Board meeting

One item is on the agenda for tonight's joint meeting between the Alachua County Board of Commissioners and the City of Newberry: annexation.

The conflict resolution meeting is the next step in the Chapter 164 conflict resolution process is for the parties to participate in mediation. If or when the parties agree to proceed to the mediation phase, there would be costs to the county for employing the services of a mediator. Section 164.1055(2), Florida Statutes, provides that the costs of mediation shall be equally divided between the primary conflicting governmental entities.

The recommended action is for the entities to consider the issues of conflict associated with the city’s five annexations challenged by the BOCC and provide direction to staff. Possible options include:

(1) Direct staff to schedule additional joint meetings of the two governing boards for the purpose of seeking resolution of the conflict.

(2) Direct county and city staff continue to seek resolution of the conflict through additional conflict assessment meetings.

(3) Proceed to mediation phase as required by Chapter 164.

Annexation conflict background

The Alachua County Commission, at its meetings on May 12 and June 23 of last year initiated the Florida Governmental Conflict Resolution procedures pursuant to Chapter 164, Florida Statutes, regarding five annexation ordinances that were adopted by the City of Newberry on April 27, 2020 and June 8, 2020. In county staff’s opinion those failed to meet the requirements of Chapter 171, Florida Statutes, for compactness, contiguity, and/or the creation of enclaves.

Alachua County and City of Newberry staff participated in nine conflict assessment meetings between June and November of 2020. During those meetings, county and city staff focused on developing a framework for a joint planning agreement that would address key issues of conflict that exist between the two parties concerning annexation and service delivery in an effort to minimize future conflicts over individual annexations going forward.

The following is a list of key components of a conceptual joint planning framework for potential settlement of the county’s challenge that were discussed during the conflict assessment meetings, highlighting areas where there was either agreement or lack thereof on each issue:

  • Need for city annexation plan/outer boundary for future annexation
  • No county objection to future annexations within “joint planning areas”
  • Road maintenance responsibility for local roads
  • Solid waste collection efficiency within “joint planning areas”
  • Fire services

Details on these items can be found here.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and will take place in Newberry at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex, 24880 NW 16 Ave.

Citizens may also participate virtually. The teleconference may be accessed as follows:

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87227586263

Meeting ID: 872 2758 6263

Phone: 312-626-6799

The city and county have invited interested persons to attend. For information, contact the Alachua County Department of Growth Management at (352) 374-5249.

Public comment will be taken both virtually and in-person. The public may attend virtually through Cox Channel 12, Facebook, and the county's video on demand website.

The board will take public comment in person or by calling 1-800-876-7516. Callers will be put in a queue, and prompted when it is their turn to speak (and must turn down the meeting sound to avoid feedback). Callers should state their names and limit comments to two minutes.

In-person attendees must wear a facial covering at all times. Public seating will be made available up to the capacity that permits adequate social distancing.

Public comment: The public may submit comments, written or photographic documents to the board through email (bocc@alachuacounty.us) before the meeting or by participating when prompted to by the board chair. 

To view the complete agenda and supporting documents click here.

Mainstreet Daily News Reporter

Suzette Cook is a Mainstreet Daily News reporter who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years.

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