Springs County initiative has new energy


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.”

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.

  • Memo to fellow conservatives. Forming a new county is doing it the hard way. There is a much easier way to accomplish the Big Goal, divorcing Liburl East Alachua County. And he advertises right here on the Chronicle: District 21 State Rep Chuck Clemons. He represents both Newberry and Trenton. Newberry needs to ask Chuck to put in a bill for Gilchrist County to absorb Newberry through voluntary annexation, something Newberry knows all about. Done.
    Conservative West Alachua County folks will love joining Gilchrist County. It is 90% White and 54% Republican voter registration. A Conservative Happy Place.
    Now I know what you are thinking. When Gilchrist County folks find out our cult leader is from New Hampshire, they will reject him with “oh, no, another %#& Yankee carpetbagger come down to Florida to impose their Northern ways on rural Florida”. Fear not, just point out he is the State Coordinator of the John Birch Society and the Trenton clan will welcome him and his flock into their community.

    As a person who lives in the new Springs County area, I am excited. I am already thinking of running for political office! I would love to be the Mayor of Springs County. Any idea yet what the pay scale is? Will your Mayor be allowed to beat up out of town truck drivers and get away with it like in Alachua? Sounds like so much fun.
    This presumes Springs will be having elections. Or will someone from Newberry be appointed Dictator/General Factotum (like a Junior Trump) to be our unelected Dear Leader for Life?

  • Counties are divisions of the State Government. The Springs County proponents have a logo and a seal and a “Springs County” email address. This is impersonating a state agency. Looks like fraud to me. Perhaps the Chronicle will investigate and explain why the first act of this proposed new government is illegal impersonation of a Florida County. Since the Chronicle claims to exist to “hold governments accountable.”

    • First of all, a county is not a “state agency”. And of coarse if they are trying to form a new county, you will create logos and your own email address. Duh! Anyone with two brain cells to rub together obviously knows Springs County doesnt exist at this point. Looks like someone is butt hurt.

      • A county is an administrative subdivision of the State, created by the State, and existing at the pleasure of the State. Read your constitution

        Florida State Constitution
        SECTION 6.
         Schedule to Article VIII.
        SECTION 1. Counties.—
        (a) POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. The state shall be divided by law into political subdivisions called counties. Counties may be created, abolished or changed by law, with provision for payment or apportionment of the public debt.
        (b) COUNTY FUNDS. The care, custody and method of disbursing county funds shall be provided by general law.
        (c) GOVERNMENT. Pursuant to general or special law, a county government may be established by charter which shall be adopted, amended or repealed only upon vote of the electors of the county in a special election called for that purpose.
        1(d) COUNTY OFFICERS. There shall be elected by the electors of each county, for terms of four years, a sheriff, a tax collector, a property appraiser, a supervisor of elections, and a clerk of the circuit court. Unless otherwise provided by special law approved by vote of the electors or pursuant to Article V, section 16, the clerk of the circuit court shall be ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder and custodian of all county funds. Notwithstanding subsection 6(e) of this article, a county charter may not abolish the office of a sheriff, a tax collector, a property appraiser, a supervisor of elections, or a clerk of the circuit court; transfer the duties of those officers to another officer or office; change the length of the four-year term of office; or establish any manner of selection other than by election by the electors of the county.
        (e) COMMISSIONERS. Except when otherwise provided by county charter, the governing body of each county shall be a board of county commissioners composed of five or seven members serving staggered terms of four years. After each decennial census the board of county commissioners shall divide the county into districts of contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable. One commissioner residing in each district shall be elected as provided by law.

        there is more. . .

  • If Springs County wants to be accurate, please name this the “Goodbye Springs County.” When you get your Hayseed Utopia and remove all those unnecessary government environmental protection regulations when you secede from the tree hugging Sierra Club members in Gainesville, your overseers the Koch Brothers will be in here to make a quick buck and pollute the rivers and springs. Goodbye Springs.
    Will this be a regular County or a Charter County? The Springs FB page says they will have one rep from each city plus two at large commissioners, for a total of eight, or perhaps ten if Lacrosse and Archer join in. This would be a violation of FS 124.011, but then I forgot, libertarian Republican counties are exempt from all State Laws.

    • Typical liberal response. Bring out the “Conservatives want dirty water and air, push granny over a cliff, kill off all trees” nonsense. No one is saying you have to live in Springs County if it goes through.

    • Again OW. If you can’t be honest, Try to be accurate. But it ok. You don’t have to participate, we’ve got this.

    • If its just a “hayseed utopia”, then met them have their hayseed utopia. Douchebag. I love seeing arrogant aholes like you talk down to other people. Its shows how big of a POS you are.

  • All this talk of “springs county” is new to me…Is the city
    Of High springs included?

    • yes it is included. Check out the Springs County Facebook Page. There is a ton of info there.

  • Right now Gilchrist’s millage is 9.5. Higher than Alachua’s. And that is without all the state owned land. This doesn’t even address all the infrastructure you would have to build that is not in the west side of the County. You would be giving up the Library as that is an independent special district. CTAC would not be in the new County either. Have you done modeling to see what happens if Gainesville and its environs are not in the new county? Do you think that the Legislature has much of a desire to split municipal corporations between counties? As for the County Commissioners, well, that is all handled by the Constitution and have to be elected.

    • The land grab map by Springs County(sic) is everything west of 34th street. A more logical road would be US 41, or at worst CR 241. But they want 34th street for a reason. Th Springs county would include Butler Plaza, Oaks Mall, Celebration Pointe, and North Florida Regional Medical Center. The big high value property with mega tax revenue for the new county to tax and spend. It is all an agenda to take all the property tax revenue away from Alachua County.
      If the new county was everything west of CR 241, there is little but ag exempt cow pastures and empty phosphate mines near Newberry. Almost zero taxable value. They would get their ideal libertarian “Limited government” because they would need high tax rates to provide even basic county services, and even then the new county would look like Appalachia on the Santa Fe River. It would not be a fun place to live. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

  • Of course they want that taxable value, but splitting a municipality in half is unlikely and having it span two counties just for the small cities in the West seems unlikely. Guess we will see what the Legislature does and what happens when Hogtown weighs in.

    • There are actually cities spanning two states. EX Memphis and Kansas City. But like you said, we will see.

      • Florida would be the precedent to look for. Also, which came first in your example? The City or the State.

  • If springs county happens, what would that do to
    Alachua County Commisioners’ salaries? Is their a website
    For springs county that I can check out?

    • Salaries are set by statute and based upon population. The other Constitutionals set their own salary.

  • OH WOW! So I’m considered a HAYSEED, ENVIRONMENTAL DESTROYER…REALLY? We The People Pay Taxes. FOR WHAT?? I have looked into Spring County…I’m very excited! To me it’s hope for where I live! We get nothing where we live!

  • Sheriff’s Office? Modeled after Polk County!! I ❤️ their sheriff.

  • Who Represents the “rural” sectors of Alachua County – the Country folk who do not belong to neither Newberry or High Springs, but lives on Florida 45 (27/41)? I am sure it is also Chuck Clemons. I am hoping this passes, because I am so fed up with Alachua County and Gainesville dictating to me. While there are other factors to consider, I would hope property taxes go down because of all the misappropriation by Alachua County and the Alachua School Board.
    O.W. – I am sure the people spearheading this move have been working to get all the legislation in place. We can only sign petitions, the State of Florida makes the final decision. Please read more articles on this issue.

    • You don’t want to be dominated by Gainesville, but the population center would be the chunk of Gainesville the plan calls for taking away. Taxes won’t go down because you have to build out the infrastructure of government that doesn’t exist in the west county. Plus you have all the new County officers and the cost of setting them up and the cost of setting up the new schools. The question the Legislature will have is how much this tiny new County as well as the remnant of Alachua County will cost the state as new fiscally constrained counties.

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