Cervone is lone Republican at Democrats' table

Published: Monday, September 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 31, 2003 at 11:43 p.m.
Bill Cervone appeared to be the odd man out last week.
The Republican state attorney put in an appearance at a $35-a-plate Democratic fund-raiser. And some of the money raised may help bolster local Democratic campaigns next year, including that of his opponent, criminal attorney Stan Griffis. The event, which attracted more than 800 party faithfuls, raised more than $35,000.
Cervone was among scores of past and present elected leaders introduced to the crowd, but the only Republican.
Cervone even donated a stained-glass stepping stone - one that he handcrafted - for the silent auction. The high bidder took the decorative art glass home for $65.
Cervone said he wasn't politicking, just socializing.
"I have a large number of friends in the DEC (Democratic Executive Committee)," Cervone said. "I enjoyed the chance to see them."
  • Wrong amount owed: Maybe Alachua County should have sent out defibrillators with some of its property tax notices last month.
    The Alachua County Property Appraiser overestimated the taxes for 68 homeowners living in the Meadows of Kanapaha subdivision. One resident reported a tax bill $900 higher than expected. State law caps property value increases for homesteaded properties at about 3 percent a year. Yet the residents' proposed taxes were based on a 20 percent increase.
    Rob Puckett, the county's chief deputy property appraiser, said residents weren't overbilled on purpose. He blamed the botched notices on an appraiser who forgot to program some information about the lots into the computer system.
    "Basically, what happened is we made a mistake," he said. "Essentially, it was a human error on the computer." Corrected tax notices are being mailed to residents.
  • Waiting for payday: Talk about dedication. Monroe Lee says Alachua County owes him a paycheck that's 13 years overdue. To make his point, the Gainesville resident has kept vigil on the corner of University Avenue and Main Street for a month. For at least seven hours a day, he stands in view of passing cars and holds aloft a raft-sized sign, filled from edge to edge with his complaints about local government.
    Lee, an engineer in his late 40s, said he was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service in 1989 after he was issued a ticket by the Alachua Police Department.
    To comply, Lee said, he surveyed land near what is now the Blues Creek subdivision. But he said he worked an extra 90 hours on the project, and was never compensated.
    With overtime and interest, the county owes him more than $8,000 today, Lee said. He said county commissioners haven't responded, but he plans to keep protesting indefinitely.
  • Quote of the week: "It's dangerous to plan with money. We plan without money."
    - Alachua County Manager Randy Reid said regarding Jacksonville's new courthouse, which is projected to cost $42 million more than originally planned. Alachua County's $27 million courthouse is on budget.
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