BOCC to receive $26M, establish food board Tuesday

Empty board meeting room with table and black chairs
Empty board meeting room with table and black chairs
Rubencress via Shutterstock

As the summer break gets closer for the Alachua Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Tuesday’s regular meeting features a packed agenda.

The BOCC is set to establish the Joint Food System Policy Board, which officially started on June 1, and will remain in effect through November 30, 2022.

The board’s purpose is to provide guidance to the county, Gainesville and other municipalities regarding innovative approaches, policies and target goals for developing food systems ensuring food sovereignty of individuals.”

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The board will feature six members, including two Gainesville commissioners, two BOCC board members, one UF Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and one representative of the rural ag areas of Alachua County.

According to the resolution establishing the new board, it has marching orders to improve food accessibility through community groceries in schools, low income housing and multipurpose centers. The board will also develop a foodshed map, a good food purchasing program and create healthy corner stores.

The BOCC is set to receive its first installment of funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in the amount of $26,129,224.50—half of the $52 million the federal government is expected to send Alachua County. The Gainesville and county commissions have already kicked off talks on how to allocate the new resources. 

On Tuesday the board will adopt a resolution for that unanticipated revenue and an accompanying budget amendment. The BOCC is expected to authorize the county manager to “approve and sign any recipient grant agreements and related documents, develop for subsequent BOCC approval guidelines and criteria for implementation of each plan element, negotiate for subsequent BOCC approval interlocal agreements and other contracts to implement the plan,” according to the agenda.

The county’s commitment to build an approximately 151,000 square foot self-supporting multi-purpose indoor sports facility at Celebration Pointe is also on the agenda.

That fiscal commitment is for $30 million. The Florida Legislature and the governor approved and supported a $2.32 million request from Alachua County for the construction of the sports events facility that will host events for basketball, volleyball, track, dance, cheer and other events.

The meeting starts at 11:30 a.m.

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