Community Letter From St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews

Framework for Open Governance

and Enhanced Operational Efficiency

Dear St. Johns County community,

As the new County Administrator for St. Johns County, I feel honored to serve you. After being selected by the Board of County Commissioners, I presented a platform for our organization’s future called “Charting Performance: A Framework for Open Governance and Efficiency.” This framework, which is a testament to our shared dedication to innovation and responsiveness, was shaped by your invaluable input and feedback.

As we collectively navigate beyond the unprecedented challenges of 2023, our gaze is fixed firmly on a horizon marked by economic opportunity, prosperity, and resilience. The Board of County Commissioners has identified four key priorities for the year 2024:

  1. Transportation Infrastructure
  2. Economic Resilience
  3. Coastal Protection & Flood Mitigation
  4. Resilient Future for Children

Guided by these priorities, we are committed to charting a course that ensures the well-being and prosperity of our community. However, before we forge ahead, it is imperative to reflect on the milestones and achievements of the past year. Each accomplishment in 2023 was meticulously crafted with the singular aim of enhancing the quality of life for every resident of St. Johns County.

representatives at legislative delegation meeting

Thanks to the unwavering support of the St. Johns County community and the efforts of the Board of County Commissioners in Tallahassee, we secured a record $59 million in State appropriations during the 2023 Legislative Session. These funds, a testament to our collective commitment to progress, were allocated to various projects, ranging from critically eroded beach restoration to road safety improvements at County Road 2209/International Golf Parkway, County Road 210/US 1, and intersection improvements at Pine Island Road/US 1 and State Road A1A. 

Our Office of Intergovernmental Affairs secured $63.4 million in State and Federal appropriations, furthering our commitment to infrastructure, resiliency, and conservation. We embarked on a comprehensive vulnerability study in the resiliency and environment conservation realm and allocated funds for utility enhancements, drainage improvements, and energy-efficient facilities. We worked toward multi-approach solutions for high-priority projects like State Road 16 widening and SR A1A repair.

commisssioner whitehurst speaking with media

The Office of Public Affairs introduced an integrated marketing communications initiative, emphasizing the organization's dedication to transparency and accessibility, as well as shared stories with the community across diverse platforms and formats. Notably, a new website and app were launched. With content available in print, online, and on-demand, this initiative fosters transparency and enhances accessibility for all.

Our Emergency Management and Coastal Management teams showcased resilience in the face of another active hurricane season and generated more significant investment from our State and Federal partners for coastal resiliency projects

The St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department led the way by introducing Neuroprotective CPR, a pioneering approach aimed at boosting survival rates. In acknowledgment of the significance of mental health, they initiated a new program to offer life-saving counseling services tailored specifically for first-responder personnel.

The Health and Human Services Department supported vulnerable populations by finalizing adoptions, adding affordable housing units, and assisting thousands of households through various health, social, and economic assistance programs. One of our proudest highlights toward building a resilient future for our children was the finalization of 50 adoptions for children in the local child welfare system. 

Our Utility Services Department invested in critical updates, water transmission projects, and unifying utility rates, all while reducing water and wastewater rates by 3.0% for most customers and preserving its AAA bond rating.

The Public Works Department continued to prioritize and execute vital infrastructure projects, like enhancing drainage, parks, and roads, improving the overall landscape of our County. This included our re-commitment to the communities of Hastings, Vilano Beach, and other regions of our community.

The Parks and Recreation Department invested heavily in preserving existing assets while planning and designing four regional parks to meet the growing needs of our residents. In addition, we saw a significant revival to the County's golf course and clubhouse operations after a critical $7.9 million reinvestment and a substantial acquisition of riverfront property toward a community park and waterway access facility in St. Augustine. 

Our Public Library System expanded community outreach meetings to secure architectural design for a new Hastings Community Center and Library, aligned with the community's vision.

The newly created Office of Performance and Transparency establishes a pathway for driving organizational excellence while promoting accountability and transparency. The department aims to ensure the organization operates efficiently and effectively by using relevant data to measure performance and develop guidelines for improved services while expanding the public’s access to information and initiatives. 

Together, let us celebrate our achievements, learn from our experiences, and chart a course toward a brighter tomorrow.


Joy Andrews

County Administrator

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