September 26, 2008 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Chairman Long appointed to National Association of Counties Steering Committee
Tax Foundation Report ranks Florida 47 in US
Last day to register to vote for the general election approaching
Two ATV youth workshops upcoming
Phifer Flatwoods Preserve is open to the public
ACAS awarded $20,000 for Spay/Neuter Program
County one of 20 best places to retire
Regional workshop on offenders’ reentry into community
You may be eligibe for Tropical Storm Fay federal assistance
Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center recognized
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
National Fire Prevention Week is October 5 - 11 this year
Commission Meeting Highlights
Alachua County Advisory Boards


Chairman Long appointed to National Association of Counties Steering Committee

National Association of Counties (NACo) President Don Stapley has appointed Alachua County Commission Chairman Rodney J. Long to serve on the association’s Community and Economic Development Steering Committee for 2008-09.

The Community and Economic Development Committee is responsible for developing NACo policy regarding federal legislation and policy pertaining to general community development and redevelopment; residential, commercial, and industrial development; housing programs; building and housing codes; subdivision regulation; and public works and economic development.

Founded in 1935, NACo is the single national organization that represents the 3,066 county governments in the United States. NACo’s steering committees annually review and make recommendations to the NACo Board of Directors on public policy issues and federal legislation. The policy development process initiated by the steering committees leads to the publication of the American County Platform, which NACo uses as a guide to deliver the county government message to the administration, Congress and the American public.

“On behalf of the nation’s counties, I am pleased that Commissioner Long will serve on NACo’s Community and Economic Development Committee to help shape national policies affecting local government,” said Stapley, supervisor, Maricopa County, Ariz.

Chairman Long, a native of Gainesville, was first elected commissioner in 1988 and currently serves as president-elect of the Florida Association of Counties.

For more information, please call NACo at 202-393-6226.

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Tax Foundation Report ranks Florida 47 in US

The Tax Foundation an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research and public education organization, has released a Special Report.

Of special interest to the citizens of Florida is that the total state and local tax burden in Florida ranks 47th out of 50 states. In per capita income Florida ranks 15th out of 50.

The Tax Foundation has monitored tax and fiscal activities at all levels of government since 1937.

Click on here to view the report.

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Last day to register to vote for the general election approaching

With just a little over a month away to the November 4th General Election, Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter would like to remind citizens that Monday, October 6, 2008 is the last day to register to vote.

The form for registering to vote, updating your voter information or updating your signature is available online at , at the Supervisor of Elections Office at 111 S.E. 1st Avenue, at any Public library or by contacting the Supervisor of Elections Office for sites were voter registration applications may be obtained. All mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked no later than the October 6 deadline.

Voters who have moved within the county should update their address now to avoid delays at the polls by calling the Elections Office at 352-374-5252. Voters who have moved from another Florida county or from out of state must complete a Florida Voter Registration Application.

Voters still have time to request a ballot and Vote by Mail to avoid the anticipated long lines on Election Day. When Voting by Mail, voters can take all the time they need to review their ballot in the comfort of their own home. Any voter may Vote by Mail. To make your request, go online to or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252. Voters will need to make sure the address and signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections is current. All Vote by Mail requests must be made no later than 5 p.m. on October 29, 2008. The Supervisor of Elections Office must receive all ballots by 7 p.m. Election Day.

For more information, visit the Supervisor of Elections website at or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

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Two ATV youth workshops upcoming

ATV injuries and deaths are frequent in North Central Florida; learning and using the top recommended ATV safety practices can increase enjoyment of riding ATV’s and reduce accidents. The Alachua County Department of Public Safety and 4-H are offering ATV Safety Education workshops for youth ages 8-16, at two different locations and dates; October 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Archer and on November 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Office at 2800 NE 39th Avenue in Gainesville. Youth will learn ATV safety, knowledge, and skills in a fun, safe, and fast-paced classroom atmosphere. A free 45-minute parents/caregivers orientation will be given at 9 a.m. each day. A registration fee of $5.00 is payable at the workshop. 4-H and FFA members are free. Youth should bring a lunch. Snacks will be provided.

There is no ATV riding in this workshop. This is not the state required certification course for youth to legally ride on public land; however, the same safety information is taught. It is good preparation for the ASI ATV Rider Course, and allows the children to master the information taught.

For more information, or to register, call Alachua County Public Safety Public Education Coordinator, Lorraine S. Williams at 352-384-3106 or email

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Phifer Flatwoods Preserve is open to the public

The Phifer Flatwoods Preserve is officially open to the public as of September 20, 2008. Two trails are available for hiking and biking, with more trails to come this fall. The preserve is a 644 acre natural area southeast of Gainesville adjacent to State Road 20 where it intersects with County Road 325.

The protection of Phifer Flatwoods Preserve was made possible by the dedication and quick action of the non-profit Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) and its many friends and supporters. In 2005 the land was put up for auction and nearly acquired by a Louisiana developer. Aware of the critical timing of the pending sale, ACT quickly rallied the support of the local community, receiving loans from more than 50 individuals, foundations, and non-profit groups, and gifts from more than 250 households. This valiant group effort raised nearly $3 million for the initial land purchase. Alachua County purchased Phifer Flatwoods from ACT using Alachua County Forever Bond funds and a Florida Communities Trust Grant, thus protecting the land for future generations.

Sandra Vardaman, Land Conservation Biologist for Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, noted that Phifer Flatwoods is both naturally and culturally diverse. “Phifer Flatwoods is a mosaic of upland and wetland natural communities that is adjacent to over 3 miles of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail,” said Vardaman. “It’s part of over 51,000 acres of conserved land that surrounds the Rail Trail. The preserve is home to a variety of species including Gopher tortoises and pitcher plants. It was also a turpentine production site in the early part of the 20th century.”

Access to Phifer Flatwoods is via the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail. The preserve is a 9 mile bike ride from the Gainesville Rail-Trailhead and a 6 mile bike ride from the Hawthorne Rail-Trailhead. Residents driving to the preserve can take State Road 20, turn south onto County Road 325, and travel one-half mile to County Road 2082. Parking is available at the Phifer Flatwoods Parking Area at the intersection of County Road 2082 and County Road 325. Walk or bike east on the Rail Trail one-half mile to the Marsh Trailhead or one mile to the Swamp Trailhead.

Alachua County will soon be sending out a press release inviting the public to the Phifer Flatwoods Grand Opening Celebration & Vine Cutting, which take place on October 11, 2008.

The preserve will be open daily from sunrise to sunset for hiking and biking on established paths.

For more information or for persons with disabilities who require assistance in accessing the site contact the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Land Conservation Division 352-264-6800 or visit them online at


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ACAS awarded $20,000 for Spay/Neuter Program

Alachua County Animal Services (ACAS) has announced that they have been awarded $20,000 by the Florida Animal Friend License Plate Fund to provide free spay/neuter surgeries on cats and dogs from low income households in Alachua County, as well as any pit bull breed from any household in Alachua County.

The Florida Animal Friend license plate fund began in 2005 in an effort to reduce the number homeless dogs and cats that are euthanized each year. In 2008, the organization funded more than $350,000 to non-profit shelters, veterinarians and government agencies to develop spay/neuter programs. The allocated funds came from the sale of the “Florida Animal Friend” license plate by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Each plate sold generates approximately $25 to the fund. Anyone interested in purchasing this plate should contact their local tax collector’s office.

Alachua County residents who qualify under the federal guidelines for low-income (see Figure 1) may schedule their dog or cat for spay or neuter surgery at the Animal Shelter. The cost of the surgery is being subsidized by the $20,000 grant from the Florida Animal Friend License Plate Fund. Alachua County residents who own any breed of pit bull may also qualify for spay/neuter surgery under this grant. Unlike the $10,000 PetSmart Charities Grant that ACAS has been servicing since July, this new program does not cover the cost of a rabies vaccination and current license (which will be $14 for cats, $21 for dogs). The rabies vaccine and license must be paid for by the pet owner.

Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, 2008

2008 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Size of Family




































For each additional person add:


$5,400 annually

$450 monthly

$104 weekly

Qualified pet owners should come to the shelter to establish eligibility for the program. Low-income pet owners will be required to show proof of identification and either proof of government assistance or a recent (within two weeks) pay stub to establish eligibility. Proof of residency in Alachua County will also be required. Pit bull owners just need to bring their dog to the shelter for an examination to verify it as a Pit Bull breed. Once these eligibility requirements have been met, an appointment will be set for the procedure.

On the day of their appointment, owners will need to bring their dogs to the shelter at 8:30am sharp for an initial exam and intake. Late-comers will be required to set another appointment time. Animals cleared for surgery must then be picked up at 4:30pm sharp that same day. As ACAS closes at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and does not reopen until the following Tuesday, Saturday afternoon pickup times must be strictly observed.

This new program at ACAS joins other local spay neuter programs, such as the PitNip spay/neuter program administered by West End Animal Hospital in Newberry (352-472-7626) and the Humane Society’s Gallenkamp spay/neuter voucher program (352-373-5855), among many others, in the fight to control the population of unwanted pets.

“We remain committed to the goal of eliminating homeless pets in Alachua County,” explains ACAS Director David Flagler. “Programs like this help remind folks that responsible pet ownership also means taking responsibility for controlling the pet population in Alachua County.”

Residents interested in scheduling their pets for a spay/neuter appointment should come directly to ACAS (3400 NE 53rd Avenue, Gainesville) with the necessary information to determine eligibility. For more information or if you have questions about eligibility, please contact the shelter at 352-264-6870.

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County one of 20 best places to retire

Gainesville, Alachua County, FL has made the 20 Best Places to Retire list published annually by Black Enterprise Magazine, which recently released this information:

“Black Enterprise Magazine would like to congratulate you and your city for being selected as one of the 20 Best Places to Retire. Our October 2008 issue is our Annual Retirement Guide and will feature the 20 Best Places to Retire. ... You can find the article on pages 110-118. ... The issue will hit newsstands on Tuesday September 23, 2008. Thank you and congratulations!”

Click here to view the article.

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Regional workshop on offenders’ reentry into community

Alachua County Court Services employees are organizing and hosting the Florida Association of Community Corrections (FACC) Regional Workshop on Reentry of Offenders into the Community. The workshop is entitled “Reentry Not An Option, But A Reality” and will be held at the Martin Luther King Center in Gainesville, Florida on October 30, 2008 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The workshop will feature best practice programs in the reentry field. These evidence-based programs have established success at dealing with offenders’ reentry into the community.

Presenters will be the Savannah Impact Program, Pinellas County Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition, Governor’s Task Force on Reentry, State of Florida Parole Commission, State of Florida Department of Corrections and the Office of Executive Clemency.

The Regional Workshop objective is to educate Program Administrators, Law-Enforcement, Community Corrections, and Community Leaders on the benefits of developing a comprehensive plan or approach to reentry.

For information on the workshop, please contact Court Services Probation Supervisor Sharon Longworth at (352) 338-7346.

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You may be eligibe for Tropical Storm Fay federal assistance

Alachua County residents, including municipal and incorporated area residents, who suffered damages caused by Tropical Storm Fay are now eligible for two forms of assistance from the federal government:

The FEMA Individual Assistance Program. Individual Assistance covers basic needs only and will not compensate you for the entire loss.

Some residents may be qualified for a low interest loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The first step in determining eligibility is to register with FEMA by calling 1 800-621-3362 or apply on line at .

Before calling be sure to know the following:

To be eligible you must apply.

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Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center recognized

Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center received recognition on September 4, 2008 as a certified rape crisis center by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. On March 4, 2008 the program was monitored for certification renewal and compliance with Florida Council Against Sexual Violence certification standards by ENSYNC Diversified Management Services an independent organizational performance consultant. Certification requires rape crisis centers receiving funds from the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund meet or exceed the minimum standards for 102 service standard requirements.

Funds credited to the trust fund consist of money collected as an additional assessment in each case in which a defendant pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is found guilty of a sexual offense. More than $100,000.00 has been received by the program from the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund. Money from the trust fund must be used exclusively to support services for victims of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Program Trust funds have been used to assist sexual assault victims with rent and utilities, pay a small stipend to providers for innovative therapeutic services for support groups, purchase activity workbooks, journals, art, crafts and supplies for the teen group and train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

“We are very pleased our program, staff and volunteers passed the scrutiny and in depth review required for certification renewal.” said Loretta Golden, program director. “By meeting the minimum standards, and in most instances exceeding best practice standards, survivors of sexual assault in Alachua County will continue to receive comprehensive quality services focused on diminishing the impact of sexual assault and other violent crimes.”

All services are free and confidential.

For more information, contact Loretta Golden at 352-264-6760 or toll-free at 866-252-5439.


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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

Click to watch Emergency Management Chief David Donnelly give an overview of Alachua County Emergency Operations.

Click to watch Alachua County Advisory Board Coordinator Mary Lowry describe how interested citizens can take part in creating recommendations for the County Commission.

Check out the latest editions of Alachua County Talks on Community 12 TV by viewing the Channel 12 Show Schedule. Or click on the images to the right to view streaming video of the episodes.

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National Fire Prevention Week is October 5 - 11 this year

The public is invited to join the Alachua County Department of Public Safety in celebrating Fire Prevention Week on October 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Station 19 at 4501 SW 20th Ave. in Gainesville. Fire Station tours will begin at 11:15.

Patches, the robotic fire safety dog, will greet visitors and give fire safety messages. Fire department equipment and trucks will be on display. There will be games and activities for children, home escape plan information, free smoke alarms, and free hot dog lunches.

The rate of burn injuries has gone up locally and nationally in the past year; it is everyone’s responsibility to reverse that trend. Preventing just one fire and one person from being burned saves thousands of dollars; but the real savings is not having the life-long pain and suffering of being severely injured by being burned.

The top fire safety behaviors emphasized by the Department of Public Safety are:

  1. Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  2. Have a smoke alarm and change the batteries twice a year. Test it once a month. Replace the alarm every 10 years.
  3. Make and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in the home. Practice it at night, also.
  4. If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, cover your face, and roll.
  5. If the smoke alarm goes off, get out immediately. Crawl low under smoke. Call 911 once outside of the home.
  6. Do not overload electrical outlets or cover up cords under rugs.
  7. If smokers are in the house, make sure all smoking materials are put out thoroughly. Do not smoke in bed or when tired and sleepy.
  8. Stay in the kitchen when cooking, keeping pot handles turned inward. Keep curtains, paper towels, etc. away from the stove.
  9. If using portable heaters, keep them at least 3 feet from all flammable materials.
  10. If using candles, put them out when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  11. Clean the clothes dryer vents out regularly.
  12. Have the chimney cleaned and checked yearly.

For answers to questions about fire safety, please call the Alachua County Department of Public Safety at 352-384-3101. Public Education Coordinators are available for group presentations on fire and life safety topics for children and adults.

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

Announcements - Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator


The Board proclaimed October 5, 2008 through October 11, 2008 as "National 4-H week" in Alachua County, Florida.
4_H Week 2008.pdf


The Board proclaimed October 5-11-2008 Fire Prevention Week
Fire prevention week 08.pdf


The Board implemented the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 45 - Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) by a dopting the attached resolution and approving the trust joinder agreement to join the Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund (FMPTF), administered by the Florida League of Cities, and approved the transfer of $441,000 from the Health Insurance Fund to the newly created OPEB Trust to fund the fiscal year 2008 actuarially determined annual required contribution (ARC).

Amount: $441,000.00

Actuary Report dated Oct 1 2006.pdf
FMPTF Investment Policy.pdf
FMPTF Master Trust Agreement as amended June 1 2006.pdf
Summary of OPEB Liabilities with and without Trust.pdf
Trust Joinder Agreement.pdf


The Board referred the Underserved portion of the Community Action Partnership Program back to the advisory board for further consideration and with the instruction to include all board member scores and to consider point totals in funding recommendation.

Amount: $233,767.00

CEFAB Funding Recomm. Memo.pdf
9 23 08 RecommendationsYeago.pdf


The Board deferred the No Parking requests below to staff and asked them to return with alternatives such as shrubs, fencing, and other alternatives to discourage parking.

No Parking Signs on SW 43rd Street in front of Forest Park (Amended)

Forest Park No Parking Pics.pdf
Forest Park No Parking Location Map.pdf

No Parking Signs on SW 75th Street in front of Kanapaha Park (Amended)

Kanapaha Park No Parking Pics.pdf
Kanapaha Park No Parking Location Map.pdf

No Parking Signs on CR 241 in front of Jonesville Park (Amended)

Jonesville Park No Parking Pics.pdf
Jonesville Park No Parking Location Map.pdf


The Board the proposed Old Florida Heritage Highway Master Plan as the basis for implementation activities, and direct the Corridor Management Council to prioritize implementation projects and coordinate funding strategy utilizing grants and partnership development.

Project Profiles.pdf


The Board directed staff to negotiate two interlocal agreements with Gilchrist County

Amount: $117,170.00


The Board accepted the Annual Impact Fee Report.

Impact ordinance.pdf
Impact PH.pdf
Impact budget comparison.pdf
Impact Expendatures.pdf


The Board approved the Poverty Reduction Advisory Board (PRAB) recommendations for 2008 and directed the Manager to implement recommendations through the Legislative Affairs Director (recommendations 1, 2, and 3). Further, PRAB recommends that BOCC send a letter to Gov. Christ (per recommendation 4), that BOCC send letters to agencies (per recommendation 5) and that BOCC direct CAPP Advisory Board to develop policy (per recommendation 6).

FoodStamp BOCC RECOMMENDATIONS Sept 2008.pdf
food stamp Survey Overview 07212008.pdf


Commission Comments

Chairman Long placed two items on the October 10, 2008 Board Retreat:


Commissioner DeLaney requested copies of the Constitutional Officers, and the City of Gainesville, vehicle policies to be available for the retreat


Public Hearings

The Board accepted and exercised the Assignment of Option to purchase the Watermelon Pond-Ferran Tract and authorized staff to execute documents as necessary to close the transaction.
Exhibit 2 WAT REPA.pdf
Exhibit 4 Ferran costs.pdf
Exhibit 5 BoCC080923 ACF Ferran.ppt
Exhibit 6 BoCC080923 ACF Ferran.pdf
Exhibit 3 Map.pdf
Exhibit 1 Watermelon Pond Feran Tract Assignment Final.pdf



The Board adopted an ordinance to amend the Future Land Use Map CPA 16 08 redesignating privately owned parcels from Preservation to Rural Agriculture.

CPA16 08 presentation 9_23_08.pdf
CPA 16 08 Locator Map.pdf
CPA 16 08 Ordinance.pdf
CPA 16 08 9_23_08.pdf
CPA16 08 presentation 9_23_08.ppt


The Board adopted CPA-11-08, a request to amend the text of Comprehensive Plan Policy of the Activity Center Plan policies for the Springhills Activity Center to increase the Floor Area Ratio.


The Board adopted CPA-12-08: A request for a large scale comprehensive plan amendment to amend the Future land Use Map: 2020 from Industrial/manufacturing to Medium density residential on approximately 32 acres

CPA1208 Maps.pdf
CPA1208 Powerpoint.pdf
CPA1208 Ordinance.pdf
CPA1208 Application.pdf
CPA1208 Staff Report.pdf


The Board adopted CPA 14-08: TDR Text Amendment: County-initiated Large Scale Text Amendment to implement a Transfer of Development Rights Program in Alachua County.



The Board adopted CPA 13-08: Eastside Activity Center Master Plan, Large-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment

Staff Report Exhibit 4 Proposed Future Land Use Map.pdf
Staff Report Exhibit 3 Current Future Land Use Map.pdf
Ordinance CPA 1308 GM Signed.pdf
Staff Report CPA 13 08.pdf
Staff Report Exhibit 1 Data and Analysis.pdf
State Comp Plan Citations from ORC Report.pdf
Staff Report Exhibit 2 Text Amendments with Changes Since Transmittal.pdf
Presentation CPA 1308 PDF Version.pdf
ORC Report Other Agency Comments.pdf
County Response to ORC Report.pdf
Presentation CPA 1308.ppt
Staff Report Exhibit 5 Proposed Community Facilities Map.pdf
ORC Report August 1 2008.pdf


The Board approved the Final Plat for Lana's Place Subdivision, a single family residential subdivision.


The Board approved the Final Plat for Lexington Place Single Family Subdivision


Advisory Board Appointments

Ms. Karen Keith was appointed to the Criminal Justice Mental Health and Substance Abuse Grant Planning Committee as a Chief Correctional Officer representative to a term ending April 30, 2009, then April 30, 2011.

Ms. Betsy Skinner was appointed to the Fair Housing/Human Rights Board as a Citizen-at-large to a term ending June 30, 2009, then June 30, 2012.

Ms. Cynthia Robinson was appointed to the Value Adjustment Board as an Alachua County Resident to a term ending December 31, 2009.

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Alachua County Advisory Boards

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

Get Involved - Click here for an application:

Applications are also available at the County Manager’s Office on the Second Floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. For more information, call (352) 264-6904.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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