Have Your Voice Heard: Serve on a Government Advisory Board

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Posted March 21, 2024 | Staff report

As a citizen, taxpayer and voter, it can sometimes feel like government moves along without you. But, in addition to contacting your board and council members, you can also have a voice in local government by helping out on a volunteer board. Maybe you’re an expert in commercial real estate; maybe you know a lot about small business marketing. That expertise can help you, your fellow citizens and local government if you want to help out on a board.

Here are current vacancies for cities in Marion County and the county itself.

City of Dunnellon:

Police Officers & Firefighters Defined Benefit Plan
1 vacancy for a city resident

Description: The duty of the Board of Trustees is to operate and administer the Fire and Police Pension Plan in accordance with the direction of the city council. Duties include, but are not limited to, administration of the plan assets.

Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the second month of each quarter at 8:30 am.

For more information, visit dunnellon.org/government/boards-commissions/police-officers-firefighters-pension-board

Planning Commission
1 vacancy for a member, 1 vacancy for a 2nd alternate member

Description: The Planning Commission has an administrative review function whereby the commission reviews all changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, by amendment, evaluation, addition and appraisal for consistency with the existing comprehensive plan and reviews all land-related/zoning ordinances to determine consistency to the comprehensive plan. The Planning Commission holds quasi-judicial hearings with regards to land planning/zoning cases, site plan reviews, variances, special exceptions, and review/appeal of administrative orders, and forwards its findings/recommendations to the city council.

The member vacancy term is until Jan. 11, 2025. The alternate member term is until Jan. 9, 2026.
Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm.

For more information, visit dunnellon.org/government/boards-commissions/planning-commission

Historic Preservation Board
1 vacancy for a 2nd alternate member

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Board is to promote and preserve educational, cultural and economic welfare of the public. The board has established uniform procedures to preserve the city’s historic resources by enhancing public participation and involvement in the preservation and protection of such resources, including buildings, structures, monuments, and other historic resources. In keeping with its purpose, the board has developed the Application for Historic Preservation Grant Facade Renovations. Interested person(s) should complete the application and submit to the Community Development Department for submission to the Board.

For more information, visit dunnellon.org/government/boards-commissions/historic-preservation-board

City of Ocala:

The Ocala City Council appoints individuals to serve on more than 20 boards, advisory committees and commissions. These volunteers are from all over Ocala, and their experience, knowledge and expertise help influence decisions affecting the city by providing advice and feedback to city leaders and council.

If you have questions, contact clerk@ocalafl.gov or call the Office of the City Clerk at (352) 629-8266. The main page is ocalafl.gov/government/city-departments-a-h/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions and each board has its own page and application link.

All are welcome to submit an application for consideration to a board or commission. Many boards have specific requirements, such as living within the city limits, being a qualified city voter, or owning real property within the city limits. These requirements, if any, are detailed for each board on their page.

Board of Adjustment

The Board of Adjustment considers applications for zoning variances and special exception considerations for business and residential construction projects within the Ocala city limits. Hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision or determination made by the building official in the enforcement of the zoning code (chapter 122), authorize special exceptions as provided in the zoning code authorize variances as provided in the zoning code.
Vacancies : 2 current vacancies, both run from Mar 1, 2024 to Mar 1, 2028.
Size: 7 Members
Term Length: 4 years
Term Limit: n/a

Historic Preservation Advisory Board

Description: The Ocala Historic Preservation Advisory Board oversees the historic resources of the city and advises city council and city departments on matters relating to these resources, as well as manages certificates of appropriateness for properties located within the Tuscawilla Park and Ocala Historic Districts. Survey and inventory the historic resources of the city according to accepted practices and to develop and maintain a list of all resources researched for possible historic designation, make recommendations to city council for matters relating to historic resources in the city changes to designated resources; attend pertinent informational or educational meetings, workshops and conferences; advise on development of goals, objectives and policies for historic preservation; advise city departments on matters relating to historic resources in the city; advise individuals on preservation of historic structures; educate public on economic benefits of same; and submit annual report to SHPO covering annual activities. The board approves certificates of appropriateness for exterior alterations to properties located in the local Tuscawilla Park and Ocala Historic Districts.
Vacancies: 2 current vacancies, need for one real estate agent, one attorney
Size: 9 Members
Term Length: 3 years
Term Limit: n/a

Municipal Arts Commission
Description: The commission acts in an advisory capacity to the city government in connection with the artistic and cultural development of the city and aesthetic aspects of city activities. The purpose of the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission Grant Program is to provide nonprofit organizations and individual artists financial support to pursue artistic endeavors that will benefit the community by fostering the awareness and development of the cultural climate in Marion County.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy for a general member; 1 for a Marion County School Board representative.
Size: 11 Members
Term Length: 4 years
Term Limit: n/a

Municipal Code Enforcement Board
Description: The Code Enforcement Division enforces codes that pertain to zoning laws, nuisance abatement, contracting, and permitting requirements of the city of Ocala and the state of Florida, occupational licenses, sign codes, alcohol location permits, and many other local ordinances and state statutes. The Municipal Code Enforcement Board hears cases relating to code violations. Examine code violation cases presented by City Code Enforcement Officers. Empowered to levy fines and place liens on property if, violation is not corrected.
Vacancies: 3
Size: 7 Members
Term Length: 3 years
Term Limit: n/a

North Magnolia Redevelopment Advisory Committee
Description: The committee shall advise the Community Redevelopment Agency on redevelopment efforts of the established subarea pursuant to Chapter 163, Part III, Florida Statutes.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy; 1 term expired
Size: 7 Members
Term Length: 4 years
Term Limit: n/a

Planning & Zoning Commission
Description: The Planning & Zoning Commission is responsible for advising city council on current and long-range planning, review and permitting of land development within the city of Ocala. Make recommendations to city council relating to zoning and land use and ensures that changes proposed are consistent with city’s comprehensive plan.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy; 0 terms expired; 2 terms ending soon
Size: 7 Members
Term Length 3 years
Term Limit n/a

Recreation Commission
Description: The Recreation Commission advises city council on matters relating to parks, recreation, and volunteer programs within the city of Ocala. The commission shall advise and recommend to the city council on the use of public facilities for recreational programs and shall act as liaison with the board of county commissioners and the county school board regarding availability and use of county and school facilities. The commission shall advise and recommend to the city council on the use of public facilities for recreational programs.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy; 2 terms expired
Size: 7 Members
Term Length: 3 years
Term Limit: n/a

Utility Advisory Board
Description: The Ocala Utility Advisory Board advises and makes recommendations to city council on matters relating to management of city-owned utilities, including Ocala Electric Utility and Ocala Water Resources. The board shall act in an advisory capacity to the city government in connection with the management of the city utilities. City officials and officers and the staff of the city departments may consult with the board from time to time on matters coming within the scope of this division and the board shall advise and consult with such officials, officers and staff of city departments in connection with the operation and management of city utilities.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy
Size: 12 Members
Term Length: 4 years
Term Limit n/a

West Ocala Redevelopment Advisory Committee
Description: The committee advises the Community Redevelopment Agency on redevelopment efforts of the established subarea pursuant to Chapter 163, Part III, Florida Statutes.
Vacancies: 1 current vacancy; 0 terms expired; 1 term ending soon
Size: 9 Members
Term Length: 4 years
Term Limit n/a

Marion County:
As of March 18, Marion County has vacancies on the following boards: Board of Adjustment, Code Enforcement Board, Industrial Development Authority, Rainbow Lakes Estates Advisory Board and the Tourist Development Council. These are volunteer positions and have specific qualifications and criteria depending on the board’s focus.

An online application can be downloaded at marionfl.org/my-commissioners/advisory-boards and can be printed or saved as a PDF. Email completed forms to commissionadmin@marionfl.org. Applications can also be obtained at the Marion County Board of County Commissioners’ Office at 601 SE 25th Ave., Ocala, or by calling 352-438-2323.

Board of Adjustment (1 Alternate Member – Unexpired Term 06/2026)

Qualifications/restrictions: No member of the Board of Adjustment shall hold any other public position or office in any municipality or county government in Marion County. Members of the board shall be residents of the county and registered voters.
Responsibilities: Review and make decisions under the Marion County Land Development Code regarding citizen requests for variances or special exceptions. Hear and decide appeals concerning interpretations of the Land Development Code by the Zoning Department Manager. Alternate members may act in the temporary absence or disability of any regular member or may act when a regular member is otherwise disqualified in a particular case that may be presented to the Board of Adjustment.

Code Enforcement Board (1 Alternate Member – Unexpired Term 02/2026)

Qualifications/restrictions: Members shall be residents of Marion County and should have experience or interest in zoning and building control, and, whenever possible be in the field of architecture, engineering, general contracting, or subcontracting.

Responsibilities: Members shall have the power to adopt rules for the conduct of its hearings; subpoena alleged violators and witnesses to its hearings; subpoena records, surveys, plats and other documentary evidence; take testimony under oath; issue orders having the force and effect of law, commanding whatever steps are necessary to bring a violation into compliance and establish and levy fines pursuant to county ordinance.

Industrial Development Authority (2 Full Members – Full Term 03/2024)

Qualifications/restrictions: Applicants must be electors and residents of Marion County.
Responsibilities: Includes considering industrial and manufacturing projects with appurtenant facilities and determine the appropriateness of financing such projects through the issuance of an industrial development board’s ordinance.

Rainbow Lakes Estates (1 Full Member – Unexpired Term 12/2024)

Qualifications/restrictions: Applicants must be registered electors residing in within the Rainbow Lakes Estates Municipal Service District.

Responsibilities: May participate in the preparation of annual budget request; review and comment on programs, activities, goals and objectives and make recommendations on these and other issues as directed by the county commission.

Tourist Development Council (1 Full Member – Full Term 02/2028 – Collector)

Qualifications/restrictions: Applicants must be a registered voter of Marion County and must be an owner or operator of motels, hotels, recreational vehicle parks, or other tourist accommodations in the county and subject to the tourist tax.

Responsibilities: The TDC meets at least once a quarter and may make recommendations to the county commission for the effective use of the tourist development tax revenues.

Note, the city of Belleview does not list board/committee vacancies on its website. The listings page can be found at belleviewfl.org/151/Boards-Committees

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