Jacksonville Beach, District 2
Community Newsletter
August 2021
A vibrant coastal community that embraces
'the beach life'
Please share this newsletter with your friends and neighbors!
Ready for a City-wide Urban Trail?

A quick(ish) note...
It's City Budget time! We are currently in the later phase of the budget cycle when it is time to review the draft budget that has been composed by City staff. As you will see below in the budget section, the cycle typically starts in January, when the Council decides on its priorities for the upcoming year and the City Manager begins meeting with each department to determine how best to achieve those priorities and to identify the resources that will be needed.

In May, budget assumptions for the upcoming year are presented to Council, and that is when Council decides if the revenue received by the current millage rate is enough for the City to meet its priorities. If not, then the decision is made to either cut back on the scope of some of the priorities to reduce costs or to raise the millage rate. This year, the budget is based on keeping the millage rate at 3.9947 mills.

I don't want to get into the budget weeds here, but more detail is provided below about where your tax dollars go and how they are spent.

In addition, there is information about Jax Beach's Urban Trail plans, the Charter Review, and two open houses where you can learn more about the proposed Beach Marine Development, and the proposed Adventure Landing Development projects, and provide your feedback to the developers in person. Plus so much more. This is another long newsletter, so please make it to the end. There is a lot of information in it, and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Combined, these, and so many other projects, activities, and plans are what Jax Beach is doing to ensure we remain 'A vibrant, coastal City that embraces 'the Beach Life'.'

It is a very exciting time to live, work, and play in Jax Beach! #TheBeachLife

- Georgette

If you are fortunate enough, like I am, please consider contributing to BEAM. While I have not been financially impacted by the pandemic like others, I understand that many of our neighbors have been. BEAM is a community-based organization serving low-income residents in Jacksonville’s beach communities and relies heavily on community support to assist our neighbors in times of need.

Finally, remember to appreciate all the individuals who have had the opportunity to impact your life. Time is something we too often take for granted.
Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.
Jax Beach Wins Prestigious FLC Award!

On August 2, Jacksonville Beach was presented with the Florida League of Cities' 2021 Florida Municipal Achievement Award for superior and innovative efforts in the Environmental Stewardship demonstrated in the #CleanDarkFlat public awareness campaign to educate residents and visitors about what they can do to help protect the sea turtles. This campaign is a partnership between Beaches Energy Services, Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol, and local coffee shops. This year, the following coffee shops participated:

Unfortunately, this year's mugs have all been sold. So if you want to take part in this wonderful partnership, keep an eye out for next year's mug. They will become collectibles!

(Honestly, what could be a better present than one of these mugs. It's uniquely Jax Beach!)
Government Updates
City Attorney

On Monday, August 2 at the 6:00 pm Council Meeting, Council voted to extend Sandra Robinson the offer to be our next City Attorney. She has 30 years of experience practicing law, 20 of which were in the public sector at both the municipal and county level. She has been in the position of lead attorney since 2012. The negotiation team will be comprised of Mayor Hoffman, Kim Bennett (Director of HR), and Cliff Sheppard (outside legal counsel).

During this process, the city will continue to utilize outside counsel to ensure continuity of legal services.
July's Decisions

At the July 19th meeting, Council agreed to have me assist our City Manager on our City's Strategic Plan, given my expertise in facilitating and developing strategic plans. At this meeting, we also approved the financial report, vendor contracts, and established a new state-required Auditor Selection Committee and appointed its members: Counselors Stokes and Janson, as well as Ms. Trish Roberts, our former CFO who is now enjoying retirement. I want to extend my gratitude to her for her continued involvement in helping to ensure the financial health of Jax Beach.
August Meetings

The Council will hold two meetings in August, on the 2nd and the 16th at 6 pm. The agendas can be found here. These meetings are held in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

August is a busy month with meetings. In addition to our regular meetings, there will be:

These meetings are taking place on Zoom and can be watched live on the City's YouTube Channel. All meetings are also recorded for you to be able to view at your convenience.

Open House Discussions
There will be two open houses where residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on two large developments that will be requesting approval of Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) from the City. If you are able, please attend and provide your feedback!

Adventure Landing Property - August 18th, 5:30-6:30 pm

Beach Marine Property - September 1, 5:30 - 6:30 pm

More information on both of these projects is below. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Budget Overview
Figure 1: The Budget Cycle

As I started discussing above, it is time for the City to approve the fiscal year 2021/2022 budget. This is when Council finalizes how your tax dollars will be spent for the upcoming year. This year, the proposed budget is on keeping the millage rate at 3.9947 mills. The graph below compares Jax Beach's millage rate with other municipalities throughout the state. Our rate (orange line) remains less than the state average (white line).
Figure 2: 2021 Millage Rate Comparison

While that is the millage rate you pay to Jax Beach, there are other taxing entities with their own rates. The chart below shows what percentage of your property tax bill goes to which taxing entities. The majority of your property tax dollars go to the County (43.03% to the City of Jacksonville and 34.51% to Duval County Public Schools), with Jax Beach receiving 21.09% of your property taxes.
Figure 3: Where Your Property Tax Dollars Go

Your property tax dollars go into the City's General Fund, which can be thought of as a checking account. In addition to the 53% of the money that goes into this fund from your property tax dollars (ad valorem), the fund also receives money from other sources, the two other main sources being shared revenues from the state and other governments (17%) and transfers from other funds (17%), indicated below. These include sources such as sales taxes and revenue from Beaches Energy Services.
Figure 4: General Fund Revenues

The General Fund is then used to pay for City services, infrastructure, and capital. As you can see in the chart below, a plurality of the general fund is used to fund the Police Department (40%). Another 14% is used to fund the Parks and Recreation Department, while the Planning and Development Department in addition to the Finance Department comprising another 12% of expenditures. While the City did contract out its Fire Services two years ago, we do still pay for those contracted services, which amounts to 12% of General Fund Expenditures. Finally, the Public Works Department accounts for 8% of the expenditures from the General Fund. These are the core functions of your local government, and they are funded through your tax dollars.
Figure 5: General Fund Expenditures
If you want to look deeper into how these departments are using their portion of the General Fund dollars, you can access the proposed 2021-2022 budget for each department:

The budget workshops are the Council's opportunity to review each budget and ask questions of each department Director. The finalized budget then has to go through two votes of Council before being approved. Those votes will take on Tuesday, September 7th at 5:45 pm (first vote), and then Monday, September 13th (second vote) at 6:00 pm to ensure that we have a balanced budget that is approved by the City Council prior to the start of the new fiscal year, which begins on October 1. Please let me know if you have any questions about the process, the information presented here, or the individual department budgets.

Jax Beach Urban Trail System
[Click on the image above to be able to zoom in as well as to see the whole map.]
City Council approved a contract to hire CHW Professional Consultants for the development of the Urban Trails Master Plan. After conducting Community Conversations with residents and businesses, Council agreed that developing an urban trail is a high priority among all the City's stakeholders.

The end goal of this bi-modal transit system (walking and biking) is to connect schools, parks, centers of commerce, and of course the beach, throughout the City.

The staff has been working diligently on identifying areas where there is adequate public land to construct this trail, which is identified on the map above (you can click on the picture to see the whole map and/or zoom in to specific areas). The consultant will take this information and present plans to the City on options with regard to design. There will be an opportunity for public input, and I will keep you informed of the dates and times.

The end product should result in a trail system throughout the City where people are able to get to school, the store, and the beach, in a safe manner. Regardless of whether this is by walking or biking, we also expect to see plans that address lighting, safety, and shade for those who use the trail.

We are very excited about this project, and we hope that you are as well. If you have any questions, please reach out to me. I am happy to chat.
Charter Review
The Jax Beach City Charter has not been thoroughly reviewed in more than a couple of decades. Because of this, the current Council has decided to undergo a complete review of all the sections of the current charter (linked below), and then vote on which items we think need to be changed to ensure a well-run City. Any new language will go before voters on the 2022 general election ballot.

Council is working with attorney Cliff Shepard on phase two of the Charter Review. The Charter can be thought of as the City's Constitution. It defines the structure of our local government as well as dictates many things we take for granted. The review started in April and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The schedule and the sections of the Charter to be reviewed are as follows:

Date Topics (each with link to Charter section)

April 22
May 27
June 24
July 22
July 26

August 23

August 26

September 23

September 27

October 25

October 28

All meetings can be watched live on the City's YouTube Channel. They are also recorded for you to be able to view at your convenience.
Be Heard

There have been many changes in the operation and leadership of the City over the last two years. If you have an issue you think Council should discuss, please contact us, and not just your District Councilperson. The Mayor and the At-Large Council members were voted into office to represent you, too!

After you make contact with your Council members, each one will decide if they want to discuss it with 1) the City Manager (many issues are handled this way. For example, a missed trash pick up); or 2) have it placed on the agenda for a Council Briefing to get feedback from other Council members.

After a topic is discussed at the Council Briefing, Council provides direction to City staff on how to proceed. If most Council Members do not agree that the topic should move forward, it does not move forward.

Due to Florida's strict Sunshine Laws, Council members cannot discuss any items that may come before us to vote on, or that are currently in front of us for a vote among each other outside a publicly posted meeting, and this includes any item that you want Council to address that requires a vote. We cannot meet individually, email, make phone calls, or even text each other on topics that are or may come before us to vote on. This is why you need to contact more than just your District Representative.

Below is our contact information:
Mayor, Chris Hoffman: choffman@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-1058
Fernando Meza, At-Large Seat 1: fmeza@jaxbchfl.net; 904-247-6102
Dan Janson, At-Large Seat 2: djanson@jaxbchfl.net904-247-6103
Chet Stokes, At-Large Seat 3: cstokes@jaxbchfl.net; 904-247-6217
Cory Nichols, District 1, Seat 4: cnichols@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-0304
Georgette Dumont, District 2, Seat 5: gdumont@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-1233
Sandy Golding, District 3, Seat 6: sgolding@jaxbchfl.net; 904-877-0675

Please note you can call or text the Council members
at their city phone number.

Meetings are live-streamed and saved for future viewing.

City Council Meetings: 1st and 3rd Monday at 6 pm (except for Jan. & July, when there is only a meeting on the 3rd Monday due to holidays)
City Council Briefings: 2nd and 4th Mondays at 5:30 pm
Planning Commission: 2nd and 4th Mondays at 7:00 pm
Board of Adjustments: 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 7:00 pm
Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA): 4th Monday at 5:00 pm

You can review the agenda for each meeting here.
Community Updates

Covid-19 is still here!

Please get vaccinated. It is free of charge and is offered in many local pharmacies (you can also select by the type of vaccine you are comfortable with).

Free testing is also widely available, but if you need a rapid test, it will cost $125 in Neptune Beach at the old K-Mart plaza on Atlantic Blvd.
Jax Beach Weather Station

You can see real-time weather conditions from the Weather Stem at the pier.

You can also check out the current beach conditions.

Trash Services

If you believe you have seen a violation of the City Code, please contact our Code Enforcement Division, you can:
  • report a potential code violation. Send an e-mail request or submit an online request for service.
  • report unregistered short-term rental units or file noise, parking, trash, and other nuisance complaints related to short-term rental properties. Submit an online request for service.

If a street light is out in your neighborhood, please let Beaches Energy Services know! You can report it at this link. Thank you for your help!
Safe Streets
Please remember to slow down when you are driving in the City. Take an extra second or two to look out for people in crosswalks. Look both ways before stepping on the gas. The weather is warming up, so there will be an increase in people riding bikes, walking, running, and enjoying our community. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #TheBeachLife! We are lucky to live it.
Huguenot Park
A lot can be accomplished while neighbors get together and fight for their park! At Huguenot Park, the brush on the south end of the property has been cut back, as well as around parts of the lake. And speaking of the Lake Huguenot, the fountain has been fixed! I want to extend my sincere thanks to Ken Marsh and all the residents around the park for their successful effort to improve this park. I also want to thank Jason Phitides, the Director of Parks and Recreation, and his team for their attentiveness to the residents' concerns, and how they maintained open lines of communication with Mr. Marsh and others involved in this project. Well done, everyone!
Additional improvements and beautification of the park are in the works. I need to thank Ken Marsh again for taking the lead in coordinating the neighborhood to provide feedback to the City on what they would like to see in the park. It will not happen overnight, but we are on our way!

If you would like to be involved with Huguenot Park's future, please reach out to Ken Marsh. He would love to hear from you.

Finally, as a reminder, there has been a change in the tennis courts' hours of use for the tennis leagues, which has resulted in not needing an 8th tennis court. It should also be noted that the courts are open to public use, free of charge, from noon to 3 pm Monday through Friday.
Sunshine Park
You were heard! Because of community feedback stating the playground equipment was getting very worn (the playground is heavily used), the City will rebuild the play area.

This park is in a Community Redevelopment Area, and it is our Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) that is charged with making decisions about the projects in that area. The playground is one of those projects. The new playground will conserve much of the original character by using similar themes as well as the preservation of the mermaid entrance and the pavilion area. In addition, we have asked for enhanced shade covering, ADA accessible play elements. and new safety flooring throughout the playground.

There will be many opportunities for you to engage prior to the final design of the play area, so stay tuned!

Another project that has recently been approved is a new basketball court, in addition to two pickleball courts. The basketball court will be moved approximately 5' to the south to make room for two pickleball courts to its north. The project is expected to start at the end of August and will take approximately 6-7 weeks to complete.
JB Police Chief Smith Discusses the Police Response to
July 4th and other Recent Large Events
Every July, Beaches Watch, a local non-partisan nonprofit civic organization, invites the Beaches' police chiefs to discuss the current state of affairs at its monthly meeting to keep the public informed about policing in the three Beach Cities. The video below is cued up to when Chief Smith begins his presentation.
Update on New Businesses
Element Hotel

Welcome to Jax Beach Element: by Westin hotel! Located at the corner of Beach Blvd and 3rd Street, this hotel offers rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, access to bicycles, a pool/sauna, gas grills, a fire pit, EV charging stations, and healthy snack options for its guests. It is ideal for extended stays to the beach. Oh, did I mention it's VERY pet-friendly? (Dogs - and cats - get a special welcome bag, a bed to sleep on, and a play toy. Just like home...)
The Bearded Pig

The Bearded Pig is open! Stop by and enjoy some BBQ. It's open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 am - 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am - 10 pm, and Sundays from 11 am - 9 pm.
Business Development Updates
Beach Bowl

Beach Bowl is coming back! The $7.5 million renovation plan was approved by the Board of Adjustments. While this will still be THE place to bowl, there are also plans for additional entertainment options, a restaurant, and roof-top alfresco dining.

Jax Beach Town Center
(used to be Ruby Beach & Campeche Bay)
In 2019, Jax Beach Town Center, LLC purchased the Ruby Beach building, and then purchased the building that housed Campeche Bay in 2020. Demolition of the buildings is complete and construction is expected to begin in August.

The project will be a mixed-use property with a restaurant with roof-top dining, offices, and retail. It is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Other Construction Projects

The City is awaiting the submission of new building plans for both the Springhill Suites site (located where the Pier Cantina was) and what has been termed The Dolphin Depot Project site (across the street from Margaritaville). Both locations have been cleared. The same is true for the property behind the Pavilion.
Future Development Plans
There are two large development plans that will be in front of the Planning Commission and City Council in the future. Both have had a workshop to present their plans to the Council and will be filing applications soon.

Beach Marine Property
In May, Council held a workshop to listen to the development concepts for the Beach Marine property. The plan above was presented to Council and you can watch the discussion below. The developer proposed adding additional parking near the boat ramp, moving 2nd Avenue North (which is a county road, so Jax Beach would not need to pay for that), and change the land use of the property from:
  • Residential to Conservation (10.31 AC*)
  • Conservation to Recreation (3.02 AC)
  • Conservation to Right of Way (4.91 AC)
  • Conservation to Commercial (1.78 AC)
The proposal also asked to include a commercial area in the turquoise noted section of the map above (the southwest portion of the property).
The proposed changes would require a change to the City's Comprehensive Plan and any changes would need to be approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council.

* AC stands for acres 
Adventure Landing Property


CC - Community Comercial
RHD - Residential High Density
RLD - Residential Low Density
ROS - Recreational Open Space
EW - Estuarine Wetlands

ZONING CODES (Land Development Code)

C2 - Commercial General
RM-1 - Residential Multi-Family
RS-1 - Residential Single-Family
PUD - Planned Unit Development
In June, Council held a workshop to listen to the development concepts for the Adventure Landing property. Adventure Landing filed for bankruptcy and will be closing by October 31 this year. The property has been purchased, and the plan above was presented to Council. A formal application has not been submitted yet. The project is in its early stages, and the developer is open to community feedback. You can watch the discussion below. The developer proposed:
  • 427 Apartments
  • Parking Garage
  • Change in land use of the property from:
  • 27.09 AC Developable Land (CC, RHD, RLD) to 13.05 AC (RHD)
  • 26.75 AC Conservation Land (ROS, EW) to 40.79 AC

City staff also did a presentation, and while you can listen to it in the video below, you can follow along on the PowerPoint Slides.

The proposed changes would require a change to the City's Comprehensive Plan, and any changes would need to be approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Jax Beach Online
The City continually strives to improve its online presence and find effective ways to communicate with its residents, businesses, and citizens. While there is still much more to do, below are the City's current official social media accounts:
Jax Beach also has its own newsletter! It's easy to sign up.
Other Items of Note
Small Islands

You may have heard about a series of islands in the Intracoastal Waterway. The Small Islands, as they are called, are located in the viewshed of Jacksonville Beach’s Cradle Creek Preserve and can be seen from the Butler Boulevard Bridge. The Islands gained a lot of attention on social media, and the story was even picked up by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, who promoted the sale of the islands in a video that went viral. In response, over 3,000 people signed a petition to save the Small Islands.

As a result of the public outcry, North Florida Land Trust got in touch with the owner, who recognized the conservation value of the property and agreed to enter a contract to sell the Islands to NFLT.

Currently, North Florida Land Trust raised $30,500 from a fundraising drive and was able to purchase the portion outlined in red of the island chain on the map above. The NFLT is in early discussions with the City about adding this to Cradle Creek preserve.

NFLT still needs to raise $320,000 to purchase and preserve the rest of this island chain to ensure they are never developed. If NFLT is able to obtain these islands and form an agreement with the City, just think about what a wonderful eco-trail system we could have on the Intracoastal. There are still many islands left, and before the City and NFLT can form any agreement on them, NFLT must raise enough funds to be able to purchase the remainder of the islands. This will preserve the trees, wildlife, and bird sanctuary. All donations are tax-deductible.

If you want to be part of saving these islands, please consider donating. Any size investment that you are able to contribute to this effort will help to maintain our community feel on the Intracoastal side of the island. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me, and I am more than happy to answer them.
Blue Zones
The Elected officials and community leaders joined a Webinar about how BlueZones can enhance communities and the health of those who live in them. This project is being spearheaded by Baptist Health and is in the assessment stage in NEFL. Learn more about BlueZones Jacksonville and/or watch the Activate Jacksonville Webinar!

The Jax Beach Pier
Construction on the Pier has been underway! The Florida Times-Union has written some interesting stories about the work:

The expected completion is in Spring 2022.
Together, we will make a difference.
Let's continue to work together to ensure that Jacksonville Beach remains one of the greatest places to call home! Reach out if you have any questions or concerns about what is happening in your neighborhood or City.
Cell phone: 904.486.6865