Letter: Infrastructure expertise needed on city commission
St Augustine, FL
This week, St. Augustine unveiled a proposed five-year capital improvement plan for infrastructure spending that totals $79.6 million! This is significantly more than in past years. For our population of approximately 13,000, that represents over $6,100 per person. With stakes that high, it is essential to have the right people overseeing the future of our city’s infrastructure.
As a professional engineer, I help communities and organizations throughout Florida and internationally, strategically evaluate, plan for, prioritize, fund and implement capital improvement plans. If done correctly, these programs can dramatically improve the health, safety and quality of life of the community. If done incorrectly, they can create crippling debt, over-extend city staff, negatively affect residents and local businesses, create lengthy and expensive legal battles, result in localized price inflation and needlessly waste taxpayer money.
An effective city commission should include people with a variety of pertinent skills and backgrounds. Our commission currently includes two attorneys, a planner, and two architects. The city commission provides direction to the city manager, and each year they will re-evaluate and update this spending plan.
The decisions our commission makes during the next four years will have significant impacts on our quality of life, the future of the city and our wallets. I want St. Augustine to remain a wonderful place to live, do business and to visit.
It’s important that our leadership team includes someone with experience and expertise in municipal infrastructure. Millions of our dollars are at stake!