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A photo from last month’s meeting – our induction to the group! (Bonnie Seide, Kathleen Seide, and Adam Bolton)

Great Food

The monthly membership meeting for the Builder’s Association of North Central Florida was held today.  As usual the Best Western Gateway Grand provided great food and wonderful service!

Adam Bolton started the meeting off with his soon-to-be-infamous jokes, and we got down to business.

State of Alachua County

County Manager, Mr. Reid

County Manager, Mr. Reid

Randy Reid, County Manager, Alachua County Commission, was our main speaker this month.  Mr Reid give a State of the County Address, which is in constant flux along with the rest of the economy.  As things stand now the county is looking at an 8% reduction in revenue for 2010, which is more painful when we consider that revenues have been dropping consistantly for several years now.

We are coming to a difficult point in our local government – how do we balance our budget?  There is an option of combining services where the city and county overlap, but cost savings that result are questionable in many cases. Smaller cities in Alachua are having serious problems providing fire or police services and may ask the county to take over those services.

March 2009 Keynote Speaker Mr. Reid

Keynote Speaker: County Manager, Mr. Reid

Alternative Futures

There isn’t much more fat that we can trim away from the budget, because the last few years have already seen reductions in hiring staff as well as other methods of lowering costs by attrition.  The citizens of Alachua County will have a few options – we can look hard and long at what services we think are most important and cut funding to the rest, or we can allow the Commission to increase our property taxes to pay Alachua County’s bills.

I know it will be painful to reduce or eliminate funding for many of our programs & services, but considering the financial pain that many of our citizens are feeling I can’t see causing more by increasing property taxes.

Public Meetings

Mr. Reid mentioned that his office is holding public meetings to talk about funding and where it should go, to get an understanding of what the people of Alachua County want to do with our money.  I would suggest attending one of the meetings, so that we all can understand how our money is being spent and so we can have a voice in where it should be spent in the future.

I have emailed Mr. Reid asking for information about the meetings and will post more info, and hopefully dates, when I hear back from him!

Information on the County Budgets and the County Manager’s office:

The County Manager’s Blog – Mr. Reid hasn’t added anything new here for a while, but it is an interesting way to learn about the man and his perspectives.

Community Update Newsletter – published by the Communications Office & intended to keep citizens in the know about the business and events of the County and the Board of County Commissioners.