Sunday, May 28, 2017

City of St. Augustine Legislative Agenda Fails in 2017 Florida Legislature

Commissioner TODD DAVID NEVILLE a/k/a "ODD TODD" once again shows his unfitness to be Mayor of St. Augustine. He excuses nonperformance by the lobbyists hired by his running dog, City Manager JOHN PATRICK REGAN, P.E. Hiring lobbyists, the City bet on corruption. It lost. It needs to re-think its business plan. That "plan" is predicated on Tallahassee legislators doling out moola by endless begging. Last year, the Governor vetoed some $275,000 for West Augustine sewers while signing $2,882,000 for restoring storm-clogged Summer Haven River for rich folks.  Last year, I filed a civil rights complaint about this discrimination by Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT, referred by by DOJ to EPA's Office of Civil Rights, which interviewed me.

NO RESPONSE from anyone to the fact that our vaunted lobbyists failed yet another year. Time for Commissioners to support a St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore study. time for Commissioners to stop their stinkin' thinkin', their negativity on federal help, federal planning and federal funding, while placing all their eggs in one basket -- noblesse oblige from Flori-DUH legislators.

FROM LEE GEANULEAS, St. Augustine Residents Count, quoting Historic City News:

Interesting article below from Historic City News.
On one hand, budgets are inherently fungible; money can be moved as needed and priorities reordered as necessary. That said, losing $2 million dollars in an approximately $50M total budget is not trivial. It certainly raises the question of what doesn't get funded in the next budget that otherwise would have. Will we fall further behind on street paving and maintenance? Hope not - has anyone driven on Cordova ST between St Francis and Bridge ST lately? Yikes!
Beyond that, there's a more strategic issues at play here: Why was the city unable to get its legislative priorities funded in Tallahassee? Are the city's hired lobbyists not up to the task? Was our legislative strategy ill conceived or poorly executed? Or was it just a year in which no municipality received funding for any requested projects?
I'd like to hear some discussion of why these important projects weren't funded and what we're going to do differently next budget cycle.

Neville “not worried” over loss of more than $2 million in state funds

Apparently, Jesse Fish is buried underneath a money tree, because Todd Neville, a Davis Shores accountant and city commissioner, told Lorena Inclan in a televised interview yesterday that he’s not worried that the legislature has eliminated more than $2 million meant for public works projects in the city — especially one that would prevent flooding in Davis Shores.
Neville admitted that only “some money” was set aside in the city’s budget to begin implementing seventeen potentially life-saving backflow preventers that would protect the island from seawater infiltration of the type reported by Historic City News during Hurricane Matthew.
“I’m not worried about it because we’re going to get it done this year no matter what,” Neville said, even though the full cost of the Davis Shores project is not budgeted and planners were counting on these state funds to complete the work.
The projects that did not receive state funding include retrofitting backflow preventers in Davis Shores, wastewater lift stations that serve The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and extending sewer capacity in West Augustine.
Neville could only offer his lofty guarantee yesterday because the budget cycle doesn’t begin until next month. That’s when the city manager, John Regan, would normally be expected to formulate and bring forward his plan.
However, at the last commission meeting, Regan announced that he is “reorganizing” the workflow at the city and redirecting responsibility of the department heads in city government, including public works, to junior city manager, Tim Burchfield.  It was at the end of that meeting that Regan first publicly introduced his intentions by way of an elementary lecture on human resource management.
  • It is not yet clear what legal authority Regan has to absolve himself of the responsibility for these management functions, but perhaps Neville, whose first term on the commission ends next year, knows something that the public does not.
  • What the public does know, at this point, is that the City of St Augustine must act soon to pay for these projects that did not make it into the state budget; or to abandon them, or to abandon others that have been contemplated — and have funding.
Neville isn’t saying exactly what projects he will axe.

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