Port Commission Still Short of a Valid Budget

By Mike Phillips

It was an unhappy crew of port authority commissioners who gathered Wednesday to confront financial issues that have been dogging them for months.

The only person more unhappy was their executive director, David Kaufmann. His contract was not renewed on schedule last June, and that writing on the wall was made official when his job ended during the meeting.

But even with subtracting that salary, the commission’s budget is still in the hole and can’t be approved. They will try again in a special meeting Sept. 25.

How unhappy are they? “There is no business plan!” Vice Chair Miriam Hill lamented at one point. “Our budget makes no sense!” commissioner Ray Nelson charged at another. Finally, chair Danny Fullwood had enough and gaveled the budget discussion to a close.

Earlier, the commission:

  • Heard from the port operator that business is picking up this month, after the usual slow August.
  • Authorized requests for bids to build a 25,000 square-foot fiber-covered storage unit with an option to build a larger, second unit.
  • Chose highly regarded realtor John Hillman to manage sale of three parcels at or near the intersection of North Third Street and Dade Street. Hillman is familiar with and supportive of the historic district’s architectural restrictions and supports the neighborhood’s desire that the parcels’ lots be at least 50 feet wide and limited to single-family homes. Chairman Fullwood once again guaranteed that iron-clad deed restrictions will be attached to any lot sold from the parcels.

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Joe Blanchard
Noble Member
Joe Blanchard(@jlblan2)
8 months ago

Why do we keep electing members to the OHPA that have consistently mismanaged it. It is time for the voters to make a change

Active Member
8 months ago

J Blanchard is on target.
Fullwood and Cole need to be replaced. New Chair should be Hill with Nelson as Vice Chair.

Bob Reisner
Active Member
Bob Reisner(@bob-reisner)
8 months ago

There is no budget problem at the Fernandina Port. It’s a ‘Why does this exist?’ problem.

The Port of Fernandina has no economic value to the economy of the USA and has a negative value to the community it lives in.

There is no category of Port operation that would be profitable and sustainable. The Port is dying.

The Port should not exist. The best plan is a plan to gracefully close the port at the least expense to the community. And to begin the community process of figuring the best use of 20 acres on the water.

A longer explanation can be found here: