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Springs County initiative has new energy

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Tim Marden, a Newberry City Commissioner, hosted a Zoom call Thursday night to talk about the current status of the Springs County initiative and answer some questions.

Marden said that interest in Springs County has recently spiked: “It wasn’t about the masks, but the Boston Tea Party, as Dayna Miller says, wasn’t about the tea, either… The mask is just really a kind of symbol.”

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Springs County, if passed by the legislature, would consist of some to-be-determined part of western Alachua County. Marden is proposing 34th Street (SR 121) as the dividing line, but the actual division would be done by the legislature. The last new county in Florida was created in 1925, when Gilchrist County split from Alachua County.

Since the decision is completely in the hands of the legislature, Alachua County would not have a formal voice in the process.

Marden said this is a “political divorce.” After the split, all assets within the new county lines would belong to the new county, since they were already purchased by taxpayers.

In response to a question, Marden explained why the change doesn’t mean that taxes will go down right away: “Those taxes will just kind of keep going and being basically the same for a little while… I think there’s an opportunity to drive the expenses of government down significantly, right off the bat, and if we maintain the taxes for a year or two, the spread can be plowed into a lot of the infrastructure projects that have been otherwise neglected.”

Language for a petition is expected to be ready early this week. The petition is not required but will help establish that there is support in the community for the new county.

An event is planned for July 4, 10 a.m.-noon, at the Pries property, U.S. 27/41 and NW 9th Place in Newberry, to talk about interest in the initiative and to distribute yard signs, t-shirts, and other marketing materials.

Anyone who is interested in staying informed can like the Facebook page and send an email to springscounty@gmail.com with your name, address, phone number, and any skills you have to offer.

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