County sets preliminary rates

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By Sean Arnold

Levy County set its Preliminary Annual Rate Resolutions for the Roadway Maintenance Service, Solid Waste Tax Assessments, EMS Tax Assessments and Fire Protection Services, capping the new rates at current levels or lower.

The preliminary rates set a ceiling that the county cannot go above in the upcoming budget, which is finalized on Sept. 12.

The Solid Waste Tax Assessment was set at $0, a reduction from $25. The Fire and EMS rates were retained at $90 and $119, respectively, for residential homes. Agricultural properties are exempted from Fire Protection Services fees.

The Roadway Maintenance Assessment, which goes toward funding the upkeep of roads the county has acquired stewardship of from unincorporated areas and subdivisions, is funded through the gas tax.

Levy County represented in county association leadership

Board of Levy County Commissioners chair John Meeks has been re-elected the director of an 11-county district in the Florida Association of Counties (FAC).

“It’s an honor to represent those folks, and especially those of Levy County,” Meeks said. “The more work that you can do with other elected officials, the more ability you have to bring our issues here in Levy County to the forefront. A lot of times the issues that we have are issues that other counties have, and it gives us a collective voice.

“To serve on Board of FAC and be on the leadership with the Small County Coalition, it gives us a direct route, through the lobby teams, to the legislators to helps us solve our problems. It is a tremendous honor and I do not take it lightly.”

Meeks thanked fellow Commissioner Lilly Rooks for “laying the groundwork” at FAC for Levy County, and for caucusing on his behalf.

“He does such a good job,” Rooks said of Meeks’ service at FAC and in the Small County Coalition.

Meeks congratulated County attorney Anne Bast Brown for recently completing her 10-year term as a director in the Florida Association of County Attornies (FACA).

“It’s great that we have a leadership team that wants to represent Levy County not only here but statewide,” Meeks said.

Roooks, Meeks and Commissioner Matt Brooks received Presidential Advocacy Awards from FAC.

BOCC thanks Senator Latvala for defense of local government

The Board, led by Mike Joyner, passed a motion to send a letter to Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater, thanking him for “defending local government.” Joyner received a letter from the Clearwater Senator, read by John Meeks at the Board meeting. The letter condemned the state government’s attack on “home rule,” whereby its seeking a transfer of authority from cities and counties to the state. Latvala was the only Republican in the Florida Senate to recently vote against a ballot amendment that would raise the Homestead Exemption to $75,000, which would mean a substantive cut to counties’ revenue.

“He’s really fighting for us to keep our rights in a small county,” Joyner said.

Emergency Plan in place

The Board adopted its newest Levy County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. Copies of the plan will soon be available at the Levy Emergency Management office and on its website at Levydisaster.com. Levy Emergency Management recently notched a perfect score on the County Capabilities Assessment, issued by the State of Florida as a requirement for emergency certification every four years.

Yankeetown recipient of wastewater project funding

Inglis mayor Drinda Merritt reported at the recent BOCC meeting that her town has received a legislative appropriation of $500,000 to start a wastewater treatment project. Merritt was congratulated by the Board, while she credited Sen. Jack Latvala, Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Charlie Stone for their efforts in bringing the project to Levy County.

US 41 segment added to National Highway System

Levy County granted a request from the Florida Department of Transportation to add a segment of US 41, stretching from the Marion County Line to US-27A in Williston, to the National Highway System. The move makes that part of 41 eligible for National Highway Performance Program funds. The remainder of US 41 in Florida is already under the NHS designation.

In other BOCC business

Commissioner Rock Meeks reported that Chiefland Area Athletic Association saw its 15 and under (15U) baseball team finish second in the Babe Ruth Small State Tournament, and its Rookie Division team finished third. He also congratulated Williston’s 10U club for its finish as runner-up in the Small State baseball tournament.

John Meeks thanked Levy County Mosquito Control for treating the areas in Bronson, Williston and Cedar Key that held Fourth of July firework shows.

The chairman also requested the county contact Chiefland Middle High School to invite the Lady Indians’ varsity softball team to be recognized at a board meeting for reaching the state finals four straight years and winning three straight state championships. “To represent the high school at that level for four years is amazing,” he said.