BOCC to discuss millage rate adoption, $1M for the arts, COVID-19 updates

Editor’s Note: On the Agenda is a summary of high interest items to be decided on or discussed at upcoming local municipal meetings in Alachua County. 

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will take on a full agenda on July 14th starting at 11:30 a.m. that includes public hearings, COVID-19 discussion and Emergency Order update and an art installation decision.

EPAC appointments

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Three citizens will be appointed to the Environmental Protection Advisory Committee with a role of promoting “greater community involvement and awareness of local government environmental initiatives.” The EPAC was formed in 1984 and has served as an “vehicle for citizen input and review of environmental programs within Alachua County.”

The full term citizen-at-large positions will end in June 30, 2023, one is a partial term citizen-at-large position ending June 30, 2022, and one is a partial term citizen-at-large position ending June 30, 2021.

Poe Springs opening

Alachua County Parks and Open Space shall follow the guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as any Alachua County local orders and COVID-19 related information. Poe Springs will reopen at 50% capacity daily starting (July 17th) 2020. Park staff will patrol the day use area and swimming area to ensure all guidelines are being followed. Park staff will also clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and restrooms hourly on weekends and 4 times a day during weekdays.  

COVID-19 Discussion

The BOCC will discuss the results of the “Mask enforcement tracker.” The data reveals code enforcment interaction and observations of the face mask rule in the county. According to the report, Code Enforcement tallied 1,548 people in compliance, 0 negative interactions, 141 people had no mask but accepted one to wear, 9 medical exemptions, and 10 non-compliant people refused to wear a mask. No warnings issued.

Update Emergency Order No. 2020-30

The BOCC will revisit the Emergency Order 2020-30 and update it. Sections of the amendment are focused on the spread of the virus and acknowledge that “COVID-19 will be present in the population for a long time.”

The County upped it’s enforcement of the face mask rule in the last few weeks rampping up code enforcement visits to local retail hot spots.

“COVID-19 is spread through airborne transmission from individuals sneezing, speaking and coughing and infectious droplet nuclei can spread for a great distance, although how far is not fully understood at present,” the order states and “the World Health Organization on June 5th, 2020 changed their position on the use of facial coverings to support their use.”

“The County has jurisdictional authority over the entire county,” the order states. “The County or municipalities within its boundaries will direct any establishment to cease and desist operations that are in violation of this Emergency Order and may treat violations as a violation of County or Municipal ordinance as appropriate. The County has jurisdiction countywide to enforce the terms of this Order.”

The City of Newberry sent a message to the County opting to ignore the County order and adopting the State emergency order that does not require face coverings. As a result, a majority of businesses in Newberry  have declined to enforce the mandate of wearing face mask coverings of their customers and declined to place the required signage in their store fronts.

Installation artist decision

The removal of a statue dedicated to a Confederate Soldier on the SE corner of University and Main Street has left an open space for a replacement. The statue sat there for more than 100 years. The Board of County Commissioners voted to return the statue to the Daughters of the Confederacy, who originally donated the statue to the County in 1904.  They also voted that a new art work be constructed at the current location that “reflects the shared values and aspirations of the community.”  

The Alachua County Arts Council invited artists or artist teams to submit their proposals for a public art installation planned for the Alachua County Administration Building – West Lawn Art. This permanent installation will be installed on a 12’ x 12’ concrete slab on the SE corner of University and Main Street (located at 12 SE 1 St., Gainesville, FL). 

The BOCC will review the finalists and decide on the replacement installation.

Rename Camp McConnell

The BOCC will discuss the Alachu County Historical Committee’s recommendation for renaming the camp. Names that are being considered are: Camp Emathla (meaning- Chief), Camp King Payne, Camp Pilgrimage, Camp Osceola, Camp Tuscawilla, Camp Wewa (meaning- water) and Camp Ahessi (meaning- friend)

Radio Management System

Discussion of Ordinance to Fund Radio Management System (Amendment to WSPP Surtax Ordinance #2016-06). The estimated annual impact to the County for the entire system needs are increasing from $640,000 to $1,940,000.

Fairgrounds Redevelopment Area Lease to U.S.

The recommendation will be decided on about adopting the resolution to: 1. Approve and authorize the Chair to sign the lease agreement as an interim step in the donation of the Fairgrounds Redevelopment Area and; 2.  Approve and authorize the Chair to sign the necessary documentation to subsequently donate of the Fairgrounds Redevelopment Area to the U.S. Army Reserve at such time as the U.S. Army Reserve is prepared to receive it, with conditions for ownership of the property to revert back to the County as previously approved by the Board.

Public Hearings:

CPA-03-20: is a request for a large scale land use amendment from Preservation to Rural/Agriculture on approximately 200 acres. The properties are located at the northwest corner of the intersection of County Roads 325 and 346 and constitute approximately 200.48 acres 

Roll back millage rates

Hearing to set proposed millage rates. County Manager Michele Lieberman presented a budget on July 7th that proposed a millage rate roll back from 8.2729 to 7.8961.

Land Development Code Ordinance Update

Unified Land Development Code Ordinance Update: Rural Commercial-Agriculture Design Standards 20-0553 There is no fiscal impact on the County.Fiscal Consideration: The Land Development Regulation Commission find the proposed amendment consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. 

Solid Waste Assessment

Approving this request will allow the County to collect approximately $10.8 million in non-ad valorem assessments to fund the Universal Curbside Collection, Rural Collection Center and Solid Waste Management Programs.  Estimated revenue is $6.3 million to account 148.76.7600.325.20.00, $1.4 million to account 403.76.7610.325.20.00, and $3.1 million to account 403.76.7620.325.20.00

The County recommendation is to adopt resolution 20-48 and authorize staff to notice the public of the September 08, 2020, Public Hearing to set the rates for Solid Waste Non-Ad Valorem Assessments and authorize provision of the notice to affected property owners on the Notice of Proposed Taxes (TRIM). 

$1M available for the arts

In order to support and enhance Alachua County as a culturally interesting and vibrant destination, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners has allocated a portion of the Tourist Development Tax revenue to aid in the operations and promotions of arts, cultural, and nature events that have, as one of their main purposes, the attraction of tourists as evidenced by the promotion of the event to tourists. The total estimated award amount for the Fiscal Year 2021 Grant is $1,000,000. 

Grant applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, August 7, 2020 for programs and activities occurring between October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021. 

Eligibility Applicants must fulfill the following at the time of application: Be an arts, nature or culture organization, operate within the boundaries of Alachua County, the proposed event has as one of its main purposes the attraction of tourists as evidenced by the promotion of the event to tourists, be a nonprofit organization under the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, a copy of Active Status from must be attached to the application, have documented IRS nonprofit, tax-exempt status., institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for arts, nature or culture programs and events, within the request limit, government entities are not eligible to apply for Nature and Culture Destination Enhancement grants. 

How to attend meeting

This is a virtual meeting. The public may attend virtually through Cox Channel 12, Facebook, and the County’s Video on Demand website. For meeting audio only, call 301-715-8592, and when prompted, use code 670 965 3024.The public may submit comments to the board through email or by calling into the public comment message line when prompted to call during the meeting. Public comment will be taken by telephone for all non-ministerial items on which the Commission votes. Once public comment is opened for an item under discussion, please call 929-205-6099 (enter meeting code 273 174 8038). Callers will be put in a queue, and prompted when it is their turn to speak. TO AVOID FEEDBACK, SPEAKERS MUST TURN DOWN THEIR MEETING SOUND WHEN ADDRESSING THE COMMISSION. Callers should state their name and limit comments to two minutes. The Commission will allow up to a total of 30 minutes for citizen comments on each item opened for public comment. In addition, the Commission will open phone lines for one 30 minute public comment session for the public to discuss items not on the Commission agenda. The public is encouraged to submit any written or photographic documents prior to the meeting to

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