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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Marion County commissioners, school board host workshop on county’s growth

Numerous speakers from around Marion County presented at a workshop on Monday, discussing growth within the community with county and school board leaders.

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners and Marion County School Board both participated in Monday’s workshop. Local municipalities, including Belleview, McIntosh, and Reddick, were also invited to join.

Mary Elizabeth Burgess, Marion County’s Growth Services Director, began the presentations with a discussion on Marion County’s overall population growth, reporting that the county’s population has increased by a little over 10% since 2010, according to 2020 Census data.

This growth, Burgess stated, led to more than 27,000 new residential units being permitted, or pending permit, in the last five years.

David Herlihy, the Planning and Governmental Relations manager for Marion County Public Schools, suggested that student enrollment in the county has been on a downward trend, and he anticipates low enrollment growth of around 50-350 students a year.

Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, reminded the county commissioners and school board members that teachers, bus drivers, and paraprofessionals all need affordable housing to live where they work.

Rob Balmes, Ocala Marion Transportation Planning Organization director, discussed the county’s commitment to preventing accidents on local roadways with continued growth.

Angel Roussel, Assistant County Administrator of Public Services, ended the presentations by forecasting communication infrastructure on the radar for Marion County. According to Roussel, the county currently has a request for proposal, and a contract should be in place by January 2022 with a consultant to do a feasibility study on the unserved and underserved areas in the county that need communication infrastructure.

When the workshop concluded, the board of county commissioners and school board both discussed updating their 2008 interlocal agreement.

To view this meeting in its entirety, visit the Marion County government meetings website.