Local officials bring projects, concerns to state representatives

State Sen. Jennifer Bradley opens the Alachua County Legislative Delegation meeting. Cred Seth
State Sen. Jennifer Bradley opens the Alachua County Legislative Delegation meeting.
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Alachua County Legislative Delegation heard requests for funding from elected officials across the county on Wednesday at Santa Fe College, including pay raises for state employees and support for local projects.  

State Attorney Brian Kramer and Public Defender Stacy Scott both requested a minimum salary of $75,000 for assistant state attorneys and public defenders in their offices. Scott noted that new graduates come after seven years of higher education with debt, making larger salaries elsewhere more attractive.  

“They’re asked to do extremely important tasks that are vital, not only to our criminal justice system but to our democracy as a whole,” Scott said. 

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Kramer said the number of attorneys in his office has dropped from 52 to 42. He also asked the delegation to provide funding for staff working in victim advocacy. Kramer said he has been told the funds for those positions will end. 

Newly appointed Alachua County Sheriff Emery Gainey also supported funding for victim advocacy programs. He asked the lawmakers to support bonuses for deputies that have occurred the past couple of years. He said the bonuses will help increase retention as the office struggles with vacancies.  

Chair Tina Certain of the School Board of Alachua County asked for increased transportation funding. She said workers often obtain their CDL with the district before moving to better paying jobs, and the district continues struggling with bus issues.  

She added that the district would request the Legislature use the same regulations on public schools and private schools that use state dollars. 

Within higher education, President Paul Broadie II of Santa Fe College asked for support with deferred maintenance of buildings and for a new automotive technology training center. UF Vice President Mark Kaplan asked for an extra $5.6 million to support a growing Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). 

Representatives for most Alachua County cities also came forward. The following are the top requests made on Wednesday.  

  • City of Alachua: funding for a new senior center facility 
  • City of Gainesville: funding for pedestrian safety and support for 8th Avenue and Waldo Road renovation 
  • City of Hawthorne: funding to renovate, harden and add generators to wastewater lift stations 
  • City of High Springs: funding for a new police station 
  • Town of Micanopy: funding to continue enhanced water projects  
  • City of Newberry: funding for regional wastewater facility and joint research center with UF/IFAS 
  • City of Waldo: funding for sprinkler system at Constellation Charter School, opened this year 

Alachua County Board of County Commissioner Chair Anna Prizzia also spoke and highlighted three requests by the county: $1.4 million for an initial study of Newnans Lake to address hydrologic function, funds to expand Archer Road, and $2.7 million to support the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championship in 2025.   

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Unless there is more to this process than appears on the surface, this looks like a very NON-productive method of budget development / special projects grant requests.

So many people asking to have some of their citizens money that was collected through taxation returned to the people’s local representatives in order to provide for the ongoing workings of local government.

There seems to be a surprising parallel here between today’s activities and those described in fictional characterizations thousands of years ago. It reminds me of the Camelot and Robin Hood tales. Neither of which really turned out very well. Taxes were collected and stored away from the people that worked for them and then they had to beg for some return.

It doesn’t look like we’ve progressed very far and still don’t plan ahead very well because the size of the purse is never known locally until long after the work to fill it. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with water, but there are just too many other people filling their glasses from that bucket without contributing to the work.


1.4 million for an initial hydrologic study of Newman’s lake ?? Are you kidding me?
2.7 million for some obscure sporting event that most taxpayers have never heard of???
Expand Archer Road??? It’s already too big. UF asking for millions of our tax dollars but doesn’t contribute???
We actually pay these people to dream up more ridiculous ways to waste our tax dollars?
I’m about ready to put my house up for sale and get the heck out of Alachua county.