https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en Fee increases for Waste, Fire Protection https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/fee-increases-waste-fire-protection <p> With the setting of annual assessment rates on the docket, the Board of County Commissioners held a four-hour public hearing Sept. 6 with approximately 30 Levy citizens in attendance.</p> <p> After receiving feedback from numerous attendees, the Board passed a new rate for Solid Waste that shifts the burden of costs from user tipping fees to a $116 assessment fee. Fire Protection Services and EMS assessments also saw an increase in their respective rates.</p> <p> Fire Protection was first on the agenda.</p> <p> &ldquo;The fire rate was raised to $90 in 2012 and has not been raised since,&rdquo; BOCC chairman John Meeks said. &ldquo;Keep in mind, all dual-certified firefighters receive a portion of their pay from this.&rdquo;<br /> Heather Senoza, an associate of Jeff Rackley, who conducts revenue studies based on proposed fees, presented the fees proposed by the Board in July: $129 for residents; $0.36 for commercial; $0.15 for industrial and $12 for agricultural lands.<br /> Jared Blanton, the County Finance Director, responded to a request for an explanation of how the current $90 fee would not fund fire services.</p> Tim West draws winning straw in City election tiebreaker https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/tim-west-draws-winning-straw-city-election-tiebreaker <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/4b996259-5913-4d75-a8b6-8a0e16d0b962.jpg" alt="Chiefland City Commission candidates Tim West and Teresa Barron embrace at Town Hall August 7 after learning they split the vote." title="Chiefland City Commission candidates Tim West and Teresa Barron embrace at Town Hall August 7 after learning they split the vote." align="left" hspace="6" width="127" height="85" /><p> Every vote counts.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s the old cliche that comes up whenever you hear someone urging citizens to do their civic duty at the polls.</p> <p> But sometimes, every vote &ndash; and every subsequent coin flip or drawing of straws &ndash; really does count.</p> <p> In the Chiefland City Commission Group 4 election August 7 between incumbent Teresa Barron and challenger Tim West, the race was decided by something even slimmer than a single ballot &ndash; a straw.</p> <p> The night ended with West drawing the long (winning) straw from County Judge Tim Browning, who was serving as the Canvassing Board Chairman, after the pair managed to yield the exact same number of votes at 90 apiece.</p> <p> A manual recount of all votes August 9, part of an already-schduled provisional review and voting system audit, confirmed the machine tally.</p> <p> In a surreal scene at City Hall, Barron and West and their respective supporters were informed around 7:30 p.m. that the election was dead even and a machine recount was required by law. The recount didn&rsquo;t find an discrepancies, however, and there were no over or under votes to manually recount.</p> City election Tuesday https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/city-election-tuesday <p> The City of Chiefland will hold an election for City Commission Group 4 Tuesday, August 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The candidates include incumbent Teresa Barron and challenger Tim West. Voting is at Chiefland City Hall, 214 East Park Avenue. The Group 2 term also expires this year, but Commissioner Donald Lawrence is running unopposed for re-election. For more information, contact City Hall at 352-493-6711.<br /> &nbsp;</p> County proposes waste assessment in lieu of tipping fees https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/county-proposes-waste-assessment-lieu-tipping-fees <p> At the County Commission meeting July 17, Commissioners were tasked with setting preliminary assessment fees for EMT, fire and solid waste services.</p> <p> The latter generated much debate among Commissioners and attendees, as the County weighed replacing dumping fees at the county landfill with an assessment fee of $116 for all households.</p> <p> The final decision on assessments will come at a public hearing on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. The Commission is then permitted to lower, but not raise, the fee amounts set at the preliminary hearing.</p> <p> Jeff Rackley, Senior Project Manager at Government Services Inc., put together reports for the Commissioners to review, which were presented at the meeting by his associate Heather Senoza.<br /> According to the reports, Levy County lost revenue from the landfill last year. Levy County previously charged residents an assessment fee of $25 per parcel, but now charges no fee. Levy residents pay a tipping fee of $1.16, while the commercial tipping fee is $61.00.</p> City, Police deliberate over pay, vehicle requests https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/city-police-deliberate-over-pay-vehicle-requests <p> C.L. Watson, Citizen Correspondent</p> <p> The Chiefland City Commission on July 9 received an insurance bid presentation for city employees from Mike Michaelis with Don Martin Insurance.</p> <p> Michaelis presented a rate increase proposal of 7.7 percent with Florida Blue Plan 59 as the base plan for city employees. Most of the plans offered cover a full-time City employee at no cost, under Plan 59, yet a family plan would cost the employee $1,001.24, a weekly increase of $18.33. Aetna and AvMed declined to send offers saying they would not have competitive rates. The Chiefland City Commission voted unanimously in favor to accept the Florida Blue rate increases.</p> School district retains C grade https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/school-district-retains-c-grade <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_0212.jpg" alt="Levy Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison, right, with Gov. Rick Scott on June 23 at Bronson Middle High School." title="Levy Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison, right, with Gov. Rick Scott on June 23 at Bronson Middle High School." align="left" hspace="6" width="128" height="85" /><p> For the third year in a row, the Levy County school district scored a C in the Florida Department of Education accountability report.</p> <p> Despite earning the same grade, the district saw small gains in most of the 11 categories that go into the final tally. Items that factor into the grades include achievement and learning gains measures in English Language Arts, mathematics and science as well as achievement in social studies, as rendered by various standardized tests. The scores also incorporate graduation and acceleration rates, which take into account students receiving credits in dual enrollment college courses or earning industry certifications.</p> <p> The districts biggest gains were in the areas of &ldquo;college and career acceleration&rdquo; and mathematics assessments. The district is two percentage points from a B.</p> Gov. Scott visits Levy for Lincoln-Reagan Dinner during campaign for US Senate https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/gov-scott-visits-levy-lincoln-reagan-dinner-during-campaign-us-senate <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_0264.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="57" height="85" /><p> The highest-profile guest speaker in the history of the Levy County Republican Executive Committee&rsquo;s annual Lincoln-Reagan Memorial Dinner guaranteed its largest ever turnout.</p> <p> Gov. Rick Scott joined Republican Party officials, supporters, office holders and candidates representing Levy County and the area June 23 at Bronson Middle High School as the headline speaker for the banquet.</p> <p> Scott, who is leaving the Governorship due to term limits, is the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican opponent to incumbent Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race this fall.</p> <p> At the dinner, the two-term Florida governor touted his record on the economy, education and the state budget, and outlined a few proposals from his senatorial campaign. Scott lamented the lack of cooperation in congress, arguing the federal government would be more effective if it emulated the more collaborative tendencies of state and local government.</p> <p> &ldquo;How do we improve the way D.C. works?&rdquo; Scott asked rhetorically. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s way too partisan up there. You should expect your government to work together.</p> Cedar Key, Bronson host fireworks https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/cedar-key-bronson-host-fireworks <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_4345_0.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="151" height="85" /><p> Cedar Key is holding its annual Independent Day celebration, culminating with the &ldquo;best small city fireworks display&rdquo; over the water.</p> <p> The day of festivities takes place Wednesday, July 4, kicking off with the Fourth of July Parade of Golf Carts at noon.</p> <p> Spectators can watch the fireworks from Dock Street or City Park &ndash; or pretty much anywhere on the island &ndash; starting at 9:15 p.m.</p> <p> To help support the fireworks fund, visit http://cedarkey.org/cedar-key-july-4th-fireworks-fund.</p> <p> Bronson is also hosting a fireworks show on July 4 in the Park at 20 Picnic Street. The setup will begin around 7 p.m., with fireworks expected to launch shortly after dark. Signage will be in place to inform attendees where they can park and watch the fireworks.</p>