Palatka residents will continue to have garbage picked up only once a week at least until Jan. 23. That’s when Palatka City Commissioners expect to meet again to discuss again whether to make the change from twice a week to once a week pickup permanent. They’re also expecting to see some plans to educate the public on recycling and possibly get better data on how the public likes the change which came in September even as the price of service went up $3. The continuation came at a called meeting Tuesday afternoon. About a dozen members of the public turned up with the majority seeking to keep the twice-a-week garbage service that’s been in effect at least 40 years. “You’re raising the fees for service and cutting the service,” said Will Jones.
Putnam County commissioners narrowed down their goals during a strategic planning workshop Tuesday. A two-day session had them reviewing input from citizens at three public meetings and determining priorities for implementing a range of needs. Infrastructure including expansion of sewer and water, bridge repairs and roads all ended up high on everyone’s list. So did conducting a wage, benefit and classification survey for employees; something that has been done in more than 15 years. More meetings are scheduled, the next with department heads who will have to implement the program. Marilyn Crotty, former University of Central Florida head of the Institute of Government, has been contracted by the county to guide the planning sessions.
In Flagler County, county commissioners Monday night heard from citizens increasingly concerned about the growth of the county’s airport. The airport is a success story bringing in more than $2 million a year and now up to 500 flights a day, many from flight training schools such as Embry Riddle Aeronautic University. However, neighbor say it’s hurting their quality of life. At least one individual is threatening a lawsuit. Commissioners have agreed to a workshop in January.
More growth in St. Augustine, this time at a major entry into the historic downtown. Concrete towers are going up off King Street as construction starts on a 51-room four-story hotel. Located by the bridge on the San Sebastian River the site for many years was the location of Fazio’s Seafood Market when shrimp boats regularly brought in their catches. The Lotus Inn and Suites is scheduled to have a height limit of 55 feet and is slightly smaller than originally planned. Talk of developing the area across from the site continues.
In a week Christmas will be here. In Palatka today at 12:15 p.m. enjoy the Advent Concert series at St. James United Methodist Church, 400 Reid St. The half-hour free concert features Christ Independent Methodist Church’s Men’s Choral Group. Josh Mowery, Jeff Bedenbaugh, Art Lanier, Jim Reynolds and Skeet Alford make up the group.
In St. Augustine the EMMA concert association’s Holiday Pops Concert featuring the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra tonight is sold out. Tickets are available for the St. Augustine Ballet which Saturday and Sunday features two performances each day at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium. Local dancers Devin Mantel and Grace Karger share the principal role of Sugar Plum Fairy. The two grew up dancing with the St. Augustine Ballet and have each performed in nine Nutcracker productions. On Friday the St. Augustine Concert Band performs downtown during Nights of Lights from 7 to 8:15 p.m.