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. 

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.

  • The above has more holes than Swiss Cheese. Cheese is a product from a female cow. The above comes from a male bovine. Where to start?
    Congratulations, your pseudo county starts off by violating the law. “Press release from Springs County.” There is no Springs County. Counties are subsets of the Florida State government. Only the State can create one. You are falsely impersonating a Government Entity. It is probably against the law to do so. Not a good start, Comrade Criminal Leader.
    Tomorrow morn Ward Scott should put his crack Chief Investigator on the case. The CI can call Bill Cervone and find out what the penalty is for impersonating and passing yourself off as a non existent government. If you are collecting funds, are you registered with the State? Gotta register with Nikki “Pass the Joint” Fried at ACS. How many laws will so called “Springs County” break on day one?

  • 2. Your manifesto fails to start with the main issue in Florida. Are you proposing a new county government that is a Charter government, or a non-charter government? In Florida you can only pick one. Which one do you want? Florida Statutes then dictates how your government MUST be set up. It ain’t up to you. Your knowledge of Florida government organizational issues is already showing a serious lack of knowledge.

  • 3. “Churches/Charities: Churches are under attack.” A blanket statement with no proof. Can you cite some examples of churches being attacked by a government entity, say somewhere in North Central Florida and within the last 50 years? We’ll wait for your reply.

  • 4. “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”
    What you are proposing is illegal. How many state laws do you want to violate to create your fake county. How about taking time to read the State Constitution and Florida Statutes. They explain how to set up a legal county. Like F.S.124. You can have five or seven single member districts with ELECTED commissioners but the district boundaries must “fix the boundaries of the above districts so as to keep them as nearly equal in proportion to population as possible”.
    Got that? Your proposal to APPOINT the minor town mayors is illegal. Mayor Gibby and the Mayor of Newberry cannot be appointed, as Alachua has twice the population as Newberry, thus as “districts” the cities of Alachua and Newberry are wildly illegal districts.

    Suggestion: Start out with a county proposal that is legal to start with.

  • 5. “We hope to avoid this by preventing government from picking winners and losers through any sort of corporate welfare programs as well.”
    You might want to consult with your “small cities that want to be big cities” first. The City of Alachua approved the Business Incentive Program to spur economic development within the city at their Sept. 23, 2019 meeting. The Business Development Electric Discount provides an incremental discounting of Alachua electric rates over a five-year period. The Electric Contribution in Aid of Construction provides for the discounting of costs associated with the extension, addition and/or modification of City of Alachua electric infrastructure.

    Alachua is the largest city in your so called Springs County. Giving new out of town businesses lower electric rates screws existing businesses, and is the “picking winners and losers” you claim to not want. Free utilities infrastructure for new out of town businesses is 100% Pure Corporate Welfare. Better get the City of Alachua on board before you start talking against corporate welfare. Alachua loves them some corporate welfare. It is what they do.

  • 6. “Permits for things such as hairdressers, lawn services, or irrigation installers will not be required if legally avoidable.”
    Total straw man argument. Hairdressers and irrigation installers are required to be licensed by the STATE. Your pseudo libertarian County cannot allow unlicensed contractors to illegally operate in your county as an example of the “entrepreneur’s dream to pursue their American Dream.” “Legally avoidable? No. Illegal? Yes. Bogus argument. You already have the votes of your Newberry Base. You need to use arguments that will convince West Gainesville residents to vote Yes if there ever is a non-binding ballot initiative regarding a new county. There are more of them than all the small municipalities combined.

  • What a totally stupid idea. And one that will never happen. How does someone like the leader even get elected to public office?

    • Not at all. Currently, I am one of the ugliest and dumbest people in Alachua County. I look forward to being in Springs County, where I will immediately be one of the prettiest and smartest people in the county.

  • 7. “Freedom and Liberty: Government has become too expensive, too big, and too intrusive. Springs will be based on free market principles, not government regulation and taxes controlling you, the free citizen of these United States.”

    “Florida County Government Guide.
    Florida law lays out a large number of specific duties for commissioners in non-charter counties.
    Some of the more important commission duties in Ch. 125.01 of the Florida Statutes include:
    • Adopt an annual budget to control county fiscal year expenditures.
    • Levy taxes and special assessments; borrow and expend money; issue bonds, revenue
    certificates and other obligations.
    • Adopt county ordinances, resolutions, and rules of procedure, prescribing fines and penalties for violations of ordinances.
    • Provide for the prosecution and defense of legal causes on behalf of the county.
    • Provide and maintain county buildings.
    • Prepare and enforce comprehensive plans for development of the county.
    • Establish, coordinate and enforce zoning and business regulations necessary for public
    • Place issues on the ballot at any primary, general, or special election.
    • Provide services related to the health and welfare of citizens, such as fire protection, parks and recreation, and waste collection/disposal.
    • Appoint members to and create Boards, Authorities, Committees and Commissions as
    required by law.”

    Oh, snap, F.S. 125. Sorry to burst your Koch backed Bircher fantasy view of the world, but read that list. The State REQUIRES the County to do these things. Something called State Law. You cannot just scream “Liberty—Freedom—Small Government” and refuse to do it. Will your county have no laws? No comp plan? No zoning regulations? You want no government regulations, you can have it tomorrow without ruining Alachua County, just move to Somalia or Syria. Your utopia, pure unfettered free market capitalism. Your No Taxes mantra shows you already follow the Zimbabwe economic model of government funding.

    • Dear O.W. Douglas, does being an anti-white racist give you a sense of entitlement?

  • Springs Manifesto: “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.”

    On the Weird Sortt pudcast Dear Leader said it was “premature” to talk about where the new county seat would be located. A county seat city must be designated under Florida Law. Constitutional officers are required to have an office in the designated county seat. Springs County proponents need to spend more time reading state law and less time talking about things which they know nothing about.
    Richard Nixon got busted with three little words. “Follow the Money.” The yearly taxes collected on the area west of 34th Street, according to Dear Leader, is $432 Million. Got that? New Springs County commissioners will go from spending Zero Tax Dollars a year to spending $432 Million dollars their first year. Human nature and small town politics being as predictable as it is, lots of that will go to the right politically connected friends and friends of friends of the politicians. Even if they spend 95% of the money properly, a 5% vig is still $20 million to line someone’s buddy’s pocket. Heck, how do I get in on this action? The Gainesville Butt Lift Bandit got nothing on Springs County. Every good ole boy in Newberry gonna get two new F150s out of this deal. Is Springs County Florida’s newest Ponzi Scheme? Follow the Money.

  • Today at our clan gathering we decided to name our glorious new county after our patron saint. Henceforth it will be called “Birch Springs County.” It can also be referred to as “BS County.”

  • I like the idea of sales tax & no property tax!
    Count me in!

  • Dear Yes to springs county!
    I like the idea of sales tax & no property tax!
    Please do not fall for the “no property tax” BS the Springs County con men are proposing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They are making wild promises that get folks like you excited but are not true in reality.
    From the Springs County facebook page, one of the few truthful posts there:
    “Tony Justice I just read the FAQ about property taxes. The BOCC and municipal parts of the property taxes could be driven to zero (or close to zero) and replaced with an alternative tax (e.g. local option sales tax on top of the state’s 6%).
    However, schools are funded through the FEFP, which is governed by Florida’s Constitution and statutes (specifically 1011.62, F.S.). The state mandates a RLE (Required Local Effort) millage that is set annually by the Florida Legislature. In 2020, it is 3.733 mills. This millage must be levied in all counties that have public schools, and all countries in FL are required by the state constitution (Article IX) to provide public education. In addition, water management districts levy a millage and do not have any opt out provisions since they are multi-county districts.
    Long story short is that property taxes could be significantly reduced, but short of totally revamping education and water district systems statewide, there cannot be a zero millage rate for any FL county.”
    In addition, read the excellent objective article by Newberry Mayor Marlowe.
    “I think it’s time I addressed Springs County. ”
    Read how conservative “small government” counties like Gilchrist get WELFARE payments from the rich urban counties in the Florida Statutes 218.67 Distribution for fiscally constrained counties. Yes 27 small conservative Republican counties are on welfare. Almost all of Yoho’s Third Congressional District, in case you did not notice.

    Perhaps the Chronicle will post Marlowe’s piece as a guest editorial to inform the public.

  • Oh, how convenient to put the divide between the counties on S.R. 121. Which is for all intents and purposes is currently the financial equator for (existing) Alachua county (property taxes, sales revenues, etc). So you get they get the saltines and we get the wrapper?!

    I suspect most of the current and historic revenue that finances Alachua is/was generated within the Gainesville city limits.

    So, lets have a conversation about the eastern boundary of “Springs County” terminating at what is now the western boundary of the city of Gainesville.

    If you think you can float a county within that reservoir, then have at as far as I’m concerned.

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