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Cedar Key seeks to extend city limit

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Pieklik presents optimistic economic outlook

By Sean Arnold

In a move aimed at consolidating  unincorporated land around Cedar Key, Mayor Heath Davis sought consent Tuesday from the Levy County Commission to annex pieces of land located south of the No. 4 Channel, which borders the mainland where Highway 24 passes over.

The City explained in a report that Cedar Key wishes to include the areas in its municipal boundaries to facilitate its delivery of services and clarify jurisdictional responsibilities for the various government entities which currently serve the area.

The report says an annexation of the area properties would increase Cedar Key’s property tax revenues by $119,526.67 per year based on current values.

The City currently provides fire protection to the area under an interlocal agreement with the County. Property owners in the annexation area pay county assessment fees for fire protection, but would not pay fire service fees to Cedar Key if annexed, according to the report.

The City is also providing First Responder Services to the area in accordance with an annually approved interlocal agreement.

The annexation will ultimately require majority approval from registered voters who own property on the affected land. Some of that land is owned by the County. 

Other items the Commission heard on Tuesday, March 21, included: a gas tax ordinance; the purchase of a truck for Animal Control; a request to appoint Jim Pasteraro to the PAL (Putnam-Alachua-Levy Public Library Cooperative) Governing Board; a request for the County to help support the paving of roads in Cedar Key Plantation; and a request by County Coordinator Wilbur Dean seeking approval for Levy to recognize April as “Water Conservation Month.”

The Commissioners also presented a letter for the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners thanking them for recent donations to the Cedar Key Library. The items, which included chairs, tables, cabinets and shelves, helped the library reopen after suffering severe damage at the hands of Hurricane Hermine.

At the Commissioners’ meeting on March 7, Dave Pieklik, during his quarterly economic report on behalf of the Nature Coast Business Development Council, teased three major rail-related projects proposed for Levy County that are currently in their site-selecting phases. Pieklik said one of the projects would bring several hundred jobs to the County, which would make it one of the five largest employers in Levy. Last year, the County produced a net addition of 67 jobs, according to Pieklik. 

“I know we’ve been close before, we’ve gotten into the red zone, but we’re on the goal line in this case,” he said. “We’re really excited.”

At the meeting, the County also denied a request by Dawn Piecura to close a county-owned portion of a road near Southeast 128th Terrace in Morriston. During a public forum, residents from the area debated the usefulness and upkeep of the roadway in question, as some argued it’s a critical route for reducing drive times to and from nearby Highways 121 and 464 as well as for providing quicker access for emergency service vehicles. Countering those claims, advocates for closure said it was undependable due to heavy sand and low-hanging branches and invited unwarranted trash dumping on private properties and was a destination for drug use and general mischievous behavior. Commissioner Vice Chairman Mike Joyner’s motion to close the county-owned portion of the road died due to failure to receive a second. 

The Levy County Commission next meets at the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson on April 4 at 9 a.m.