OHPA holds workshop to address citizens’ concerns

Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
July 30, 2015 2:22 p.m.

DSCN0150 CropBoard members of the Nassau County Ocean Highway Port Authority (OHPA) spent Wednesday afternoon in a workshop session striking words and omitting paragraphs from the controversial port master plan. After months of protests from concerned citizens, board members agreed to remove most of the controversial language from the plan. According to Port Attorney Clyde Davis, formal approval of the changes made to the plan will more than likely take place at the next regularly scheduled meeting on August 12.

Once the changes are approved, such words as coal, oil refineries, fumigation Continue reading

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St Michael’s Catholic Church – A blended transformation

Submitted by Evelyn C. McDonald
Arts & Culture Reporter

Photos courtesy of Paula MC Porterfield-Izzo
www.seascapeportraits.com
July 30, 2015
Interior photos to be published early next week.

For those who believe that new things can only come into existence by destroying existing things, the St. Michael’s Church renovation and expansion comes as a pleasant surprise. The word most descriptive for the result of the vision of St. Michael’s pastor Father Jose Kallukalam and the expertise of architect Jose Miranda has achieved is blending. The existing church, built in 1872, has been preserved and the new addition seamlessly integrated into it.

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Architect Jose Miranda stands on the north side of the newly restored and expanded St Michael’s Catholic Church.

Nothing expresses this blending better that the circular window above the altar. The original window was a small stained glass circle. It has been incorporated into a larger circle in stained glass with a related design. The Continue reading

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Fernandina Beach Commission sets tentative millage rate

Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
July 29, 2015 10:15 p.m.

DSCN0133 CropAfter a two hour budget workshop Tuesday afternoon, the Fernandina Beach City Commission voted 5 – 0 to set the tentative millage rate at 6.1021. The tentative millage rate can be reduced when the final budget is approved.

Added to the 6.1021 millage rate is voter approved debt for the Greenway bond at a slight decrease of .2023 bringing the total millage to 6.3044. Although the proposed 6.1021 millage rate maintains the previous year’s rate, it is considered a tax increase.

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Patti Clifford Finance Director

Patti Clifford, finance director, presented the proposed budget.  State shared revenue increased by $264,000. The City’s taxable value increased $20 million dollars or 4.8%.

Items in the proposed budget include:
Accounting/Permitting Software $1,025,500
(Loan Proceeds $706,500)
Street Resurfacing/striping $332,750
Alachua Street Opening (Loan Proceeds) $800,000
Atlantic Rec Ctr Baby Pool Improvements $45,000
Peck Center Window Replacement (Third Phase) $55,000
Waterfront Park $275,000
Brett’s Pilling Repair/Replacement $112,700
Golf Course Banquet Chairs $25,000
Golf Course Propane Equipment $55,000
New Fire Truck (Capital Lease) $400,000
New Backhoe (Purchase) $100,000

Commission discussion centered on staffing needs, health insurance, and Continue reading

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Nassau County School District ranks among top-performing districts in Florida civil citation study

Dewey & Associates Press Release
Contact:Dewey Caruthers
Dewey@deweyandassociates.com

July 29, 2015 8:30 a.m.

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“Stepping Up: Florida’s Top Civil Citation Efforts” reveals more civil citations would increase public safety investment battling serious crime.

TALLAHASSEE, FL (July 16, 2015) A study released by one of Florida’s top civil citation experts and supported by state and national juvenile justice reform organizations ranked Nassau County School District as the third-best in district two in the state.

Additionally, the study reveals that increasing the use of civil citations statewide would have enormous benefits for public safety, taxpayers, and the Continue reading

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Friends of the Library – $182,000 needed to achieve goal

Submitted by Wilma Allen
Communications Chair
July 28, 2015 1:54 p.m.

FOL Come Grow with usThanks to amazing generosity over the last several years, FOL has raised $1,018,000 of the $1.2 million it promised to match City and County contributions to upgrade and expand our library! The ‘new’ Library is open and busier than ever, even though there are still open spaces where chairs, shelves, desks, technology, books and work tables are needed. Just $182k is needed to achieve the ultimate goal of a well-equipped library that meets the needs of our community today and well into the future.

It takes a community… As we near the end of our campaign, there is still much going on and much to do. FOL has been working together with Continue reading

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Nassau County sets tentative millage rate

Submitted by Adam Kaufman
On Special Assignment

July 27, 2015 9:24 p.m.

Adjusts Capital Improvement Plan

Establishes revenue estimates

Nassau County SealAt its regularly scheduled evening meeting, July 27, 2015 the Nassau County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to tentatively set the total county millage rate at no higher than its current level for the fiscal year 2015 – 2016. The millage rate for this fiscal year 2014- 2015 was set at 6.567 after the County had maintained a 5.567 rate level for the prior seven years. The 6.567 tentative millage rate set at the Commission meeting may be decreased as the County Commissioners continue budget deliberations but it cannot be raised.

There was no debate or discussion with only Commissioner Kelly questioning County staff to emphasize that the millage rate remains the same.

The first public hearing for the 2015- 2016 budget will be Thursday, September 10, 2015 to be held at the Page Governmental Complex at 6pm.

In an afternoon Special Session the County Commission made adjustments in its Capital Improvement Program. The Commissioners unanimously agreed to Continue reading

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Fernandina Beach holds budget workshop on Enterprise Funds and Non-profit grants

budget-2015-16-live-update-Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
July 27, 2015 8:19 a.m.

During a workshop held on July 22, 2015, Fernandina Beach City Commissioners (FBCC) began considering the FY2015-16 budget proposal publicly for the first time. The FBCC began with consideration of city enterprise funds and grants to non-profit agencies.

Unlike previous years during which several budget workshops were held prior to setting the tentative millage rate, this year there will be only a matter of minutes between the second workshop and the Special Meeting to set the tentative millage rate for FY2015-16. Discussions of the General Fund budget will take place at the second workshop on July 28, 2015 from 3-4:55 p.m. to be followed at 5:00 p.m. by a Special Meeting for the purpose of setting the millage rate for the next fiscal year. Both meetings will be held in Fernandina Beach City Hall Commission Chambers, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach. The millage rate set at the Special Meeting may be decreased as commissioners continue to discuss the upcoming budget, but cannot be raised. Continue reading

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Amelia Island revealed . . .

Submitted by Len Kreger
July 26, 2015 1:00 a.m.

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“Container Ship” Photo courtesy of Len Kreger

Editor’s Note: Kreger spends many mornings patrolling the beach as a volunteer for the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch. He is a long serving community volunteer. We thank Len for his contribution to the Fernandina Observer.

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