FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Nassau County Board of County Commission sets priorities for Florida State Delegation

By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
December 1, 2020

Each year, the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) develops a list of priorities to present to its elected Florida State delegation in hopes that they might secure funding from the State — separate and distinct from possible federal funding dollars.

Contained in the list approved unanimously on November 30, 2020 are:

• The Phase-Out of the American Beach Well and Septic System
• Funding for the SWEAT Program (Sheriff’s Work Ethics and Training Program) and
• County Road 121

According to an internal memo from the County Manager’s office:

Total project costs for water and sewer design, permitting and construction are estimated at $8.0 million, with up to $5.6 million expected to be funded by forgivable SRF (State Revolving Funds) funds, leaving $2.4 million to finance with local special assessments within the District. The cost share by the 279 benefitting property owners is estimated at $8,602 per parcel for a yearly cost of $670 financed for 20 years. This excludes on site private property connection costs.

It is the Board of County Commissioners desire to reduce the principal loan amount on which the annual assessment will be based so as to reduce the financial burden on this small disadvantaged coastal community that is vulnerable to storm surge. Our request is that the State appropriate half of the amount needing to be locally financed (base project cost to property owners), $1.2 million, in the form of a grant to reduce the $2.4 million principal by 50%. The reduction of the principal loan amount will significantly reduce the assessment charged to the individual property owners within this disadvantaged and vulnerable historic African-American coastal community.

The SWEAT Program is an alternative to incarceration for “at-risk” youth which is based on a successful program out of Clay County. It incorporates elements of community service, mentoring and academic assistance. Since its inception in Nassau County in December of 2019, there have been twelve events held (including trash pick-up in areas around the County), 24-youth have been tutored and another 28-youth mentored. No dollar figure as the amount to be requested was available at press time.

Third on the list is the milling and resurfacing of County Road 121 (formerly known as State Road 121) estimated to cost $18.9 million. CR 121 is a forty-mile road serving mainly freight traffic. The County Manager’s memo said, “It is Nassau County’s request that the State assist in exploring options to ensure the viability of the CR121 corridor in order to support the SIS (Strategic Intermodal System), interregional and interstate commerce and Florida’s global competitiveness.”

A meeting of the BOCC with the Nassau County Delegation is scheduled for Monday, December 7, 2020, from 4-5:30 pm.

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