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May 15, 2024

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These highlights will give residents a quick review of the commission meeting and provide video, agenda, and other useful links.

​​Single-member districts

The County Commission voted to place a referendum on the 2024 general election ballot that asks voters whether they would like to rescind the 2022 narrow passage of single-member districts.

The change would allow commissioners to be elected at-large by all voters around Alachua County instead of people only being allowed to vote for one elected leader who resides in their same district.

Those who spoke in favor of the change pointed to a misinformation campaign that quoted prominent Black leaders out of context to claim they supported single-member districts for Alachua County, despite their publicly stated opposition.

If passed, the change would take effect on Jan. 1, 2025. 

Read the complete highlights for this meeting.

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Alachua County Talks: Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG)

Watch the show.

This episode of Alachua County Talks features interviews with Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG) board members Dorothy Thomas and Mclinda Gilchrist. The interviews focus on SWAG’s work to address needs, provide opportunities, and improve the quality of life for residents of Southwest Gainesville living in the Majestic Oaks, Holly Heights, Harbor Cove, Pine Meadows, Hidden Oaks Mobile Home Park, Gordon Manor, Tower Oaks/Tower Oaks Glen, and Linton Oaks neighborhoods.

In speaking of the interviews, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “SWAG continues to do incredible work in improving the lives of children and families in Southwest Gainesville. Alachua County is proud to partner with SWAG and the communities it serves."

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Commissioner Mary Alford Participates in Convening of County Leaders Around Workforce, Early Childhood

​Alachua County Commission Chair Mary Alford joined other county officials from across the nation for an invite-only joint convening of the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The event, held in Maricopa County, Arizona, revolved around the Counties for Career Success cohort and Prenatal-to-Three County Leaders Academy. It brought together a diverse group of county leaders to collaborate on solutions for career readiness and economic mobility for families with young children, grounded in the robust role of counties in removing barriers for families and connecting residents to good jobs. 

“One of the goals that our commission, in partnership with our local School Board, is striving for is to increase literacy in Alachua County to help improve the lives of young children through various programs,” Alford said. “We know that the sooner children can read, the more likely they are to succeed in the classroom, which can also lead to a decrease in disciplinary issues.”

Read more about the Prenatal to Three County Leaders Academy.

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Alachua County Commission Meetings to Stream Live on YouTube

The county’s commission meetings held at the Alachua County Administration Building (12 SE 1st St., Gainesville) are now watchable live on YouTube. To view a live meeting of the Alachua County Commission, visit the county’s YouTube page and click on the link that says “live.” Commission meetings held at other locations will not be available on YouTube.

In speaking of the inclusion of YouTube among the county’s live viewing options, Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton said, “The county is continually looking for ways to make government more accessible to citizens. Adding YouTube to our other live viewing options allows us to do that by using one of the most widely used websites in the world.”

In addition to YouTube, meetings may also be viewed on Cox Channel 12, the AC TV app (Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV), the county’s Facebook site, and the county's Video on Demand website.

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Citizens Academy Updates

Session 4 Update

Session 5 Update

Session 6 Update

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County Memorial Day Hours and Waste Collection

​​All Alachua County offices will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2024, except for essential services.

Due to the observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 27, residential curbside collection services for solid waste, recycling, and yard trash will be delayed one day for the entire holiday week. Monday’s regular collection will occur on Tuesday, and so on through the week ending with Thursday’s collection on Friday. Regular collection schedules will resume on Monday, June 3.

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers, the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station, and the Hazardous Waste Collection Center will also be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. These facilities will resume regular hours of operation on Tuesday, May 28.

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Public Works Continues to Monitor Fiber Installation in County Right of Way

​​​​Construction inspectors for the Alachua County Public Works Department are closely monitoring and scrutinizing the installation of approximately 300 miles of underground fiber optic distribution cable throughout Alachua County. The two primary fiber optic companies installing the cable are IQ Fiber and Campus Communications Group/Pavlov Media.

What should homeowners expect when fiber is being installed in their neighborhood?

First, all work should be done within the public’s rights-of-way and easements. The public’s right of way can often extend behind the sidewalk, an area that many homeowners assume is part of their property.

Second, the companies should notify homeowners by mail, street signs, and/or door hangers approximately one week ahead of starting construction. Existing underground utilities are located with pin flags and paint markings. Please do not remove these pin flags until after construction. Construction will normally take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and usually takes about three weeks to complete. 

Third, and most importantly, contractors are required to restore all areas that are disturbed to an equal or better condition than the existing condition prior to construction, per Alachua County codes and Florida statute. Two subcontractors have recently been banned from working in the county due to not following the rules and damaging other utilities.

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Alachua County Introduces New Ambulance to Enhance EMS Services

Alachua County will soon be rolling out a new resource to assist residents in critical need.

Starting on May 8, 2024, a new ambulance called ACT1 (Alachua County Transport) will be added to Alachua County Fire Rescue’s fleet. The unit will aid in the availability of ambulances for high-acuity emergencies and play a vital role in delivering timely medical assistance to those community members.

The ACT1 unit, which gets its name from the original ambulances the county staffed, will be housed in east Gainesville, near Station 30, and be staffed with two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

“As our community and healthcare undergo constant evolution, it is imperative for us to proactively adapt to improve the services we provide,” says Assistant Chief of EMS Misty Woods. “This echoes the ACFR mission statement of enhancing and caring for the lives of those in our community through preparedness and an immediate response to any and all of life’s emergencies.”

Find out more about the new ambulance.

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The May Plant of the Month is Southern Peas

​​The UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office is pleased to announce that the May “Plant of the Month” is Southern peas.

Southern peas can be served in a variety of ways and provide lots of vitamins and nutrients. They are a major source of dietary fiber, an excellent source of Vitamin C, and a good source of potassium, niacin (B3), folate and beta carotene (which our body converts to Vitamin A). 

"Alachua County is where nature and culture meet,” said County Commission Chair Mary Alford. “Southern peas are where flavor and nutrition meet. Every bite brings a healthy taste of Southern culinary heritage."

May is a good time to grow Southern peas in North Central Florida. Check the Plant of the Month website for information on planting, harvesting, recipes, and more. Listen to the Extension Cord Podcast to get further insights on the Plant of the Month.

The Plant of the Month program is a collaborative effort between Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County, Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers, Alachua County Public Library and Working Food. 

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Annual Memorial Day Ceremony

​​Alachua County Veteran Services, in collaboration with the City of Gainesville and Milam Funeral Homes, welcomes the community to attend the annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Historic Evergreen Cemetery (401 SE 21st Ave., Gainesville). The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. (attendees are encouraged to arrive by 9:30 a.m.). The event is free and a free lunch will be provided.

This ceremony honors and remembers veterans and military service members who lost their lives in service to the nation. This event features multiple patriotic ceremonies, a Presentation of Colors, an American flag ceremony, musical tributes and inspirational words from area leaders.

Alachua County Veteran Services remembers our fallen brothers and sisters who valiantly serve our country. 

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2024 Alachua County Small Farmer Grant Available

Small farmers and ranchers have a grant opportunity through the County Commission this summer. The Commission is funding a mini-grant to Alachua County-based farms and ranches that earn between $1,000 and $250,000 annually. Funding is for capital and equipment expenditures that will positively impact these operation’s income. Applications must be in the County Manager’s Office by 5 p.m. on June 28, 2024.

The total grant request must not exceed $5,000. Only one application per farm or ranch is permitted. The total funding available for this grant is approximately $100,000. To reduce inequity in marginalized communities, small farms and ranches owned by black, woman, indigenous, and persons of color are prioritized.

Learn more about the Small Farmer Grant.

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Guidelines for Temporary Campaign Signs in Unincorporated Alachua County

Alachua County reminds those working on campaigns for public office to comply with the county’s sign ordinance. Cooperation and full compliance with the sign ordinance are necessary to keep Alachua County beautiful and public rights-of-way safe and free of clutter.

The Alachua County Code Administration Office receives numerous complaints about signs placed in the public right-of-way or on private property without permission. Signs placed in the right-of-way or too close to intersections can cause visual barriers or obstructions to pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.

Please make every effort to educate your campaign staff, supporters and constituents to adhere to the guidelines for temporary signage in the County. 

Please remember the following:

  • Signs are to be placed only on private property and only with the owner or occupant's permission.
  • Temporary sign requirements vary according to the zoning district in which the sign is located in. 
  • Signs placed within public rights-of-way will be removed and disposed of without notification.
  • A violation of the sign ordinance requirements may result in enforcement action.

For more information, contact Alachua County Zoning Administrator Holly Banner at hbanner@alachuacounty.us.   

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National Bike Month Pit Stop

​​Alachua County and the City of Gainesville are celebrating National Bike Month with a bicyclist “pit stop” on May 22, 2024, on the Sixth Street Trail near Southwest Second Avenue. The pit stop is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and includes coffee, drinks, food and bike safety gear.

May is National Bike Month, promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month showcases the many benefits of bicycling and encourages more people to try it. 

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Local Planning Agency/Planning Commission Vacancies

​​​Alachua County seeks volunteers to fill two citizen at-large vacancies on the Local Planning Agency (LPA)/Planning Commission. The LPA/Planning Commission meets once a month on the third Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st St., downtown Gainesville).

The LPA/Planning Commission comprises eight members serving four-year terms. The membership includes seven citizen-at-large positions and one School Board of Alachua County member (appointed by the SBAC).

The LPA/Planning Commission is responsible for making recommendations to the County Commission for updates to the comprehensive plan, reviewing and making recommendations on rezonings, special use permits, special exceptions and land development regulations upon the request of the County Commission.

View the Local Planning Agency/Planning Commission opening. Click the vacancies tab at the top of the page.

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Environmental Protection Advisory Committee Vacancies

​​​Your County needs you. If helping to safeguard our precious environment for current and future generations appeals to you, we have the perfect way to get involved.

The Alachua County Commission is seeking applicants for openings on the Environmental Protection Advisory Committee (EPAC). EPAC currently meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Environmental Protection Department Conference Room, located in the Wilson Building (14 NE 1st Street, Gainesville). 

EPAC provides an opportunity for citizen involvement in environmental issues and concerns affecting residents of Alachua County. It advises the County Commission on appropriate measures to safeguard air, water and natural resources and on the responsible management of public lands and natural resources. Terms are three years unless a person is appointed to fill a partial term. EPAC currently has six at-large positions that will need to be filled starting in June. The Board will likely select new members at their second regular meeting in June.

Interested citizens can apply online. Click on the View Vacancies button for details.

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