HIGH SPRINGS – The High Springs City Commission on Jan. 12 voiced its opposition to the structure of the Opioid Awareness Campaign Committee, but voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Children’s Trust of Alachua County, the entity that manages and dispenses funds. Commissioners expressed concern about how the program was structured and noted that the group added another level of bureaucracy in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The agreement was presented to finalize an arrangement that several Alachua County communities, including High Springs, voted to participate in along with the Children’s Trust of Alachua County to create an awareness campaign to educate the public on opioid addiction and treatment.

Each participating city is being asked to contribute $10,000 for a seat on the committee with the $10,000 contributed by each community to be spent on awareness efforts in their community.

However, concerns were raised about the lack of local control of the funds as the Awareness Campaign Committee will decide how and when to dole out the money. Instead of joining forces financially to pool the $40,000 in contributions to address the overall problem, each community gets their $10,000 donation back, with the Awareness Campaign Committee making disbursement decisions.

Although some Commissioners didn’t approve of the structure of the project, they voted unanimously to approve the interlocal agreement because they said they had already approved the expenditure in June 2022 and did not want to withdraw from their earlier commitment after voting to move forward.

Parks & Recreation Board

The High Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board currently has two vacant alternate positions available. One expires in 2023 and the second one expires in 2024. Commissioners considered and unanimously approved the appointment of applicant Mary B. Sears to serve as an alternate on the Board until the 2024 expiration date.

Sears has been a resident of High Springs for 14 years and is a Workers Compensation Claims Adjuster and current treasurer for the FGWC High Springs Woman’s Club.

Other City Business

In other City business, small road repair and replacement paving projects are set to begin in High Springs the week of Jan. 23. Citizens are asked to be patient when trying to get around town as these projects are under construction.

Roads to be repaired are Northwest 237th Street, Northwest 240th Street, Northwest 233rd Street, Northwest 222nd Street, Northwest 244th Street, Northwest 210th Lane and Northwest Railroad Avenue. The work is to be undertaken by Florida Fill & Grading at a cost of $195,882.

The room erupted in applause when Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham announced that High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard has been selected to be the new District #17 Director for the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

The Mayor’s Youth Council is accepting applications from students from the 7th – 12th grades. Applicants must be residents of High Springs. Applications can be obtained through the City Clerk’s Office.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26 and is expected to take place at City Hall.

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