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County commissioners get preview of needs by CCSO, CCFR, CCEM

By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com
Posted 3/16/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A big-ticket meeting took place between the officials and the community during the Clay County Board of County Commissioners workshop on Tuesday morning, with funding …

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County commissioners get preview of needs by CCSO, CCFR, CCEM


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A big-ticket meeting took place between the officials and the community during the Clay County Board of County Commissioners workshop on Tuesday morning, with funding streams and five-year and 10-year project plans discussed for the following categories: capital improvement projects, mobility and impact fees, bonds, restricted fund projects and monies from American Recuse Plan Act.

One crucial item raised during the impact fee portion of the meeting was the future of the facilities for the county’s police department, with Cook speaking adamantly in an assertion the department needed an upgrade with a more centralized operation.

“I know the county was hit by some very difficult times financially and I understand. We are very flexible, fluid and operative with the county, and are trying to maintain the sheriff’s office needs, fire needs, county needs, and citizen needs. But we have to move forward,” she said.

That’s because the sheriff’s department is currently paying approximately $1 million annually to maintain the more than 20 buildings, she said, some of which are overcrowded with storage items.

Cook compared Nassau County’s current use of the campus-style model as a potential path for future buildings, bringing a print-out photograph of the regional county’s building with her to the meeting. The sheriff said that she would like to build a Sheriff’s Operation Center and that the campus model is something that both the county police and fire departments could look further into utilizing in the future.

Cook said she would only keep necessary service deputies to operate out of substations in places like neighborhood malls, where officers spend little time with only a few employees, including an administrator and a few to complete tasks like creating fingerprint copies and filing paperwork. 

At a new building, Cook would seek to house police personnel, while the current building could be repurposed to provide more jail space for the next five to seven years. The county would hopefully seek to build a jail, which is high cost, in a 10-year or 11-year plan, where $9 million would be set aside for the project.

Cook said she would likely need about 100,000 square feet to house her department’s operations in the future. She hopes to move away from the inefficient model that leads to crowded storage areas but that the space could expand between two or three buildings.

Clay County Fire Rescue also presented their plans to build four new firehouses.

John Ward, County Director of Emergency Management, also said the issue of storage was an issue.

Among other items also discussed at the meeting were mobility fees. Projections are based on last year’s data and are on target again in 2023, as demonstrated by the BCC in a slideshow. The projections are based on 1,700 homes.

Also, several necessary road and trail projects will be funded through development fees, impact fees, and mobility fees throughout the county.