County seeking TDC funding for beaches
EDITOR: The challenge of funding beach renourishment and combating erosion on St. Johns County’s northern coast has defied this community over a decade. But on Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners will consider a solution that would restore the beaches at very little cost to local residents and taxpayers.
Our beaches have suffered from significant erosion for more than a decade. The problem was only exacerbated over the past two years in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Irma and several devastating Nor’easters. The erosion has now reached a critical point that threatens our entire northern coastline, including more than 1,000 homes and State Road A1A, which serves as a hurricane evacuation route. In addition, tourism and the local economy has already been negatively impacted by the loss of our beaches.
Three beach renourishment projects are currently in development that would fortify our coastline including the areas of Vilano Beach, South Ponte Vedra and Ponte Vedra Beach. The federal government and the state of Florida have collectively pledged more than $46 million toward sand placement in these areas. However, in order for the County to receive the federal and state funds, and for the renourishment projects to proceed, local funding must also be contributed.
In order to help fund these projects, and more in the future, I have proposed that the Board of County Commissioners consider an additional 1-cent Tourist Development Tax be dedicated toward beach renourishment. Levied on short-term accommodation rentals, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, camp grounds, etc., the tax is predominantly paid for by tourists and other visitors to our County. If the Board approves the measure, it would generate approximately $2.2 million annually for beach renourishment and help secure the state and federal funds.
The decision your County Commissioners make on Tuesday will be one of the most important we have faced during my time on the board. There is no Plan B. If the 1-cent Tourist Development Tax increase is not approved, no other local funding has been identified for beach renourishment. The $46 million in state and federal funding is in jeopardy of being reallocated to other communities in Florida.
The time to make your voice heard on this urgent issue is now. Your County Commission needs to know if you feel this threat to our beaches, tourism industry, and local economy, warrants a brave and creative approach by the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.
I urge you to attend the Commission meeting on Tuesday and let your elected officials know how you feel about this important topic. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please visit, call, or email your Commissioners to express your opinion about how the County should address beach erosion funding.
Henry Dean, St. Augustine
Dean is chair of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (District 5).
King’s Grant: Just say ‘No’
EDITOR: I'd like to register a 'No' in regard to the King's Grant Development.
Nothing of substance has changed in the proposal by KG Development to develop 772 acres near the intersection of I-95 and State Road 206. This is not the right time, the right location or the right development to warrant approval of the rezoning request to allow for this development that is clearly outside the intent and provisions of the St. Johns County Comprehensive Plan.
I am a registered Republican and actively participate in local, state and federal elections. I believe the county is a unique area where our quality of life and economy depend on preserving the quality of our environment. We cannot out build beyond the ability of our infrastructure to accommodate new residents — and we must require all future development to follow the comprehensive plan.
I respectfully request that the County Commission continue to unanimously disapprove the King's Grant rezoning request and deny all future requests that require rezoning for developments in conflict with the comprehensive plan.
I will be casting all future votes in local elections with a strong weighting toward how well elected officials exercise proper stewardship over our beautiful county.
Mike Alyea, St. Augustine Beach
PZB: Too little too late?
EDITOR: It is good to know the Planning and Zoning Board knows the word "no" — at least where the Dairy Queen lot is concerned. Driving around our mutilated city suggests that they learned it a little too late. Remember the song from the 1960s "They paved paradise, put up a parking lot"?
We live there now.
Jackie Grommes, St. Augustine
Florida a one-party state for decades
EDITOR: The Record’s editorial, “The pitiful politics of hurricanes” was disappointing. The old “a pox on both their houses” argument is no solution to increasingly violent storms. Hurricane Michael hit just days after the United Nations issued a major report warning humanity that the time to act against catastrophic climate change is rapidly running out. Instead of rebuking Florida Republicans for ignoring the human impact on climate and failing to act, The Record chose to attack Democrats as “wannabe socialists and armchair anarchists.”
We have a lame-duck governor who denies climate change lest he upset the Koch Brothers when he begs them for campaign money. Rick Scott seems to think that climate change denial will prevent disaster but, when that fails, he advises Floridians to flee before the storms hit. Ron DeSantis, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, claims that climate change is not a problem state government can mitigate.
The “two party system” is a red herring. Florida has been a one-party state for 20 years. To solidify their power, the GOP legislature has gerrymandered the state and Scott has signed numerous GOP voter suppression laws. As a result the GOP has succeeded in alienating millions of voters. The number of No Party Affiliation voters has increased, but in the 2014 midterm election 56.7 percent of eligible Florida voters didn’t vote at all. Sadly The Record’s solution to the problem of alienated voters is, “May their tribe increase.”
Mike Konopacki, St. Augustine
Opinion editor’s note: Mike, for the record Democrats were wannabe socialists; Republicans were armchair anarchists.
Tis lacks critical thinking
EDITOR: So, as stated in his article in the Record on Oct. 8, Bob Tis believes Justice Kavanaugh is “full of baloney” because Mr. Tis knew some boys from a prep school during his high school years in New England who were awkward around girls, and didn’t fit in with “ordinary folks.” And since Justice Kavanaugh also went to a prep school, he must therefore be “full of baloney” in denying the attempted rape charge by Christine Ford. Regardless of the fact that none of the witnesses or contemporaries named by Dr. Ford could substantiate her claim.
I, like Mr. Tis, never went to a prep school; but I find his position illogical, partisan, and completely void of any attempt at critical thinking. Articles such as this do nothing but inflame the current, irrational hysteria sweeping our country.
George Connaughton, St. Augustine
Cost up, Democrat drivel too
EDITOR: By mistake, Publix charged me $3 for my Sunday paper yesterday. I then found out that the daily paper has already increased in price to $1.50 and that the Sunday is going up next week to $3.
How unfortunate for your company to continue to bash our president and print letters from deranged Democrats, and then raise your price to take advantage of the Trump economy. Buh Bye.
John Hamilton, St. Augustine
EDITOR: I wish that I had not wasted my time reading Bob Tis’ article, “It’s the end of an era of entitlement.” Mr. Tis had inferred that Justice Kavanagh was "full of baloney” and a "doofus". I would need to say that you are the one who has no clue.
L. Ferenc, Hastings
A pill to relax you
And the marketing guy from JAXUSA says, “Here take this pill to relax you; now, we can talk about your beautiful tax base.”
Douglas C. Worth, Ponte Vedra Beach