Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
September 29, 2021
Sean Lehav, Resiliency Coordinator for the Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC), updated the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) on the NEFRC’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan at the FBCC’s September 21, 2021 Regular Meeting.
Via a 21-slide presentation, Lehav explained that economic resilience refers to the ability of economies to bounce back to normal conditions after losing function because of an uncontrollable event, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that resilient economies can respond and recover quickly and that equity must be an integrated component of plans so that all elements of the community may prosper.
NEFRC assembled a 20-member task force to develop plans and strategies with the goal of implementing an economic resiliency plan for the region in January 2022. Nassau County Manager Taco Pope serves on this task force.
Allocations of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) for Nassau County and its municipalities:
- Nassau County — $17,188,273
- Callahan —$571,502
- Fernandina Beach — $5,533,906
- Hilliard — $1,371,185
The Task Force has identified and is working toward three regional priorities:
1. Infrastructure policies
2. Small business relief
3. Driving equity
NEFRC received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in August 2020 to support economic resilience efforts across the region directly related to Covid-19, enabling the agency to focus staff resources toward priorities related to pandemic response, recovery, and long-term planning.
With the release of the plan, the NEFRC has begun an implementation process that will involve community outreach, presentations to elected commissions, and additional technical assistance activities.
Lehav highlighted the recently released “Nassau Prosperity Plan” as a model example of a plan to guide spending of funds received under the American Rescue Plan.
The Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) is one of ten regional planning councils in the State of Florida. Regional District 4 was formed in 1977 by an interlocal agreement, pursuant to Chapter 163 of Florida Statutes. The mission of the NEFRC is to celebrate the unique assets of Northeast Florida and to engage its people, businesses, governments and organizations. In doing so they:
- Communicate Issues
- Convene Stakeholders
- Collaborate with Others
- Calculate and Analyze
- Construct Solutions
Headquartered in Jacksonville, the NEFRC is a dynamic network of local governance, serving seven counties – Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns – and 26 municipalities.