After meeting with leaders around Gadsden County earlier this year, and hearing first-hand from elected officials and residents on the needs within the county and its various municipalities, Representatives Ramon Alexander (District 8 – Gadsden and Leon Counties) has filed several bills in favor of Gadsden County.
All bills, listed below, were filed in either late November or early December.
House Bill 4495 – Repairs and funding for Gadsden Technical College
Should this bill be approved by the Florida House of Representatives, Alexander’s request will appropriate $3,750,000 from the state’s General Revenue Fund to be used for renovations and expansions for Gadsden Technical College. The bill was requested by Gadsden County Superintendent of Schools Elijah Key, and according to Key’s request form, the funds will be used to cover the expenses of repairs of some of the buildings that are over 40 years old. The funds will also be used for salaries and benefits of added full-time positions at the college, including two instructors, a marketing specialist, and a grant writer. Key’s requests, the funds may also be used for the purchase of computer hardware and software, hospital beds, mannequins, medical supplies, textbooks, travel for instructors, field trips, competitive events, and other opportunities for students.
House Bill 4405 – COVID-19 isolation shelter
Requested by County Administration Edward Dixon, Alexander has filed a bill that requests the state give Gadsden County $4,950,560 so that the county can refurbish the W.S. Stevens School, in Quincy, into a COVID-19 Shelter. According to Dixon, the shelter will serve Gadsden County citizens who are COVID-19 positive and have no options for self-isolation or quarantining. When not in use as a COVID-19 shelter, the building can be used for COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and other related health services that can be provided in a nonmedical facility.
House Bill 4403 – Building a sports complex
According to the Florida Department of Health and the Robert J. Wood Foundation, Gadsden County ranks 65 of 67 in state health rankings and has ranked low in this category for nearly a decade. Thus, the county is requesting $7,816,627 from the State of Florida for the construction of a multipurpose sports complex that will be the first active park and recreational facility. Dixon, who requested this bill, says the complex will improve health, wellness, and reduce juvenile delinquencies through social and sporting activities in Gadsden County. If funding is approved, the complex will be located in the St. Hebron Community.
House Bill 4395 – Improvements to Pat Thomas Ecotourism Park
Gadsden County is hoping to make improvements to the Pat Thomas Ecotourism Park, if funding is approved by state representatives. If this bill is approved, the state will provide the county with $605,377 for the design and construction of 17 new RV pads and hookups, a new septic system, bathhouse with solar panels for heating water and warming the house, and new American Disability Act-approved sidewalks, pavilion, parking lots, restrooms. According to Dixon, the park benefits all of North Florida through eco-tourism and recreational opportunities, as the park offers fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking to visitors.
House Bill 4397 – New facility for county emergency operations
If approved, this bill will fund the site preparation, civil engineering, permitting, and construction of a new Gadsden County Emergency Operations Center and Public Safety Complex. This new facility will house Gadsden County’s emergency operations center, communications center, sheriff’s office, and fire/EMS services.
House Bill 4401 – Building a new Boys and Girls Club
Should this bill be approved by state representatives, the bill will provide $3,618,705 for Gadsden County to build a new Boys and Girls Club facility. According to County Administrator Dixon, Gadsden County has limited recreational programs or organizations that provide organized after-school activities; Dixon adds that there is a “clear need” for after-school programs in a structured setting like a Boys and Girls Club. If approved, this club will include a study area and learning center, technology center, gymnasium, cafeteria, and outdoor greenspace area. The funds will be used for the purchase of land, site development, and construction costs.
House Bill 4493 – Funding for AMIkids programs
Alexander’s request in this bill is for AMIkids Prevention Programs in Gadsden and Leon Counties to receive $720,000 in funding. In the request form for this bill, it is stated that this will be a multi-year program, requiring ongoing funding from the state. The funds will be used to provide after-school programs during the summer when violent juvenile crime is most likely to occur. AMIkids reports that it will also use the funding to offer “services with lasting impacts”, including referrals for treatment, mentoring, academic enrichment, vocational training and career readiness. Funds may also be used for budgeting, payroll services, technology services, and more.
House Bill 4491 – Improvements to Greensboro Town Hall
Representative Alexander filed this bill, requested by Greensboro Town Manager Dennis Henderson, to send $1,150,000 from the state’s fund to the town for updating their town hall and community center facilities. The current town hall was built in 1950 and the request form for this bill states that the building is “outdated and inefficient.” According to Henderson, a new facility will enable the town to conduct meetings and host events at a central location.
House Bill 4417 – Greensboro water improvements
This bill will divert $325,000 in funding from the state’s general revenue fund to the Town of Greensboro, so that the town can make improvements to its water system. According to Henderson, who requested the bill, the proposed project will provide relief to the Town of Greensboro through improvements to the town’s water equipment, replacing “antiquated” components that currently require frequent attention by the town. Secondly, the funding will purchase equipment and remote read meters that will decrease the amount of time that staff is required to read meters or monitor the system. Finally, the new, more accurate meters will assist in eliminating unaccounted for water losses.
House Bill 4425 – Gretna water system replacement
This bill, if approved by the Florida House, will provide the City of Gretna with $435,000 from the state’s general revenue fund to be used for the replacement of the Gretna Water Meter system. The request for this bill was made by Antonio Jefferson, who says the funding will allow the City of Gretna to more closely monitor water usages and reduce the amount of unaccounted for water losses.
House Bill 4427 – Quincy sewer expansion project
This project, if approved, will provide funding to allow the City of Quincy to engage in a Sewer Expansion Project; the bill announces $1,200,000 in funding for this project. If funding is approved, the city plans to extend the existing wastewater system further west along U.S. 90 up to Woodberry Road. By doing so, any future development along U.S. 90 and the residents down Woodberry Road should have access to central sewer services, and the new system is cited to allow additional homes and businesses to locate into the area without the need for on-site septic systems.
House Bill 4421 – Quincy waterline expansion project
For a Quincy Waterline Expansion Project, this bill requests a nonrecurring sum of $350,000. If funding is approved, the project would extend the city’s existing water system further west along U.S. Highway 90 up to Woodberry Road, thus increasing capacity for more than 20 businesses and making room for future businesses in the area. It also creates greater access to fire protection, an ability to expand from 50 to 110 homes, and decreases the need for private wells on Woodberry Road.
House Bill 4419 – Havana drainage improvements
If approved, this bill will designate $685,000 to the Town of Havana for improving street drains in the town. Requested by Howard McKinnon, Havana’s town manager, the bill’s funding will be used to pay for costs associated with designing, permitting and constructing drainage improvements. McKinnon notes, in his request form, that Havana has historically had challenges with drainage issues on Main Street (Highway 27), resulting in roadside hazards vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
House Bill 4409 – Chattahoochee water system upgrades
This bill will appropriate $100,000 from the state’s general fund for the City of Chattahoochee to use in upgrading the city’s water system. According to City Manager Robert Presnell, who requested the bill, the project will upgrade an antiquated control system at the Chattahoochee Water Works Facility. Presnell notes that the control system continuously experiences failures that result in water shortages for citizens and fire services alike.
House Bill 4407 – New City Hall for Chattahoochee
The City of Chattahoochee says it needs a new emergency management building and city hall – and is asking the state for assistance in funding the purchase of the new building. If this bill is approved by Florida representatives, that state will designate $700,000 of state monies for this purchase. According to Presnell, the funds will help the city purchase and upgrade an existing building that will serve as an emergency command center and City Hall. Upgrades might include storm protective windows and doors, a generator, room reconfigurations to accommodate meeting areas, HVAC upgrades, new electrical/communication hardware, and upgraded carpet, paint, and fixtures.
House Bill 4399 – Street lights for Midway
Midway might be getting new street lights – if this bill is approved by state representatives. According to City Manager Linda Dilworth, who requested the bill, the new lights will provide a safer environment for residents and visitors of Midway. Dilworth also says that activities such as trick-or-treating, Christmas caroling, and community fund raisers could benefit better city lighting, and the lighting will make travel safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles. If approved, the state will provide $500,000 for this project.
House Bill 4393 – Midway septic-to-sewer project
The City of Midway is asking the state for $3,500,000 in state funding for the city to convert citizen’s septic systems to a city-wide sewer system. According to Dilworth, the City of Midway is located in the Wakulla Springs Basin Management Action Plan, and as such, discharge from the septic systems has an impact on groundwater and ultimately, the spring. The project would design and construct infrastructure to begin the process of the septic-to-sewer conversion. With this funding, the city hopes that over time, all Midway citizens will be connected to sewer rather than septic.
Ashley Hunter – firstname.lastname@example.org