City must decide to act or wait for feasibility study

A rant by current County Commissioner Joseph (Ken) Bryan, published three days after the last city commission meeting, was not enough to bully the Public Works Director and city staff into moving forward with the West Augustine sewer expansion — until after the $377k feasibility study results are known.

Mayor Joseph L. Boles, Jr., and commissioners voted and approved amending water and sewer code Chapter 26, related to sewer connection policy, at their meeting of March 26, 2012; providing for mandatory sewer connection in West Augustine.

The second reading and public hearing was advertised for tonight’s meeting; and, if approved, could lead the city into a $20 million sewer line project.

Despite Bryan’s attempts to manipulate the city’s cautious, financially prudent approach to the proposed project, by projecting veiled threats and unfounded racial motivations, staff recommends the Commission table Ordinance 2012-02 until after November, 2012 to allow for completion of the Facilities Plan.

Bryan was quoted to say that, because the city did not move forward immediately, it amounted to a “slap in the face,” a “violation of our agreement”, and an example of the “city’s resistance to provide infrastructure to the poorest folks in the county.”

Bryan’s term of office as a county commissioner ends this year and he wants to be re-elected; but, he faces two Republicans in the Primary Election and another contestant in the General Election.

The ruckus stirred by Bryan’s grandstanding, politically-charged interview, published by The Record, led County Commission Chairman Mark P. Miner, who has decided not to run for re-election, to issue a “peace offering” response; presumably to placate those in the community who were afraid that Bryan’s public outburst would negatively impact further discussions between the city and county.

Public Works Director Martha S. Graham, P.E., wrote to City Manager John Regan, who is also a Florida licensed Professional Engineer, last week; advising against moving forward with proposed Ordinance 2012-02 until after the Facilities Plan for the West Augustine Sewer Expansion project has been completed.

Graham said that the results of the feasibility study should be known when the facilities plan is completed sometime in November 2012.

If you are planning to attend — the regular St. Augustine City Commission meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. Monday and will be held in the Alcazar Room; on the first floor of the west wing of City Hall, located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine. It will be broadcast live on Comcast Government TV (Cable Channel 3) and is streamed over the Internet.

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