Question of quorum for city meeting tonight

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The City of St. Augustine will attempt to hold their regularly scheduled meeting tonight; however, Historic City News has learned that at least two commissioners will not be in town.

City Manager John Regan announced, “Assuming that the other commissioners do show up, we’ll have a quorum.”

Vice Mayor Leanna Freeman advised local Historic City News reporters that she and her family are on their annual trip to Colorado; a trip that coincides with Spring Break for St. Johns County public schools. Freeman, who says that she has to be back in town on Friday, tells us that the school schedule left her “no room” to change plans. “I hated to do it but I did finally make the decision.”

Mayor Joe Boles will also be absent from the meeting, as he is on a “self-paid” trip to Spain.

Just before the General Election, Boles had announced a grand scale trip to Aviles, Spain that would have included all but one sitting commissioner, a number of city staffers and their spouses. Former City Commissioner Don Crichlow said that he planned to go, even though he was not seeking re-election; and, he would take his daughter — he withdrew amid controversy over the costs to the taxpayers.

Boles backed away from the announced trip and decided to take his wife and some city staffers to avoid alleged conflicts with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine laws. Although Boles requested staff go, Historic City News has been informed that the request was denied by the city manager.

On tonight’s agenda is the second reading and final action of Ordinance 2011-01; the controversial horse-drawn carriage ordinance. If a quorum is convened, as few as two people could make a binding decision on the future of the proposed new regulations, franchise fees and other included terms, or, they could table it for a later meeting when a full commission could give their support or criticism.

The ordinance on the table today contains a few slight revisions made at the first reading on March 16th. St. Augustine Assistant City Attorney Carlos Mendoza has said publically that he would accept input at any point before final passage. If tonight’s meeting proceeds, that will include a second public hearing with an opportunity for members of the audience to make up to three minutes of comments on the proposed ordinance.

For those wanting to attend, tonight’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine. The meeting will be broadcast live on St. Johns County GTV; cable channel 3.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer

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