Beach resident calls for the dissolution of City Charter and takeover by County

On Friday, Historic City News local reporters were informed by activist and government watchdog Rosetta V. Bailey, that the time has come for the City of St Augustine Beach to follow the lead of the Town of Hastings and dissolve.

Citing numerous complaints about mismanagement of the City Commission and noncompliance at City Hall, Bailey says “it is time to dissolve the St Augustine Beach Corporation and let St Johns County take control”.

Basically, Bailey believes that citizens get no more attention to their service needs, as an incorporated city, than the larger county provides — and St Augustine Beach residents have to pay the same county taxes as Vilano Beach residents, for example, who do not pay for any municipal taxes.

Bailey points out that her neighbors are telling her that municipal government under the current management has resulted in wasting nine years, and they are still working on a parking plan, and seven months, while they waited for “live streaming” of public meetings to resume.  She believes that those are issues easily addressed by county staff.

And, what about the other money paid to the City of St Augustine Beach that Bailey says is either duplicative or is spent wastefully by management and the sitting commission?  Bailey points to high real estate taxes (because of dual city-county property tax assessments) while the commission is considering raising real estate taxes, the soon to be levied residential parking tax and the announced increase in solid waste charges from $79.00 to over $400.00 (subject to change).  Bailey says most residents don’t understand the FPL tax on their monthly bill, which she says generates close to $1 million annually.  She says she wants to see the FPL franchise tax revisited.

St Augustine Beach has a swing set and slide called a splash park.  Bailey reports that the parking lot at the playground is like a “small lake” because of flooding during the rainy season.  According to the budget in brief of April 30, 2019, Bailey says that city management has already spent $92,292 this Fiscal Year-to-date for Parks and Recreation.

Bailey made allegations today that city commission meetings are deliberately timed to keep the residents in the dark.  Explanations have claimed that past meetings are too early since some work in Jacksonville.  Bailey says that she was told later meetings give the commissioners time to make better decisions on the resident’s behalf.  Bailey disagrees saying at the end of the meeting, the commission can make decisions with no oversight from the public; since they have either gone home or turned off their television set.

If you live in the City of St Augustine Beach and pay taxes there, Bailey suggested contacting each of your commissioners and compel them to look at dissolution of the city charter so that taxes can be reduced when the beach becomes another unincorporated area within St Johns County, like Crescent Beach, Vilano Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach — all of which are free from municipal taxes.

Undine George
Mayor/Commissioner (904) 687-1492
Margaret England
Vice-Mayor/Commissioner (904) 461-3454
Don Samora
Commissioner (904) 460-4404
Dylan Rumrell
Commissioner (904) 584-5161
Maggie Kostka