Last updateTue, 24 Nov 2015 12am



Infrastructure improvements for small cities

At the April 9 joint meeting between the Alachua County Commission and the Archer City Commission the topic of infrastructure such as water and sewer came up. The discussion centered on the role of government and what, if any, responsibility the county has to the small municipalities to assist them in pursuing funding for their infrastructure needs.

When discussing the proper role of government, opinions vary greatly, but I think few would deny that a principal role of government is infrastructure maintenance and development. In fact, debate about the control of roads and bridges was prominent at the very founding of our nation. During my years as mayor and commissioner in Hawthorne, water and sewer were issues at almost every meeting and were by far the most costly endeavors we undertook.

I firmly believe the county should assist the small cites in meeting their infrastructure needs, not by actually funding them, as that is clearly the responsibility of the municipality, but by facilitating the process of obtaining the funding.  Smaller cities often do not have the staff to properly study and plan for infrastructure needs, let alone navigate the process of grants and loan that may be available.

Over the next year I encourage the county and the small cities to engage in a dialog concerning the feasibility of working together to secure needed infrastructure improvements.  The cities should begin compiling information about areas in which they need assistance. The county could then use this information as a guide for what expertise they could offer.  Both the county and the cities have expressed the need to protect our environment and promote economic opportunity to create jobs.  Infrastructure in the small cites would greatly enhance their ability to achieve resolution to these issues.

John Martin


Alachua County Commission

District 1