St. Johns County Civic Roundtable

June 14 Roundtable


https://sjcroundtable.org



Bed Tax Increase - Not Yet

The Commission took up the first reading of the revised Tourist Development Tax (TDT) Ordinance which recommends a one cent increase, modifies the allowable uses of the tax and consolidates all beach expenditures into a new Category 5. The 1% increase in the TDT is estimated to generate $3 M in revenue in FY22.


The Commission spent most of its time discussing how the additional revenue should be allocated and focused primarily on Commissioner Dean’s modified plan: 60% or $1.8 M be allocated to beach renourishment; 20% or $600,000 for marketing; 20% or $600,000 for beach improvements including boat ramps.


Staff will revise the allocation amounts to reflect the Dean plan and the second reading of the ordinance and vote will be at the July 20 meeting. All new tax levies require a super majority or 4 of 5 votes.


Several speakers rose to protest the amount of money being spent on advertising. Other speakers spoke about the desperate need for beach renourishment.


The Roundtable supports this increase as a way to help pay for the increased services related to the number of increased visitors.


LAMP Program Reinstated


By a vote of 4-1, the Board of County Commissioners voted to reinstate the Land Acquisition and Management Program.

Commission Jeb Smith, who opposed LAMP, raised the issue of the County buying land. His comments were aimed at the lack of planning related to buying right of way and lead to a discussion among Commissioners about this situation. Administrator Conrad was directed to look into this issue.


County Commission Meeting Overview




At the Tuesday, June 15 Meeting:


The Board recognized July 2021 as Parks and Recreation Month and presented a proclamation to the county Parks & Recreation Department.


Two Constitutional Officers presented their tentative budgets to the Commission.


The County Property Appraiser, Eddie Creamer, presented his $5.6 M budget for the next fiscal year. In the last 5.6 years, values of commercial properties (includes apartments and rental properties) have increased 53% and residential values (60% are homesteaded) are up 45%.


Land parcels in the agriculture sector are declining. He indicated that property values have increased 30-40% this year over values just a year ago.

The Office has completed an audit of homestead properties and found 236 properties improperly claiming the exemption and a majority of claims have been recovered to date.

Commissioner Dean asked if it would he helpful to cross reference the new registration list of short term rentals when it is completed after November 1, 2021, and Mr. Creamer readily agreed.


County Sheriff Robert Hardwick presented his budget with some interesting statistics. The Office estimates the county has 6 million visitors a year and 10 million people annually use our beaches.


The Sheriff’s Office received 247,445 service calls last year (678 per day) of which 95,818 were 911 calls; 4,013 of these calls resulted in arrests. Major drug seized included 2043 g. of cocaine; 1629 g. of meth and 247 g. of fentanyl. Just last weekend there were 7-8 fatal overdoses. Although crime is down in St. Johns County, there are higher crime rates to our north in Duval and to our south in Volusia; I-95 is also a source of crime.

The Sheriff is asking for an increase in his budget and wants to increase the starting pay for Deputy Sheriffs from $43,000 to $45,000 per year and needs to stay competitive with surrounding jurisdictions, i.e., City of St. Augustine starting pay is $46,000.


The Oxford Estates East plan came back to the Commission for consideration to add 30 new single family homes on 32.5 acres on the eastern side of Longleaf Pine Parkway and north of Greenbriar Road. After a quasi-judicial hearing of both sides, the plan was narrowly adopted by a 3-2 vote.


Workforce Housing -- approved modifications to allow for an increase in the maximum sales price.


Family Farms - Approved modifications to allow terminations of family farm agreements after 7 years and reduces the minimum lot size in part of the program.


St. Johns County Water Supply Facilities Work Plan was adopted.


FEMA Beach Berm Contract was adopted with modifications offered by Commissioner Dean to include Summer House condos and to use the Mickler parking lot except on Saturdays and Sundays.


The County has received over 50% of easements from residents along Ponte Vedra beaches and Summer House in Crescent Beach for beach renourishment.


Beach access for heavy duty construction trucks at Summer House will require National Park Service approval to use the Matanzas Inlet ramp.


Beach access for Ponte Vedra 2 will require about half the space at Mickler Beach parking lot as well as two other access points along Ponte Vedra Blvd.


The motion to finalize the agreement with Continental Heavy Civil Corp. for design and construction of berm restoration projects was adopted by a 5-0 vote.


Cost share is FEMA grant of $27,056,876, State of Florida grant of $2,933,846, and $4,375,846 from the appropriate County Fund Reserves. In addition, the contractor agrees to pay for the damages and repairs to Mickler Beach parking lot.


Commissioner Reports


Commission Smith reports that some farmers have potato harvests completed and the remainder need to get potatoes off soon. Corn crops are looking good and sod is moving steadily. The recent rains have helped farmers considerably. Mr. Smith wished everyone a happy July 4th and reminds us of the importance of Independence to our country.


Commissioner Waldron reported on the first Kingfish Tournament this past weekend had 520 boats of which 480 were from out of town. He would like to get a cost estimate from staff for a rock road at Summer Haven. He also indicated that the Board needs to have more discussions on how the County handles impact fees.


Commissioner Whitehurst would like to have another meeting on use of the Mickler Beach lot for berm construction. He will be celebrating Fathers Day and Juneteenth for the importance of emancipation of slaves to our country.


Commissioner Blocker reports that some Palm Valley residents want a no-wake zone on the Intracoastal and Commission could make a recommendation to the FWC in Tallahassee. He asked the attorney’s office to prepare a white paper for Commissioners on the County’s storm water assessment ordinances.


He recommended the Lincolnville Museum for everyone to visit for its historical presentations and can’t wait to take his children there. Mr. Blocker wished the U.S. Army a happy birthday on June 14th. He asked the County Administrator about the new Communications Plan and Mr. Conrad introduced the new Director of Public Affairs who was approved by 5-0 vote.


The County Attorney is coordinating with Growth Management and OMB on how HB 337 limiting impact fees can be implemented and the issue may require a workshop later on. The Board needs to determine the amount of non-agenda initiatives requiring funding for future Board actions.

200 Anniversary of St. Johns County




Celebrating 200 Years of Excellence



History: On July 10, 1821, the Spanish government transferred East Florida and its capital St. Augustine to the United States. There were three towns in the U.S. Florida Territory – Pensacola, Fernandina, and St. Augustine. It would be another 24 years before Florida would be admitted to the Union on March 3, 1845.


On July 21, St. Johns County will be celebrating its 200th anniversary of its founding as a County. On this date in 1821, President Andrew Jackson established Escambia and St. Johns Counties in the areas known as West and East Florida. St. Johns County encompassed all areas east of the Suwanee River. St. Johns County is home to the City of St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied, European settlement in the continental United States.


Event: Act of Transfer and Change of Flags Ceremony July 10


The Historic Florida Militia will present the Act of Transfer and Change of Flags Ceremony at 11 a.m. on July 10. The ceremony will begin with the Act of Transfer, a recreation of the signing of the official document declaring the end of Spanish rule in East Florida at the Government House, 48 King St.


The Historic Florida Militia will then march to the Florida Army National Guard Parade Grounds, 82 Marine St., and provide a historic interpretation of the changing of the flags and the exchange of the Florida territory from Spain to the United States.


Both events are free to the public in partnership with St. Johns County, the City of St. Augustine, the University of Florida, and the Florida Army National Guard.


For more information on the 200 Anniversary Celebration and all the events, click www.sjc200.org


Save the Date

Monday, August 9


HOA Board of Directors "School"




The next Roundtable meeting will be held on Monday, July 12, via Zoom. Ms. Isabelle Renault, the CEO of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce will be our featured speaker. She will be talking about the health of our business community, economic development and the future direction of economic growth in our county.




Officers:


Jim McLane, Chairman

Lisa McGlynn, Vice Chairman and Treasurer

Maureen Long, Secretary

Robert Olson, Member At Large

Committee Chairs:


Janet Patten, Government Affairs

John Pilecki, Education

Barbara Olson, Health Care


Working Together For Our County

St. Johns County Civic Roundtable



https://sjcroundtable.org




 


2-18-21


St. Johns County Civic Roundtable

Becky Yanni

Council on Aging


Next Roundtable Speaker

Monday, March 8th

Noon, Via Zoom

St. Johns County Commission Meeting Summary


2/16/2021



Short-term Rentals


After a very long meeting, Commissioner Dean urged the Commission to act on new ordinances for short-term rentals before the state legislature enacts a new law. Commissioners Whitehurst and Smith voiced their concern that passing new county regulations may be too confusing for residents before the state passes their law which will preempt local governments restrictions. The observation was made that in checking with our local legislative delegation, they thought short-term rental legislation will pass this session. By a 3-2 vote, short-term rental ordinances will be on the agenda at the next meeting in March.


Vaccines


The County is administering vaccinations six days a week at a rate of about 1600 a day. They estimate that 27,000 county residents have received at least one dose. On Friday, 2/19/21, the county is launching a new appointment site to replace the current Eventbrite site.


North Ponte Vedra Coastal Feasibility Study


The Commission gave the green light to enter into an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a shoreline storm risk feasibility study for north of Serenata Beach to the county line. This is a $3,000,000 and 3-year study with a 50/50 match with the federal government. The County cost of $1,500,000 is also eligible for a state match. The Army Corps could start the study as early as mid-April.


St. Johns County Golf Course


The course is long overdue for improvements and repairs and last year it generated over $88,000 in revenue. Although the County had voted in 2019 to seek proposals to make renovations to the course in exchange for selling the excess 9-hole course (80 acres), the Commission yesterday opposed by a 3/2 vote to move forward with the sales agreement. Staff is directed to come up with other options and costs to clean up the course which can be reviewed in April or May.


Other Business


Commissioners adopted staff recommendations to help mitigate drainage and flooding issues on S. Collins Avenue. This issue will be reviewed by the Board on a quarterly basis.


A request to add 71 acres of rural land to the residential TrailMark development was approved.


OMB Director Jesse Dunn reviewed the start of preparations for the FY 2022 budget. He indicated that property values are continuing to increase in the county and sales tax revenue are strong, only gas taxes have declined slightly.


Erick Saks and Andrew Evener were appointed to fill two vacancies on the Housing Finance Authority.


Short Term Vacation Rentals Scheduled for March 2


The proposed ordinance is currently scheduled for final reading before the Board of County Commissioners on March 2, 2021.

A copy of the staff report and proposed ordinance are typically available one week before the scheduled public hearing at https://stjohnsclerk.com/records/board-records/agendas/. Once posted, please click on the March 2, 2021, date and select the “Short Term Vacation Rentals” item to view the staff report.

Those who would like to submit public comment by telephone during the March 2, 2021, meeting may do so by calling 904.209.1265. The public may attend meetings in person.

If there are any questions regarding this item, please contact Joseph Cearley, Special Projects Manager.

Email: jcearley@sjcfl.us

Phone: (904) 209-0590


St. Johns County Utility Department Reinstating Late Fees and Disconnections


The St. Johns County Utility Department will begin reinstating disconnection of service and assessing late fees for accounts with past due balances on or after April 1, 2021. To review your current account status or to make a payment, you may call Customer Service at 904-209-2700, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or the 24/7 automated phone system at 844.752.8845, or by visiting www.sjcfl.us/Utilities.


Vacancies on Planning and Zoning Agency

Looking for a few good Citizens!


Want to make a difference in the future of our County? There are several vacancies on the Planning and Zoning Agency and several more vacancies will occur in June. If you are interested, or know someone who would be a good candidate for the PZA, please click here for the application.



Portion of North Beach Parking Lot Closed on 2/18


A portion of the North Beach Park parking lot will be closed on Thursday, February 18, for the staging of a pedestrian bridge that will be constructed over A1A Coastal Highway. The highway will be intermittently closed during the evening of Thursday, February 18, for installation of the bridge, and beach visitors are encouraged to exercise caution when visiting the park. The entire parking lot is expected to reopen on Friday, February 19. For more information, please call 904.209.0333.


Neighborhood Bill of Rights Tracker


The County has instituted a tracking system for Neighborhood Bill of Rights Notices. It can be accessed here: https://webapp.sjcfl.us/webnews/NBRscreend.aspx



Florida Friendly Landscaping


9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. February 25th


A 3-hour virtual program will be offered on Thursday, February 25th from 9am to noon that will feature Florida friendly landscaping and how to fund and implement in your community. This program is part of the GTM Research Reserve's yearly "State of the Reserve" program being offered February 22-26 -- all virtual.


Learn about low impact design, green infrastructure, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, and how to fund and implement them in your community (CEUs pending)

Claire Lewis, University of Florida, Eban Bean, Ph.D., University of Florida, and Emily Brown, Florida Department of Environmental Protection


Click here for more information and Click here to register.


You may want to send this information to your ARB Committee and or Landscaping Committee.



The purpose of the St. Johns County Civic Roundtable is to preserve and improve the quality of life in St. Johns County


The St. Johns County Civic Roundtable is a network of committed citizens, civic, neighborhood, community and homeowners' associations who come together for the good of our County. We meet monthly to hear and discuss issues with local officials and community leaders. We are a non-partisan organization whose members have a wide range of expertise and interests. Our Committees stay abreast of issues and make recommendations to our elected leaders on issues of importance to our County and State.

For additional information, please contact info@sjcroundtable.org


www.sjcroundtable.org


Officers:

Jim McLane, Chairman

Lisa McGlynn, Vice-Chairman/Treasurer

Maureen Long, Secretary

Robert Olson, Member At Large








December 29, 2020


St. Johns County COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution


St. Johns County, Fl – St. Johns County is working in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County to assist with the first phase of public COVID-19 vaccination operations. As the lead agency for vaccination distribution, the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County has received a limited initial allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. Per State of Florida Executive Order 20-315, the first phase of COVID-19 vaccines is designated for the following populations:


• Healthcare personnel with direct patient contact

• Long-term care facility residents and staff

• Persons 65 years of age and older


If you are 65 years and older, St. Johns County Health Department will take your name and phone number and call you in the near future to arrange an appointment for the vaccination. They are vaccinating health care workers and essential personnel this week, and they will start making appointments for the "65plus" next week. Call: 904-506-6081; Listen to the menu - tap option 8 and then option 1.


In addition, St. Johns County Fire Rescue is actively vaccinating frontline personnel including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters. The Federal Government and State Government are also directly administering vaccine distribution to long-term care facility residents and staff through local private healthcare providers and pharmacies. As information regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution in St. Johns County is continually evolving, please call the State of Florida 24/7 COVID-19 call center at 866.779.6121, visit www.floridahealthcovid19.gov, or email covid-19@floridahealth.gov. St. Johns County residents may also visit www.sjcfl.us/coronavirus for local COVID-19 updates.




St. Johns County Christmas Holiday Office Hours


All departments of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, St. Johns County Administrative offices, St. Johns County libraries, the Property Appraiser’s office, the Tax Collector’s office, the Clerk of Courts’ office, and the Supervisor of Elections’ office will be closed Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday.


All library branches will resume standard business hours on Saturday, December 26. All other offices will resume standard business hours on Monday, December 28.


Garbage, recycling, and yard debris will not be collected on Friday, December 25, with all routes being delayed one day and completed by Saturday, December 26. Both the Tillman Ridge and Stratton Road solid waste scale houses will be closed on Friday, December 25, and resume standard business hours on Saturday, December 26.



Sunshine Bus Company Offers Free Rides to Patrons with St. Johns County Library Card



The St. Johns County Public Library is partnering with the St. Johns County Council on Aging to offer library patrons a way to travel around town easier. Beginning in January 2021, Sunshine Bus riders may present their St. Johns County Public Library card to the bus driver to receive a free ride on the first Wednesday of each month. Up to three children, ages 12 and under, may also ride with a qualifying adult at no cost. To sign up for or renew a library card, please visit any branch library. For more information about the St. Johns County Council on Aging, including information about the Sunshine Bus and schedules, please visit www.coasjc.org.

St. Johns County Christmas “Tree-cycling” Program


St. Johns County is hosting its Annual Christmas “Tree-cycling” Program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, December 28, through Monday, January 4, for those who wish to recycle Christmas trees after the holiday. Residents are encouraged to bring Christmas trees to any of the following locations:


Ron Parker Park – 607 Old Beach Road

Cornerstone Park – 1046 A1A North

Davis Park – 210 Davis Park Road

Mills Field – 1805 Racetrack Road

First Tee – 4401 Cypress Links Blvd.


Artificial trees will not be accepted as only natural trees can be recycled, and trees should be free of decorations and debris. Designated areas and signage will direct participants where to drop off their trees. For more information, please call 904.209.0335.




The purpose of the St. Johns County Civic Roundtable is to preserve and improve the quality of life in St. Johns County


The St. Johns County Civic Roundtable is a network of committed citizens, civic, neighborhood, community and homeowners' associations who come together for the good of our County. We meet monthly to hear and discuss issues with local officials and community leaders. We are a non-partisan organization whose members have a wide range of expertise and interests. Our Committees stay abreast of issues and make recommendations to our elected leaders on issues of importance to our County and State.

For additional information, please contact info@sjcroundtable.org


www.sjcroundtable.org






SHORT TERM VACATION RENTALS

The County Commission's first agenda item on Tuesday, December 1 during its regular meeting will be on the proposed short term vacation rental proposed ordinance. The presentation by staff will be on the ordinance as drafted along guidelines approved in October. If approved, by the Board, the ordinance will move forward to public hearings with the first hearing scheduled in front of the PZA on January 21st and followed by a final Commission Board hearing in late February.


Here is the link to the agenda item and material - LINK HERE


This is a brief summary:


1.Annual registration – including certificate of registration and annual inspection.

2. Exemptions – All properties west of the Intercoastal waterway; owner occupied units; duplexes with at least one unit occupied by the owner; and multifamily with Homeowners Association.

3. Occupancy limitations – two (2) persons per bedroom plus two (2) persons per common room, maximum of sixteen (16) persons


4. Parking – minimum of one onsite parking space per three (3) transient occupants.

5. Solid Waste – Garbage cans may be out only on day of pickup; minimum of 1 garbage can per four (4) persons.

6. Noise – Compliance with Noise Ordinance must be disclosed.