LIVE OAK — At the end of the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners meeting last week, board Chairman Ricky Gamble announced the end is near for his tenure on the board.

During commissioner comments, Gamble announced he will not seek re-election in 2020.

“Most of you may know, but some of you may not know, but I won’t be seeking re-election,” Gamble said.

Gamble, the District 3 commissioner, first won election in 2012. He has served as the board’s chairman since December 2016.

“In fairness to my constituents that may desire to seek the office, I just (decided to) go ahead and make that public announcement so they can have time to seek office,” he added.

Gamble is a small business owner and has also previously worked for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Ben Glass

Ben Glass with the Suwannee River Water Management District provided the board with an overview of the district’s programs and a check for payment in lieu of taxes.

SRWMD presents check to board

Ben Glass, community affairs manager with the Suwannee River Water Management District, presented Gamble with a check for the district’s payment in lieu of taxes.

The check was for $16,821.47.

Glass also provided a brief overview of the district’s programs, particularly those that have benefited Suwannee County.

Among those programs have been drainage well improvements in the City of Live Oak as well as ongoing work at the North Florida Research and Education Center - Suwannee Valley, the sustainable Suwannee Ag Pilot program and the Upper Suwannee River Regional Aquifer Recharge Project.

Echo River Solar Facility progressing

Florida Power & Light’s Geoff West talked to the board about the status of the company’s Echo River Solar Facility that is being constructed in Wellborn along Interstate 10.

West said with work clearing the land complete, posts would be begin being installed this month for the brackets and solar panels to be attached to.

That work and the construction to follow will also mean an increase in labor and crews as well with work expected to be completed by April 2020.

“We plan to be here for the next 30 years,” West said, adding the company held an open house prior to construction beginning and will continue to meet with neighbors in the area to update them on changes.

“We intend to be good neighbors and follow through on all of our commitments.”

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