Weekly comments from Dale Martin – Brief overview of City departments

Dale Martin
City Manager
Fernandina Beach
November 20, 2020

City Manager Dale Martin

As the new fiscal year gets started, let me provide a brief overview of the initial efforts of the various City departments.

Grants Administration (Ms. Lorelei Jacobs) Applications for over half a million dollars were prepared and submitted by Ms. Jacobs in October. The applications seek funding for resiliency efforts along the Amelia River waterfront and for beach walkover construction. Over $300,000 of grant funding was awarded to the City in October, including funding for boardwalk replacement and extension along the Amelia River waterfront and for decontamination equipment for the Fire Department and additional personal protective equipment and supplies for public safety personnel.

Finance (Ms. Pauline Testagrose, Comptroller) Finance staff is working to complete the year-end financial records to close-out the previous fiscal year. The municipal auditors have completed their initial visit to conduct the annual audit.

Information Technology (Mr. Dana Whicker) IT personnel continue to maintain the City’s electronic presence through the City website and several social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). With the effect of the pandemic demanding greater remote efforts (meetings, applications, general correspondence), over two hundred IT support “Help tickets” were processed (and over another two hundred filed).

Human Resources (Ms. Denise Matson) Human Resources staff completed year-end personnel actions. Staff is also preparing for the review of the City’s Pay and Classification Plan and negotiations with two collective bargaining units. Due to the pandemic, staff is also exploring alternatives to conducting the City’s annual Employee Service Recognition ceremony (traditionally a breakfast event). Key recognition this year is due to CPT David Bishop and Mr. Rex Lester (thirty-five years of service) and Ms. Nan Voit (twenty-five years of service). Another half-dozen employees have completed twenty years of service and another half dozen have completed fifteen years of service.

Fleet, Facilities, and Sanitation (Mr. Jeremiah Glisson) Nearly all vehicle purchases included in the new fiscal year have been completed (ordered, not necessarily received). Contracts for budgeted roof improvements at the Atlantic Recreation Center and the Golf Course have been approved by the City Commission. Staff is coordinating the transition of City solid waste collection from Advanced Disposal Services to Waste Management.

Police (Chief James Hurley) October statistics include over two hundred traffic stops (176 citations and warnings), thirty-six motor vehicle crashes (seven classified as hit-and-run), dozens of various calls for service (alarms, suspicion people/vehicles, noise, etc.) All officers also completed mandatory annual firearms qualifications.

Fire (Chief Ty Silcox) A new fire engine has been received and is currently being outfitted and prepared for service. Design for the proposed fire station continues. Chief Silcox also monitored the pandemic effects and tropical storm activity as part of the City’s emergency management effort.

Planning and Conservation (Kelly Gibson) Department staff continues to support the activities of several boards, including the Planning Advisory Board, the Historic District Council, Board of Adjustment, and the Technical Review Committee. Ordinances related to Land Development Code revisions and annexations were prepared for City Commission consideration. The City Arborist managed tree planting and review efforts.

Building (Mr. Stephen Beckman) Several Stop Work orders were issued, primarily due to the lack of the appropriate permit. Nearly one thousand inspections were completed and approximately four hundred various new permits were issued. The City’s “flood” rating was improved (efforts led by Building Department staff but involving coordination with other departments).

Code Enforcement (Ms. Michelle Forstrom) Nearly one hundred code enforcement cases were opened, roughly two hundred inspections conducted, and almost one hundred cases were resolved or closed.

Streets (Mr. Rex Lester) Routine maintenance related to pavement, traffic signals, signs, and sidewalks was completed. A significant effort to collect and clear accumulated trash and yard waste within City rights-of-way was completed.

Parks and Recreation (Ms. Nan Voit) A new Christmas tree for downtown was ordered and is scheduled to be received and erected later this month. Maintenance work was completed on several beach walkovers and public restrooms. Department staff has provided additional support to other departments on an as-needed and available basis.

With Thanksgiving celebrated next week, I want to offer my thanks to the members of City staff for their continuing professional efforts to maintain and enhance our community. I enjoy working with them and remain proud to be part of this exceptional team.

Please enjoy Thanksgiving safely next week.

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