Executive Summary of Port Waterway District meeting

300-CAPT-JAY-BLISSJay Bliss, Port and Waterway Commissioner, Seat 5, reported his executive summary of yesterday’s regular public meeting; noting that the official minutes of that meeting will eventually posted to the commission website http://staugustineport.com/

Bliss, who said that all five members of the District were present at the City of St Augustine Beach commission meeting room, explained that most of the numbers he is reporting are “rounded”.

“Meetings are always public,” Bliss told reporters. “And, far more entertaining than these notes.”

Port has $1.8M in the bank. Tax income from district residents is $370,156 — less a 6% collection fee, paid to the tax collectors office.

Engineers’ report: Salt Run markers are costing more — and taking longer to get placed. We have two local contractors for that work, and they apparently have plenty of other business.

The Summer Haven River restoration still deals with DEP questions: the least tern is an endangered species and has adopted the sandy dunes of the filled-in river. The task is to attempt to provide for their habitat and a restoration of the clams, oysters, and quiet water recreation that the river enjoyed before the breach in 2009.

SAPD Commander Steve Fricke requested $25,000 for an outboard motor for the City’s patrol boat. Much discussion, cost sharing options, use of boat throughout Port waters. A motion to fund the request passed, with Bliss voting against.

St Johns County Parks and Recreation Director Wil Smith returned $17,000 from a Port matching grant of $75,000, to pay for construction of the floating dock at Vilano Beach. Construction costs came in lower. Dock is not used that much yet; word will get around.

Billy Zeit reported on the status of the beaches, driving, sea oats plantings — present and future, and the fact that beach toll revenues were $900K this past season.

Port consultant Ken Krauter provided updates and reviewed a letter, written on Port’s behalf, to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). NOAA and USCG will be doing follow-up inlet surveys early next year to map our inlet to best advantage. The letter provides a broad outline of our maritime benefits: in 2011 we had 13,000 registered boats in St Johns County; 334 commercially registered boats; City Marina, Comachee Cove, and Conch House in 2011 hosted 4900, 1000, and 1100 transient boaters respectively (numbers rounded).

LCDR Butts, USCG Jacksonville, followed up with a comprehensive overview of present and future channel entrance measures that will provide safe access to St Augustine waters. NOAA surveys, USACE dredges, and USCG is tasked with marking–and keeping marked–the best water entrance.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer, Lieutenant Zukowski, reviewed three possible derelict boats in the county and spoke about the logistics of “Regatta of Lights” — where cannon fire lifted a dense fog for a packed waterfront to enjoy the boating spectacle.

Here’s wishing all Historic City News readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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