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  • St Johns County Commission February 15 meeting overview


    Historic City News is pleased to report the highlights of the regular meeting of the St Johns County Commission held on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, as published by the St Johns County Civic Roundtable.

    Sales Tax proposal advances

    The St Johns County Commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Waldron dissenting, to proceed with consideration of an infrastructure surtax, or sales tax increase of one-cent, which would be placed on the November 2022 ballot as a referendum for voters to ultimately determine.  Staff is directed to draft an ordinance for the first reading on March 1, 2022, with a second reading and final vote on March 15, 2022.

    The surtax is estimated to generate $50 million a year and would be sunset after 10 years.  The County is faced with a $500 million backlog or deficit in infrastructure needs as follows:

    • 49% Roads & Infrastructure
    • 24% Public Safety
    • 17% Parks and Recreation
    • 10% Libraries

    The one-cent tax, if approved, could only be used to finance, plan and construct infrastructure and cannot be used for operations or staff costs. It would also be shared proportionately based on population with the County’s two cities; the City of St Augustine, and the City of St Augustine Beach. Estimates are that tourists pay between 35% – 40% of the total sales tax collected in the county. Questions were raised during the discussion and the next few months will be used by the commission to answer those questions and further educate the public.

    Growth Management Workshop

    The next County workshop on impact fees will be held in March, or no later than April.  Chairman Dean wants to focus on ways to hold developers accountable for impact fees and to examine the feasibility of mobility fees. Recent changes in Florida laws allow for unused road impact fees and credits from an originally intended project to transfer to another, unrelated project, which conflicts with current county ordinances.

    Greenbriar Helow Development

    The Greenbriar Helow Development has asked for a continuance for their transportation mitigation agreement to a date to be determined as well as their comprehensive plan amendments previously scheduled for March 15.

    Dune Restoration

    The Commission unanimously approved financing for the dune and berm restoration project along South Ponte Vedra Beach to lock in rates and begin the project as soon as possible. The County will issue a $7,635,000 note to complete the project with a maturity of October 1, 2031, or sooner, and $400,000 will be allocated from bed tax funds. Sand for this project will come from offshore rather than hauled in.

    Residential Applications Approved

    The Commission unanimously approved the following residential applications:

    • 48 units for Tolomato River Farms on Coastal Highway, Vilano Beach
    • 6 homes in Treasure Beach, A1A South
    • 1 home at 631 Oakland Avenue

    Substance Abuse

    The Northeast Florida Regional Council is hosting an Educational Summit on Overdoses on March 31, at World Golf Village. In NE Florida, excluding Jacksonville, 2000 people needed 911 medical services for overdose. A 2021 national survey found 41.1 million Americans or 14.9% aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in 2020 and only 4 million received treatment.

    Certificates of Recognition

    • The Commission presented a certificate of recognition to an impressive Pedro Menendez senior, King Benford, who has a 4.6 GPA and has been accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy.  He delivered his first-place essay as winner of this year’s Martin Luther King contest for St Johns County.
    • A proclamation was presented in honor of February 2022 as Library Lovers Month.

    Commissioner Comments

    • Commissioner Waldron congratulated the St Augustine Amphitheatre for being nominated for the Outdoor Venue of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.
    • Chairman Dean expressed his concern for the Ukrainian people and hopes needless harm can be avoided.

    The St Johns County Civic Roundtable is a non-partisan organization of civic, neighborhood, community, and homeowner’s associations, representing committed citizens with a wide range of expertise and interests.  The Roundtable network comes together monthly for the good of the county to hear and discuss issues with local officials and community leaders.  The committees stay abreast of issues of importance to the county and state, and they make recommendations to elected leaders.  Their purpose is to preserve and improve the quality of life in St Johns County.