Friday afternoon, County Administrator Michael D. Wanchick released his bi-weekly St. Johns County report to Historic City News. The following updates in the Public Works and Utilities departments were provided by Wanchick:
Fleet Management – The Fleet Management Division achieved 142 percent mechanic productivity for the month of September, marking the 12th consecutive month for 100 percent or greater productivity. Also, the Fleet Fuel Section’s recent sample of biodiesel was certified by an independent laboratory to meet the standards as American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) quality biodiesel. Now 520 gallons are being blended with petroleum diesel at the Public Works fueling station for use in County vehicles, resulting in a financial savings for the County.
Road and Bridge Maintenance Projects – The Road and Bridge Division has a number of maintenance projects underway. Zone Crews will be re-establishing swales in the St. Augustine South and Fort Peyton subdivisions. They also will be performing routine ditch maintenance on CR 214 and in Vermont Heights. Construction crews are repairing sidewalks on A1A Beach Boulevard in St. Augustine Beach and in St. Augustine Shores, as well as building speed tables on 3rd and 4th Streets in the North Beach area.
Signal Improvement on Race Track Road – The Traffic Section is currently working on the Race Track Road and Veterans Parkway intersection, making signal operation improvements to implement a change to the current signal operating plan. The work will include removal and reconstruction of the median nose on Veterans Parkway, reassignment of certain lane designations on the side streets, installation of one additional signal head facing Veterans Parkway, and reprogramming the signal with the new operating plan. The new operating plan will reduce delays and move more vehicles through the intersection during peak hour periods.
Utility Rates Remain Unchanged – The water and sewer rates charged by the St. Johns County Utility Department will remain the same for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The utility’s staff has aggressively renegotiated chemical contracts and implemented many operational optimization programs to realize significant cost savings. This rate stability is particularly noteworthy in an area where conservation, increased operational costs, and the growth slowdown have caused many neighboring utilities to increase their rates, some by more than 10 percent. In addition, Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency has just affirmed the utility’s AA-rating, with a “stable outlook,” yet another reflection of the strong financial status of the enterprise fund.