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Candidate for City of Fernandina Beach Commission, Seat 2: Genece Minshew

The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce recently asked each candidate running for the City of Fernandina Beach Commission to answer a Candidate Questionnaire and provide a Campaign Video that we could share with the public. Answers to each question have been copied and pasted directly as they were submitted

For questions or additional information, please contact the Chamber at (904) 261-3248.

Genece Minshew candidate headshot

2024 City of Fernandina Beach Candidate Questionnaire


In your opinion, what is the City's role in economic development?

I believe that the city’s role is more about support than development.  Most property that would be used for economic development is already built out so the city should focus on assisting small businesses with the redevelopment needed to make existing properties work for the businesses moving in.  We need to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to support economic development within our city. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road as it relates to the waterfront flood protection.

How can the City of Fernandina Beach better support our entrepreneurial ecosystem?

Improve how the public does business with the city. Make the city departments easier to do business with by outreach, better on-line processing and interactions, and establishing a customer service mindset starting at the very top of the organizational chart.  Organizations take on the attitude of their leadership.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  If this city wants to be more supportive and easier to do business with, then it can.

Discuss your opinion on conducting a comprehensive and continuous review of all regulatory processes that impact businesses/industry and provide solutions that address any barriers.

The city should be following a continuous improvement policy and mindset that allows for the regular review of all processes.  And, where such processes can be improved, reduced and or eliminated, the city staff should take action.

There should be a designated person responsible for reviewing and alerting businesses of regulatory processes, changes and updates.  There also need to be a communications plan in place for alerts and changes.  We should consider expanding the kind of communication that Fernandina Beach Main Street provides to their businesses across the entire city.


How can the City of Fernandina Beach improve the climate and competitiveness of our exisiting businesses and industry?

Start by listening to businesses and industries about what they need from the city and then be willing to act.  Now, that does not mean that we throw out all our Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Codes, but that we strive to find common ground to meet the needs of our businesses.  When I was on the Planning Advisory Board, we worked hard to make the Land Development Code easier to interpret. We must complete the projects that are critical to the infrastructure and safety of the city, especially the downtown area.

What are your thoughts about the disparity in regulations and processes in doing business between the City of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County? Please explain.

The city and the county are two different entities with different comprehensive plans that are unique to each community.  So, it would make sense that regulations and processes would be different.  However, we should always look for ways to improve, reduce and/or eliminate processes and policies that improve the lives of our city residents and makes the city easy to do business with.

The Chamber of Commerce supports a clear, concise, accurate and expedient permitting process. Please discuss this process within the City along with any recommendations.

The permitting process is based on the type of work being done and who is applying for the permit.  Some of the permitting process has been automated to improve timeliness.  The city should have clear and concise process improvement goals for each department including Building and Planning that drives continual improvement based on customer interactions and feedback.


What, in your opinion, are the three biggest challenges facing the City of Fernandina Beach?

Ability to strategically manage growth and density, long term management of our infrastructure and maintaining our sense of place

Any time decisions are contemplated that affect a particular segment of the community, representatives of that affected sector, such as the business/Industrial community, should be invited to the table for dialogue and input. How important is this input as a meaningful direction in developing sound policy and how will you implement it?

Yes, I agree that affected stakeholders should be part of the conversation.  And the city does that today and should continue to solicit engagement through citizen led advisory and planning boards, workshops and engagement at city commission meetings.

Do you believe the City of Fernandina Beach has an adequate amount of funding from property taxes or do you expect to require additional resources from property owners? Please explain.

There is never enough money to do all the projects that our community wants done or needs to be done to maintain our city infrastructure.  The city is suffering from years of deferred maintenance on city buildings, our historic downtown, our beach walkovers and our streets.  We need to look far and wide for additional resources that can come from visitors, property owners, residents as well as state and federal grant resources.  I am a believer in the “cost causer” approach to funding.  Let’s look at who uses a service and how it is being used to help determine how to best pay for that service.  We have been talking about a bond referendum to pay for needed infrastructure replacement and improvement in the downtown area for a number of years, but no path forward.  Another example of a failure in leadership within the city commission.


How can the City of Fernandina Beach balance and pursue both natural environment protection and sustainable economic development?

Through the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code. 

These documents should set the strategy and focus for how we manage our environmental protections and economic growth.  The challenge in the city has been through consistent compliance and enforcement of these rules and regulations.  Again, this is a leadership issue with the city staff and commission.  I firmly believe that we have an excellent Comprehensive Plan that needs to be followed consistently.

Lead by the Chamber of Commerce beginning in 2015, the now completed Public Transportation Study and recommendations concluded in 2017 with no notable improvements. Nassau County is now conducting an update to the Transportation Study. What are your specific recommendations to increase the options and availability for public transit? Do you support City funding for public transportation?

We should be looking both short- and long-term recommendations. Of course, we must partner with local, state and federal entities to get any traction on this issue as it is not a just a city issue.  We should work with the large employers on the island about setting up car pool lots and local drop off locations that make it easy for employees to get on the island and get to work.  This is just an example of ways to improve traffic flow.

I do not believe that the current tax base would support significant city funding for public transportation, so this issue would require much more work and analysis to determine how best to fund such a project.  I again believe in the “cost causer” approach to funding, so that would certainly include both private and public funding.

The future innovation economy and efficiency of government is dependent on technology infrastructure. How will you ensure the City of Fernandina Beach continuously improves digital options, infrastructure and faster, more stable, and more secure connectivity?

We should look for public/private sector partnerships if connectivity is an issue in the city.


Land development codes and incentives for workforce housing have not produced the needed inventory for our community. What are your recommendations for access to housing for the local workforce?

The ever-increasing cost of land makes this issue more difficult every day.  However, that does not let us off the hook.  We should take a hard look at city owned property and the opportunity to use it for additional access to affordable housing.

Community-based development organizations are vital to the City of Fernandina Beach. How will you strengthen the role of these organizations?

Non-profit organizations seen as beneficial in the community receive funding from the City. Along with the County, I would continue to fund those organizations. Public-private partnerships are important to a community. The City can provide resources and technical support to help non-profits thrive. Involving them in the planning and implementation of projects is vital. The City Commission should regularly meet with non-profits for input to jointly craft solutions.


Do you have any other comments you would like to specifically address to the business community of Fernandina Beach?


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