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NEWBERRY ‒ Newberry’s advanced meeting project has fallen behind. Newberry Assistant City Manager Dallas Lee provided an update on the installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems in the city. Pointing to shipping and supply delays, Lee said the earlier projected deadlines would not be met.

He said that the City would first put their meters online to test the system and make sure it is running smoothly prior to hooking up utility customers.

In other City business, the Newberry City Commission is recommending that an arena be named in honor of a former Alachua County Commissioner. Newberry commissioners voted to send a letter to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) stating that the Newberry Commission voted unanimously to request that the BoCC name the arena at the Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian Center in honor of former County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson.

In another unanimous action, Commissioners finalized the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board, Chair, Chair Pro Tempore and Vice Pro Tempore. At a previous meeting the Commission, sitting as the CRA Board, approved the appointments to mirror the City Commission. However, the action was not finalized until the City Commissioners voted to approve the recommendations from the CRA Board.

In other business, the Commission approved a special permit for one-time fireworks display to be conducted as part of a wedding ceremony at Granville Plantation on Oct. 23. Robert Miles, the person planning the fireworks display, said the property consists of some 40 acres and has an agriculture designation. Miles said the fireworks display would take place between 9:30 – 10 p.m. and produced a map showing the open area from which the fireworks would be shot.

Planning Director Bryan Thomas reported that over the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, voluntary annexations of 19 parcels have brought in approximately 902 total acres into the city limits. Thomas added that during the year were approvals for Newberry Town Center, Phase 5 with 73 single-family units, Avalon Woods, Phase 1A with 104 single-family units and Country Way South, Phase 1 with 41 single-family units. Other matters implemented included City ordinances for tiny homes, food trucks, block parties and reduced setback requirements for sheds. Thomas said his department’s annual budget is $280,428.

The Commission approved two proclamations—one related to city governments and the other for drug awareness. Oct. 18 – 24 was recognized as Florida City Government Week in Newberry. City Clerk Judy Rice said the City is planning a parade to take place at the Newberry Elementary School in front of the kindergarten and first grade students as a way to help celebrate City Government Week. The date has not yet been set.

The second proclamation was in recognition of Red Ribbon Week, October 23 – 31. Wearing of a red ribbon is a symbol of commitment to raise awareness of the devastation caused by drugs. Lisa Darling from Concerned Citizens of Newberry talked briefly about the MyTime Program taking place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center in Newberry.

The Commission will be conducting charter officer annual evaluations. Recommendations are expected to be submitted by Oct. 18 and will include City Manager Mike New and City Clerk Judy Rice. New said both he and Rice would be eligible for salary increases up to the same four percent amount as other City employees. The results of the evaluations will be on the Oct. 25 Commission agenda.

Commissioners will hold an Impact Fee Education Workshop at 6 p.m., Oct. 25, just prior to the regular City Commission meeting at 7 p.m.

On Nov. 16 the public is invited to a Public Power Town Hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Newberry Municipal Building, 25420 W. Newberry Road. The General Manager and CEO of the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) Jacob Williams will be in attendance.

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