May 12, 2006 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Maddie's Pet Rescue Project of Alachua County

Taking Government to the People

Alachua County Affordable Housing Forum

CHOICES offers Open Enrollments

Local State of Emergency Declared - Countywide Burn Ban Takes Effect

Alachua County Celebrates National Public Works Week

Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Message: ‘Don’t Drink and Drive!’

Alachua County Urges You to Fight the Bite

Commission Meeting Highlights

Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards





Maddie’s Pet Rescue Project of Alachua County Deemed Outstanding

“No More Homeless Pets in Alachua County, the Maddie’s Fund Project, is a very ambitious and worthy project.
It is a project that has done more to help the Alachua County Animal Shelter find homes for abandoned and unwanted animals than any other project in the history of Alachua County Animal Services.

The challenges faced in meeting the adoption objectives of the No More Homeless Pets in Alachua County Project become increasingly difficult as the Project progresses over the years. It was relatively easy to meet the adoption goals in the early years of the project. As more animals must be adopted each year, the task becomes harder.

We have been very fortunate to have five outstanding Animal Welfare Organizations working directly with Alachua County Animal Services to take animals from the shelter and place them for adoption in the community. Our partners, Alachua County Humane Society, Gainesville Pet Rescue, Puppy Hill Farm, Helping Hands Pet Rescue, and Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue, have helped immensly,” said Ray Sim, Alachua County Animal Services Director.

Total Progress after three years:

• 11,363 adoptions
• 364 spay/neuter surgeries
• 7,529 fewer shelter deaths

“We are very proud of what Maddie’s Pet Rescue Project in Alachua County has accomplished so far. The Project is way ahead of its lifesaving goals in reducing shelter deaths. Thanks to the outstanding work of the entire coalition, only 35 healthy cats and dogs died in Alachua County shelters in 2005.” --- Rich Avanzino, Maddie’s Fund President

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Taking Government to the People

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners is taking government to the people. The Commission is holding a series of open meetings in municipalities throughout the County. Upcoming meetings include:
• Joint Annual Alachua County/Town of LaCrosse Meeting - June 11, 2006 at 7 p.m., in LaCrosse
• Joint Alachua County/City of Waldo Special Meeting in Waldo - June 13, 2006 at 7 p.m., in Waldo

For more information, please call (352) 264-6900.

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Alachua County Affordable Housing Forum

To address the growing need for affordable housing in the Gainesville/Alachua County metropolitan area, the Alachua County Affordable Housing Coalition will host its first Affordable Housing Forum to discuss “The State of Affordable Housing.” This forum will bring together the major stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to one table to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions for Alachua County. The Alachua County Growth Management Department is a member of the Coalition.

This forum will be held Wednesday, May 17, 2006 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eastside Community Center, 2841 E University Ave., Gainesville. The forum will include a keynote address from a representative of the Florida Housing Coalition, as well as a panel discussion including Edwin Dix of EDix Investments, Inc., Jack Kolberg of SunTrust Bank, Marilyn Mason of Vantage Mortgage, Ishmael Rentz of SL Construction, Inc., Leslie Suskin from the Gainesville Alachua Association of Realtors, and Dr. Bob Stroh, Director of the Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing at the University of Florida.

For more information and to confirm your attendance, please contact Teresa Osoba, President of the Alachua County Affordable Housing Coalition at or (352) 334-5026.

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CHOICES Offers Open Enrollemnts

Open Enrollments:

Mondays 7 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Tuesdays 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesdays 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Thursdays 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

All open enrollment sessions are held at the Dept. of Community Support Services/Health Department Building, 218 SE 24th St, Gainesville.


All open enrollment sessions are held at: Alachua County Health Department/ Community Support Services, 218 SE 24th St., Gainesville

Appointments aren’t necessary, but if you can’t join us during these times, call us at 264-6772.

For more info or eligibility requirements, call (352) 264-6772 or go to

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Local State of Emergency Declared Countywide Burn Ban Takes Effect

After reviewing Alachua County’s current wildland fire conditions and the area weather forecast, Chief Will Gray May, Jr., Director of Emergency Services, instituted by County proclamation a mandatory countywide burn ban, until formally terminated by a majority of the Board of County Commissioners.

Conditions in our area are unusually dry, and the County’s present drought rating on the Keech Byram Drought Index is 542. To put this in perspective, Brevard County, which is currently battling a 1,000 acre brush fire is also rated at 542 on the KBDI. Additionally, recent weather forecasts predict only minimal rainfall in the coming week; it will take a significant rainfall event to lower our local wildfire risks considerably.
The mandatory burn ban affects all of Alachua County, including rural and municipal areas. The Florida Division of Forestry will also be withholding burn permits on a case-by-case basis, as issued under their jurisdiction within the County.

Although the use of LPG/LNG grills and charcoal grills is permitted, the public is encouraged to keep a constant watch for any stray sparks or embers while cooking outdoors. Additionally, due to the potential for accidental ignitions, the use of motorized equipment such as ATVs and dirt bikes is not suggested during times of high wildfire risk. Please bear in mind that lawnmowers, both push and riding, also pose accidental ignition risks. Citizens are asked to exercise extreme caution during the burn ban. Working together, Alachua County’s citizens and local fire suppression agencies may avoid a repeat of the 1998 wildfires which scorched 7,100 acres locally.

Any burning within the County will be in violation of Alachua County ordinance 86-1, sections 10.08 and 10.09 and section 252.50 of Florida Statutes. It will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a 60-day imprisonment and up to a $500.00 fine. All County and municipal law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce the ordinance.

For more information, please contact Fire Rescue’s Public Information Officer Megan Crandall at (352)494-8600.

The countywide mandatory burn ban prohibits:

All outdoor burning that has not been specifically permitted by the Florida Division of Forestry is prohibited.

The sales and use of any fireworks, sparklers, flares, or other pyrotechnic devices, except as provided by law for public displays requiring a permit, is prohibited.

*** Please note ***
The ban does not affect agricultural burning permitted by the Florida Division of Forestry

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Alachua County Celebrates National Public Works Week

The Alachua County Public Works Department invites all citizens to join them in celebrating National Public Works Week, May 21 – 27, 2006. Please invite your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends or whole class to any of the events.

Tuesday, May 23
Tour the Leveda Brown Environmental Park
5115 N.E. 63rd Ave., Gainesville
See how garbage, recycling and hazardous waste are handled in Alachua County.

Wednesday, May 24
Heavy Machinery Road-eo!
Alachua County Fairgrounds
2900 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville
10 a.m. to noon
Alachua County road crew competes against City of Gainesville and City of Ocala crews in tests of skill.

Thursday, May 25
Tour the Public Works Compound
5620 NW 120th Lane, Gainesville
See the heavy equipment, the sign shop, vehicle repair shop, “mule” rides, and more.

Tour Animal Services
3400 NE 53rd Ave., Gainesville
See the adoptable cats, dogs, kittens and puppies. Learn why it’s important to spay or neuter your pet.

Please register for any of the tours so that times can be arranged. To register, please call Alachua County Public Works at (352) 374-5213.

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2006 National Tourism Week

The Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau and The Hospitality Council will celebrate 2006 National Tourism Week, May 15-20. A variety of events will be held throughout the week with the aim to promote greater public awareness of local hospitality service providers in the Alachua County community.

National Tourism Week is an annual event where hundreds of cities and towns across the nation promote greater public awareness of the powerful economic, social, and cultural impacts of travel and tourism through local events and celebrations.

Year after year, one of the most highlighted events of Alachua County’s celebration is the Annual Bed Making Contest at Wayne’s Bedding, 3265 SW 34th St., Gainesville. This year marks the 14th Annual Bed Making Contest, which will be broadcast live via KISS 105.3 remote on May 15, 2005. The Bed Making Contest affords local accommodations the opportunity to showcase some of their most talented staff who compete in a fast and furious contest that challenges the contestant to be the fastest bed maker for prizes.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau at (352) 374-5260.

2006 National Tourism Week

Monday, May 15
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - 14th Annual Bed Making Contest
at Wayne’s Bedding, 3265 SW 34th St., Gainesville

Wednesday, May 17
Noon to 1 p.m. - Hospitality Council Luncheon and TDC Meeting
at the Santa Fe Community College Zoo, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville

Thursday, May 18
2 p.m. – Server’s Contest in the Gainesville Downtown Community Plaza
6:30 p.m. – UF Baseball vs. LSU at McKethan Stadium, UF Campus

Friday, May 19
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Tourist Development Open House
6:30 p.m. – UF Baseball vs. LSU at McKethan Stadium, UF Campus

Saturday, May 20
4 p.m. – UF Baseball vs. LSU at McKethan Stadium, UF Campus

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Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Message: ‘Don’t Drink and Drive!’

The Impact Fee Assistance Program provides funding for the cost of impact fees for income-eligible homebuyers. Funding will be provided as a 0% interest, soft second mortgage for a five year term. You will have to repay a portion of the loan only if you sell or rent the home or refinance within the first five years of owning the home. Only income eligible homebuyers are eligible to participate in this program.

You may be eligible for up to 100% of the cost of impact fees if you meet the following general guidelines:
A. Your household’s gross annual income is less than 80% of the Area Median Income, adjusted for family size.
B. You intend to purchase an eligible housing unit. Mobile homes built before 1976 are not eligible for assistance.
C. Sales price may not exceed $131, 603 through September 30. Effective October 1, 2005, maximum sales price will be $140,000.
D. You intend to own and occupy the home as your principal residence. The home is not a rental unit. The assisted housing unit is eligible for homestead exemption.

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Alachua County Urges You to Fight the Bite!

When dealing with West Nile virus, prevention is your best bet. Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting the diseases carried by mosquitoes. Take the commonsense steps below to reduce your risk:
• Avoid bites and illness;
• Clean out the mosquitoes from the places you work and play;
• Help your community control the disease.


Use an insect repellent contain ing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.

Take extra care to use repellant and wear protective clothing during the evening and early morning.


Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so rid your home and surrounding area of items that hold water.

Keep mosquitoes outside by having well-fitted screens on both windows and doors.


Report dead birds to local authorities, as they may be a sign of West Nile.

Mosquitoes don’t care about fences, so it’s important to control breeding sites all over the neighborhood.


Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, dizziness, headache and confusion.

Physicians should contact the health department if they suspect a mosquito borne illness.

The Alachua County Public Health Department continues to conduct countywide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses.


For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit, call the Alachua County Public Health Department at (352) 334-7931, or call the West Nile virus Hot line at 1-888-880-5782.

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Proclamations, Presentations and Recognitions

The Board accepted a $750,000.00 Community Development Block Grant Housing Rehabilitation Grant from the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

The Board proclaimed the week of May 7-13, 2006 as “International Building Safety Week” in Alachua County, Florida.

The Board proclaimed the week of May13-20, 2006 as “National Tourism Week” in Alachua County, Florida.

The Board proclaimed the week of June 4-11, 2006 as “National Homeowners Week” in Alachua County, Florida.

The Board proclaimed May 14-20, 2006 as “Emergency Medical Services Week” in Alachua County, Florida.

The Board proclaimed May 17, 2006 as “National Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day” in Alachua County, Florida.


Advisory Boards

Veteran Services Advisory Board:
• Walter Jenkins, Jr. was appointed as a Gulf War Veteran to a term ending in August 2007.
• Will Gray May, Jr. was appointed as a Veteran to a term ending in August 2007.

County Manager

The Board approved the proposal to create a work group of two elected officials from the Alachua County Commission (Chair Pinkoson and Vice Chair DeLaney) and two from the Gainesville City Commission to address the unresolved issues in a proposed Annexation Transition Agreement and the Designated Assistance Agreement. The Board authorized the Chair to sign the attached letter to the City concerning the County Commission’s Work Group proposal.

CHOICES Health Services program performance update.


Community Planning Group

The Board approved the Jonesville Park Site Plan Amendment to relocate the Jonesville Fire Station to the park.

The Board accepted the Annual Report on Impact Fees. Commissioner Chestnut made the following motion:
1.) To approve the following issues that Staff (Growth Management) feels need to be addressed 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. Click here to view presentation
2.) Refer to a stakeholder’s review of the residential and non-residential development Impact Fees for consideration by the BOCC and return to the Commission.

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Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

The Alachua County Commission is committed to citizen involvement on its 33 advisory boards
and is soliciting applications for the following vacancies:

Applications are available in the County Manager's Office on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE First St., Gainesville, or on the Web at:


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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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