Palms Medical Group schedules
Job Recruitment Event
on Nov. 13 in Gainesville

Published Oct. 14, 2018 at 10:48 a.m.
Palms Medical Group has scheduled a job recruitment event to be in Gainesville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 13, which is a Tuesday.


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     This is set to be at the Best Western Gateway Grand, 4200 N.W. 97th Blvd., in Gainesville.
     Managers will be at the event to conduct on-the-spot interviews of candidates seeking jobs with Palms Medical Group.
     For the people wondering why they will enjoy working as part of the Palms Medical Group team, Palms Medical Group is a compassionate, patient-focused healthcare provider.
     The professional team covers a wide range of services at multiple locations throughout North Florida.
     Palms Medical Group offers competitive pay, paid holidays, a generous amount of paid time off, a generous benefits package that includes employer funded life insurance, substantial employer contributions to health coverage, and optional dental, supplemental life, and Aflac plans.
     Palms Medical Group also offers quarterly incentives to its employees.
     The rewards of working at Palms Medical Group extend beyond the monetary. Employees of Palms Medical Group have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of patients in a friendly, compassionate, and professional setting. From Patient Advocate to Medical Doctor, all of the team members work toward the well-being of patients. At Palms Medical Group, everyone’s contributions are
critical to the success of the team.
     Palms Medical Group is now hiring Nurses - CNA, LPN, CMA; Financial Services Representatives; Patient Advocates; Finance Clerks; Marketing and Outreach Staff; Medical Providers; Dental Assistants; and Pharmacy Technicians.
     For these positions and others, applicants can save time by applying in advance at by clicking HERE
     For more information, please contact Jessica Bongiavonni the HR Recruiter at

CFEC Sends Crew to Aid
CFEC Crew To Help
Central Florida Electric Cooperative line workers are heading northwest to assist Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Wewahitchka to restore power and repair damage caused by Hurricane Michael. Currently, 1.6 million homes and businesses are without power across the southeast in the wake of Michael. With a six-man crew, CFEC is ready to lend a helping hand to northwest Florida, bringing four pieces of equipment including two bucket trucks, one digger derrick truck with a load of poles and a one-ton flatbed truck. 'CFEC was fortunate to receive help from cooperatives across the country when we restored power from Hurricane Irma,' stated Ben Dawson, CFEC Vice President of Engineering and Operations. 'Cooperation among cooperatives is critical to restoring power as quickly, and as safely, as possible.'
Published Oct. 12, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.

By Haley Webb, CFEC Communications Specialist


Edward Jones
Time To Think About
Year-End Investment Moves

Published Oct. 8, 2018 at 8:38 p.m.
     We’ve still got a couple of months left in 2018, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about some year-end investment moves that might benefit you.
     Here are a few possibilities (although not all will apply to your situation):
     • Add to your IRA. For the 2018 tax year, you can put up to $5,500 into your traditional or Roth IRA (assuming you are eligible), or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older. If you haven’t reached this limit, consider adding some money. You have until April 15, 2019, to contribute to your IRA for 2018, but why wait until the last minute?
     • Increase your 401(k) contributions. You already may be investing in your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, but you might be able to bump up your contributions for the rest of the year, if it’s allowed. Of course, you should always put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered.
     • Take your RMDs. If you are 70½ or older, you must start taking withdrawals – called required minimum distributions, or RMDs – from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Generally, you must take these RMDs by December 31 every year. But if you turned 70½ in 2018, you can wait until April 1, 2019, until you take your first RMD. However, you will then have to take a second RMD (the one for age 71) by December 31, 2019. Taking two RMDs in one year could give you an unexpectedly large taxable income for the year, possibly bumping you into a higher tax bracket and affecting the amount of your Social Security benefits subject to taxes. So, if you are considering delaying your first RMD, consult with your tax advisor.
     • Make changes in response to life events. In 2018, did you experience a major life event, such as a marriage, divorce or addition of a child? Or did you change jobs or retire? Any of these events could lead you to adjust your investment plans, so now may be the time to do so, possibly with the help of a financial professional.
     • Review your investment mix. At least once a year, it’s a good idea to review your investment mix to ensure it’s still suitable for your goals and risk tolerance. Sometimes, even without your taking any action, your portfolio might change in ways you hadn’t expected. For example, suppose you wanted your portfolio to contain 60% stocks and 40% bonds and other investments. After a period of rising prices, though, the value of your stocks may have increased so much that they now occupy 65% of your portfolio – which means you may be taking on more risk than you had originally intended. Consequently, you may need to rebalance your portfolio to get back to your original 60% to 40% ratios. (Keep in mind that these figures are just for illustration; everyone’s ideal portfolio mix will depend on their individual situations.) 
     These aren’t the only year-end moves you may want to consider, but they can help you close out 2018 on a positive note. Plus, they can serve as a reminder that you need to be vigilant as you keep working toward your financial goals.
     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Edward Jones Financial Advisor - Sheila K. Smith, 25349 W. Newberry Road, in Newberry. Phone 352-472-2776.

CFEC prepares for
Hurricane Michael

By Haley E. Webb
Communications Specialist
Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Published Oct. 8, 2018 at 3:38 p.m.
As Hurricane Michael continues on its path, Central Florida Electric Cooperative (CFEC) has assembled a prepared group of linemen and service restoration personnel.
     CFEC is ready to bring in additional contractors or request assistance from neighboring cooperatives outside the area to aid members and the community as needed.
     “We are making necessary preparations and conducting meetings with our staff, specifically for Michael,” said Ben Dawson, CFEC Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “We will continue preparing for the storm and we urge our members to take the necessary precautions to be ready as well.”
     Dawson added that CFEC has a well-stocked inventory of the material and equipment needed for making repairs, and vendors are prepared to send additional material and equipment if necessary.
     Members can report power outages by calling 1-800-227-1302, visiting the website at or by accessing the mobile app, CFEC Connect.
     During storm outages, one of CFEC’s priorities is to make repairs that restore service to the most people in the least amount of time.      Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by main distribution lines that feed neighborhoods; tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to members who may still be without electricity.
     Use these tips to prepare for storms:
     • For shelter updates, check with local fire departments and your counties’ emergency management team:
     • Levy- Visit or call emergency management at 352.486.5213
     • Dixie- Visit or call emergency management at 352.498.1231
     • Gilchrist- Visit or call emergency management at 386.935.5400
     • Alachua- Visit or call emergency management at 352.955.1818
     • If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging.
     • Determine safe evacuation routes.
     • Have a first aid kit on hand, including prescription medication in adequate supply.
     • Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators & battery-powered equipment & keep extra batteries on-hand.
     • Invest in a battery/solar powered radio and cell phone charger.
     • Stock several gallons of drinking water and nonperishable foods.
     • Fill bathtubs with water to flush toilets.

Scarecrow Contest starts


Art Provided

Published Oct. 6, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.
Sponsored by the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce, the Inglis-Yankeetown Scarecrow Contest has started.
     Businesses and other organizations can enter by e-mailing their name and the physical location of their scarecrow to by Oct. 15.
     Scarecrows must be completed by Oct. 25.
     Judging will be the morning of Oct. 26.
     The First Place Winner will recieve An Annually Rotating Plaque, complements of the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce.
     To determine the winner, judges will use the following criteria:
     ● Originality and/or Creativity;
     ● Workmanship and/or Attention to Detail; and
     ● Presentation and/or Crowd Appeal from the Street.

Customers unhappy
Chiefland Ford: No Comment

Chiefland Ford as seen from the Save-A-Lot parking lot.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 5, 2018 at 1:38 p.m.
A Cedar Key couple who traded two vehicles as they purchased two vehicles from Chiefland Ford are not pleased with some things what shook loose in those deals.
     A man who said his name was Ken Wesenberg at Chiefland Ford on Friday (Oct. 5) said the company has no comment in regard to complaints that customers shared.
     Chiefland Ford, part of the Plattner Automotive Group of Sarasota, used to be named White Ford. Now it is owned by the group with a home office in Sarasota.
     Marcus Anthony Crook, 31, of Fort McCoy was going by the name of “Marcus Carpenter” while he was working for Chiefland Ford. He is in jail on counts of embezzlement and grand theft. Some number of Chiefland Ford customers gave Crook cash, which he reportedly kept from paying to the Plattner Automotive Group of Sarasota.
     Chad and Donna Risker of Cedar Key brought in a 2012 Ford Edge and a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck. When they completed their transaction on Aug. 8 at Chiefland Ford, they left with a 2018 (used) Chevrolet Malibu and 2018 (new) Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to records the Riskers shared.
     The total sale price for the Malibu was $29,182.32 with an annual finance rate of 12.95 percent.
     The total sale price for the F-150 was $49,387.24 with an annual finance rate of 2.9 percent.
     The gross trade-in allowance on the 2012 Ford Edge was $13,551 and the gross trade-in allowance on the 2014 Ram 1500 was $17,300.
     Chad Risk said he thought this was a fair deal when it was done in August.
     Chiefland Ford sold the Ford Edge, he said, before it was paid off by Chiefland Ford. Therefore, he received dunning letters from Ford Credit because it was not paid off.
     Almost 60 days after the deal was done, it appeared to remain incomplete, Risker said.
     As a result of him not paying for a car that he no longer owned, and had believed was accepted as part of a trade-in deal, his credit score has suffered, Risker said.
     While this in and of itself may cause some buyers to beware, even though every buyer always should beware, there was some degree of insult added to this perceived injury.
     Add in the verbiage of social media.
     While the man who said his name is Ken Wesenberg said Chiefland Ford had “No comment” there are some comments floating in cyberspace.
     A person posting comments on Facebook under the name of “Scott Chapman” and presenting himself as an employee of Chiefland Ford who is familiar with this and other transactions was, according to most understood standards of decorum, rude.
     On Sept. 25, Risker noted on Facebook “If anyone has been caught up in the scam / scandal of Chiefland Ford/ Plattner's Ford please reach out to me or my wife and let's get together and stop this from happening again to anyone else. We (my wife and I) bought 2 vehicles and traded ours in and they have yet to pay them off (2 days from being 60 days late) so our credit has taken a beating. BAD BEATING..”
     That initial statement led to a long series of statements by several people, offering their advice and opinions about methods to resolve the issues.
     Among those is “Scott Chapman.” Facebook is social media, though, and anyone can “become” anyone else. Nevertheless, some people take what they read on Facebook being something that is real.
     After a number of people noted they had traded their cars in at this dealership but were seeing them not being paid off, Chapman commented.
     “Ok I'm getting tired of this shit. You've been driving 1 of those cars for 2 months with no payments what so ever. Yes he was an idiot and got what he deserved. He is where he belongs. The rest of us are here trying to take care of our families so stop trying to make all of us part of it.”
     There is a long series of words between Chapman and a person listed on Facebook as Tracy Anderson. Clint Anderson and Jimmy Anderson also noted comments for Chapman.
     If Chapman really works at the Chiefland Ford dealership, he writes a lot of things that will make some number of people buy vehicles elsewhere.
     “Danny Moore I could care less about Facebook and people's opinion of me. I'm here every day trying to make all this as right as I can. Unfortunately I'm only 1 person and don’t own the company but I'm doing everything I can for everyone so if people hate me for it so be it. I go home to my kids. That's the only opinion that matters to me.”
     Chapman also tells the world of Facebook readers that no person has the money required to fight against the owner of Plattner Ford.
     Chapman shows his choices in statements concerning how Chiefland Ford is alleged to have not paid for air-conditioning repairs in a proper or timely manner.
     Rance Damron noted on Facebook "They tried to screw me and my dad (R&R Refrigeration Services) out of 549 dollars for doing air conditioning work on their sales trailer. They gave us a 120-day runaround over it and finally when we cornered the felon of a manager they had working up there then he got very aggressive with my dad and told us to leave before he called the cops and that he wasn’t scared of us and that he wasn’t some chump like we were used to dealing with. Very unprofessional and he continued to be the manager after I complained to the owner over the phone."
     Chapman replied, "Rance Damron bring me the invoice and I'll get it handled. You should of punched him in the mouth that day."
     Rance Damron noted for Scott Chapman "If my dad’s girlfriend didn’t work at DOC and it mess up things between all of us being able to be a family I sure would have. We finally got our money but it was just a catastrophe."
     The many rude comments from Chapman, according to what people noted on Facebook, are enough for them to not shop at Chiefland Ford, despite Crook being jailed, and Chapman allegedly trying to help customers.


GrowFL director to speak at business alliance luncheon
Published Oct. 4, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.
GrowFL Director Tammie Sweet will be the special guest at a Lunch and Learn marking the relaunch of the Nature Coast Business Alliance.
     The business alliance roundtable takes place Wednesday, Oct. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at BubbaQues, 143 E. Noble Ave. (u.S. Alt. 27, in Williston.
     This free networking event is presented by the Nature Coast Business Development Council of Levy County in partnership with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.
     Sweet will talk about the state’s official Economic Gardening program and how its CEO Roundtables help second-state companies through solution-seeking discussions tackling common challenges faced by businesses today.
     While there is no charge to attend, seating is limited. Deadline to RSVP is noon on Friday, Oct. 12. For more information or to register, call 352-447-4107, ext. 108 or

Learning A Trade
On Tuesday (Oct. 2), Cedar Key School Shark Aquaculture Life Training (SALT) students brought in some clam bags for repairs. These students discussed common nuisances such as sea grapes, also known as sea squirts.

Students demonstrated how to tie the bags together in a belt. The members of the SALT class also discussed the zip-tie pollution problem and disposed of the cutoff ends properly. SALT is a hands-on class that gives students skills for use in the aquaculture industry.
Published Oct. 3, 2018 at 11:18 p.m.

Information and Photos By SALT Teacher Rachel Wetherington


City sticks with
existing impact fees;

Little revenue from impact fees
collected in 11 years for Chiefland
Chiefland City Commissioner Tim West (on the left in the bottom right of photo) is seen walking to roughly measure the distance between two points as developer Hal Lyons watches. Neither man broke their stride, even at lunchtime Tuesday (Sept. 25) as the result of an unannounced visit by a roving reporter. This development located on the east side of U.S. Highway 129 north of the Ace Hardware in Chiefland is one of two RV sites being built now within the city limits. Commissioner West is among the individuals vested in bringing this particular development to fruition. He and other developers recently let the city know they oppose adding more impact fees or using a per-lot basis for imposing them on new RV parks being built in this city. In his recently-elected position as a city leader, West will recuse himself and abstain from votes if there is a potential for him to see personal gain from such a vote. In Florida, elected officials must vote on all motions unless they have a vested interest in the matter being voted upon.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 27, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.
Two separate developers who are currently constructing sites for recreation vehicles, as well as building the structures to serve those future visitors to Chiefland saw no change in impact fees on Monday night (Sept. 24) during the regular meeting of the Chiefland City Commission.
This photo taken from a video shows the Save-A-Lot shopping center (corner of U.S. Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 129) in the upper left corner. The RV owned by developer Hal Lyons is in the middle more or less.
Here is another view of the Strawberry Fields For RV'ers RV Park development as it was seen Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 25). Putting pipes and wires into the ground as well as brining the ground to a certain elevation is part of the first construction in a development like this. The two largest objects seen in the distance sticking up on the horizon are two of the City of Chiefland's elevated water storage tanks.
A worker stands in a deep trench created for developing part of the infrastructure of the RV park. The trench was created by a backhoe, however workers with shovels are needed for some of the finer points of construction on the bottom of the trench. when laying pipe for water and sewer service, one of the many rules of physics that must be applied by builders is that water does not flow uphill -- unless there is pump involved.

     There had been a tiny bit of saber-rattling at a previous City Commission meeting in regard to reviewing the existing impact fees and potentially creating a new method to measure the impact from new RV parks or RV resorts in Chiefland.
     Alan Wallace, a principal in the development of Southern Leisure RV Resort -- and Hal Lyons and Tim West, two men leading the development of Strawberry Fields 4 RVers RV Park -- all previously have expressed their concern about a potential change to the existing impact fee ordinance of the city.
     The developers adamantly opposed the idea of a per-lot fee, which does not exist in current law for the city.
     On Monday (Sept. 24), the Chiefland City Commission followed the recommendation of City Manager Mary Ellzey to take no action in regard to changing anything about existing impact fees. Funds to update the Chiefland impact fee study are not included in the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget (Oct. 1, 2018-Sept. 30, 2019), Ellzey noted.
     The previous discussion by the City Commission led to the city manager checking with the company named Government Services Group Inc. to determine a cost for updating the old impact fee study.
     The estimated cost was between $15,000 and $20,000 to update the city’s impact fees, Ellzey noted for the City Commission. In the past 11 years, impact fees have not generated a significant amount of revenue for Chiefland, because construction of new structures has been relatively small.
     In regard to revenue raised for the 11-year period from 2007 through 2018 as of Sept. 24, the city manager noted there were 14 new single-family homes built, and 10 new commercial business structures built, which all paid a combined total of the following for impact fees during those 11 years: Fire Impact Fee - $19,269.14; Law Enforcement Impact Fee - $23,939.67; Recreation Impact Fee - $794.03; Transportation Impact Fee - $23,023.62.
     All other building inspection fees, water and sewer connection fees and other expenses for development, as well as these impact fee rates have been and are available to any developer who sees Chiefland as a market for their services.
     Both new RV developments remain under construction in Chiefland as of Sept. 27. Southern Leisure RV Resort’s Phase One already has rented lots in advance of its completion. Southern Leisure RV Resort is the larger development planned.


Local CEO set to speak about career success on Oct. 17
By CF Marketing and Public Relations Manager Tina Banner
Published Sept. 21, 2018 at 5:48 p.m.

     OCALA -- The College of Central Florida’s Business and Technology Department are scheduled to host Doug Cone Jr., founder and CEO of Cone Distributing, in a special event on Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Ewers Century Center, 3001 S.W. College Road, in Ocala.
     Cone will talk about career success strategies and the importance of learning from mistakes. Cone is a board member of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership and was named Ocala’s most influential man in 2016 by Florida Trend magazine for his community contributions.
     There is no charge to attend and refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Bonnie Hays at 352-854-2322, ext. 1855, or


Tim West votes 'No'
on tree permit fee

Tim West Rollin Hudson
Chiefland City Commissioner Tim West and City Commissioner Rollin Hudson listen to a person at the Monday night (Sept. 10) meeting.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 12, 2018 at 12:28 p.m.
Among his first actions as a member of the Chiefland City Commission on Monday night (Sept. 10) was for Tim West to vote “No” on a $50 permit fee.


Betty Walker Donald Lawrence Chris Jones
(from left) Mayor Betty Walker, City Commissioner Donald Lawrence and Vice Mayor Chris Jones conduct city business at the Monday night (Sept. 10) meeting.

     City Manager Mary Ellzey had brought before the City Commission the current ordinance in regard to cutting down and replacing trees as development occurs in Chiefland.
     After a discussion, the City Commission voted 4-1, with West dissenting, to require a $50 permit fee to cut down one tree or any number of trees in one development action.
     For instance, this $50 fee would cover a developer clear-cutting several acres of trees in one fell swoop. The single motion Monday night was in regard to the $50 permit fee. As it exists, a person who fails to obtain the permit before developing their commercial property and cutting one or more trees may be fined twice the permit fee – or $100 for not obtaining the fee prior to tree removal.
     City Commissioner West said he voted “No” because he does not favor the city imposing any fee on a developer for tree removal. West said he wants to do what he can to encourage entrepreneurs to come to Chiefland and build here.
     The current ordinance appears to require a developer to replace tree-for-tree every tree that is cut down.
     City Commissioner Hudson said that whether this is a residential property owner, to which this ordinance does not apply, or whether it is a commercial property developer, the owner of the property is the owner of the trees. Therefore, Hudson said, the property owner should be allowed to do whatever he or she desires with their property with no impact imposed upon them by the municipal government.
     Hudson mentioned that to replace a 20-inch diameter oak tree, for instance, would be very expensive, and that perhaps the ordinance can require the developer to plant a seedling for each tree removed.
     Chiefland City Commissioners plan to discuss the current city tree ordinance more at the next City Commission meeting, and to potentially instruct City Attorney Norm D. Fugate to amend the ordinance for possible approval of the amended ordinance relatively soon thereafter.


Two RV resort developers
express displeasure
with impact fees in Chiefland

City Commissioner Teresa Barron (center) shares her feelings about impact fees to be imposed on RV resort developers on Aug. 27. Also in this photo are Chiefland City Attorney Norm D. Fugate (left) and City Commissioner Rollin Hudson.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 2, 2018 at 11:18 a.m.
Principals in the development of two separate RV resort parks shared their displeasure with probable impact fees to be imposed on them by the City of Chiefland at a recent city meeting.

Incoming Chiefland City Commissioner Tim West
(left, forwardmost) expresses  his belief that the city government should weigh the probable positive future economic impact from development before imposing fees that would essentially reduce the likelihood of development reaching fruition in the city. West was speaking at the Chiefland City Commission meeting on Aug. 27 from the chairs in the audience. After he takes office on Sept. 10, he will be speaking as a City Commission member sitting behind the dais (ˈdīəs). However, if there are matters where he may see some financial benefit from action by the City Commission, West will not be voting.

     During the regular Chiefland City Commission meeting on Aug. 27, Tim West, the incoming City Commission member who defeated Teresa Barron in the recent city election, and Alan Wallace, a principal in the development of Southern Leisure RV Resort, both said impact fees will kill their RV resort developments. Hal Lyons, a partner with West, said impact fees are "deal breakers."
     As some people know, the Barron-West election decision was by drawing lots, per Florida law in the event of a tie vote when there is no city charter rule calling for a method other than what the state deems fitting as the best method for deciding a tie vote.
     West is connected with Lyons in the development of Strawberry Fields 4 RVers, another development under construction in Chiefland that is separate from Southern Leisure RV Resort.
     West has said that when he takes office, he will not vote on matters where the City Commission's decision could affect the development where he has a financial interest.
     Wallace mentioned to the Chiefland municipal leaders that another development with which he has an interest – Williston Crossings RV Resort – did not have impact fees imposed on it when he developed there.
     Wallace intimated that the development of Phase II of Southern Leisure RV Resort may not occur if excessive impact fees are imposed.
     Lyons previously shared a similar sentiment, which West reiterated in regard to Strawberry Fields 4 RVers.
     During the meeting Aug. 27, West said there would be no RV resorts being built if they city had told the developers about impact fees for each site, as well as for the permanent structures, beforehand. He said this seems like an unfair burden for two significant independent residential developments that promise to serve as economic engines for the city and surrounding area.
     City Commissioner Barron said a residential home being built in the city has to pay hundreds of dollars in impact fees for each structure like that.
     West reminded Barron that these are permanent structures.
      “The positive impacts will highly outweigh the negative impacts,” West said in regard to the RV resorts’ future residents.
     Barron countered that she is not disagreeing with him in this regard. Nevertheless, she added, it seems the house developers may be having to pay more than the RV resort developers in regard to the cost of increasing infrastructural needs of the city.
     Wallace added to West’s statements.
     He reminded the City Commission that it voted 3-2 to require RV residents to stay no longer than 180 days. The impact of a yearlong resident in comparison with a seasonal resident is less, Wallace said.
     “It’s not apples to apples when you are trying to compare a house to an RV site,” Wallace said. “It’s just – there’s no comparison.”
     Attorney Fugate said there is an impact on the city’s services from these developments. There is a need, though, he added, for a relationship to be developed to show the difference in the impact of an RV site in contrast with a house so that a fair impact fee is imposed.
     Chiefland City Manager Mary Ellzey told the City Commission that both developers were given directions to check the Municode website ( to see the impact fees that exist for Chiefland. She referred to when Tommy Miles and Lois Livingston were planning a development back before some of that project changed.
     As for the history of the city collecting impact fees, Ellzey said that during a one-year period in 2010-2011, the city chose not to collect impact fees as a method to help encourage development in the city.
     Before discussion began at the Aug. 27 meeting, Chiefland City Commission members were provided with the agenda and background leading to this discussion.
     The background showed that a brief discussion on Aug. 13 at the City Commission in regard to impact fees on RV parks did occur.
     "The current impact fees," City Manager Ellzey said, "were implemented in 2007 after a study conducted by Government Services Group in December of 2006. The city's current Law Enforcement, Fire, Transportation and Recreation impact fee schedules are provided for discussion."
     Phase I of Southern Leisure RV Resort shows a combined total of $25,543.11 for the impact fees on Fire, Law Enforcement, Recreation and Transportation for the 218 spaces to be developed there.
     Strawberry Fields 4 RVers would pay the city a total of $11,397 for the total 72 spaces it is developing, according to the information provided to the city leaders at the Aug. 27 meeting.
     The City Commission discussed the matter Aug. 27 for a relatively long time, including City Commissioner Rollin Hudson saying he would not vote to impose an impact fee on the Levy County School Board if it bought the Central Florida Electric Cooperatives warehouse and other property it has for sale, were that to be bulldozed and a new vocational school built there.
     Chiefland City Attorney Norm Fugate said there probably have been cases since 2006 related to impact fees in regard to public schools versus private schools. Until or unless, however, three or more City Commissioners direct him to conduct the research to present a legal opinion on any matter, he indicated that he is not likely to do that.     The “Florida Impact Fee Act” resulted after the Florida Legislature found that impact fees are an important source of revenue for a local government to use in funding the infrastructure necessitated by new growth.
      As noted in Florida law, "The Legislature further finds that impact fees are an outgrowth of the home rule power of a local government to provide certain services within its jurisdiction. Due to the growth of impact fee collections and local governments’ reliance on impact fees, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that, when a county or municipality adopts an impact fee by ordinance or a special district adopts an impact fee by resolution, the governing authority complies with this section."
      The act by the state leaders shows that "an impact fee adopted by ordinance of a county or municipality or by resolution of a special district must, at minimum:
     "(a) Require that the calculation of the impact fee be based on the most recent and localized data.
     "(b) Provide for accounting and reporting of impact fee collections and expenditures. If a local governmental entity imposes an impact fee to address its infrastructure needs, the entity shall account for the revenues and expenditures of such impact fee in a separate accounting fund.
     "(c) Limit administrative charges for the collection of impact fees to actual costs.
      "(d) Require that notice be provided no less than 90 days before the effective date of an ordinance or resolution imposing a new or increased impact fee. A county or municipality is not required to wait 90 days to decrease, suspend, or eliminate an impact fee."
     Later in the law, it shows that "In any action challenging an impact fee, the government has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the imposition or amount of the fee meets the requirements of state legal precedent or this section. The court may not use a deferential standard."
     City Manager Ellzey said in 2006 Chiefland did not have any RV resorts.
     Ellzey told the City Commission she could seek Government Services Group (GSG) to review the impact fee rates with another study for an updated version of fees to be collected by the city. She said the cost for the GSG impact fee study cost the city $9,000 in 2006.
     The city manager said she presumes GSG would charge fewer dollars to conduct an update study for revising impact fees in 2018.
     Attorney Fugate looking at the moment on the Internet resources for development impact fees in regard to sewer service, spoke about the possibility of one RV unit not equaling one full house unit for the purpose of imposing impact fees.
     Mayor Betty Walker asked City Manager Ellzey to return with more information at the next meeting, including the cost of a GSG update of impact fees.
     The bottom line on this matter for the Chiefland City Commission is that City Commissioner West is scheduled to take the oath of office on Sept. 10. That meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building, which is also known as Chiefland City Hall, located at 214 E. Park Ave., in Chiefland.
     The agenda for that meeting probably will show possible further discussion about impact fees on RV resorts in Chiefland, and perhaps some action in relation to the two developments – which are some months into construction now.
     As for new development in Chiefland, it has been relatively stagnant for 12 years. Even the building and zoning structure has been converted into a structure to house the Tri-County Community Resource Center, rather than a separate place for developers to review matters with the city.
     Like Chiefland, Bronson has done away with its on-staff building and zoning official and is contracting with a firm instead.
     Former Chiefland Building Official Bill Hammond became the Levy County Building Department’s director some years ago.
     Even the county is seeing difficulty with development now, too, as indicated by a recent County Commission meeting where Hammond told the Levy County Board of County Commissioners that the county lacks enough building inspectors to meet demand currently.



Peanut Harvesting
Peanut Harvest
Harvesting of peanuts continues in the fields of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. Seven huge combines comb this field separating peanuts from the vines that held them.

Peanut Harvest
Peanut-harvesting equipment makes its way on U.S. Highway 129 near Bell in Gilchrist County recently. This still shot is taken from a dash camera mounted in the PT Newser (a 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser).

Peanut-harvesting equipment takes both lanes of Levy County Road 347, west of State Road 345 in Levy County on Sunday (Aug. 26). This still shot is taken from a dash camera mounted in the PT Newser (a 2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser).

Peanut Harvest
John Deere Tractors pull KMC bins used for transporting peanuts from fields to awaiting semi tractor-trailers. Peanuts are among the many crops grown and harvested in this part of Florida. Peanut farmers, like all farmers and ranchers, work hard to produce the food people need to survive.
The launch pad for the unmanned aerial system (drone) named Dragonfly is seen on a grassy public median of a county road. The shadow of the drone is seen in the upper left of the 8-year-old banner. This still photo taken from a video shows the blades bent in a peculiar way due to the way light is recorded. The propellers are straight and spin very quickly to lift the drone. 'The Greater Levy County Area' became Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties soon after the 8-year-old daily news website began. This banner makes a good place, however, for launching a UAS to keep grass out of the four propellers.
Hobbyist drone pilot Jeff M. Hardison looks up at the very low-flying object. No airplane or helicopter could have been in the airspace this drone occupied for the 10 minutes it was in the air on Monday (Aug. 27), because those other aircraft would have collided with trees and powerlines. To see the previous story, photos and video from the farmers harvesting peanuts on Labor Day 2017, saved in the archives, click HERE.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 28, 2018 at 8:28 a.m.
All copyrights reserved

MONDAY  OCT. 15  4:08 p.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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