Mayor: Fix this mistake before it happens

Letter: Fix this mistake before it happens

Nancy Shaver, Mayor
City of St Augustine

To the people I serve,

Last fall you elected me to a third term as your Mayor, trusting me to lead us in working together to make the City the best it can be. And now, I need your help to make things right.

A few weeks ago, the Commission approved a property purchase on Coquina Avenue in South Davis Shores using $500K from our financial reserves. It’s now clear this is not fiscally responsible and should be reversed.

We were told these two lots would provide essential flood control and that a purchase of the property was required to do that critical work. And, we were told Davis Shores didn’t have a park. The entire Commission, including me, voted for it. But we didn’t have the whole story.

It turns out, as previously reported in Historic City News, the City already owns two marsh front parcels on Coquina, one of which is already a park that hasn’t been maintained. And, it also turns out the “sunny day” flood control project is a straightforward, one-week effort and the City only needs temporary access. The property owner next door has provided that access many times over the last 40-years and says they are happy to do so again.

Everyone makes mistakes; I did with my initial vote. The city staff made theirs. The measure of an honest person is how they own up to their mistakes and what they do to fix them. Together we can fix this mistake before it goes any further.

It is not the right use of our tax dollars to buy this property. Why dip into our reserves (which aren’t there simply for “nice-to-haves”) when we need better streets, more storm water control, maybe more code enforcement, or more police officers?

The wheels are in motion. Last Monday the other commissioners were not willing to take another look at their misinformed decision. To be fair, concerned citizens had already informed me and the City Manager of the facts; the other commissioners were likely hearing them for the first time in that meeting.

Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. I’m asking you to stand with me while I stand with you, your family and your neighbors. If you can not attend the next city commission meeting on February 25th at 5:00 p.m., to address the commissioners in person, you can still help stop this mistake before it happens — but this is the last chance for all of us to do the right thing.

Please send an email to asking the City to stop this senseless waste of your tax dollars. It will automatically be routed to each of the five commissioners, including me. Mark your calendar, come to the meeting, and speak up if you are able. Otherwise, let your voice be heard in your e-mail.

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