Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 18, 2018
Florida Senator Aaron Bean and State Representative Cord Byrd came to Fernandina Beach City Hall last night bearing a gift: a $450,000 check from the state to help city stormwater mitigation efforts along Front Street.
In addressing the City Commission, Sen. Bean said that the Parkland School Shooting, which occurred toward the end of the recently completed Legislative Session, caused much state money that had been programmed for funding local Legislative Priorities to be reprogrammed to deliver a school safety package that totaled over $400M. Especially adversely impacted were local water projects. Bean credited efforts of local city lobbyist Arthur I. “Buddy” Jacobs for keeping an eye on the city’s funding request and shepherding it to its final approval by Governor Rick Scott.
Bean introduced Rep. Cord Byrd, who echoed previous comments on the difficulty of funding local water projects this year. Byrd said that Fernandina Beach’s project was one of only 51 water projects that were funded this year. “It took a team effort,” Byrd said, crediting Jacobs and city officials who traveled to Tallahassee to join in promoting the benefits to the state of funding the local project.
Bean asked Mayor John Miller about staging a group photo for the presentation of the ceremonial check. Miller turned to his fellow commissioners and asked, “Do we have a consensus to accept this money from the state?” That generated considerable laughter from commissioners and the audience.
Bean invited Jacobs, City Attorney Tammi Bach, and City Manager Dale Martin to join the presentation. “It’s a very heavy check,” he said, “and we’ll need lots of people to hold it.” He added, “We’re going to need some extra large ID to cash this thing.”
Bean and Byrd left the chamber following a round of audience applause.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.