Q: Now about three months into your term as a St. Johns County Commissioner, can you share your thoughts on it so far?
A: It’s been wonderful. Everyone, from the other commissioners, to the staff, to the constituents, has been very gracious. I have a huge learning curve, but I think I’ve been coming up to speed quickly as I learn how all the agencies work together. I’m excited to be able to use this platform to improve St. Johns County and maintain our quality of life.
Q: When you were first appointed, you said your three priorities as a commissioner would be making sure that the growth/projects approved had a net benefit to St. Johns County, support of veterans, and support of the first responders who keep our county safe. Do you have any additional thoughts on these with your experiences so far as a commissioner?
A: I would say the biggest thing we have worked on, that ties at least a couple of those items together, is the sales tax referendum. I think giving this opportunity to the voters is very important. Our county’s growth has outpaced our infrastructure for years. The roads we travel every day, that we drive our children on, are not safe in many cases. I hear from my constituents that they love their quality of life here and want to maintain it. I’m in favor of exploring the potential sales tax because not only will infrastructure be addressed, but so will first responders. The referendum will address things for them like new equipment, new staff, and their salaries, which need to be adequate so they can live in our county.
This decision is up to the voters, as it should be, and not the commissioners. I know similar referendums have been voted down in the past, but we have a lot of new residents and I’m in favor of putting the question to the voters to let them decide.
Q: Since the sales tax referendum has had its second reading at the March 15 Board of County Commissioners meeting, and was approved by the board, it will be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot. What will happen in the meantime?
A: I hope the voters will take this time to educate and inform themselves about how the proposed $500 million in revenue is to be spent: roads, parks and recreation, and first responders. All the details are on the county website, www.sjcfl.us. Between now and Nov. 8, it’s our job as commissioners to provide information to our constituents so they can make an informed decision.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (904) 325-4182.