County news briefs

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Paying their dues
Levy County will again pay its dues to belong to the North Florida Economic Development Partnership. Pat O'Neal, Nature Coast Business Development Council director, said the dues are 5 cents per resident — $2,041 — for the year. While payment is not due, O'Neal said the Partnership did want a letter indicating the Levy County Commission's support for remaining in the organization.
At the same time, O'Neal updated the commissioners on the North Florida Broadband Authority, a group started by the Partnership to bring wireless access to 14 counties and eight cities. O'Neal said construction of the wireless broadband network will begin in February. The NFBA is using $30 million in federal economic stimulus money to construct a wireless broadband network "the middle mile" to areas without broadband service. Once the network is built, internet service providers can bring the service into homes for a fee.

Health Department contract OK'd
The Levy County Commission approved a contract with the Florida Department of Health for operation of the local health department for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The state will provide $1,231,902 in funding for the department while the county will provide up to $150,000 in funding.

Guardian ad litem coming to Chiefland
The Guardian ad Litem Program for Levy County has been operating like a transient since earlier this year when it abandoned rented offices near the Levy County Courthouse due to a mold problem and joined the Gilchrist County program in Trenton. But the Gilchrist Program is also losing its quarters in a space crunch.
After months of wrangling over where to locate the program, whether to join with Gilchrist County in shared offices, and how costs would be shared, the program has a home.
On Tuesday the Board of County Commissioners gave its approval to an agreement with Gilchrist County to share quarters and bills on a space in the newly renovated Chiefland Shopping Center at 102 North Main Street in Chiefland.
The $1,570 monthly rent includes all maintenance and utilities, with the exception of telephone and internet service. All of the bills will be prorated 60 percent to Levy and 40 to Gilchrist under the agreement.

County engineering contract renewed
Levy County's contract for consulting engineer services with H. Lee Mills of Mills Engineering Company in Bronson has been renewed for another year without any increase in rates. Mills earns $95 per hour under the agreement approved by the Levy County Commission on Tuesday.

Progress contract extended

The Levy County Commission approved extending a contract with Progress Energy until Sept. 30, 2012, that funds the county's Department of Emergency Management's radiological emergency program. The program and the contract, which is funded by $110,786 paid by Progress Energy, is required due to the location of the Crystal River nuclear power plants just south of the Levy County-Citrus County border.

Library items approved
The newly formed PAL Library Cooperative — made up of the Putnum, Alachua and Levy counties library systems — is applying for state money for Levy County.
In action Tuesday, the Levy County Commission approved the application.
The commission also approved a new agreement with the City of Chiefland for the Luther Calloway Public Library behind Chiefland City Hall. Under the agreement the county supplies a librarian and the library supplies, while the city provides the building, maintenance and utilities. The city is applying for $50,000 in state money for an addition to the library that will double its size.