guidelines established by the Green Building Initiative (Green Globes). Brame Heck Architects provided architectural and engineering services for the project, and the D.E. Scorpio Corporation is the construction management firm “At Risk.”

This new fire station provides adequate space for the existing Fire Rescue crew that is currently operating from an old structure in the City of Waldo. Building this facility provides critical space for staff and equipment. It will allow for enhanced fire rescue services to citizens in the Waldo area of the County.

For information, contact Alachua County Facilities Capital Project Coordinator Bryan Schneider at 352-374-3190, or Alachua County Facilities Director Charlie Jackson at 352-374-5229.

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11-01-16 Special Meeting

The Alachua County Commission will conduct a Special Meeting on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The meeting begins at 10 a.m., in the Grace Knight Conference Room, located on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).

Items of interest at the Special Meeting:

1. Applying County wetland policies countywide discussion

2. State of municipal Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs)

3. City of High Springs Community Redevelopment Plan

4. Perpetual contract policy discussion

5. OrgCode Consulting, Inc. report on ending homelessness in Alachua County

View agenda and backup.

The public is invited to attend the meeting. It will be available to view live on Cox Channel 12 and the County’s Video on Demand website.

Free parking is available for citizens attending these meetings. Please park in the S.W. Parking Garage (105 S.W. 3rd Street, Gainesville) and bring your parking stub to the Alachua County Manager’s Office, located on the 2nd floor of the County Administration Building, to receive a chaser validation ticket.

Citizens are encouraged to stay engaged by signing up for the following: Facebook Twitter Newsletter/Press Release

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

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FDOH-Alachua Emphasizes the Importance of Preventing Mosquito-borne Diseases

Surveillance systems are detecting increased mosquito populations and the presence of mosquito-borne West Nile Virus. The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (FDOH-Alachua) is reminding citizens and visitors of the importance of preventing infection from mosquito-borne diseases.

To prevent mosquito-borne diseases, they recommend:

Those who must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.

Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective. Use netting to protect children younger than two months.

FDOH-Alachua and local mosquito control continue surveillance and prevention efforts throughout the County. Residents should report mosquito problems to their local municipality’s mosquito control or the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County at 352-334-7930.

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HAPPYween Family Funday

The Alachua County Community Support Services Office of Community Stabilization and the Florida Department of Children and Families hosted the “HAPPYween Family Funday” on Saturday, October 29 at Depot Park. 

The event connected families with local agencies, and organizations including law enforcement, emergency management services, County & City Fire Rescue services, health, waste management, housing, and employment services.

This event included Halloween activities for children such as face painting, pumpkins carving, a costume contest, and more.

For more information, contact Marie Small at 352-264-6745 or Mdsmall@alachuacounty.us.

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Make Your Vote Count

Voters Urged to Return Vote-by-Mail Ballot Early

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter is urging voters choosing to Vote-by-Mail to mark and return their voted ballot as early as possible to avoid delays. The deadline to request a ballot be mailed to a voter is Wednesday, November 2nd by 5 p.m. Due to changes in postal delivery standards, Carpenter is advising voters to mail their ballot no later than the Thursday prior to the November 8th Election Day. To ensure timely deliver, mail ballots may also be dropped off in person to the Supervisor of Elections Office at 515 North Main Street, Suite 300 or may be placed in the official Elections drop mail box outside in front of the Supervisor of Elections Office. Mail ballots must be received in the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. Election Day, November 8th. Postmarks do not count except for overseas ballots. Voters can track the status of their Vote-by-Mail ballot online at VoteAlachua.com. To request a ballot and Vote-by-Mail, make your request online at VoteAlachua.com or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

Starting, Thursday, November 3rd, a voter may authorize another person to pick-up their Vote-by-Mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections Office. Your 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 VoteAlachua.com. The designee may not pick up more than two Vote-by-Mail ballots per election, not including the designee’s own ballot and ballots for members of his or her immediate family.

If a voter realizes they have returned their Vote-by-Mail ballot without including their signature, they may submit an affidavit to our office no later than 5 p.m. the day before the election to cure the unsigned ballot.

Those with questions should call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

Early Voting Continues Through Saturday, November 5th

Voters are reminded that early voting for the November 8th General Election is available now and will continue through Saturday, November 5th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day. Voters are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to cast their vote early.

Early Voting is available to any voter at the following 3 locations:

  1. Supervisor of Elections Office, 515 North Main Street, Gainesville
  2. Millhopper Branch Library, 3145 N.W. 43rd Street, Gainesville
  3. Tower Road Branch Library, 3020 S.W. 75th Street, Gainesville

Florida law requires voters to bring current and valid photo and signature identification to Early Voting and to their polling places on Election Day. Acceptable ID’s includes: a FL Driver’s License, FL ID card, U.S. passport, debit or credit card, military ID, student ID, retirement center ID, neighborhood association ID, public assistance ID, Veterans Health ID issued by the VA, a FL Concealed Weapon License, and a Government Employee ID. If you do not present photo and signature ID you will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.

On Election Day, November 8th, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To locate your precinct and polling place, go to VoteAlachua.com on our home page by clicking on “My Registration Status” in the upper right corner where you can view pictures of your polling place or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

The Supervisor of Elections may not provide a Vote-by-Mail ballot to a voter or a voter’s immediate family 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 Vote-by-Mail ballot on Election Day, an affidavit is required and can be found on our website at VoteAlachua.com.

Sample ballots for the November 8th General Election may be found online at VoteAlachua.com on our home page under “Announcements”, or you may view your individual ballot by clicking on “My Registration Status” in the upper right hand corner. Audio sample ballots in MP format or in text version are also available on the Elections home page under “Announcements”. 

Important Information to Voters

Voters are encouraged to verify their voter registration status online prior to Election Day at VoteAlachua.com by clicking on the link, “My Registration Status.” Don’t delay; make sure your voter information is current. Florida Law requires that you vote the ballot assigned to your legal residence address. If you have moved and have not notified the Supervisor of Elections Office of your new address, please go online at VoteAlachua.com to make a change of address or contact our office at 352-374-5252. 

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November Extension Programs

Environmental Horticulture Programs

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

Preparing Your Garden for Winter – November 1, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

From ornamentals to vegetables, this workshop teaches what can be done in the fall to prepare for the winter. Topics will include what to plant, prune, irrigate, and fertilize, as well as how to properly protect sensitive plants and edibles from the cold. The workshop is presented by a Master Gardener.

There is no cost for the workshop. Register by calling 352-337-6209.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Tours – November 5, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Alachua County Master Gardeners will be offering a tour of Florida-Friendly Landscapes in the Rosemont and Apple Tree area. These yards exemplify water conservation and environmental friendly landscaping practices. Tour begins at the Rosemont Clubhouse (6200 N.W. 35 Terrace, Gainesville) where participants will receive a tour map. Parking is limited. Carpooling/walking/cycling is recommended.

View the Florida Friendly Landscapes tour flyer (PDF).

There is no cost for the tour. Register by calling 352-337-6209.

Wildflowers and Seed Balls – November 7, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This workshop provides information on what wildflowers are, how to create a wildflower meadow, and how to save seeds. Participants will have the opportunity to shuck out seeds, take home various wildflower seeds, and make seed balls to disperse in disturbed areas.

Registration is $5.00 for the class. Participants can register online (with an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209.

Pruning Your Trees & Shrubs – November 9, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This workshop covers the timing of pruning, pruning styles, and equipment for the perfect prune job, as well as hands-on activities in the demonstration garden.

Registration is $5.00 for the class. Participants can register online (with an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209.

Commercial Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Tatiana Sanchez, Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Beginner Beekeeping – November 5, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the UF Bee Unit (2895 SW 23 Terrace, Gainesville)

This workshop includes an overview of beekeeping equipment, bee installation, associated costs, pests and diseases in the hive, and honey extraction. Live bees will be used, so protective clothing is needed.

This workshop is limited to 30 participants. The registration fee is $5.00. Participants can register online (with an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209.

View/download the Beginning Beekeeping flyer (PDF).

Farm Network November Meeting – November 7, time to be announced, at the Alachua County Farm to School Work Hub (2802 N.E. 8 Avenue, Gainesville)

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has developed a Farm Network for North Central Florida. Through monthly meetings, participants will have the opportunity to attend farm tours, connect with IFAS faculty and County personnel, and network with other farmers and clients.

This meeting’s topic is “The Ins and Outs of Selling Produce to Schools.”  For more information, contact Tatiana Sanchez at 352-955-2402.

Private Applicator/Row Crop Review & Examinations – November 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (review and Core Exam), 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Category Exam), at the Straughn IFAS Extension Center (2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville)

Topics include pesticide safety and principles of pest control, understanding the label, review on pesticide arithmetic. Applicator CEUs will be offered for applicators that already have their licenses. Those who plan on taking an exam at this workshop need to call the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office at 352-955-2402, in advance. This allows the instructor to know which type of exams need to be completed and have them available.

Registration before November 11 is $4.00 (half day), or $8.00 (full day). Registration after November 11 or at the door is $15.00. Participants can register online (with an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. Lunch is not provided.

View/download the Private Applicator/Row Crop Review & Examinations flyer (PDF).

Family and Consumer Sciences Program

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

Home Buyers Education Program – November 14, 21, and 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This three-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 are on three consecutive Mondays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will cover the following:

Session 1 – Monday, November 14

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

Session 2 – Monday, November 21

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

Session 3 – Monday, November 28

This is a question and answer session, 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 and couple.

View/download the Home Buyers Education Program flyer (PDF).

Register by November 7, by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail), subject to cancellation if less than eight people are registered.

Livestock Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Cindy Sanders, Livestock Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 N.E. 39 Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

2016 Fall Cattlemen’s Conference & Allied Trade Show – November 17, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion (2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala)

Topics include: managing forage resources, controlling weeds, reproductive diseases, and heifer development.

The early registration fee is $25.00 by November 11. On-site or after November 11, the late registration fee is $75.00. Participants can register online (with an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. Registration includes admission to all seminars, trade show, printed proceedings, and a catered lunch.

For more information, contact Mark Shuffitt, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Office at 352-671-8400.

2016 Fall Beef Cattle Workshop – November 29, at 6:30 p.m.

Topics include fall/winter supplementation, forage management, and veterinary feed directive rule.

Registration fee is $10.00 (includes dinner). The registration deadline is November 18. Register by calling 352-955-2402.

View/download the 2016 Fall Beef Cattle Workshop flyer (PDF).

For more information about these programs, contact Dr. Cindy Sanders at 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Office Calendar for additional programs offered by the Extension Office.


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Commission Highlights

Due to a switch in agenda software, the links to back-up material that are normally a part of the Commission Highlights are not available in this issue. The links will return soon.

Hospice and Palliative Care Month
The Board proclaimed November 2016 as “Hospice and Palliative Care Month” in Alachua County.

National Federation of the Blind Meet the Blind Month
The Board proclaimed October 2016 as “National Federation of the Blind Meet the Blind Month” in Alachua County.

FY17 Alachua County Cost Study
The Board heard the presentation and accepted the FY17 Alachua County Cost Study:

Numerous departments within the County charge fees for certain services they provide to outside agencies and the public. Each year the Board adopts its Fee Schedule which authorizes these charges. Periodically, the County conducts a study in conjunction with contracted consultants to determine the cost of providing these services to ensure adherence to applicable laws and prior direction of the Board.

Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Programs
The Board heard a presentation by Sheriff Sadie Darnell on the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention programs, including Home Security and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Environmental Protection Advisory Committee Annual Report Presentation
The Board heard the Environmental Protection Advisory Committee Annual Report Presentation. The presentation outlined the Environmental Protection Advisory Committee (EPAC) list of accomplishments during FY 2016 and adopted work plan for FY 2017. Additionally, on October 4th, 2016, the Committee voted unanimously to request a two-year extension on the sunset date of the committee to continue working on the issues identified in the adopted work plan.

Finley Woods Area
The Board discussed the City of Gainesville Annexation of the Finley Woods Area. They received a status update and discussed the appeal process. If the City approves the annexation on 2nd reading, then the Board will consider directing staff to initiate the procedures of Chapter 164 Florida Statutes, the “Florida Governmental Conflict Resolution Act.”

Envision Alachua Proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments
The Board approved sending a letter to the City of Hawthorne on Envision Alachua Proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments. The Board, at its October 11, 2016, meeting, directed staff to prepare a letter to the City of Hawthorne, with a copy to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, identifying specific issues and comments on the proposed Envision Alachua­Hawthorne Comprehensive Plan amendment. The letter with its attached comments addresses the three issues that were included in the Board’s motion at the October 11, 2016, meeting. The comments note that the proposed wetlands protection policies for the Envision Alachua­Hawthorne area will affect wetland systems outside the project boundaries, and recommends that the City’s wetlands protection standards meet or exceed the County’s standards to provide for the consistent protection of the County’s water resources.  The comments also recommend that the City consider policies to require clustering of development within the Envision Alachua­Hawthorne areas to provide for larger contiguous areas for conservation within the subject property.  Also, the comments include a recommendation that the City consider specific standards to ensure compatibility with the adjacent and surrounding rural land uses. The letter includes an Appendix with relevant policy examples from the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan.

Sustainability Council Energy and Waste Related Initiatives
The Board heard a presentation on the Sustainability Council Energy and Waste Related Initiatives.

Celebration Pointe Community Development District
The Board approved a request to expand the Celebration Pointe Community Development District No. 1 by approximately 25.08 acres.

Melrose Volunteer Fire Department
The Board approved extending, through the end of November, the finalization of the Interlocal Agreement with the Melrose Volunteer Fire Department for the provision of Fire Suppression and Initial Response Emergency Medical Services.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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