Out of office

Keystone Heights' Archie Green reflects on life after city council


Published: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 3:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 12:00 a.m.
When Archie Green was asked what he has been up to since April when his term expired after 15 consecutive years on the Keystone City Council, he replied: "Chilling."
Actually he has been busy concentrating on his computer consulting business (which includes running the Multiple Listing Network for the area), spending time with friends and family, and pursuing his many interests which include growing lemongrass and cayenne pepper, cooking and reading about the origin of early Christianity.
As far as politics, Green is not ruling out running for office again at a later time, but for now it is not an option: "I think it is probably best that I am not involved (in politics). It takes a lot of time and pressure. This time (away from city council) has given me the time to concentrate on my business."
Green can look back at all those years in office - eight of them as mayor - with pride of accomplishment. Those were pivotal years in a community that has gone through many changes and continues to thrive despite dwindling lakes that once was the life blood of this area.
Green said the first major issue tackled when he began his tenure was changing the way solid waste was funded. "In 1989-1990, the city almost went bankrupt because Clay County raised the tipping fees from $5 to $40. The city had to come up with the money. Solid waste was paid out of ad valorem taxes and the city had to increase property taxes to pay it. Here 40 percent of the population does not pay ad valorem taxes. So we went to user fees and put garbage collection to bid. We kept ad valorem at 2 mils without sacrificing services," Green said.
During his watch. Keystone Heights went from a dirt road town to a community where 90 percent of the roads are paved. To do this the city embarked on massive paving projects that began with a community redevelopment grant and continued with low cost loans. The paving corrected environmental problems caused by clay runoffs into Lake Geneva and Little Lake Keystone. Paving has been cost effective as maintaining clay roads proved to be very expensive, Green said.
More recently, the city forged a partnership with Clay County Utility Authority to provide water citywide and sewer services for non-residential users. To fund the sewer system the city initially received a $278,000 Florida Department of Environmental Protection loan, followed by a $1.45 million FDEP grant and now the state is providing $512,000. "The $512,000 state appropriation will enable commercial properties to hook up at a very little cost," he said.
The way the city looks is another source of pride. "Over the years - through city programs - Leona Terry planted trees and landscaped. All that is beginning to show; a lot of trees have been planted and it makes the city look great," Green said.
"We have laid good foundations. The new developments will add money in the form of ad valorem and utility taxes. I would like to see our city be competitive with the county as far as taxes go. I would like to see the city continue to keep the cost of living down. I want the council to be conservative on spending until all the paving is completed.
"I hope we keep growth quality and plan accordingly. I hope the land development regulations continue to be enforced and the Community Redevelopment Agency is able to move forward," Green said.
Aida Mallard can be reached at 473-4625 or aida1123@aol.com

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