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2008 was year of change in city and county

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Elections were key event

By Jim Clark

As the nation underwent a year of major change with the election of a new president, Levy County and Williston also experienced some changes during 2008.

Downtown took on a new look as the first block of Northwest Main Street disappeared and became a part of Williston Heritage Park, the new name for what was known as Linear Park. Included was a new parking lot for the City Hall area and an entrance to Walgreens.

One of the continuing big stories of the year is the economic situation, which has resulted in budget cuts in all levels of government as well as the closing of some businesses in the county.

With the election came some change, too. Some new faces are going to be helping run the county, including a new school superintendent, Bob Hastings, who stepped right into the middle of a series of budget shortfalls thanks to the country’s economic situation.

Other big changes in the county included the election of a new property appraiser.

Government was also touched by scandale on two different fronts.

One School Board member, Billy Morrison, was arrested in Gainesville and subsequently resigned his seat. Two County Commissioners, Tony Parker and Sammy Yearty, have been suspended after being indicted on corruption charges. Former EZDA director Pam Blair was later added to that indictment.

The elected officials have not yet been replaced.

In the city the council took on a new majority in 2008 as Cal Byrd and Jerry Robinson resigned to run for county office, and Jake Cason chose not to run.

There’s a new city manager coming, as Jim Coleman was fired back in April.