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County Commission round-up

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On Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Board of County Commissioners met at the Courthouse Annex for their bi-monthly meeting. The meeting was kicked off with a salutation from Alex Quintana, field representative for the office of newly-elected Senator, Gwen Graham. He expressed his excitement for working with Madison County in the future and maintained an interested presence throughout the meeting's entirety. After Quintana's speech, Commissioner Ronnie Moore presented Albert Lee Barfield a certificate of appreciation for serving Madison County. Barfield is retiring after 27 years of service. “I am very thankful to God to have this opportunity that he afforded me,” said Barfield. “Throughout the years, I have seen so many positive changes in the county and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve.” After honoring Barfield, it was time for business. A public hearing was held to address the request by property owners to close a portion of SW Canal Point Trail, where their property begins. The property owners of the land which surrounds the road were in agreement that the road should be closed to prevent trespassing. County Attorney Tom Reeves took the floor, informing the commissioners that there were no legal issues, since closing the road did not cut off anyone's access because all of the property owners which surround the road, have come together in agreement, requesting the closure. Attorney Scott Copeland, who represents the four landowners who wish to close the road, approached the podium. “I think it's a win win situation for the tax payers and for the county,” said Copeland. “There wouldn't be any maintenance expenses, there wouldn't be any liability and there wouldn't be calls to remove trees; that would be totally my clients' responsibility and they understand that.” Copeland continued, “No one is being denied access, that's clear-- it's just a dead end. My clients requested to close the road due to vandalism, as they are not here all the time and it has been an issue in the past. There is a question of whether or not the road has been properly maintained to even be qualified as a county-maintained road, but we hopefully won't have to get to that point,” iterated Copeland. Commissioner Wayne Vickers said he had a problem with closing a road the county had already been maintaining and Commissioner Ronnie Moore added that he had qualms with the road closure as well and had received concerned phone calls. Despite Copeland's efforts and, with no input from the public, the County Commissioners voted down the request. The next public hearing regarded the enactment of an ordinance for local implementation of both year-round water conservation measures and temporary water-shortage restrictions. It was brought to their attention that, if the ordinance is passed, Suwannee River Water Management has regulations they will put into effect during a water shortage as well as some general regulations to do with the use of water. To be eligible to apply for grants, the ordinance would need to be in effect. The commission voted to enact the ordinance as they agreed unanimously it was best for the county. Next, the commissioners approved the acceptance of bids for paving projects presented by the Public Works Department as well as voted to place rumble strips at the intersection of NE Rocky Ford Road and NE Rocky Springs Church Road to prevent further accidents. Jeanne Bass addressed the county on the disposition of county owned property in Greenville and, lastly, the county commissioners voted to allow the Barn Quilts of Madison County, a segment of the Florida Quilt Trail-- an organization which seeks to attract tourists by placing large, colorful quilts throughout rural areas-- to place a plywood, hand-painted 4-H quilt on the Livestock Building at the UF IFAS Extension at 184 NW College Loop, Madison. The Commissioners voted to allow the group to place the colorful quilt on the building as part of the effort to attract tourism in Madison. For more information on the Florida Quilt Trail, visit and click on the Madison link. The next County Commission meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11 at the Courthouse Annex. If you wish to make yourself heard and address something that concerns you in Madison County, the County Commission hears petitions from the public at the beginning of every meeting.

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