City vision steering committee holds organizational meeting


ROXANNE HORVATHThe newest city commissioner, who has lived here the least number of years, will chair the “steering committee” that is set to drive the direction of the City of St Augustine government for the next twenty years. Think about that.

In 1995, with the participation of over 200 volunteer members of the community, a plan was developed that has been the “blueprint” for management of the City of St Augustine ever since. As City Manager John Regan told the commission at their first workshop on this subject October 2, 2013, “The city’s vision plan was the first document I was given to read when I came to work here.”

Freshman commissioner, Roxanne Horvath, convinced her fellow commissioners that the plan, enacted in 1995 and updated twice, once in 1996, and again updated in 1998, had to be abandoned — replaced rather than simply updated — a harbinger of where this process may lead.

If you are planning to attend the public meeting, it is being held tomorrow, Thursday afternoon, January 9th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., in the Alcazar Room of City Hall, located at 75 King Street.

The agenda for the two-hour meeting is:

1. Call to Order
-a. Roll Call
-b. Introductions
2. General Public Comments (3 minutes per individual)
3. Briefing on ethics, sunshine law, and public records
4. Visioning Initiative Background
-a. Identity
-b. Process
-c. Deliverables
-d. Timeline
5. Open Discussion
6. Review of Actions and Assignments
7. Adjourn

The fifteen hand-picked members of the steering committee, chosen by Mayor Joe Boles and the four commissioners, are said to represent residential, business and institutional interests; although not all are residents of the City of St Augustine. That usual requirement for city boards and committees was waived in order to appoint some individuals who would not otherwise qualify.

Those named to the committee are:

• Jeannette Berk, treasurer, St Augustine Neighborhood Council; member, St. Augustine North Davis Shores Neighborhood Association
• Cathy Brown, community activist, former Executive Director, Council on Aging
• Vaughn Cochran, Blackfly Restaurant
• Rob DePiazza, president, Screen Arts
• Linda Dixon, associate director, UF Planning, Design, and Construction Division; and Director for Operations and Administration, UF Historic St. Augustine
• Phillip McDaniel, CEO, St. Augustine Distillery Company
• Jan Miller, Owner, Butterfield Garage Art Gallery; and President, Art Galleries of St. Augustine
• Grant Misterly, municipal infrastructure engineer, Jacobs Engineering Group
• Rhey Palmer, President, St. Augustine Neighborhood Council
• Jeanne Prickett, President, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
• Patricia Reilly, Chair, Flagler Model Land Company Neighborhood Association Community Action Committee; and Vice President, St Augustine Neighborhood Council
• Tracy Upchurch, Associate Professor of Law and History, Flagler College
• Len Weeks, President, The Historic St. Augustine Area Council, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce
• Greg White, Chair, West Augustine Community Redevelopment Agency; and Chair, Weed and Seed Steering Committee
• Andy Witt, Executive Director, St. Johns Cultural Council

The community wide visioning project was the topic of two commission workshops last fall. A website has been established to keep up to date on the public activities of city management, the commission, and the visioning steering committee, at