Beach commission wraps up continuation of Monday meeting

Cindy Walker, St. Augustine Beach Communications Coordinator, updated local Historic City News reporters after the conclusion of last night’s continuation of Monday’s city commission meeting.

At the July 2019 Commission Meeting, the Commission passed Ordinances 19-03 and 19-04, banning the use, sale, and distribution of plastic straws and Styrofoam by restaurants and plastic bags by retail establishments.

Recently, the Third District Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that state laws prohibiting cities from adopting such bans are unconstitutional. In response, the City Commission passed the first reading of Ordinance 19-16, which repeals Ordinances 19-03 and 19-04.

The City still encourages local establishments to be environmentally conscious. Establishments that voluntarily use eco-friendly products will be awarded for their efforts; details on this award will be published on a future date.

The Commission discussed and decided to continue to pursue the addition of a non-ad valorem assessment for the collection of solid waste and recycling, effective fiscal year 2021. The City currently provides solid waste collection and plans on continuing to do so. The proposed increase in collection fees is due to the rising cost of solid waste collection and would allow the City to provide the same quality and frequency of service.

The proposed estimated cost to residents would be $230, including the $74 fee currently in effect, and would match St. Johns County’s proposed fee for unincorporated areas. This increase would not change the frequency or amount of trash pick-up.  In addition, commercial trash collection will be examined and discussed at a future meeting.

Next, the Commission discussed creating mission and vision statements. The development of these statements would guide the City’s Strategic Plan by allowing staff to create goals and steps to achieve these goals in alignment with the City’s values and vision. After discussion, the Commission decided to continue discussion of this issue at a future meeting after conducting further research.

Finally, the Commission considered policies for flying flags on government property. The Commission discussed options that included allowing acceptable flags including governmental flags, flags for City-sponsored events, flags sanctioned by the federal or state government (like the POW-MIA flag), and if the flag is included in an approved proclamation.  After weighing these options, the Commission requested a resolution be presented at the October Commission meeting.

The next special budget meeting will be held Monday, September 23 at 5:30pm at St. Augustine Beach City Hall (2200 A1A South, St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080.)  The next regular Commission Meeting will be held on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend both meetings.