January 31st edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

2017 Alachua County Citizens Academy Spring Classes
Public Defender’s Office Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
County Will Operate Gatornationals Camping Area
Ed Williams Hired as County Animal Services Director
County Road 236 Update
Irrigation Restrictions
A Short History of Evinston
County Attorney is Hiring Three Assistants
February Extension Programs
Commission Highlights

2017 Alachua County Citizens Academy Spring Classes

The public is invited to sign up for the Alachua County Citizens Academy classes, beginning on April 6, 2017. The Citizens Academy offers residents an opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes tours, hear presentations, and interact with elected officials and staff from the Board of County Commissioners, Constitutional Officers, the Judiciary, the Library District and the School Board. Each Citizens Academy graduating class is made up of citizens that walk away with a good understanding of how these entities operate.  

The free program takes place on Thursday mornings and runs for eight sessions. The registration deadline is March 10, and space is limited. 

County Manager Dr. Lee A. Niblock said, “I invite you to meet the men and women who serve the County and learn about the vast variety of services provided by local government.” He continued saying, ”Civic education is so important. The Citizens Academy gives citizens the tools to be more effective and knowledgeable when participating in local government.”

To view a complete schedule of classes and to register online, visit the Alachua County Citizens Academy website

For more information, call Alachua County Strategic Performance Manager Donna Bradbrook at 352-374-5262.

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Public Defender’s Office Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Alachua County Commission, the Public Defender for the 8th Judicial Circuit, and the Alachua County Facilities Management Department celebrated the Ribbon-Cutting ceremony for the new Alachua County Public Defender’s Office on January 27. The event began at 10 a.m. at the new building located at 151 SW 2nd Avenue in Gainesville.

Speakers at the event included County Commission Chairman Ken Cornell, County Manager Lee A. Niblock, Public Defender Stacy A. Scott, Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Honorable Robert E. Roundtree and County Facilities Director Charlie R. Jackson.

The project budget was $5,289,682 and includes the following features:

Public Defender Stacy Scott said, “Moving into this modern facility allows us to better serve the public. My staff and I are thrilled to see the project successfully completed.”

The Office of the Public Defender, 8th Judicial Circuit, represents adults and children charged with criminal offenses and clients held in civil commitment under the “Baker Act” and the “Sexually Violent Predator Act.” The 8th Circuit is comprised of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.  In FY 2014-15, circuit-wide the Public Defender’s Office represented a total of 13,985 clients in a total of 16,541 cases. In Alachua County, the office represented 8,835 clients with 10,387 cases. The office employs 68 people, with 50 of those employees working in the Alachua County headquarters.

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

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County Will Operate Gatornationals Camping Area

At the Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Alachua County Commission Meeting, Alachua County staff was directed to operate an RV/primitive camping area during the 2017 Gatornationals.

For many years, the Jaycees, a non-profit organization, leased County owned property and ran this camping area as a fund-raising event. The Jaycees dissolved before the 2016 Gatornationals. For the benefit of longtime visitors to the County, County staff worked with a former member of the Jaycees, to keep the camping area opened for the 2016 Gatornationals. The proceeds went to another group outside of Alachua County. That group was notified via email on February 29, 2016, that this would be the final year for this arrangement.

As in the past, the RV/primitive camping area is located at CR 225 and N.E. 77th Avenue. Camping will be on a first come, first served basis. For those who have used this area in the past, it will be business as usual. County staff is meeting with long-time campers to ensure a seamless transition. 

In addition to this site and the RV parking at the Gatornationals raceway itself, there is RV and tent camping available at the County Fairgrounds adjacent to the airport at 3100 N.E. 39th Avenue in Gainesville.

The National Hot Rod Association has also partnered with the Dixieland Music Park in Waldo to provide more camping availability.

For more information, contact Alachua County Assistant County Manager Gina Peebles at 352-538-8265.

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Ed Williams Hired as County Animal Services Director

Alachua County is pleased to announce the hiring of Ed Williams as the Alachua County Animal Services Director. He comes to Alachua County from Thomasville, GA where he served as the Executive Director for the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society since 2010. 

Williams will lead Animal Services, which has an operating budget of $1.5 million and a staff of 35. He will also collaborate with regional animal welfare groups including the Humane Society, rescue groups, veterinarians, spay/neuter clinics, Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs, and the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Shelter Medicine Program. The goal is to save all healthy and treatable companion animals.

“Mr. Williams has a calm, confident leadership approach. He will be a great addition to our Animal Services family,” stated Assistant County Manager Gina Peebles.

Learn more about Alachua County Animal Services at their website.

For more information, contact Ed Williams at 352-264-6890.

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County Road 236 Update

The project is progressing according to schedule. County staff has been constructing the shoulders and seeding the affected areas. Also, this week County staff began the earthwork for the reconstruction of all driveways and road connections. The 2nd and final layer of asphalt will be placed once County staff complete all shoulders and prepare all driveways and road connection for paving operations. The sidewalk work will be bid, and the invitation to bid will be sent out within two weeks. The project should be completed by the end of March 2017.

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Irrigation Restrictions

EPD actively enforces the irrigation restrictions and has recently been seeing record violations. To avoid possible fines, water only on your designated day, which is based on the last number of your house number.

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A Short History of Evinston

At Tuesday’s County Commission Regular Meeting, the Alachua County Historical Commission presented a short presentation on the history of Evinston. Take a few minutes to watch and learn about the town.

Click to watch.

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County Attorney is Hiring Three Assistants

The County Attorney’s Office has three openings for Assistant County Attorneys. They are hiring an Employment Law Attorney, a Transaction/Real Estate Law Attorney, and an Insurance Defense/Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney.

Click for more details about these positions.

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February 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) unless otherwise indicated.

Financial Fitness Series – February 1, 8, 15, and 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Catholic Charities (1701 N.E. 9th St., Gainesville)

This four-part series covers how to make a spending plan, how to work with credit, and how to get out of debt or build an emergency fund.

There is no registration cost, and dinner is included. Registration is recommended by contacting Bishop James Dixon at 352-372-0294 (ext. 111) or jdixon@ccgnv.org.

Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafe®) – February 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This program is dedicated to providing training which enables food managers and staff to offer Florida consumer’s food that is prepared in a clean and safe environment. Participants can register online, or call toll-free 1-888-232-8723.

Commercial Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Tatiana Sanchez, Commercial Horticulture Agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 N.E. 39th Avenue, Gainesville, FL) unless otherwise indicated.

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Workshop – February 3, from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Workshop trains commercial landscape maintenance personnel to make correct pesticide applications to ornamentals and plant beds only.

A total of six (6) CEU’s will be available: 3 General Standard/Core, 3 Ornamental & Turf, 3 Private Applicator Ag, 3 Limited Lawn & Ornamental, 3 Limited Landscape Maintenance, 3 Commercial Lawn & Ornamental. 

View/download the workshop flyer (PDF).

Registration is $30.00 for the workshop (includes lunch), or $10.00 for half day (no lunch). Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs.

Green Industries Best Management Practices Certification Training Program – February 9, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Florida law states that all commercial fertilizer applicators must have a certificate from FDACS. To get this certificate, each commercial applicator must be trained in the GI-BMPs and receive a certificate of completion for UF/IFAS and FDEP.

View/download the training program flyer (PDF).

Registration is $25.00 (includes lunch and materials). Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs.

Introductory Beekeeping – February 18, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the UF Bee Unit (2895 S.W. 23rd Terrace, Gainesville)

Classes are designed for beginner and intermediate beekeepers. The classes are scheduled to help manage the needs of the hive throughout the year. Live bees will be used; please dress in protective clothing.

View/download the class flyer (PDF).

Registration costs and program locations vary (please see the flyer for details). Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs.

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 N.E. 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Pruning Your Fruit Trees – February 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at 1679 N.E. CR 337, High Springs

This workshop provides demonstrations and hands-on practice pruning various fruit trees, including grapevines, peaches, nectarines, persimmons, apples, and more. Those with pruners and loppers should bring them, and participants should dress for the weather and bring lawn chairs. Fruit Tree Extension Specialist Dr. Jeff Williamson will lead the workshop.

Registration is $10.00 for the class. Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs.

FFL Series: Introduction to Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ – February 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This class will introduce you to the nine Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles. Participants will receive handbooks and materials.

View/download the series flyer (PDF).

Registration is $5.00 for class. Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs. The series is limited to 30 participants.

Grow Your Own Potatoes – February 9, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Newberry Branch Library (110 S. Seaboard Drive, Newberry)

Soil preparation and variety selection will be covered in the class. Participants will also learn cultural techniques and how to harvest and cure potatoes. Master Gardener Mary Ann Harris will be presenting.

The class is free. Participants may register online. Class is limited to 40 participants.

FFL Series: Choose the Right Mulch – February 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The class provides information on the types and characteristics of various mulches. It includes activities on calculating the proper amount of mulch. Participants will receive handbooks and materials.

Registration is $5.00 for class. Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs. Class is limited to 30 participants.

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners – February 16, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Tower Road Branch Library (3020 S.W. 75th Street, Gainesville)

Participants will learn to start a vegetable garden using the square foot gardening technique. Bed construction, soil preparation, vegetables that can be grown, and pest control will be covered. Master Gardener Colin Burrows will be presenting.

The class is free. Participants may register online. Class is limited to 50 participants.

Gardening Tips and Tricks – February 23, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Senior Recreation Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd, Gainesville)

This class focuses on making gardening easier. Participants will learn tools, methods, and tips that can help reduce aches and pains while enjoying the outdoors. Master Gardener Laurie Sheldon will be presenting.

The class is free. Participants may register online.

FFL Series: Recycle Yard Waste and Compost – February 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Participants learn how to recycle yard waste and compost food scraps to decrease the amount of garbage and replenish soil. Compost bins and food scrap containers will be available.

Registration is $5.00 for the class. Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs. Class is limited to 30 participants.

Growing Peaches, Plums, and Apples – February 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Participants learn how to grow apple, plum, nectarine, and peach trees in Alachua County. Planting, pruning, fertilization, watering, and pest control will be covered. Participants will develop a management plan for growing the fruit.

Registration is $5.00 for the class. Participants can register online (for an additional fee), or call 352-337-6209. There are no refunds for registration costs. Class is limited to 50 participants.

Participants must register at least three days prior to classes. 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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Commission Highlights

Cpl. Duane E. Dewey Place
The Board dedicated SE 174 Place in Cross Creek as “Cpl. Duane E. Dewey Place”.

Item Summary Report
Resolution Cpl. Duane E. Dewey PL
Facilities Naming Policy

 

Local History Reading
The Board heard a Local History reading by the Alachua County Historical Commission.

Item Summary Report
Evinston History Narrative
Evinston History Powerpoint

Economic Development Advisory Committee Annual Report

The Board heard the Economic Development Advisory Committee Annual Report presentation.

Item Summary Report
EDAC Annual Report and Workplan

 

Children’s Services Advisory Board
The Board heard the Children’s Services Advisory Board presentation

Item Summary Report
CSAB Power Point for the BoCC on 01242017

 

Growth Management Fees
Concerning the revised fees related to the Public Works and Growth Management Departments Growth Management fees, the Board asked staff to compare residential and commercial processes from the cities of Gainesville and Newberry from zoning change through completed construction. 

Item Summary Report
Summary Before Changes
Summary Updated With Public Works Changes

 

Legislative Update
The Board heard a Legislative Update by Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton.

View 2017 State Legislative Program

 

Community Development Block Grant
Concerning the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Board:

Accepted staff recommendation to conduct the public hearing and to obtain citizen comment on the application

Provided final Board input and approve the application as amended

Directed staff to finalize and submit an application to the Department of Economic Opportunity for a Housing Rehabilitation grant in the amount of $750,000 for the FFY 2016 Florida Small Cities CDBG Program

And adopted the necessary resolutions and authorize the Chair to sign resolutions and application

Item Summary Report
CDBG Enabling Resolution Approved to Form by AC CAO
CDBG Hap Resolution Approved to Form by AC CAO
CDBG Application Approved to Form by AC CAO
CDBG Local Match Resolution Approved to Form by AC CAO
CDBG Housing Assistance Plan

 

Confederate Statue
Concerning the Confederate Statue on the County Administration Building, the Board decided that:

The Alachua County Commission should meet with the Board of the Matheson Historical Museum to discuss under what conditions they would accept the re-location of the statue to the grounds of their museum.

Alachua County should provide a historic plaque near the statue that provides the historical context of its time and purpose. The text should be the result of consultation by the Alachua County Historic Commission with historic scholars.

Alachua County should memorialize the history of the 20 or more lynchings in our community and refered this memorialization to the County Manager and the Alachua County Historical Commission.

Item Summary Report
Veterans Minutes Nov. 14, 2016
Veterans Minutes Oct. 10, 2016
Historical Commission Minutes Jan. 12, 2016
Historical Commission Minutes Aug. 12, 2015
Historical Commission Minutes Nov. 14, 2016
Veterans Letter

 




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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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