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November 17, 2023

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The “Commission Meeting Highlights” is a new feature produced by the Communications Office. These highlights will give residents a quick review of the twice-monthly Commission meetings and provide video and agenda links.  

New chair, vice-chair elected

County commissioners elected Mary Alford as chair of the board and Charles Chestnut as vice-chair. Alford will preside over meetings in her new role, while Chestnut will serve in her absence.

"I don't have any worries about the fact that we will continue to work together as a good team on the dais with great respect for each other," Alford said. "I have great respect for everybody up here, and I can't think of anybody right now that I'd rather have as vice chair than Chuck. I'm excited about this opportunity."

Commissioner Anna Prizzia was also honored for her time as chair and presented a plaque from Clerk of the Court J.K. "Jess" Irby.

"Thank you for the opportunity to serve as chair," Prizzia said. "It is a difficult job … but is also a very rewarding job, and it really does kind of round out my education, if you will, I think, in terms of what it means to be a commissioner and how our county functions, how our county operates."

Read the complete highlights for this meeting.

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Alachua County Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete on Alachua County Talks

A new episode of Alachua County Talks featuring an interview with Alachua County Public Works Director Ramon Gavarrete is now available. The program focuses on the County’s new Pavement Management Program, as well as touching on stormwater management across the County.


The interview is available to watch on YouTube now. It is also available on Alachua County’s AC TV app on Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. It premieres on Community12 TV on Cox Cable on Friday, November 17, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. 


In speaking of the interview, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, "With the advent of the voter-approved Wild Spaces Public Places infrastructure surtax and the pavement management program, this is a good time to do a deep dive with Ramon on roads improvements over the next decade."

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Alachua County Tourism Development Director Jessica Hurov Appointed to the Board of Destinations Florida

Alachua County Tourism Development Director Jessica Hurov was recently appointed to the board of Destinations Florida, the statewide association serving Florida’s tourism promotion organizations.


Organized in 1996, Destinations Florida strives to increase the overall effectiveness of Florida’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) destination marketing efforts through education, collaboration, networking, and professional guidance in developing a public appreciation and respect for the value of tourism marketing.


“The success of the tourism industry in Alachua County, and throughout the state of Florida, is a critical economic driver,” shared Chair of the Tourist Development Council Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler. “We value our partnership with Destinations Florida and appreciate that Alachua County will be represented on their board moving forward."


“I am honored to be selected to serve with my fellow tourism professionals from around the State as we work together for the best interests of the tourism industry in Florida,” said Jessica Hurov.

Read more about the appointment.

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Land Purchase Protects Lake Alto and the Santa Fe River

​Alachua County Forever, the county’s environmental land acquisition program, has closed on the purchase of 289 acres from the Khanh Dinh Trust, in partnership with Alachua Conservation Trust. The closing was held on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, and was the culmination of two decades of commitment to protecting this significant property on the shore of Lake Alto. Funding for this $420,000 conservation land purchase was provided by the voter-approved Wild Spaces and Public Places sales tax, and private donors.

Protection of this special property is one of many legacies of a remarkable man, Mr. Khanh Dinh, who dedicated his life to making the world a better place. As shared by his family, “Dad dearly appreciated the beauty of nature, and was far ahead of his time in his efforts to conserve the earth and its resources. His first company, founded in the early 1980's, focused on harnessing the thermal and electrical powers of solar energy. During his career, he developed other technologies to enhance energy efficiency in residential and commercial climate control systems. He would be thrilled that these beautiful lands will be preserved in their natural state for the benefit of all.”

Find out more about the purchase.

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Upcoming Barr Hammock Preserve Bike Ride

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department invites residents to experience autumn in the wetlands on a leisurely 6-mile bike ride around Levy Lake in Barr Hammock Preserve. The bike ride is on Saturday, November 18, 2023, from 9 a.m. to noon. The ride begins at the Levy Loop Trail Parking Lot (14920 SE 11th Dr. Micanopy, Florida).

The trail is an elevated 6.5-mile loop, flat but unpaved, encircling an open marsh. The route is mostly unshaded. Participants are encouraged to bring sun protection and drinking water. They should ensure that their tires are suitable for unpaved conditions.

“Florida isn’t known for colorful fall foliage yet wetland plant communities are home to deciduous trees that turn brilliant hues before shedding their leaves every year, as migratory birds such as Sandhill Cranes and Eastern Phoebes return,” said Milo Neelands, the county’s environmental specialist.

The nearly 6,000-acre Barr Hammock Preserve is actively managed through the Alachua County Forever program. Alachua County Forever is the voter-approved initiative to acquire, improve, and manage environmentally sensitive lands to protect water resources, wildlife habitat, and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation. The referendum was first passed in November 2000. It was funded again by the voters in 2008, 2016, and 2022 with the Wild Spaces and Public Places Referendum.

Learn more about Barr Hammock Preserve.

Irrigation is Limited to One Day a Weekday

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Irrigation restrictions changed on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Landscape irrigation is limited to one day a week as follows:

Odd house numbers - Saturday

Even house numbers - Sunday

Non-residential/commercial (including common areas in subdivisions) - Tuesday 

“Landscape irrigation accounts for almost 60% of residential water use,” said Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Water Resources Program Manager Stacie Greco. “Eliminating or reducing your irrigation helps to conserve the precious groundwater supply we depend upon that also provides water to our springs, lakes, and rivers.”

Watering is reduced in winter since most plants go dormant and require minimal to no supplemental watering. Most yards can go all winter without irrigation, so the County recommends turning off irrigation systems and only using them as needed. Irrigation restrictions apply to private wells, city water, and surface water; however, they do not apply to watering vegetable gardens and fruit trees. 

County staff actively enforce irrigation restrictions and respond to citizen complaints or concerns regarding wasteful watering. 

Alachua County Thanksgiving Schedule and Waste Collection

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​Other than emergency services, all Alachua County government offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday (November 23 and 24, 2023) in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Garbage and Recycling Collection:

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, curbside residential solid waste and recycling collection services will not occur on Thursday, November 23. Thursday’s collection will occur on Friday, and Friday’s collection will occur on Saturday. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday collection services will not be affected. The regular collection schedule will resume on Monday, November 27, 2023.

The five Alachua County rural collection centers (the Hazardous Waste Collection Center and the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station) will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. These facilities will reopen on Friday, November 24. The Office of Waste Collection will be closed beginning Thursday and will reopen on Monday, November 27. For more information, contact Alachua County Solid Waste and Resources Recovery Director Gus Olmos at 352-338-3233.

Animal Resources:

The Alachua County Animal Shelter (3400 N.E. 53rd Ave., Gainesville) will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24. The shelter will reopen on Saturday, November 25. Animal Resource Officers respond to public safety matters and animals in immediate danger 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Citizens should dial 911 to report such emergencies on Sundays, holidays, and nightly between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. During regular hours (Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., excluding holidays). For more information, contact Alachua County Animal Resources at 352-264-6870.

Artist Conference Accepting Presenter Applications

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The Alachua County Arts Council is pleased to announce the third annual Artists Conference on Friday, May 3, 2024. The conference committee is accepting applications from those wishing to present. Sessions should interest the arts community and should be approximately 30 minutes (with 15 minutes for questions/answers). Interested presenters should complete and submit the “Call for Presentations” form by December 31, 2023. 

The Alachua County Arts Council’s mission is to “improve the quality of life of Alachua County residents by increasing exposure to the arts, expanding opportunities for creative expression by local artists, and increasing community resources for the arts.”

Arts Council Chair Chelsea Carnes stated, “The Arts Council is pleased to host our third annual Artists Conference, bringing relevant information and education to our artists.”

For more information, contact Alachua County Assistant County Manager – Chief of Staff Gina Peebles at 352-538-8265 or gpeebles@alachuacounty.us.

Alachua County Community Health Improvement Planning Steering Committee Requesting Feedback from Alachua County Residents

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Alachua County residents are invited to share their views about health and health care in the county by taking a 15-minute survey. Your participation in this important survey will help to identify key health priorities in Alachua County, the best way to address those issues and provide a better understanding of the needs of Alachua County residents regarding health and health care.

Learn more about the survey.

Land Conservation Board Vacancies

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​Alachua County is seeking applicants to fill four anticipated Land Conservation Board (LCB) vacancies for two Citizens at Large and Natural Resource Professionals. They generally meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The application deadline is November 20, 2023.

The LCB provides an opportunity for citizen involvement in the selection of Alachua County Forever Conservation Lands. The Board reviews and recommends properties for acquisition through the Alachua County Forever Program to the County Commission and provides recommendations on stewardship issues.

Read more about the Land Conservation Board.

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