It's politics as usual from the County Commission, The chairman and county manager made the decision to move the discussion of the “road surtax” to the morning session instead of the evening, so the working public had limited opportunity to attend and speak out.
Why? So Gainesville's special interests could attend in force and they wouldn't have to listen to the general public.
The focus on bus rapid transit for Gainesville and in the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan is not what the majority of the residents want or need. Without the proper density and ridership, RTS will not survive without government subsidies and additional taxes.
We need our roads repaired but I'm not sure we can trust our commissions or staff with millions of our tax dollars to do the right thing and be fiscally responsible.
Terry Martin-Back, Gainesville
What a sad state of affairs in Alachua County.
All our commissioners can seem to do is spend their time fighting over how to increase our already sky high taxes. Why are they not devoting themselves to increasing the tax base by working to lower taxes and bring businesses into the county? Or get all these exempt universities and churches to start actually paying their fair share?
We need to send all our commissioners two loud messages in November: Vote down this ridiculous new “road” tax and vote out of office these officials who just keep taxing and spending, starting with Mike Byerly.
Joe Dechristofaro, Archer
By Blake Alderman – WUFT-FM
Tomorrow ( June 18th) The Alachua County Commission will conduct a special meeting to discuss the 2013 budget plans. Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Blake Alderman spoke with Alachua County Commissioner Susan Baird about the goals for the upcoming meeting.
to listen to this story
Really? Front page news on June 14: “Chicken squabble ruffles neighborhood's feathers.”
Were the chickens armed and dangerous? Deputies? Please tell me they were not the Alachua County deputies, but code enforcement deputies. Sixty complaints? People, get a life!
I see why the government thinks it needs to get involved in every aspect of our lives because you can't even manage some chickens. What a waste of time, money and manpower. This is not news, it's insanity
Rose McCain, Cedar Key
ALACHUA – In a narrow 3-2 vote Tuesday, Alachua County Commissioners decided to move forward with a ¾ cent sales tax initiative that, if approved by voters in the fall, would fund roadway improvements. Not making the cut, however, was a ¼ cent ballot initiative that would have funded transit projects in the City of Gainesville, including a bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
The vote came one day after the County Commission’s joint meeting with the Alachua City Commission, at which city commissioners and Alachua citizens expressed views on the proposed sales taxes.
At Monday’s joint meeting, Alachua County Commissioner Ben Boukari noted briefly that the ¼ cent transit tax would be paid for by the entire county but benefit only Gainesville, while Gainesville would also benefit from the ¾ cent tax for road improvement.
County Commissioner Mike Byerly countered by saying individual cities that have been allotted transportation tax money should be trusted to correctly use that money.
“We should stay on the course where we let cities – including the City of Gainesville, including the City of Alachua – decide, ‘What are [our] priorities,” Byerly said.
Commissioners from both the city and county stated the importance of clear language in the balloting of the proposed taxes, which will go to voters in November. The county set a tentative date of July 10 for final approval of the language of the ballot.
The surtax was initially discussed last year, when the County Commission proposed a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects, asking individual cities of Alachua County to submit plans for projects they would fund with their share of the tax revenue.
The City of Alachua submitted a list of plans that included road and sidewalk improvements. The City of Gainesville was the only city to submit transit plans in addition to road improvement plans.
The ¾ cent tax ballot approved Tuesday included provisions for sidewalk improvement which initially had been excluded from a proposal approved by the county commission May 22.
Lee Pinkoson, Winston Bradley and Susan Baird, the three county commissioners who voted to remove the ¼ cent tax for transit, said Gainesville’s proposed plan for the money was unclear. Additionally, they said the city’s proposed BRT system was unnecessary.
NW 156th Avenue northeast of Alachua is closed at two locations due to two culverts that were washed out overnight due to storms on Thursday afternoon.
The first closure is located at 6100 NW 156th Avenue approximately 2/3 mile east of CR 237 between CR 237 and NW 59th Drive. Public Works staff is working to repair this damage but the culvert had another failure during work efforts. The initial projection for reopening the road is sometime within the next week.
The second closure is located at 8000 NW 156th Avenue approximately 1/2 mile west of CR 237 between NW 90th Street and NW 78th Terrace. This section of road will be closed until further notice. A detour has been established sending traffic north on CR 237 to SR 235 and then east to Burnett's Lake Road. See map above for detour route.
The culvert located at 8000 NW 156th Avenue is due for replacement. The County has completed plans for the replacement of the culvert and is preparing to go to bid. The bid and construction process will be accelerated due to the washout to reduce the length of time the road closure will be in effect.
For more information please contact Ruth Findley, Civil Engineer with the Alachua County Public Works Department at 352-260-7744.
The great Gainesville/Alachua County divide over a proposed road tax is a minor squabble compared to the great House/Senate divide over the nation's transportation funding bill.
The city/county divide is grounded in a substantial disagreement over whether sales tax revenues should be for mass transit and road improvements or simply road improvements.
In contrast, the great House/Senate divide is mostly due to partisan gridlock and has very little to do with transportation policy disagreements.
In our local divide, millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs are at stake.
In the congressional divide billions of dollars and millions of jobs hang in the balance.
The last time Congress passed a transportation funding bill was more than three years ago. Since then, unable to agree on new funding formulas, Congress has extended the existing authorization nine times.
The latest authorization expires on June 30. The U.S. Senate has prepared new bill that would allocate $109 billion to continue existing levels of funding for roads, mass transit and other priorities. It is estimated that funding would support about 3 million jobs. But in the House the majority party has been unable to build a consensus behind a transportation bill.
At this point another extension is the most expedient recourse, since it would allow the federal government to continue to pay for transportation improvements until after the next election. But House leaders show no sign of budging on this issue.
"There is no question that the country's economic recovery is showing signs of slipping, and thus no reason not to pass a new authorization that will help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and drive job growth, particularly in the construction sector which has been plagued with unemployment." said Kyle Moler, of Transportation for America, a nonpartisan advocacy group.
If not resolved soon, the great House/Senate transportation divide threatens to further sap America's already flagging economic vitality. House leaders should put partisanship aside and work with the Senate to keep America on the move.
A heartbreaking story of two dogs who appear to be sisters may be on the road to a happy ending.
Investigators at Alachua County Animal Control say they were hoping to have more answers as to who abandonded these dogs.
They have few answers, but they do know that each day the dogs are gaining a little weight and are starting to walk around when before all they would do is lay on the ground because they were not strong enough.
But Jessica Laginegar, investigator at Animal Services say its more than just their physical appearance that needs healing.
"Its also the mental and emotional.. they're broken and their spirits are broken and of course we try to get them back to a good health but we also try to let them know that we're ok and people are ok, and try to raise their spirits a little."
If you want to help the dogs you can buy chicken soup for the dog's soul food which can be found at Earth Pets.
If you buy it, you can leave it at the store and animal services will pick it up to help these dogs gain weight.
Alachua County commissioners took a step forward Tuesday with one tax proposal, and a firm stand against a second one.
Commissioners voted to put a three-quarter cent tax proposal for road repair on the November ballot.
The commission also re-stated that it won't move forward with a tax proposal for transit projects.
Commissioners set a public hearing for July 10th, where residents can comment on the roads proposal and possibly about the other proposals that didn't make it.
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