Veterans group gets cold shoulder on parade plan


St Augustine City Commissioner Todd Neville responded to representatives from a local veteran’s organization Monday evening explaining why he would not support their request for $20,000 to produce a very special Veterans Day Parade of November 11th.

Noting that the City already budgeted $938,000 for 450th Commemoration activities this year, Ric Erkelens, president of Military Officers Association, tried unsuccessfully to convince commissioners to give his group the commitment he says is needed to schedule all the entertainment, including foreign delegations planning to participate.

“If every event requested $20,000, you’re talking $20 million dollars,” Neville countered. Former St Augustine Mayor, George Gardner, looked at the numbers a different way. According to Gardner, if the total 450th budget of $3,649,525 was distributed at $20,000 per event, the City would have produced 182 events.

City Manager John Regan attempted to intervene, suggesting the group might have better luck with the Tourist Development Council. He also suggested private sources have come forward since actual 450th events have started to appear. Regan promised to check possible funding as quickly as possible for the parade planners.