It appears from his tortured syntax that County Administrator MICHAEL WANCHICK reckons himself Louche Lugubrious Lord of All He Surveys, a Tinpot Napoleon. I have asked him for copies of the "complaints."
What do you reckon?
St. Augustine Beach Civic Association 2200 A1A South
St Augustine, FL 32080
Dear Mr. Jones:
I am writing in response to your request to renew the 2007 Agreement between St. Johns County and the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, which provides for use of a portion of the St. Johns County Ocean Beach & Fishing Pier (Pier Park) parking lot to operate what has become known as the “Wednesday Farmers Market at the Pier.” The effective term of the Agreement expires on July 31, 2017, and subject to County Commission approval, could be extended for a period of five years.
As you are aware, the landscape of St. Johns County has changed dramatically since the inception of the Farmers Market at this location. Today, the County is confronted with a significant increase in the number of residents and visitors who desire to park at Pier Park throughout the day and evening hours. Allowing special events to utilize this limited beach front parking has resulted in complaints questioning why the County is permitting special activities in this location at the expense of beach parking which is acknowledged to be in short supply.
In addition, as with any other popular attraction, the demand for increased public investment such as infrastructure improvements, more frequent maintenance, and cleanup, naturally follows. The County’s increasing cost of providing such services has been obvious during its past few budget hearings. In fact, in recent years, the County’s General Fund has subsidized its Beach Services Fund in excess of several million dollars. Those capital outlays can no longer be supported by the General Fund and in this past year’s budget hearings, the County Commission provided direction to staff to begin implementing a charge for off-beach parking at Pier Park and similar parking locations. This initiative, when implemented, will further reduce the County’s ability to accommodate special events at Pier Park.
We (sic) recognize and appreciate the many contributions the Civic Association makes for the quality of life of local residents and the enjoyment of tourists. It is further recognized that revenues generated by the Civic Association during the Wednesday Market at the Pier fund numerous events that positively impact both the City of St. Augustine Beach and the County. Unfortunately, the current request to renew the agreement is inconsistent with the operational and financial direction of the County. Therefore, after careful consideration, we (sic) are unable to recommend that the County Commission approve a five-year extension of the existing agreement.
We (we) are open to a discussion of other available options that might allow the Civic Association to lease an alternative County-owned site through County’s leasing process. If you have further questions in this regard or would like to discuss an alternative location for the farmers market, please do not hesitate to contact me or Joy Andrews, Assistant County Administrator for Community Services, at 904-209-0562.
Michael D. Wanchick
cc: St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners
Patrick McCormack, County Attorney
Historic City News later reported: