HIGH SPRINGS – Drivers who speed through school zones in High Springs may soon be on the receiving end of a ticket. The City of High Springs is considering the installation of a program called Redspeed to detect speeders, provide visual evidence and aid in enforcement of speed limits.

Randal Rhimes of Redspeed, a company that provides photo evidence for police departments, addressed the Commission on Oct. 12 about how Redspeed works to help enforce speed limits in school zones.

System cameras capture photos of license plates, the make and model of a speeding vehicle and mile-per-hour speed of the vehicle. Rhimes said the cameras work in the rain and wind and can also help identify vehicles that may be involved in amber or silver alerts. He said there would be no cost to the City to install this system and the program is “violator funded.” A percentage of the violators’ fees will go to the City.

The City attorney will be preparing an ordinance/agreement for the Commission’s consideration at a later meeting.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In other business, the Commission unanimously approved an agreement with Duke Energy for two electric vehicle charging stations in High Springs. The agreement is for 10 years with an option to extend for a longer period of time. The company will design, install, own, operate, maintain and support the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

There is no cost to the City, however “the City would receive a small amount of franchise fees,” said City Manager Ashley Stathatos. The location has not been finalized, but two parking spaces on City Hall property near the caboose is the location under consideration.

Both parties may terminate the agreement with 30-days notice. If the City decides to terminate the agreement, before the end date, the cost of equipment depreciation will be charged to the City. “Upon expiration of the agreement, Duke, at its discretion, may transfer title to the City,” said Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham.

Currently, two electric charging stations on Main Street are not being used extensively, but Stathatos said they haven’t been there very long and people are just finding out about them. Google Maps will be listing electric vehicle charging locations on maps soon, so people traveling through High Springs will be aware of electric vehicle charging station locations.

Vacating Right-of-Way

Commissioners unanimously approved Ordinance 2023-13 on first reading to vacate the southern half of Whitlock Street and internal alleys within Columbia Heights subdivision. The two applicant-owned parcels are located just north of Tractor Supply and south of 210th Lane, Boat Ramp Road.

Should the ordinance be approved on second reading, the applicant can submit a replat for their property to remove the old lot lines and create one usable commercial parcel. Once the replat process is complete, the applicant can submit a site plan for Plan Board and City Commission review.

Business Impact Estimates

In other business, the Commission approved Ordinance 2023-12 on first reading, which creates a local business impact estimate ordinance in compliance with Florida Statutes that requires municipalities to prepare business impact estimates prior to adopting ordinances that impact business owners. The law also provides a procedure to challenge ordinances that are adopted by local government, while also setting challenge and waiting periods.

Fee Schedule for Services

City staff recently conducted a survey of fees charged by other area cities for services provided by their Police, Fire and Public Works departments. A list of proposed fees was presented by Stathatos, which will be voted on by the Commission at a later date. Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham said that the fees for the Fire Department were based on Alachua County’s fees for the same services.

In other City business, Gillingham said that the reimbursement for Hurricane Ian would be nearly $44,000 and should be received in the next couple of weeks. “The cost for Hurricane Idalia was in the vicinity of $63,000,” Gillingham said. He said he expected reimbursement from FEMA to be $43,000 - $53,000.

Sally Milner, President of the GFWC High Springs Womans Club, presented a $550 check to High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard to help pay for a police dog. The cost for a trained police dog is usually in the range of $8,000 - $10,000. Milner said while they couldn’t pay the entire fee for a police dog, she hoped the amount donated would go toward that cost.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.

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