By Dale Martin
October 8, 2021
At every City Commission regular meeting (6:00 PM, first and third Tuesday of each month at City Hall), following the formal Call to Order by the Mayor, the Roll Call by the City Clerk, the Pledge of Allegiance by the Vice Mayor, and an Invocation by a local pastor, the agenda has time allocated for Presentations and Proclamations.
Some of the presentations are relatively routine, but provide up-to-date information from various City departments or other organizations. Ms. Testagrose, City Comptroller, provides a regular review of City finances at the second meeting each month. Although her review is a short summary of several budgetary highlights, her complete report is published as part of the agenda.
City Commission, as well as every other board and commission, agendas can be accessed, reviewed, and downloaded through the City’s web site. It is possible to download simply the agenda pages themselves (typically two or three pages describing the action items to be considered by the City Commission) or the entire packet, which includes the background and supporting documentation for the action items. The entire packet typically has 500-600 pages, depending upon the action items slated for consideration. The agendas (typically prepared three weeks prior to a meeting) are published a week prior to the scheduled meetings (for all boards and commissions). Through the City website, anyone interested in those agendas can subscribe through the City’s website to receive an electronic notice when agendas or other information is posted on the website.
Returning to the City Commission presentations, though, other organizations regularly appear before the City Commission. The Nassau County Humane Society shares a monthly dog available for adoption at the first meeting of each month. Ms. Lisa Finkelstein, Executive Director of Fernandina Beach Main Street, provides a quarterly update of Main Street activities.
Other regular annual presentations include the proposed City budget, the City’s audit, and several regional governmental organizations. Special presentations occur as needed, such as recent presentations from Waste Management regarding trash collection efforts, from consultants associated with the City’s Amelia River waterfront efforts, and from conservation and environmental organizations.
During that same portion of the agenda, the Mayor presents proclamations to various individuals and organizations. Many of the proclamations are to recognize an event or a civic cause. At the meeting earlier this week, proclamations were offered to the American Business Women’s Association, Eight Flags Charter Chapter, to the Princess Amelia Chapter of the National Colonial Dames XVII Society recognizing National Colonial Heritage Month, and to City staff in recognition of Florida City Government Week (Oct 18-24). Thank you to the recipients of those proclamations and to the additional City staff who attended.
The City Commission agenda routinely has three or four proclamations. At times, an occasion grumble is made regarding the time allocated for reading and presenting the proclamations. Those proclamations, however, recognize the efforts and people of our community. Those people and efforts contribute significantly to the overall quality of life of this community.
People and efforts such as Ms. Wanda Lanier of Barnabas, the members of our Police and Fire Departments, Mental Health First Aid Month, Pride Month, Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation, Les Demerle and the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, Suicide Prevention Awareness, Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, and many others. The few moments before the City Commission and the community offer brief but deep appreciation for so many people and causes.
Nearly every one of the proclamations are meticulously researched and prepared by the City Clerk, Ms. Caroline Best. She has a gift of eloquence that makes every recipient beam and brings great awareness and gratitude to the recipients.
The presentations and proclamations do not typically draw the attention of most of the other agenda action items, but that part of the City Commission meeting serves as a regular re-set, reminding us that this community has plenty of goodness among us.
Thank you to everyone who contributes to this great place.