BOCC tackles rental assistance, COVID-19, rights of nature

Meeting table and agenda
Meeting table and agenda
Mariakray via Shutterstock

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will tackle a packed agenda on Tuesday during a regular meeting that starts at 11:30 a.m.

County Health Department of Health Administrator Paul Myers will provide an update on the status of COVID-19 in the county, including asymptomatic spread. Studies show that more than half of all transmissions of COVID-19 happen from individuals who never have symptoms.

The BOCC will receive an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) update on how the $8.1 million in funds will be distributed to Alachua County tenants with rent obligations. Recipients must have a household income at or below 80 percent AMI, be at risk for homelessness or housing instability, and be eligible for unemployment or a reduction in income due to the pandemic conditions.

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The agenda item “rights of nature in Alachua County” will look at a citizen group that is circulating a proposed ordinance to grant additional protections and rights to the Santa Fe River. It would allow all citizens of Alachua County to sue in either in their own name or in the name of a waterbody for violations of the ordinance.

Commissioner Mary Alford will give a presentation titled “Offsetting Alachua county’s carbon footprint while providing housing stability through energy.”

The BOCC will also hold a public hearing for the Pedestrians in Traffic Separators Ordinance, which is based on the Florida Department of Transportation guidance. It says medians that are six feet across or less are intended to serve as traffic separators and not to provide safe refuge for pedestrians.

The public may attend and participate in this meeting virtually and in-person. Public comment will be taken both virtually and in-person. Attending virtually: The public may also 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.

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

The public may submit comments, written or photographic documents to the BOCC through email ( before the meeting or by participating when prompted to by the chair of the board. Virtual participation is available through the public comment message line. Callers will be put in a queue, and prompted when it is their turn to speak. Callers should state their names and limit comments to two minutes. When prompted for in-person public comment, in-person participants should follow the direction of the chair to participate.

For the full agenda and links to the support documents click here.

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