Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 6, 2019 5:00 p.m.
Via unanimous vote at their March 5, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) passed Resolution 2019-43 approving Dawson Associates LLC as a sole source vendor to place new wayfinding signage in the downtown area at a cost of $182,000. The money will be paid from impact fees.
Fernandina Beach Main Street last year obtained the services of Dawson Associates LLC with funding assistance from a state grant.to study and recommend themed signage for downtown Fernandina Beach to replace the mishmash of signs that have proliferated over the years. A wide audience of stakeholders participated in the process of coming up with a new design, which was presented to the community last fall . The city and Fernandina Beach Main Street have worked together on this project.
New street directories will replace the green signs that are suspended from poles at cross street intersections. Those signs were paid for by merchants, who will not be required to pay for the new signs. Placement of signs will also expand into city parking lots.
City Attorney Tammi Bach, at the request of commissioners, investigated whether projects such as this could be funded from impact fees, which have traditionally been used only to pay for new construction. Upon investigation Bach concluded that she could justify spending impact fees on this project because there is a “reasonable relationship” between the collection of impact fees and needs related to population growth. The ability to fund this project with impact fees means that General Fund tax dollars will not be required.
Vice Mayor Kreger reiterated a position taken at a Chamber of Commerce meeting that when the project specifications are laid out, Dawson will make all efforts to ensure that local businesses have the opportunity to bid on the work.
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.