The Ponte Vedra Beach Municipal Service District Board of Trustees voted to maintain the MSD’s .375-millage rate for fiscal year 2017-2018 at its meeting on Monday at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.
“Our expenses have gone up; our revenues have gone up,” said Chairman John Wegl. “There’s no need to raise it.”
Vice Chairman Gary Jurenovich said property values have increased enough to cover an increase in costs for some of the services that the MSD provides, including prices for sanitation from Republic Services and security/safety from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Jurenovich explained that the board determines its budget each year based on the ad valorem tax dollars it expects to receive. He noted that the MSD has not raised taxes in the 11 years that he’s served on the board.
Treasurer Murle Harrison said it’s clear that property values and ad valorem tax dollars will increase based on construction in Ponte Vedra.
“When you ride around and look at the new construction that’s coming online, it is going to be astronomical,” he said. “I just think the revenue that comes in next year is going to be considerably more.”
The board also engaged in colorful discussion regarding yard waste and residents dumping trash in empty or vacant lots. Trustee John Cellucci said he’s soon meeting with representatives from Republic to discuss the issue. He noted that the MSD’s contract with the company states that when a property owner’s yard waste is out of compliance, Republic must tag it and tell the property owner why they didn’t pick it up, as well as what can be done to correct the problem.
He also noted that Republic is not required to pick up trash in vacant lots. Trustee Kitty Switkes questioned what will happen when trash is dumped on the yard of an out-of-state resident.
Cellucci said most situations are resolved when the trash is tagged. If no progress is made, he said the county is usually notified. Overall, he emphasized that the MSD must adhere by the process that is outlined in the contract.
“Just let it sit there until it goes through the process,” he said. “It’s an ugly process, and maybe it’s more time consuming than some folks like. But that’s the process.”
Jurenovich said more community policing and education needs to take place.
“If we continue to call Republic and continue to call the county and it continues to get picked up, you’re never going to stop the problem,” he said. “We haven’t stopped the problem yet because nobody has gone to the community and said police yourself.”
In other MSD news, Trustee Brad Wester said the county’s construction of the Mickler’s Landing Beach walkover most likely won’t happen until the summer traffic dies down.
Also, Wegl noted that the Ponte Vedra Architectural Review Committee is holding a meeting July 26 in which it will deliberate over a request for a variance from the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club to demolish the existing Ocean House and build a new three-story, 43-foot high and 140-foot wide building. The hotel is also requesting a reduction in the minimum required separation between two buildings from 20 feet to 18 feet.
The next MSD meeting is Aug. 14 at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library.