The City Commission is seeking public input for its waterfront development effort. At the September 15 City Commission meeting, Mr. Jeremy Marquis of Marquis Latimer + Halback introduced conceptual renderings of the waterfront. The renderings were based upon previous comments received from the City Commission and several other boards and commissions as well as reviewing 20+ years of previous design efforts and feedback.
Mr. Marquis indicated to the City Commission that the concept is based upon overwhelming support for a waterfront greenspace and sunset vistas and incorporates many elements often used to define Fernandina Beach, most notably the wood of the waterfront, the brick of downtown, and the trees of the island.
In general, the concept includes an expanded waterfront boardwalk, an event lawn, a bandshell, and expanded open space. The plan also illustrates a reconfigured Front Street to accommodate on-street parking (no reduction of currently available parking) and the relocation of the waterfront Veterans Monument (slightly elevated and closer to the river). The intersections of Ash Street and Centre Street will be modified to include safety improvements funded, in part, by the Florida Department of Transportation. The re-opening of the Alachua Street crossing at Front Street is also incorporated into the design.
Marquis Latimer + Halback has designed a Community Hub to solicit community feedback. The Community Hub can be reached at this link: https://fernandina.mlhhub.com/. The concept plans for the waterfront can be viewed and downloaded and comments can be offered on a variety of the waterfront components. The Community Hub will remain accessible for public comments until October 18. A summary of the comments will be presented to the City Commission.
The waterfront plans can also be accessed on the City’s website and Facebook page. Additionally, plans developed by Passero Associates to address waterfront resiliency (tidal flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise) can be reviewed on the website and Facebook page.
2020 Election Information
October 5, 2020
Book Closing Deadline for New Voter Registration
October 19 – November 1, 2020*
Early Voting Click Here for Voting Locations open from 9am to 6pm*
November 3, 2020
Election Day Click Here for Voting Locations open from 7am to 7pm
*Dates, times and locations are subject to change.
** Includes City of Fernandina Beach, Town of Callahan and Town of Hilliard.
On Thursday, September 10, 2020, Halsey Beshears, Secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, issued Executive Order No. 2020-10, to allow alcohol vendors to operate under guidelines outlined in Phase 2 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery.
Phase 2 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery was established by Executive Order No. 20-139, issued by Governor DeSantis on June 3, 2020. A copy of it can be found at: https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-139.pdf.
According to the DBPR website, bars and other alcoholic beverage vendors may resume sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020, provided that that the operations comply with the parameters of the Phase 2 Plan. Vendors can operate at 50% of the facility’s indoor patrons, allow bar service to seated patrons, and permit outdoor seating and service with appropriate social distancing. For additional information, please visit: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/press-releases/.
DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears stated, “In meetings with hundreds of owners of bars and breweries across the State, I’ve heard their stories of struggle, and I’ve observed their serious commitment to making health and safety a continuing priority in their businesses. It’s time that we take this step, and it’s vital that we start moving forward with this sector of our hospitality industry who have endured one of the toughest paths for sustaining a business during this pandemic.
If you have any questions, please contact the County Manager’s Office at (904) 530-6010.
On December 19, 2018, the Board of County Commissioners formed a Beach Community Working Group to review current beach related Ordinances and use of the beach. A total of sixteen (16) meetings were held in 2019. Hundreds of individuals appeared at meetings and hundreds more sent emails expressing concerns about a myriad of issues including but not limited to, items left on the beach, horseback riding, safety issues, and littering. However, most of the concerns related to beach driving and unregulated camping.
After a year of meetings and thousands of testimonies, it became abundantly clear that the current Ordinances are not working and that changes need to be made to protect the citizens, environment and wildlife. The Beach Community Working Group presented their recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners at a Workshop held on January 16, 2020.
Following the Workshop, the Commissioners held individual meetings with the County Manager, Mike Mullin; Assistant County Manager, Taco Pope; Public Works Director, Doug Podiak; and Butch Osborne, Director of Operations for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office. During these meetings, the Commissioners further discussed the recommendations made by the Beach Community Working Group and provided input about language they would like included in the final Ordinance. A public hearing was initially scheduled for March 23rd, however that was postponed due to COVID-19 and the Governor’s orders to suspend in-person quorums for local government meetings.
The Board of County Commissioners has worked hard to find ways to address concerns that have been brought forth. While they want to maintain the customary uses of the beach that make our County unique, they also want to ensure we are being good stewards to the environment and eliminating some of the unwelcomed behavior that is threatening the safety of our residents and wildlife and impacting the quality of life for those who live nearby.
A public hearing to consider a new Beach Ordinance will be held on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the Commission Chambers located at 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, FL 32097. The public is welcome to attend. Additional measures have been established to allow for social distancing. This includes additional seating and video monitors outside the Commission Chambers.
You can also participate remotely using the following options:
Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +13462487799,,82411146045#,,,,0#,,987321# or +16465588656,,82411146045#,,,,0#,,987321#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 824 1114 6045
International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keiOjshSY8
The meeting agenda containing the proposed Ordinance will be published on our official website at www.nassaucountyfl.com by the close of business today.
If you have any questions, please contact the County Manager’s Office at (904) 530-6010.
In August, the City’s Conservation Land Trust received its first matching check totaling of $23,180 for the period between February 19, 2020 and July 31, 2020. The City collected an additional $3,100 over the past thirty days which will be eligible for matching by the generous donors. The anonymous donors have enclosed several statements that they wish to make public.
“We are very pleased to send in this check for $23,180 that represents a full match on all donations through July 31, 2020. We chose to satisfy this match roughly halfway through this campaign so that donors can actually see their donations were matched dollar for dollar. This matching program is real, not something just talked about.
We would like to remind everyone that in late May when we increased our cash contribution by 50%, we also retroactively increased the matching opportunity by 50%. The result of this is that those very generous individual donors who gave $1,000 can now give an additional $500 that will also be matched. For organization donors the match increased from $5,000 to $7,500. For example, Amelia Tree Conservancy which contributed $5,000 to the original maximum match of $5,000, is now eligible to contribute an additional $2,500 that we would match. For any individual who has not yet contributed, they can contribute up to $1,500 for a full match. As referenced above, organization donors can contribute up to $7,500 for a full match.
The good news is that with our current match the Conservation Trust Fund has an additional $23,180 to utilize to accomplish its very important goals. The great news is that there are still $126,820 of potential match dollars out there. That’s a lot of potential dollars being left on the table.
We challenge our individual citizens and especially some of our large organizations to step up and write a check to the Conservation Trust Fund. A few months later your check will be matched (subject to the above limits). For most, that’s a 100% return on their investment in the Conservation Trust Fund in a few months’ time. When was the last time you got a 100% return on your investment? Please invest in your community and contribute to that storied quality of life that we all cherish.”
To celebrate the many generous contributions of our community members, the City is compiling video segments from previous donors to detail “Why I donated!” If you are interested in being featured please contact the City’s Digital Communications Specialist at (904) 310-3289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would enjoy the opportunity to feature your personal reasons for donating in a future social media post.
Individuals and organizations wishing to donate may direct funds to the “City of Fernandina Beach.” In the reference memo please include “Land Conservation Trust Fund Account# 135-36601 – matching donation.” Checks can be mailed to the Planning & Conservation Department, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32034. The City maintains a log of donations received and provides updates to the Commission at future meetings. Donations are tax deductible.
With millions of Americans now receiving taxable unemployment compensation, many of them for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded people receiving unemployment compensation that they can have tax withheld from their benefits now to help avoid owing taxes on this income when they file their federal income tax return next year.
By law, unemployment compensation is taxable and must be reported on a 2020 federal income tax return. Taxable benefits include any of the special unemployment compensation authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted this spring.
Withholding is voluntary. Federal law allows any recipient to choose to have a flat 10% withheld from their benefits to cover part or all of their tax liability. To do that, fill out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request (PDF), and give it to the agency paying the benefits. Don't send it to the IRS. If the payor has its own withholding request form, use it instead.
If a recipient doesn't choose withholding, or if withholding is not enough, they can make quarterly estimated tax payments instead. The payment for the first two quarters of 2020 was due on July 15. Third and fourth quarter payments are due on September 15, 2020, and January 15, 2021, respectively. For more information, including some helpful worksheets, see Form 1040-ES and Publication 505, available on IRS.gov.
Here are some types of payments taxpayers should check their withholding on:
Recipients who return to work before the end of the year can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to make sure they are having enough tax taken out of their pay. Available only on IRS.gov, this online tool can help any worker or pension recipient avoid or lessen their year-end tax bill or estimate the refund they want.
In January 2021, unemployment benefit recipients should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments (PDF) from the agency paying the benefits. The form will show the amount of unemployment compensation they received during 2020 in Box 1, and any federal income tax withheld in Box 4. Taxpayers report this information, along with their W-2 income, on their 2020 federal tax return. For more information on unemployment, see Unemployment Benefits in Publication 525.
$620,000 in Small Business Grants has been awarded to 62 small business owners as part of Round One of the Nassau CARES Small Business Grant Program. That’s what Taco Pope, Assistant County Manager, presented to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners at a special meeting yesterday morning.
The program, which was executed in two rounds, offered small business owners who were negatively affected by COVID-19 the chance to apply for a $10,000 grant that did not have to be paid back. The program, which closed on August 31,2020, received 191 applications – 73 in the first round and 118 in the second round. At this time, the second round of applications are still being processed, but the County is expecting around 180 of all applications to be approved.
Final exact numbers will be available the week of September 14, 2020, when all applications are expected to be reviewed and processed. However, first round applications, which have been completed, had an 85% approval rating.
Approved business owners will begin receiving checks after September 8, 2020.
As part of the Nassau CARES program, the County allocated $2.2 million to the Small Business Assistance Grant Program. Each business owner whose application is approved will receive $10,000.
In order to be eligible for the grant, applicants had to meet the following requirements:
In addition to the Small Business Grant Program, 86 residents have applied for rental and mortgage assistance from the Nassau CARES funding. Applications are currently under review and checks should start going out in the coming weeks.
About Nassau CARES
Nassau CARES provides for the efficient, targeted distribution of $15.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated under the Federal CARES Act (H.R. 748). Nassau CARES provides funding for essential public health and safety expenditures related to COVID-19 including a variety of human service needs, critical economic relief to the local business community, and direct COVID-related costs incurred by the County, Constitutional and Judicial Offices, and the municipalities within Nassau County.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the CARES Office at (904) 530-6800 or email email@example.com.
County Manager's Office
Florida Division of Emergency Management Issues Order to Lift Visitation Restrictions in Health Care Facilities with Restrictions
At Governor DeSantis’ direction, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director and State Coordinating Officer Jared Moskowitz issued an Emergency Order that lifts restrictions for visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family-care homes, adult group homes and other long-term care facilities.
The Emergency Order requires all visitors to wear PPE pursuant to the most recent CDC guidelines, and those not making physical contact still must wear a mask. Per the Emergency Order, to accept general visitors, the facility must meet the following:
Every facility must continue to prohibit the entry of any individual to the facility except in the following circumstances:
The Emergency Order directs all facilities to ensure visitors are not quarantining, positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic. The Emergency Order also requires facilities to screen visitors, establish limits on the number of visitors allowed, schedule visitation ahead of time, clean and disinfect visiting areas between visitors and other protective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
General visitors will need to be 18 years of age or older, wear a face mask, sign a consent form indicating they understand the facility’s visitation policies, comply with facility-provided COVID-19 testing if offered and maintain social distance of at least six feet with staff and residents.
This order will be implemented in the upcoming days as long-term care facilities begin to put new procedures in place to comply with the Emergency Order.
For a PDF copy of the full Emergency Order, click here.
At today’s special meeting, Health Director, Dr. Eugenia Seidel, provided an update on COVID-19 which included case counts, current hospitalizations and COVID related deaths. She indicated that the positivity rate in Nassau County is declining and she attributed it to all mitigation factors taking place including physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and wearing masks. She is urging residents to continue use of masks in close settings where social distancing isn’t possible.
The Board discussed the current Executive Order mandating masks at indoor business establishments which was set to expire today. After some discussion, it was determined that the Board would extend the mask mandate an additional 30 days. As a result, the Board approved Executive Order No. 22, extending the mandate through September 25, 2020.
Several Commissioners acknowledged that they have been contacted by residents on both sides of this issue. While it certainly wasn’t an easy decision, they ultimately believe that the health and safety of residents is a priority. They also stated that they will be working with the Health Department and Emergency Management to establish criteria for lifting the mandate.
We encourage all residents to listen to this discussion and perhaps gain a better understanding of how they arrived at the decision to extend the mandate an additional 30 days. The meeting can be found here.
On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, Thad Crowe accepted the position of Director of Planning & Economic Opportunity. Mr. Crowe was hired by Nassau County in May 2020 as a Senior Planner and was asked to serve as the Interim PEO Director in July 2020.
Mr. Crowe's education includes a Bachelors Degree in Geography from the University of Georgia and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Georgia Tech. He holds certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Mr. Crowe's work experience includes 33 years of public and private sector planning positions throughout North Florida and South Georgia. He has extensive experience in the development of zoning codes and comprehensive plans, pedestrian and bicycle paths, development review, and historic preservation. He is the recipient of multiple awards including the George W. Simons, Jr. Memorial Award for lifetime achievement, received from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association in 2013.
County Manager, Mike Mullin, stated "We are happy that Thad has accepted this position. Even though Thad has only been with us a short time, he has become a valuable member of our team. His knowledge and experience made him a great candidate for the position and I am certain he has the skills needed to lead the Planning Department effectively.”
Congratulations Thad! We wish you many years of success as Nassau County's Planning Director.
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