Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
July 24, 2020
The Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) approved on First Reading at their July 21, 2020 meeting Ordinance 2020-22, which contains ballot language for the 2020 General Election in November intended to safeguard city owned conservation and recreation lands.
Commissioner Chip Ross requested at a City Commission meeting in May 2019, that an Ordinance be drafted to amend the Charter to provide that a referendum be required to sell or lease for 40+ years any City-owned conservation land. Ross agreed to change the previously approved language in Ordinance 2019-15 to what the Charter Review Committee recommended in June 2020.
Voters will be asked to vote yes or no on the following Question:
Should the Fernandina Beach City Charter be amended to prohibit the sale or lease of City-owned conservation lands and restrict the sale or lease of City-owned recreation facilities by requiring unanimous vote of the City Commission and approval at a referendum by at least 70% of the electors of the City?
If voters approve this question in the November election, the enabling ordinance will amend Section 10A of the City Charter to add a third subsection regarding a referendum for sale or lease of City-owned conservation land.
The Ordinance passed unanimously on First Reading. A Second Reading, including a public hearing on the proposed change, will be required before the item is placed on the ballot.