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County Commission provides update on dogs, approves Affordable Housing Trust Fund, approves new development

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

The May 25 regular meeting of the Alachua County Commission began with Chair Ken Cornell calling for a moment of silence “in recognition of the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s passing.” In the last meeting before the Memorial Day commemoration of those who have died serving in the U.S. military, there was no mention of Memorial Day.

Springhills Southwest Activity Center

The commission unanimously approved a preliminary development plan for 116 acres in the southwest quadrant of the Springhills Southwest Activity Center at NW 39th Ave and NW 98th Street, with a mix of office, warehouse distribution, residential, light industrial, and conservation uses. The general development plan is pictured above, with offices in purple, the business park in blue, residential in yellow, light industrial in gray, and conservation in green.

Alachua County Affordable Housing Trust Fund

They then unanimously approved an ordinance to create the Alachua County Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as required by a charter amendment approved by voters in November 2020. The fund will initially be empty; the County will determine how to put funds in it through the budgeting process, and they may propose a discretionary surtax to fund it long-term.

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CareerSource update

County Manager Michele Lieberman covered several items during her comments, beginning with integrating CareerSource into Alachua County as a department. She said it’s not simple to bring all the employees over because there are some statutory requirements for the qualifications and experience of some positions. Each position and its pay has to be compared to similar positions in the County and comparable positions outside the County. As an example, she said there is no County government position with the title CEO. Some people will have to take pay reductions to work for the County. The employees will be allowed to bring over some amount of accrued vacation time, depending on how long they had been employed by CareerSource. 

The Local Workforce Development Board will have the same duties and responsibilities that it currently has, and the County employees will be the staff, so the new organization will still meet the requirements in the interlocal agreement with Bradford county. 

Loren Cava’s dogs

Lieberman also provided an update on the Loren Cava case. She said that County employees have made multiple visits to Cava’s property and have reviewed documents, videos, and emails. They have also observed Cava walking her dogs from “essentially a hidden location.” They are actively monitoring both the weight and physical condition of the dogs. On March 31, they issued a mandate for a veterinary examination of the dogs because staff felt they were underweight. Cava was provided instruction on proper feeding and diet. On April 5, Cava complied with the veterinary review, and the veterinarian’s professional opinion was that the dogs were underweight but not suffering from neglect. A follow-up visit occurred on April 19.

On May 19, Cava allowed County employees to bring the dogs to the shelter, and the shelter veterinarian did her own independent examination of the dogs, with findings consistent with the private veterinarian. She said the dogs are continuing to gain weight and are not suffering from neglect. Animal Services will continue investigating reports and will continue to work with Cava, her veterinarian, and her personal support structure. Lieberman said that at this time, the County doesn’t feel there is sufficient evidence to warrant further legal action. “I know that this may not be what certain members of the public want to hear, but I can assure the Board of County Commissioners, as well as I can assure the public, that we are actively monitoring this.”

  • No mention of Memorial Day? Does that surprise anyone? These communists who have no appreciation or gratitude for the sacrifice of service members who have lost their lives for the freedoms these idiots are reaping or should I say raping the people of Alachua County of. Instead, let’s make a proclamation declaring the month of July “Bow Down and Pay Homage to the Commission Who Keeps You In Bondage.” Screw them.

    • it was more important that the
      County Commission opened their meeting with
      “A moment of silence in recognition of the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s
      Passing” and they should have said something
      About “the veterans who lost their lives defending our country and the US constitution” for Memorial Day.”?…they should rename a park, a street, or a school after him so
      We never forget about racism & police brutality…
      George Floyd was the greatest African
      American in US history and died for his cause like
      Jesus making the world a better place to live.

  • Just like Gainesville you know those dogs get hit and abused!! but take the easy way to out and as always DO NOTHING!They will continue to be hit drug around is is not ok!sickened to hear this !

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