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Tag Archives: Jim McGauley

The ‘kicked can’ isn’t going to go away

Impressions
Jim McGauley

Impressions

The Baker County Commission, in the words of our Mike Anderson, “kicked the can down the road” last week when it voted in a $27.5 million budget for the coming fiscal year, eschewing a property tax increase in favor of the less painful dip into reserve funds to balance the difference between spending and revenue.
What the commissioners did, though, was paint themselves into a corner 12 months from now when we can assume opposition to raising the millage rate above its present 7.29 level will be as strong, and the amount of surplus funds will have dipped to about $4 million. Sound fiscal policy would dictate it not be reduced further. Read More »

Time to re-think recreation plan

Jim McGauley- Impressions

Two recent developments — the ongoing turmoil over use of existing public ballfields and the recent exit of the First Coast YMCA from the scene except for fee-based sports — would seem to present us with a golden opportunity.
It’s time to re-think the entire public recreation picture in Baker County.
The county commission, unless it prefers unbounded discussions during its meetings about who gets to use the ballfields when, should take the initiative and reach out to the City of Macclenny to form a consolidated recreation department.
Remnants of the YMCA organization (a local board of directors still exists) should be brought into the mix as well, with or without cooperation from the First Coast organization that, if I was a betting man, probably is looking for a way of pulling out of Baker County altogether.
Good riddance. Read More »

Oldcastle on firm ground, Jahna not so much

The Baker County Commission will now turn its attention back to whether it should approve a special exception to allow sand mining southeast of Macclenny on a 437-acre tract off SR 228.

The proposal to permit Oldcastle Southern Group of Tampa was tabled last year pending issuance of permits by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a process now complete. The state says it’s okay and the question now rebounds back to two local boards: the Land Planning Agency and the commission.

Thanks to some creative problem solving, the matter of drawing out water from the aquifer for the mining process is now mute. Oldcastle and the City of Macclenny last week entered into a half-century pact to pipe treated wastewater to the mining site.

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Dumb ways lawbreakers get caught

File this column away in the “D’ya ever notice?” folder.

I’ve been writing, and many of you have been reading, what the business used to call the “police blotter” for more years than, well, more years than many of you readers have been alive.

Hometown crime has evolved somewhat over those decades. Now if you beat your wife, it isn’t “your business” anymore. Illegal substances people are caught with have transformed from moonshine to methamphetamine. In fact, I’ve seen more moonshine at Christmas parties than I ever saw seized by the authorities.

One constant remains and it has to do with what we’ll term “lack of foresight” when it comes to stupid things lawbreakers do to get themselves caught. Helping police do their job, if you will.

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