Springs County kick-off to be held July 4

Press release from Springs County

Springs County is set for a Kick-Off event on Saturday, July 4, 10 a.m.-noon in Newberry. Though not an official Declaration of Independence, organizers are hoping interested parties will come to the event, get more information, and sign up for working groups. 

“We ultimately need to move the ball down the field and take this from concept and idea to something more practical in reaching a Springs County reality,” says Springs County leader Tim Marden.

You can learn more about the event and get pre-registered at Eventbrite. Admission is free, but the organizers are looking for a head count to assist in planning. To join the conversation, head over to Springs County on Facebook

Springs County FAQ

The following is an evolving document that organizers have put together to address the most pressing and frequent questions to date:

Background: Dating back to 1925, Gilchrist County was created from western Alachua County for many of the same reasons as today. Gilchrist was the last County formed in Florida, though lines have been changed here and there over the years since. Back then, Governor Gilchrist saw the need to preserve citizens’ property rights, freedom, and proper representation.  He agreed the best opportunity to preserve those rights was establishing a new County. Springs County seeks to preserve those rights for citizens, home rule authority for cities, and an entrepreneur-centric business climate, just like Gilchrist County. 

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Most recently, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) allowed the City of Gainesville unwarranted influence in the affairs of the entire County. Smaller Cities were completely shut out of discussions, lending no voice to all other citizens. This is regulation without representation. Save for a few projects and efforts when convenient, the BOCC has been this way for some time. The events of Spring 2020 and 2015 indicate logical and data-driven collaborations are not possible. 

The voices of western Alachua County will continue to go unheard unless a political divorce becomes reality. 

 It is time. It is better for all parties involved: Businesses, Municipal Government, and most importantly CITIZENS. 

A business should not have to compete against its own government. 

A city should not have to worry about being sued by the BOCC and have its citizens’ taxes used against them in a court of law.  

A citizen should not be forced to choose between food and taxes. 

Springs County is about Better Living through Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, and More Freedom

Boundary: The current County boundaries North of Alachua and High Springs, South of Archer, and West of Newberry stay the same. The new Eastern boundary is proposed to be 34th Street aka SR 121. It was chosen arbitrarily–a road running through the entire County in a North-South direction. State Legislature ultimately determines the boundaries. 

Citizen Votes: The Alachua BOCC has nothing to directly say about it, although political pressure can be asserted. Citizens, as well, do not have direct say or a special vote regarding the creation of Springs County per the State Constitution. HOWEVER, organizers advocate for petitions and possibly a non-binding ballot initiative to give citizens a needed voice in the process. 

Taxes: Our hope is to drive down the scope and scale of the County government, focusing on core services of, but not limited to: Roads, Public Safety, Utilities, Courts. The individual, families, businesses, civic groups, and churches will be responsible for social programs and charities.  Keeping taxes the same for a period of time and driving down costs will create a reserve used for addressing the infrastructure Alachua County has neglected for so long, namely ROADS.

Schools and Teachers: Schools will largely stay the same per State requirements. Students attending magnet programs will hopefully benefit from a grandfather clause in legislation creating Springs County. Guiding principles of our teachers will focus on teaching. Teaching is a calling. Teachers are not test administrators, referees, psychologists, parents, social engineers, or disciplinarians. Parents will be expected to have their children ready to learn. Schools are not babysitting services. Teaching is a prestigious profession, and conviction and commitment to children should be held in high esteem. Current contracts can and should be honored.

Fire/LEO: Retirements of these professions transfer within the Florida Retirement System. There will be those who wish to remain with Alachua County. However, the remaining area of Alachua County will be geographically smaller, and less staff will be needed.  Springs County will strive to retain the best and brightest for the new positions created serving Springs County. The public safety communities can expect a supportive environment of professionalism where training and expertise will be highly valued. 

Roads: The roads are a “driving” issue for Springs County. People are fed up with promises. The roads are deadly. Springs County gas taxes will be used for roads! They will not be diverted to Gainesville-centric pet projects any more. As mentioned in the taxes question, the reserve will be the funding source to jump start repaving projects. All roads will be classified A,B,C. We will create a prioritized resurfacing program and work a portion of each classification on an annual basis with a dedicated budgetary funding source. 

Permits: We hope to make significant strides to reduce permitting. Demonstration of skill and aptitude within one’s industry and profession, along with the public’s free market choice, should be the best determination of one’s projected success. Permits for things such as hairdressers, lawn services, or irrigation installers will not be required if legally avoidable.  We will do everything we can to prevent government from standing in the way of an entrepreneur’s dream to pursue their American Dream. We will highly value the economic potential the free market generates for everyone. Government has been weaponized to reduce competition from determining the best businesses. No longer will businesses use government to create barriers to entry for anyone. We hope to avoid this by preventing government from picking winners and losers through any sort of corporate welfare programs as well. Getting government out of the way will be a main principle in organizing the County.

Churches/Charities: Churches are under attack. Church-goers are under attack, not because they are violent but because they stand in the way of a Government-controlled society. Our country was built on moral principles. We will not attack those principles, we will embrace them. Freedom plus Morality equals Liberty.  

Guns: The entire Bill of Rights would have been more aptly described as a Bill on the Limitations of Government. Government was instituted among us to preserve our rights, not decide which rights we should have when convenient. Our Constitutional Rights do not end where an Emergency Order begins.

Public Buildings: Per the State Constitution, all assets and liabilities are divided. The public buildings belong to the tax payers, not the government, and therefore buildings like schools, fire houses, and ambulance bays go with the respective areas. As taxpayers, we have bought and paid for those facilities; we do not have to buy them again. The same goes for roads and infrastructure. Power lines are owned by the respective utility providers, and they do not change. 

 Property Taxes: Eliminating property taxes and replacing it with a County sales tax will allow the person to OWN their property and never have to worry about it being sold on the court house steps for non-payment. The actual figures as of this writing need to be calculated. The elimination of property taxes will attract businesses. Businesses with lower costs can charge less, which may reduce prices, offsetting some or all of the sales tax and inclination to live in Springs but jump to another County to buy goods and/or services. 

Board of County Commissioners: In an effort to reduce cost of government, increase representation, and improve citizen engagement, we are proposing that the Mayor and/or other elected official, of their choosing, from each of the included incorporated cities, serve as a Board Member, along with a number of elected representatives from the unincorporated areas sufficient enough to A. ensure responsible representation and B. ensure an odd number of elected officials of the Board to avoid tie votes.  Should an area like Jonesville or Western Gainesville choose to incorporate, they would have a dedicated member of the Board. 

Additionally, in an effort to reduce costs and increase citizen engagement, we propose the Springs BOCC meet in the existing City Halls on a rotating basis instead of building a whole new stand alone Chamber. With this model, Citizens would not have to go as far to engage their Board. With four current existing cities, the Springs BOCC would meet there twice per year minimum and three times every other year. 

 Freedom and Liberty: Government has become too expensive, too big, and too intrusive. Springs County will be based on individuals knowing what is best for themselves and their families. We are expected to govern ourselves, solve our own problems, and take care of our neighbors. No longer will the government be used as leverage, pitting one person or group against another. America is not great because of what government does; it is great because of what government is prevented from doing. When government takes from one to give to another, it controls both. Springs County will be the opposite. Springs will be based on free market principles, not government regulation and taxes controlling you, the free citizen of these United States.