By Cindy Jackson
May 17, 2019
With the Memorial Day holiday fast approaching, the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) met twice this week. On Monday evening, the BOCC issued several proclamations and on Wednesday morning, most of the meeting was dedicated to quarterly reports from departments and associated organizations.
On Monday, no fewer than four resolutions were on the agenda. To that end, many might ask how it all began. Well, it all began in Congress.
Since 1914, Congress has authorized 44 patriotic and national observances. But that’s not all . . . the US Congress also introduces “hundreds of legislative measures to recognize, support, honor, or acknowledge certain days, weeks, and months,” according to a report issued by the Congressional Research Service.
State and county governments also take advantage of making proclamations.
These resolutions, (especially at the local level), serve the purpose of educating the public and in so doing, recognize the hard work of many an organization in a community. The May 13th meeting of the BOCC was a perfect example of just that.
Here in Nassau County, May 2019 has been recognized Mental Health First Aid Month, National Foster Care Month and May 18 – May 24 as National Safe Boating Week.
Did you know that for nearly 100 million Americans engage in boating as a recreational activity, that 650 people die each year in boating-related accidents and that 70% of those boating accidents are a result of human error? That resolution “calls upon each resident to practice safe boating habits and to wear a life jacket at all times.”
Did you know here in Nassau County there are 115 children currently under the supervision of Family Support Services and that Nassau County foster care parents are caring for and nurturing more than 85 children and youth? Just ask Commissioner Justin Taylor why foster care is so important. He grew up under the Foster Care System and is just one example of the incredible difference foster care can make in the life and success of a child. Said Taylor post-meeting, “As I’m sure you know, that was probably one of my favorite resolutions considering how near and dear the issue is to me.”
The resolution relating to mental health expressly identified the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015 (in the US Congress) and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, noting that said legislation “speaks volumes to the importance and value of mental health first aid to our community’s wellness.”
And on May 15th, another resolution was presented commending local businesses and animal welfare groups for the support they provide to Nassau County Animal Services. As noted in that resolution, 44% of all households in America have a pet and approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year. PetCo, Redbones, Cats Angels and Keller Williams were among those recognized.
Quarterly reports from County departments and affiliated organizations have also become a mainstay on BOCC agendas. This week, the BOCC heard from Facilities Maintenance/Parks and Recreation activities from Mr. Doug Podiak, who, it was also announced, was recently promoted to Director of Public Works. Worthy of note is the 744 work orders received during the month of April (2019) of which 711 were completed. Podiak received kudos from the commission board members in attendance.
In addition, a brief presentation was given by Wanda Forrest, Manager for the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, (an organization of which Commissioner Danny Leeper serves as chair,) and the Amelia Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB, spoke of the incredible importance of tourism to Nassau County and specifically mentioned, the economic impact restaurants have on the vitality of our community – especially as far as job creation is concerned. Langley used the Salt Life Restaurant as an example noting that its location near Main Beach has resulted in the creation of some 150 jobs. Interesting to note is the average daily rate for overnight stays – it is on the rise – now at $292/night.
Videos of BOCC meetings are available shortly after their completion by going to the County webpage at http://nassaufl.granicus.com/player/clip/795?view_id=2, for example.
Those services are provided by the Nassau County Clerk’s office.
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.