March 2nd edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Keep Alachua County Beautiful Highlighted on Alachua County Talks
Alachua County Fire Rescue Station #25 Ribbon Cutting
SW Health Clinic Ribbon Cutting
03-03-15 Special Meetings
2015 ACCESS Spring Classes
March Extension Programs
Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show
Gainesville Election Information
Commission Highlights

Keep Alachua County Beautiful Highlighted on Alachua County Talks

A new edition of Alachua County Talks featuring an interview with Keep Alachua County Beautiful Executive Director Gina Hawkins is now running on Cox Channel 12, YouTube, and Video on Demand. Hawkins discusses the organization’s efforts to eliminate litter in Alachua County and improving civic pride through community beautification efforts like the Alachua County Great American Cleanup on March 21, 2015.
In speaking of the program, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “The Alachua County Commission has made litter reduction a high priority. The work of Keep Alachua County Beautiful is both laudable and essential to the effort to eliminate litter in our community.”

In the interview, Hawkins discusses the Great American Cleanup which takes place on Saturday, March 21, from 8 a.m. to noon at Albert Ray Massey Park (1001 N.W. 34th Street, Gainesville).

Visit the Keep Alachua County Beautiful website.  For more information, call 352-371-9444.

The latest editions of Alachua County Talks air at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every night except Thursday, and at 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. every day. Special or regular County Commission and Gainesville City Commission meetings may preempt any showing.

View Alachua County Talks: Keep Alachua County Beautiful/Litter Reduction.

View the complete Channel 12 Schedule.

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

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

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Alachua County Fire Rescue Station #25 Ribbon Cutting

The Alachua County Commission, along with Alachua County Fire Rescue and Alachua County Facilities Management invite residents to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Station #25 in Hawthorne. The ribbon cutting will take place on March 9, 2015, beginning at 10 a.m. at Fire Rescue Station #25 (7405 SE 221st St., Hawthorne). Refreshments will be served.
Speakers at the event will include County Commission Chair Charles “Chuck” Chestnut IV, County Manager Dr. Lee A. Niblock, Fire Rescue Chief William K. Northcutt, County Facilities Director Charlie Jackson, and City of Hawthorne Vice Mayor Tommie Howard.

The repaired 8,475 square foot facility includes the following features:

“We are excited about our return to the City of Hawthorne,” says William Northcutt. “The majority of our responses in this area are in the City and this places our resources next to our north/south response route on US301.  The renovation work was outstanding and being back here gives us a facility that we will be able to stay close to the community even during a major storm.”
“Major repair and renovation of this existing solid structure makes good business sense and is a good investment of limited dollars,” says Charlie Jackson.

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

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SW Health Clinic Ribbon Cutting

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG), and the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (FDOH-Alachua) are pleased to announce the Ribbon Cutting for the SW Health Clinic. The event is on March 16, 2015, beginning at 11 a.m., at the SW Health Clinic (816 SW 64th Terrace, Gainesville), and features speakers and a guided tour of the facility. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.
SWAG and the BoCC have worked together since 2010, when the two entities, along with Partnership for Strong Families, created the SWAG Family Resource Center.  The SW Health Clinic began to move forward in August 2012, when the County and SWAG joined with the FDOH-Alachua, who received a $300,000 operational grant from the Florida Blue Foundation. The BoCC allocated $190,000 to renovate a building that it had purchased for a future clinic in the southwest community. The project received a $60,000 Rotary Wild Game Feast grant, and raised an additional $73,000 for the renovation efforts.  Additionally, in-kind donations from the Martin Kids Dental Health Team and Charles Perry Partners, Inc. made the project possible. 

Renovations on the SW Health Clinic started in the fall of 2014, and were completed at the end of February, 2015.  The clinic will contain five general exam rooms, a rash exam room with exterior door access, as well as four dental exam rooms.  It will provide an assortment of public health services including programs focused on disease control, children’s health, WIC, Florida birth certificates, adult health, and increasing dental capacity. 

Dr. Lee Niblock, Alachua County Manager says, “The County’s relationship with SWAG has been a great example of public/private partnerships at their most effective. Following the success of the SWAG Family Resource Center, the County is proud to be a partner in the SW Health Clinic, which will provide much needed health services to our citizens in this area.”

“This clinic will be such a blessing to so many people in the SWAG neighborhoods,” says Dorothy Thomas, SWAG Special Projects and Fundraising Chair.  “Everyone deserves the chance to be healthy.  This clinic will create access to the services that people need to make that happen.” 

“This collaboration and partnership is consistent with the Florida Department of Health’s mission to promote, protect, and improve the health of all people in Florida,” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

SWAG is a community-based organization that strives to improve living conditions, educational opportunities, and quality of life for residents in the Tower Road corridor just west of I-75 in the 32607 zip code.

Learn more about SWAG.

Learn more about FDOH-Alachua.

Learn more about the Rotary Clubs of Gainesville Foundation.

View a complete list of the Renovation Partners.

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

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03-03-15 Special Meetings

The Alachua County Commission will conduct two Special Meetings on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in the Grace Knight Conference Room, located on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration building (12 SE 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).

The 10 a.m. meeting agenda includes:

1. Fairground Presentation and Discussion
2. Boundary Adjustment Act

View agenda and backup.

The 1:30 p.m. meeting agenda includes:

1. Alachua County School Board Resource Officers
2. Impact on Sector Planning Process
3. Improving Social Media to Better Deploy County Services
4. Newberry Community Redevelopment Agency
5. Potential Rail-Trail Projects
6. Senate Bill 832

View agenda and backup.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the meetings. They will be available to view live on Cox Channel 12 or on the County’s Video on Demand website.

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

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

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2015 ACCESS Spring Classes

The public is invited to participate in the annual Alachua County Civic Education SerieS (ACCESS). Classes begin April 6, 2015. The free program runs Monday mornings for seven sessions, but space is limited. The registration deadline is March 27.

Participants receive detailed information about the operations of County departments, special districts, and constitutional officers. The sessions include presentations, handouts, tours, hands-on activities, and question and answer periods. The ACCESS program provides valuable information whether someone is already active in local government or new to government involvement.

County Manager Dr. Lee Niblock invites ACCESS participants to, “Meet the men and women who serve the County, hear about the variety of services offered, and learn about the impact of national and state trends on local government programs and issues.”

To view a complete schedule of classes and to register online, visit the ACCESS website.

For more information or to register by phone, contact the Alachua County Office of Management and Budget at 352-374-5262.

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March Extension Programs

Environmental Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Getting Ready for Spring – March 3, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Senior Recreation Center (5701 NW 34 Street, Gainesville)

This class focuses on growing the right plants in the right place, watering efficiently, and fertilizer use.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Saving Money in the Landscape – March 7 & March 8, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., at the North Central Florida Home & Garden Show (University of Florida, Stephen C. O’Connell Center, 250 Gale Lemerand Drive, Gainesville)

This seminar will teach how to create big impacts on a budget - addressing plant selection, cuttings, irrigation, mulching and pruning.

Registration is not required.

Vegetable Gardening: Grow Great Tomatoes – March 18, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This class will cover growing tomatoes in the garden and in containers. Learn the basics of how to grow tomatoes in Florida’s challenging environment. Topics include: tomato pest control options, including non-chemical choices of combatting the scores of tomato insects and disease problems.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Lawns & Turf Alternatives – March 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Tower Road Library Branch (3020 SW 75 Street, Gainesville)

This class covers lawn mowing, watering, fertilizing, and pest management.

Growing Blueberries – March 26, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Alachua County is one of the top blueberry producing counties in the state. Learn to easily grow rabbit-eye blueberries. This class covers planting, fertilizing, and pruning.

Fruit Production Workshop - March 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., (registration at 9 a.m., program begins at 10 a.m.), at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center (2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville), with Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent

This workshop is intended for fruit enthusiasts and small farmers. The latest information from UF/IFAS experts will be offered on variety selection, production, and pest and disease management for peaches, blueberries, and citrus.

The registration fee is $10.00 (includes lunch). Registration can be paid at the door or online (with additional fee).

There is no cost to attend these classes (unless otherwise indicated), space is limited; pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Commercial Horticulture Program

This program is being offered by Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Organic Strawberry Workshop – March 3, from 1 p.m. to 4:20 p.m., at Frog Song Organics (4317 NE US Highway, Hawthorne), with specialists from University of Florida. The entrance to the farm is located on Sid Martin NE US Highway 301

Topics include: Cover Crops Options for Organic Strawberry, Performance of Selected Commercial Strawberry Cultivars, Pest and Disease Management in Organic Strawberry Production – Field Practicum in Pest Identification, and Consumer Preferences for Strawberry Quality Attributes.

This is workshop is free and open to the public, no pre-registration is required.

4-H Program

This program is being offered by Matt Benge, 4-H Youth Development Agent.

Alachua County Open & 4-H Horse Show – March 15, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace Outdoor Arena (9 miles west of I-75 on Newberry Road)

The Horse Show is open to all riders ages 8 and up.

The Horse Show is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.

For more information contact Matt Benge, Alachua County 4-H Youth Development Agent at 352-955-2402.

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 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafe®) – March 19, 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 consumers food that is prepared in a clean and safe environment. For more information and to register, visit the Food Safety and Quality website, or call toll-free at 1-888-232-8723.

Canning Workshop – March 24, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and repeated from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Basic information on canning foods using the boiling-water canner and steam pressure canner. Directions and tips will also be included on making jams, jellies, and pickles.

No registration fee; printed materials will be available for $3.00 per set. Please pre-register for this class by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail).

Agriculture & Natural Resources Program

This program is being offered by Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

Worker Protection Standard: Train the Trainer Workshop – March 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, with Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent

Registration fee is $10.00 (includes light refreshments). 

Register by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail) no later than March 23.  

For more information about these programs, please call 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Office calendar for additional programs offered by the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office.

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Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show

The Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show Association is pleased to announce the 2015 Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show from March 6 to 10, at the Alachua County Fairgrounds (3100 Northeast 39th Avenue, Gainesville). Alachua County 4-H and FFA youth ranging in age from 8 to 18 can participate in the Show. The event is free.

The Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show Association is a non-profit organization that conducts and operates public fairs and expositions pertaining to agricultural matters and more particularly to the exhibitions of livestock, poultry, crafts, youth projects and farm products.  The fair is an educational platform for the youth in Alachua County who are interested in agriculture. Youth will exhibit both livestock and non-livestock 4-H & FFA projects.

“The youth fair benefits agriculture and the local community by providing an educational opportunity for youth to learn about production agriculture,” said Dr. Cindy Sanders, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Director.  “Working with livestock and other agriculture events through the youth fair prepares future citizens of Alachua County to be knowledgeable about agriculture production and land use. This benefits Alachua County by providing citizens the opportunity to see our 4-H & FFA youth projects.”

A complete schedule of events can be found at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County website.

For more information, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office at 352-955-2402.

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Gainesville Election Information

Early Voting Information

Early Voting
March 9th – March 14th, 2015
Monday through Saturday
9 AM – 5 PM

3 Early Voting Locations

Millhopper Branch Library
3145 NW 43rd Street

Cone Park Library
2841 E. University Avenue

Supervisor of Elections County
Administration Building Office
12 SE 1st Street

Gainesville Run-Off Election
April 14, 2015 (if needed)
Polls open 7 AM – 7 PM

Early Voting for the March 17, 2015, City of Gainesville Election will be available starting Monday, March 9, 2015, through Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The City of Gainesville now has 3 early voting locations:

Millhopper Branch Library
3145 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville

Cone Park Library
2841 E. University Avenue, Gainesville

Supervisor of Elections - County Administration Building Office
12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville

Florida Law requires voters to present current and valid picture and signature ID or vote a provisional ballot.

All eligible voters registered within the city limits of Gainesville may vote in this election.

Vote by Mail

Any voter may request a ballot and vote by mail. Voters may make their request online at or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252. Voters will need to make sure their address and signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections are current. Your mail ballot may not count if the signature does not match the signature on your voter record. You may update your signature by filling out a voter registration application form in person or online at All signature updates for use in verifying absentee and provisional ballots must be received in the Elections Office prior to the start of the canvassing of absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board.

If a voter realizes they have returned their absentee ballot without including their signature, they may submit an affidavit to the Supervisor of Elections’ office no later than 5 p.m. the day before the election to cure the unsigned ballot.

To request a ballot for another voter, you must be directly instructed by the voter and be a member of the voter’s immediate family or the voter’s legal guardian. Immediate family means the voter’s spouse or the parent, child, grandparent, or sibling of either the voter or of the voter’s spouse.

Requests can be made online, in person, by mail, by telephone, or by fax. All requests must include the voter’s name, residence address, and date of birth. The request must also include the requestor’s name, residence address, relationship to the voter, and driver’s license number, if available. Mail or fax requests must also include the requestor’s signature.

The last day to request your ballot be mailed is Wednesday, March 11, 2015 by 5 p.m.

Starting Thursday, March 12, 2015, a voter may designate, in writing, another person to pick up an absentee ballot.  The designee must have a note signed by the voter, picture identification, and must complete an affidavit.  The designee may not pick up more than two absentee ballots per election, not including the designee’s own ballot, and ballots for members of his or her immediate family, per F.S. 101.62 (4)(c)4. The affidavit is available for download at

The Supervisor of Elections may not provide an absentee ballot to a voter, or a voter’s immediate family member, 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 an absentee ballot on Election Day, an affidavit is required, which is available for download at

All absentee ballots must be received in the Supervisor of Elections office located at 111 SE 1st Avenue, Gainesville, by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Vote at Your Precinct

Any voter may vote in the precinct of their residence between 7 AM and 7 PM on Election Day, Tuesday, March 17th. Florida law requires voters to present current and valid picture and signature ID or vote a provisional ballot. If you need to locate your precinct, go to

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

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Commission Highlights

Masonic Appreciation Day
The Board proclaimed March 7, 2015 as “Masonic Appreciation Day” in Alachua County, FL
Masonic Appreciation Day 2015.pdf

Medicaid Expansion in Florida
The Board heard a presentation on Medicaid Expansion in Florida from the League of Women Voters, and reitereated that this was one of their State Legislative priorities.

2014 Strike Out Hunger Food Drive
The Board heard a presentation about the 2014 Strike Out Hunger Food Drive by former Commissioner Rodney J. Long.
2015 Strike Out Hunger Food Drive Proposal.pdf
Strikeout Hunger Presentation.pdf
Fairgrounds Not for profit policy (1).pdf

515 Main Street Building
The Board directed staff to bring back additional information on the cost of the roof, who will be paying for the roof, and the length of warranty for the roof on the 515 Building.  The Board also directed staff to provide an analysis of all County facilities in relation to the Space Needs Plan, and directed staff to address the mold problems and HVAC issues in the 515 Main Street building.

Sector Plans
The Board approved a motion to oppose adoption of Senate Bill 832 Sector Plans, and its companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Attachment: Growth Management Analysis of SB 832

Special Magistrate
The Board approved a Request to Advertise a Public Hearing to consider the adoption of an ordinance to establish a Special Magistrate for enforcement cases as an optional process for codes enforcement actions.  The Board asked the County Attorney to bring back options, including going to a Magistrate-only system, as well as a Magistrate and Code Enforcement Board combination.
Special Magistrate Ordinance_Proposed_02112015.pdf
Request to Advertise022415_Presentation.pdf
Request to Advertise022415_presentation.pptx

Sustainability Council
The Board approved the establishment of a Sustainability Council, consisting of one representative from each County department, with the Assistant to the County Manager serving as Chair.  The Council will provide quarterly reports on how policies are being implemented, and what policies are targeted for implementation in the next quarter.
Attachment: Sustainability Program Manager Job Description.pdf
FY15 NBR Pay Plan DRAFT 020415.pdf
Budget Amendment15081 Sustainability Program Manager.pdf
Sustainability Program Manager Performance Criteria.pdf 

Inter-Local Agreement with the City of Newberry
The Board approved the amendment to the inter-local agreement with the City of Newberry and authorized the Chair to sign.
Amount: $5,775,000.00

Phalanx Defense Systems, LLC
The Board approved the Resolution supporting Phalanx Defense Systems, LLC’s participation in the Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) Program, and authorized the Chair’s signature.
Amount: $20,600
QTI Application

Inter-Local Agreement with Bradford County
The Board approved the Inter-Local Agreement and Business Associate Agreement with Bradford County to provide emergency medical services billing and collections services, and authorized three (3.0) additional FTEs. 

Unified Land Development Code
Concerning amending the Unified Land Development Code, the Board conducted the first public hearing and directed staff to advertise for the second public hearing.
PowerPoint_ULDC_ 1st_Hearing_2_24_15.pdf
PowerPoint__ULDC_ 1st_Hearing_2_24_15.pptx

Anthem Church
The Board approved the Preliminary Development Plan and Resolution DR-15-03 for Anthem Church, project number 2014100801_P.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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