Q: Can you give an update on where the county is in the annual budget process at this time [as of interview date of May 12]?
A: We are about to hold the St. Johns County Fiscal Year 2023 Administrator’s Budget Workshop later this month (May 23 – 25). This is where we and the community can learn more about and begin to address the county’s ongoing budget needs. It’s the first step in a process, with detailed presentations given by all the county department heads. We will have additional public comment as usual at our Board of County Commissioners meetings in June.
Q: Do you anticipate higher costs and budget requests due to the present economy?
A: We’re not sure at this point what the long term effects are of the current supply and labor shortages as well as inflation. There have been ups and downs economically through the years and our county has still been able to deliver what the residents need. I’ve been saying that I expect a full-on rollercoaster ride, but we are trying to be as flexible and proactive as possible.
Q: As one county commissioner, what are your budget priorities?
A: My personal budget priorities are first, emergency response services, such as those provided by our first responders and sheriff’s office; then Parks and Recreation; and then to continue to manage our infrastructure. We do have some funding opportunities, especially for the latter category. The State of Florida has just passed a historic budget, so we’re not all on our own. Keep in mind, too, that this budget we are working on is for next year.
Q: What is the latest on the FEMA berm?
A: Mickler’s Beach should be fully reopened by the time readers see this. The FEMA berm project, though delayed, is now humming along.
Q: Do you have dates and times for your next local office hours?
A: Yes. I will be available on June 10, July 29 and Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day to meet with St. Johns County residents at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library. Constituents wishing to meet with me need to call my office and schedule a time, as well as let us know the topic they wish to discuss so I can have staff available if necessary.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Readers can email me at email@example.com or call me at (904) 679-2620.