By Cindy Jackson
July 17, 2019 1:00 a.m.
Taco Pope, Assistant County Manager was the first to speak at the July 17, 2019 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, presenting a summary of the Growth Trends Report for 2019, noting that Nassau County is “a community in transition . . . with new people, new ideas, new demands, new expectations and new opportunities.”
While briefly acknowledging that some may not be happy with the rate of growth, Pope maintains “we [here in Nassau County] are lucky, as we are still ahead of the curve,” compared to some neighboring counties, and emphasized that we can “shape the future of our community.”
Referencing the Vision 2032 report, (available online in its entirety at https://www.nassaucountyfl.com/DocumentCenter/View/18567/2019-Growth-Trends-Report-7-5-19-FINAL-), Pope outlined the twelve tools the county uses to “embrace the opportunity, appreciate the challenge, be open to innovation, and strive to maintain proper perspective,” as explained in that report.
Those tools include:
• A fiscal analysis
• The Western Nassau Visioning Plan
• SR 200/AIA Corridor Design Plan
• Recreation Planning
• An Affordable Housing Needs Assessment
• A Mobility Plan
• A Development Review Study
• A Civic Facilities Study (on hold at this time)
• A Capital Maintenance and Planning Program
• A Multi-Year Staffing Plan
• A Fleet Replacement Program
• A Structurally Balanced Budget
• The William Burgess Context and Connectivity Blueprint
• School Planning
• Joint Planning with Incorporated Municipalities
A number of upcoming workshops are scheduled to provide commissioners and the public updates on important items including:
July 29 – impact fees
August 2 – new recreational impact fees
September 9 – operations and maintenance for parks and recreation
At the end of each meeting of the BOCC, commissioners are invited to speak and bring issues to the attention of the entire Board. In addition to commissioners, the county attorney and other department heads are invited to speak at this time.
As County Attorney, Mr. Mullin took the opportunity to speak about work currently underway with the County’s law firm of Nabors Giblin & Nickerson P.A., and in cooperation with the expertise provided by the Florida Association of Counties regarding the State’s Sunshine Laws. Mullin noted that he hoped to bring recommendations before the board at the next meeting (scheduled for July 22 at 6PM) but more than likely, the presentation of recommendations would not occur until August.
Commissioner Taylor then read a statement referencing alleged violations of the Sunshine Law, expressing his knowledge of public discontent relating to the ethics of the current BOCC. He asserted that no violations of the Sunshine Law have occurred.
Taylor also referenced a lawsuit filed by the corporate structure that is Raydient/Rayonier and the East Nassau Stewardship District (ENSD). His statement went on to reference a mediation session between the parties (Rayonier, etc. and the BOCC) held in March and another held this past Monday during which the judge acknowledged the parties were at an impasse and went on to suggest all complaints/lawsuits be mediated by the same individual. According to Taylor, on Monday of this week, Mullin’s attorney moved to dismiss the lawsuit against him that alleged Sunshine Law violations, but in so doing added it was done with “leave to amend,” which means the aggrieved party can add to their original complaint.
Taylor continued reading his statement encouraging the Board of County Commissioners to approve the sending of a letter to the Manager of the ENSD (East Nassau Stewardship District) and other involved parties under the Rayonier/Raydient umbrella, requesting a meeting with them and Assistant County Manager Taco Pope, outside county counsel Greg Stewart and himself to be held in the County Commissioner Chambers. In so doing, Taylor referenced Pope’s assertion it is “much easier to complain than to come up with ideas,” affirming that he saw the current board as one of ideas.
That motion was approved 5-0.
The BOCC then went into a closed session to discuss the labor agreement with Nassau County Fire/Rescue Professionals, Local 3101.
Other Growth Information:
Editor’s Note: Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, Cindy received her BA in Political Science from Dickinson College. Upon graduation, Cindy began her career on Capitol Hill working as a legislative aide and director. She later became a part of the public relations and lobbying team of the American Iron and Steel Institute and served as director of the office of state legislative affairs for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Cindy was involved in economic development with the state of Maryland, and served as executive director of Leadership Washington County. As a community volunteer, Cindy participates in numerous volunteer activities serving as a member of Sunrise Rotary, and as board member of Cummer Amelia Board of Directors.