Town looks to ID drainage funding

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 12/20/17

ORANGE PARK – Orange Park residents will get a chance to have input in the new year about proposed changes to the town’s Capital Improvement Plan laid out earlier this year.

At a special …

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Town looks to ID drainage funding


ORANGE PARK – Orange Park residents will get a chance to have input in the new year about proposed changes to the town’s Capital Improvement Plan laid out earlier this year.

At a special meeting Dec. 19, town council addressed the CIP line by line, looking for ways to possibly shift some funds that can be used for flood maintenance not previously placed in the budget.

“Whatever action we recommend that involves changes to the CIP, my recommendation is that nothing be official,” said Sam Garrison, town attorney. “We post notice of a public hearing before we adopt the CIP and my recommendation is that if we are going to be amending the CIP, we should use that same format.”

Some of the recommendations included pushing a $75,000 town hall fire sprinkler job, budgeted for the 2017-18 fiscal year, two years back and indefinitely postponing a $30,000 town hall acoustics job budgeted for 2017-18. The discussion also involved deleting a $10,000 allocation to repair the town hall fountain, which will be completed using funds already budgeted in 2016-17. Some line items were left intact such as a $20,000 DeBarry Street lighting job, which is set to take place in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Each of the 13 items were approved with 5-0 unanimous votes.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell addressed council member Ron Raymond’s question regarding a master plan for the town of Orange Park’s flood maintenance.

“Currently, no, there is no master plan,” Campbell said. “At this point, we don’t exactly know that we have a lot of access points to get in and do some clearing.”

She said the town is currently awaiting an assessment by Gainesville-based engineering firm Jones Edmunds to determine what points the town actually has legal access to for flood cleanup and maintenance. Once determined, Campbell said the town plans to begin further work on flood maintenance in the area.

The town began flood cleanup and maintenance work on a section of the Dudley Branch, from Claire Lane to Winfred Drive as the town owns a lift station adjacent to it, providing access for the workers. Campbell said this area of the town received some of the heaviest flooding during Hurricane Irma.

Later in the meeting, Raymond made a motion to push back the $462,000 River Road phase 2 maintenance job from the 2017-18 fiscal year to the 2019-20 fiscal year and the $345,000 River Road phase 3 from the 2018-19 fiscal year to the 2020-21 fiscal year. The motion failed as Raymond was the only member to vote yea.

The purpose of this motion was to free up budgetary funds from the River Road construction phases so that funds are available, if needed, for use in flood maintenance work around the town. The topic will be brought up again at the future CIP public hearing.

Public Works Department Director Chuck Pavlos brought to the council’s attention the potential challenges that might occur if the CIP gets pushed back, specifically the River Road project.

“We aren’t getting more money put into the CIP,” Pavlos said. “We’re just moving funds from this to the storm order maintenance, and by pushing projects back, we are adding more costs to the CIP, which appears to be throwing the budget out of balance.”

The council responded by informing Pavlos and the audience that none of these changes are official and that later discussions will be had at a future public hearing.

At the end of the special meeting, Mayor Scott Land announced he will not be running for re-election.

“I would like to announce with a heavy heart, and inform everyone, that I will not be seeking re-election,” Land said. “I will be taking a new job that will transfer me to the Orlando area, but I will, however, be finishing my term out.

“I appreciate your trust and support that everyone has put into me for the last six years and have thoroughly enjoyed serving the community, as Orange Park has been a wonderful place to have raised my two kids. I will miss everyone dearly but don’t worry, I still have a few months so I’m not done yet.”


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