Looking ahead to busy Monday commission meeting

Looking ahead to busy Monday commission meeting

George Gardner
As published at The St Augustine Report

The regular meeting of the St Augustine City Commission will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall and will be live-streamed at CoSATV.com.  The meetings are aired live on Government Television, Comcast Channel 3, and are replayed at 9:00 a.m. the following Wednesday.

Proposed “Vehicle for Hire” ordinance:

Taxicabs, horse-drawn vehicles, trailer trains or other vehicles used for sightseeing, and now pedi-cabs and low speed vehicles, are covered in a revised “Vehicle for Hire” Ordinance going to the City Commission Monday for first reading – consideration to move to public hearing and final action (second reading) at a later meeting.

Assistant City Attorney Denise May, after several meetings of discussion with commissioners, has included the thorny limits of ten years old and 250,000 miles for taxicabs, giving older and higher mileage taxis more time to comply.

Under the proposed ordinance, 15-years-old taxis will have until October 2017, with steps to 11-years-old until 2021, and, taxis with more than 250,000 miles will have until October 2017 to comply.

Only privately hired, Uber-like ride-share vehicles escaped listing, May saying a vehicle carrying passengers into or out of the city is not subject to regulation. Covered are rides that originate and terminate within the city.

Regulations for all “vehicles for hire” and their drivers are included. For pedi-cabs, head and tail lights, a posted schedule of fare rates and signal bell or other warning device, except a siren, are listed.

For low speed vehicles (with speeds between 20 and 25 miles an hour), head, tail, stop and turn signal lights, reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields and seat belts.

City financial strength reflected in bond bids:

The strength of the city’s finances is reflected in the number of bids to refinance $4,710,000 in Series 2005 Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds, the city’s financial advisor says.

The advisor, Public Financial Management, received 13 refinance bids which “reflects favorably on the City’s overall credit strength as well as that of the utility system.”

Based on other recent bid requests the firm has completed for clients, the average number of responses ranges from 4 to 6 proposals.

The current refinance would create a savings of $330,000 or 7 percent in debt service, City Finance Director Mark Litzinger will tell commissioners Monday.

A Bond Resolution will be brought to the commission at its July 11th meeting.

City moves closer to May Street fix:

A resolution before the City Commission Monday moves redesign of the congested May Street – San Marco Avenue intersection a step closer.

Commissioners will be asked to authorize City Manager John Regan “to execute various agreements required during the phasing and construction of this project and to deliver them to the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation)”.

While May Street and San Marco Avenue are state roads, portions of the project, including Davenport Park, are city-owned.

The project, scheduled to begin next summer, will create a large pseudo-roundabout to lengthen distance between traffic signals, widen West San Carlos to add an additional left turn lane onto US-1, replace the current main library entrance with two US-1 accesses and an exit onto San Marco, and lengthen a left turn lane from San Marco to May Street.

Rezoning for townhouses:

Thirteen townhouses would be developed under two ordinances going before commissioners Monday.

Cherokee Street Partners, LLC is seeking rezoning of 1.9 acres at 85-95 Cherokee Street on the San Sebastian River, part of the former Luhr’s yacht-building property, along with removal of 17 preserved trees ranging to 42 inches in trunk diameter.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Board made recommendation for approval last month.

Read the full issue at The St Augustine Report online.