Q. You recently presented the county’s annual financial report to the Board of County Commissioners. What was the takeaway message?
A. The Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2021 is a detailed 272-page analysis of the county’s financial condition at the end of the last full fiscal year. The big picture message from our independent auditor is that St. Johns County is in a very healthy financial position overall. The full report is online at stjohnsclerk.com/county-annual-financial-report/ and in mid-September, our public-friendly “snapshot” version, the Popular Annual Financial Report, will be available online and in print.
Q. How did the recent Passport Saturday special event go? Any surprises?
A. We had a great turnout, with nearly 700 residents and visitors coming through our doors, so we’re excited about doing it again soon. We processed nearly 200 passports. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that many people didn’t realize we process passports Monday – Friday on a walk-in basis at the courthouse location, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and by appointment at our annexes in Julington Creek and Ponte Vedra. Our passports webpage has all the details: stjohnsclerk.com/passports/.
Q. Is St. Johns County having any issues with jury duty scams?
A. We receive calls regularly from residents who’ve been contacted by scammers impersonating law enforcement or our staff, claiming that they missed jury duty and must pay a financial penalty. Some claim there’s a warrant out for the resident’s arrest. Scammers may even use the real names of local officers and be quite realistic, so the phone call can sound very real. A few things to remember: We’ll never phone, text or email a resident to request payment for failure to appear for jury duty. When residents don’t respond to a summons for jury duty, we contact them through an official letter sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Before penalties would be imposed, you would be required to appear in court, where a judge would order any penalties. And you’d never be asked by our office to pay using gift cards. Please report scams to the Florida Office of the Attorney General. For information about jury duty, call (904) 819-3629.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you or your office?
A. Our office number is (904) 819-3600 or call me directly at (904) 599-8688 if I may ever be of service. The Richard O. Watson Judicial Center is located at 4010 Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine.