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SALE FINAL ON DUNNELLON UTILITY

City of Dunnellon and Florida Governmental Utility Authority
(FGUA) Joint Press Release
Successful Close on the Sale of Dunnellon’s
Water and Sewer Utility


For Immediate Release:  October 26, 2018

Media Contact: 
Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator
Stephen Spratt, System Manager, FGUA

The City of Dunnellon and the Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA) are pleased to announce the sale of the City’s Water and Sewer Utility System is complete, and closing was successfully finalized on Friday, October 26th at noon. Mayor Burns, City Administrator Dawn Bowne, along with City staff executed the pre-closing documents on October 23rd with the FGUA Board of Directors Chairperson Lea Ann Thomas and System Manager Stephen Spratt.

Following a six-month comprehensive evaluation of the utility system to determine its condition and value, in December of 2017, FGUA agreed to a purchase price of $12.2 million. The transaction is made possible due to financing with a first-of-its-kind U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2.75% low interest rural development acquisition loan. 

In a press release announcing the loan last May, Florida Rural Development State Director Sydney Gruters announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing over $12 million in water and wastewater infrastructure in Dunnellon, Florida to further its mission of strengthening rural communities. “No matter what zip code you live in, infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity,” Gruters said. “Through strong partnerships, USDA is ensuring that rural communities have the modern, reliable infrastructure they need to prosper.”

The water and wastewater systems serve the City of Dunnellon and the surrounding unincorporated areas known as Rainbow Springs, Rio Vista and Juliette Falls. Because most of the customers lie outside of the City, Marion County government became an important supporting partner with the City and FGUA.  Currently, the user rates for these systems are among the highest in the area, yet the systems are still financially and operationally stressed, facing infrastructure challenges and near-term regulatory burdens. With the USDA funding the City’s higher cost outstanding loans will be eliminated and with the FGUA’s larger scale of resources, user rates will be stabilized, and service reliability improved. Dedicated state grant funding will allow the FGUA to complete system improvements which are vital to protect the quality of valuable natural resources.

In recommending the transaction, City Administrator Dawn Bowne said, “If the City were to maintain ownership of the system (at a minimum) the rates for service would need to increase significantly to provide for the funding of increased capital needs of the water and wastewater system.  If not for the acquisition plan by the FGUA, the City would need to debt finance the additional capital projects, which could be difficult recognizing the overall financial position of the system. The City would likely need to increase rates by approximately 17.45 percent above the estimated rates projected under FGUA ownership in order to meet the system needs.” The 2017/18 FY budget contained a 3 percent increase in the Water Fund and a 7.5 percent increase in the Sewer Fund in the event the City did not divest the Utility System.  In addition to the City placing their utility in the hands of experts, the City will strengthen its finances by eliminating high debt and improving its cash reserves.

As a governmental authority focused solely on delivering water and wastewater utility services, the FGUA owns and operates over 80 utility systems in 13 counties, including those at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.  It currently owns 12 other systems in Marion County.  It is in a strong position to assume these important responsibilities from the City and provide high quality, cost-effective service to the utility customers. It also has the advantage afforded to other governments, such as access to low-cost public financing and grants.

Another important advantage of the City divesting the system is the FGUA will be an ongoing partner with both the City and Marion County in the long-term utility planning for this area. This effort will include actively and jointly seeking federal and state funding to expand and improve the system and connect existing septic systems to the sewer system and protect the important nearby springsheds. Marion County is a member government of the FGUA and part of its Board of Directors.

“The FGUA’s mission is simply to assist governments in Florida solve utility challenges and this transaction is truly a groundbreaking example of how good government collaboration at all levels can produce enormous benefits to customers and taxpayers” said Steve Spratt, FGUA System Manager.  “Here you have the Federal, State, County, City and a special Authority working hand in hand to bring funding, capability and cost saving efficiencies to help these communities.”  The leadership of all these entities deserve a great deal of credit for being part of this successful partnership.”

Shortly after being appointed to City Council, Vice-Mayor Rick Hancock played a significant leadership role in focusing attention on the financial, operational and infrastructure challenges facing the city and its utility and evaluating alternatives.  On behalf of the Council, he led the negotiations leading to the purchase agreement and successful sale.

Upon hearing the sale had successfully closed on Friday after approximately two years of hard work by Council, staff and FGUA, Hancock said, "I appreciate all the efforts from so many good partners. Throughout this process, the City has worked closely with county, state, and federal agencies. From the beginning the City and FGUA made it clear that the emphasis would be on enhancing the entire utility system, taking care of current and future customers, and improve the springshed environment along the Rainbow River corridor. This sale agreement accomplishes all of these goals, due to the outstanding efforts from all the partners involved."

Press Release

Posted on the City's website:  10/30/2018



FOUR (4) DAY WORK WEEK
City of Dunnellon Press Release - For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator
September 14, 2018

In an effort to improve customer service and expand the City’s operational hours for customers to have more flexibility in which to conduct business with the City, our hours of operation will change effective October 1, 2018. City Hall will be open to the public from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will be closed on Fridays. This provides the opportunity for many of our customers to have access to City staff prior to and after their own normal work hours. This will also provide contractors the added advantage to meet with our Community Development staff as they usually begin their day earlier than most. As always, an after hours contact number will still be available to the public for emergency needs related to our Public Works Department.

Press Release

Posted on the City's website:  9/14/2018


UTILITY DEPARTMENT OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE TRANSITION

For Immediate Release:  July 27, 2018                 

Media Contact: Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator

Utility Department Operation and Maintenance Transition:

On July 23, 2018, the City Council approved an interlocal agreement with the Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA) to provide pre-acquisition utility management and operations for water and sewer services effective August 13th. On this date, all City of Dunnellon water and sewer employees will become employed by US Water Services. This will include the staff assistant at the City’s Public Services facility as 75% of his duties are related to the administrative operations of the City’s utility system.

As a result, effective Monday, August 13th the Public Works facility located at 11924 Bostick Street will no longer be open to the public for walk in services. Anyone needing to discuss a general service (roads/streets, sidewalks, cemetery, stray animal) provided by this department can visit or call City Hall at 20750 River Drive, 352-465-8500.

Anyone needing to discuss or report a concern with their utility bill or any utility related matter, including operations, can continue to call 352-465-8500, option 2. For any after-hours emergency, please continue to call 352-465-8590. Your call will be monitored by an after-hours service and routed appropriately.

These changes are the result of a sizeable downsizing in staff due to the pending sale of the utility and shift in management of fire services to Marion County.

Press release

CITY BEACH UPDATE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   July 27, 2018                  

MEDIA CONTACT:  Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator
  

CITY BEACH UPDATE                                                      


The City of Dunnellon is excited to report that on Wednesday, July 27th the City’s contractor, Marline Marine Construction, Inc., began construction on the new boardwalk at Chaplin A.  Dinkins, III Memorial Park (City Beach) located along the Rainbow River off of Palmetto Court. The park will continue to be closed through the completion of construction and during any post construction clean up and property improvements that may be necessary. It is anticipated the  park will reopen in September.

The park has been closed intermittently for approximately a year and half because of a sizeable deterioration of the beach area causing safety concerns. The City has utilized this time to design and approve new infrastructure to correct the deterioration issues and permit same through the State of Florida, which is a lengthy process. Additionally, remodeling of the restroom facility has been completed, meeting current ADA standards.

The  boardwalk  will provide  access to  the  Rainbow  River for swimming and at  the  west  
end,  provide a specific area for fishing that is safely away from the designated swimming area.

FREE EVENT: DUNNELLON - STARS STRIPES FAMILY FUN DAY
For Immediate Release:  June 7, 2018                 

Media Contact: Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator

I am extremely pleased to announce the City of Dunnellon will partner with both Habitat for Humanity and the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association to host Dunnellon Stars & Stripes Family Fun Day on Wednesday, July 4th from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Ernie Mills Park, 11899 Bostick Street in Dunnellon.

The event is free to the public and will feature a DJ, sack races, bounce house, vendors, concessions, bike/wagon decorating contest & parade, musical chairs, tug-o-war, watermelon seed spitting and more.

The Dunnellon City Council welcomed the invitation to participate in an event that will allow our community to celebrate the anniversary of the United States of America's independence from Great Britain and help support local  community efforts with Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association, Habitat for Humanity and others.

For more information, call the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association at 352-478-2320.

Press Release
Flyer

Sunshine Notice - One or more Council members may be in attendance at the July 4th Stars-Stripes-Family Fun Day Event.

Posted on the City's website:  6/7/2018

FINANCIAL PREPAREDNESS IMPORTANT FOR FLORIDIANS

Hurricane season begins June 1

ORLANDO, Fla. – When disaster strikes, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery.

  • Download FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit at go.usa.gov/xQWVJ. It has tips to help reduce the financial impact of disasters. It also contains a checklist of all documents that may be needed after a disaster.
  • Keep some cash at home in a safe place. Have small bills on hand because ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster.
  • Obtain property—homeowners or renters—insurance. It will ensure having financial resources to repair, rebuild or replace damaged property.
  • All Floridians should buy flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program as homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding. Learn more online at fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.
  • Arrange to get benefits electronically as mail service may be disrupted for weeks. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks.
  • Purchase a portable charger to keep cell phones and other devices charged when the power goes out to continue to pay monthly bills online.

 

Prepare ahead by collecting all important records and storing them in a safe place, either in a safety deposit box, on an external drive or the cloud. In the event of an emergency it will prove invaluable to know where to find all vital documents.

Personal Documents

  • Photo ID for all household members
  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Proof of military service
  • Pet ID tags

Financial and Legal Documents

  • Housing payments
  • Insurance policies
  • Sources of income
  • Tax statements

Medical Information

  • Physician information
  • Health insurance cards
  • Immunization records
  • Medications

For more recovery information, visit www.FEMA.gov/IrmaFLor follow us@FEMARegion4 on Twitter and on FEMA’s Facebook page.

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

NEWS RELEASE

Posted on the City's website:  4/24/2018


DIASTER PREPAREDNESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - HURRICANE SEASON BEGINS JUNE 1ST
Hurricane Season Begins June 1 

ORLANDO, Fla. – The keys to effective disaster preparedness—be informed, make a plan and take action—apply to all of us, but people with access and functional needs or disabilities, should approach preparedness planning with additional considerations.
 
Additional considerations could include: 

  • Creating a support network. Check with those who can assist you, if needed. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit. Learn more at ready.gov/kit. 
  • Planning ahead for accessible transportation for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify local or private accessible transportation options. 
  • Informing a support network where your emergency supplies are; you may want to give one member a key to your house or apartment. 
  • Knowing location and availability of more than one facility for dialysis if dialysis is part of a health maintenance plan or routine or other life-sustaining treatment. 
  • Preparing to use medical equipment if a power outage occurs. 
  • Wearing medical alert tags or bracelets. 
  • Making note of the best way to communicate with you in an emergency if you have a communications disability. 
  • Planning how to evacuate with assistive devices or how to replace equipment if lost or destroyed. Keep model information and note where the equipment came from such as Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance. 

Build a Kit 

In addition to having basic survival supplies, an emergency kit should contain items to meet individual needs in various emergencies. Consider items used daily and those needed to add to a kit. 

Tips for People who are deaf or hard of hearing 

Include:
 
  • A weather radio with text display and a flashing alert 
  • Extra hearing-aid batteries 
  • A TTY 
  • Pen and paper in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language 

Tips for People who are blind or have low vision 

Include: 

Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print. Keep a list of your emergency supplies on a portable flash drive, or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it. 
Keep a Braille, or Deaf-Blind communications device in an emergency supply kit. 

Tips for People with a mobility disability: 

Include: 

  • If you use a power wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup. Show others how to operate your wheelchair. 
  • Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, and if it is collapsible for transportation. 
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker, if you use one. 
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance, and you must evacuate without your wheelchair, take your cushion with you. 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with each local emergency management agency in the state, developed a registry to allow residents with special needs to register with their local emergency management agency to receive assistance during a disaster. The statewide registry provides first responders with valuable information to prepare for disasters or other emergencies. To register, please visit www.snr.floridadisaster.org 

For more on the tips above and disaster planning for those with access and functional needs or disabilities, or for children, visit Ready.gov. The range of needs runs wide and effective planning runs deep. Be ready for hurricanes—and for any other disaster … and help those who may need neighborly assistance. 

FEMA’s Mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters. 

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

NEWS RELEASE

Posted on the City's website:  4/17/2018

MAYOR GREEN HONORED WITH 2018 HOME RULE HERO AWARD-FLORIDA LEAGUE OF CITIES

Mayor Walter Green Honored with 2018 Home Rule Hero Award Florida League of Cities Recognized City of Dunnellon Official for Outstanding Advocacy Efforts During the 2018 Legislative Session

CONTACT:   Dawn Bowne, City Administrator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   /352-465-8500

The Florida League of Cities recently recognized Mayor Walter Green with a 2018 Home Rule Hero Award. Mayor Green earned this prestigious award for his tireless efforts to advance the League’s legislative agenda and help protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s cities during the 2018 legislative session.

“These dedicated municipal officials are some of the Florida League of Cities’ biggest advocates for municipal issues,” said Florida League of Cities President Gil Ziffer. “Their efforts during the 2018 legislative session were extraordinary. The League and its legislative team are proud to recognize and thank them for their service.”

 

Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems through and by local decision makers with minimal state interference. The Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials – both elected and nonelected – who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective to an issue.

 

“The City of Dunnellon applauds the Florida League of Cities for their acknowledgement of these outstanding municipal officials. It is of little surprise that Mayor Green’s assiduous efforts have earned him this prestigious recognition as he is incredibly dedicated to his work as Mayor, bringing about positive change and improving the quality of life for those he serves,” said City of Dunnellon’s City Administrator Dawn Bowne.

 

Founded in 1922, the Florida League of Cities is the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments. Its goals are to promote local self-government and serve the needs of Florida’s cities. Florida’s cities are formed by their citizens and governed by their citizens. The League is founded on the belief that local self-government is the keystone of American democracy. For more information, visit www.floridaleagueofcities.com.



RESCISSION OF PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER NOTICE

MARCH 17, 2018

 

RESCISSION OF PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER NOTICE

TO:       RESIDENTS/ BUSINESSES IN THE  CITY OF DUNNELLON & CHATMIRE

 

 

 

THE "PRECAUTIONARY BOIL WATER NOTICE" ISSUED   *March 15, 2018 IS HEREBY RESCINDED.

THE WATER HAS BEEN BACTERIOLOGICALLY TESTED AND FOUND SAFE TO CONSUME.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL PUBLIC SERVICES AT 352-465-8590.

 

CITY OF DUNNELLON, FLORIDA
PUBLIC SERVICES
WATER & SEWER DEPARTMENT

Posted on the City's website:  03/17/2018


WITHIN CITY LIMITS & CHATMIRE RESIDENTS-MANDATORY BOIL WATER NOTICE AS A RESULT OF MAIN WATER BREAK

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2018

 Media Contact:  Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator

All utility customers within the city limits and Chatmire residents are under a mandatory boil water notice as a result of a break in a main 12 inch water line behind the Publix construction area by a contractor for Duke Energy. The line was repaired as quickly as possible today. However, these customers are under a mandatory boil water notice per FDEP permitting regulations.

 

As a precaution, all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, or washing dishes be boiled. A rolling boil of one minute is sufficient. As an alternative, bottled water may be used. This “precautionary boil water notice” will remain in effect until the bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink. To comply with the law, Saturday at noon will be the earliest time that the City may have the test results back.

City staff will be prepared to stop the mandatory boil water notice Saturday if the test results are satisfactory.

 

A 411 information call was placed today to each utility customer possibly affected using the phone number provided at the time you opened your account. If you did not receive a call, please make sure you update your phone number by contacting our billing office at 352-465-8500 ext. 1006.

 

We truly understand the inconvenience this causes our customers and thank you so very much for your patience. 

The current mandatory testing of our fire hydrants did not take place today as a result of the water line break and will resume next week as previously advertised.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Utility Department at 352-465-8590.

Press Release

MANDATORY FIRE HYDRANT TESTING
For Immediate Release: March 9, 2018
Media Contact: Dawn M. Bowne, City Administrator

The Marion County Fire Department under the supervision of the City utility department will conduct mandatory fire hydrant testing all day throughout the City, beginning Tuesday March 13 through Thursday March 15 and continuing Tuesday March 20 through Thursday March 22. Because of the high intensity of hydrant flushing required this particular year, which ensures an excellent ISO rating that has a direct effect on property insurance ratings, you may experience temporary water pressure reduction or water quality issues during these tests. The schedule was developed to minimize impact to our customers. However, if you experience any water discoloration, which is normal, please let your water run until it is clear. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Utility Department at 352-465-8590. Thank you for your patience through this necessary process. 

Press Release

Posted on the City's website: 3/9/2018