GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Police Chief John Guzman warmly welcomed two new employees, swore in three new officers, and commemorated the promotion of Brett Morando to sergeant at last Tuesday's city …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Police Chief E. J. Guzman warmly welcomed two new employees, swore in three new officers, and commemorated the promotion of Brett Morando to sergeant at last Tuesday's city council meeting. The success of the Christmas on Walnut parade was attributed to the dedication of the city’s police department, as well as the volunteers and city employees who made the event possible.
“It was a wonderful event. The police department does so much. They have championed this for so long. I thank everyone who was involved,” said Vice Mayor Steven Kelley.
“What y’all do each and every single year is incredible. It is incredible how many people come to enjoy our town. It is a testament to our city’s staff. Hard work pays off, and it is amazing work,” said Councilmember Thomas Smith.
“The parade was epic! It was something special, and everyone is talking about it. Children came up to me and asked, “Where’s the candy?” I responded, “The Grinch took it!” Well, because handing out candy was a safety issue. We don’t want anyone running out in front of the vehicles,” said Mayor Connie Butler.
“I was proud to be a citizen of Green Cove Springs. Everything was so well done. Absolutely beautiful,” said Councilmember Matt Johnson.
In other news, the city is continuing its progress toward obtaining a loan for a new stormwater plant and leasing a Vac-Con truck.
The city council has debated financing options in previous meetings. Still, last Tuesday, upon recommendation of the city’s financial advisor and Assistant City Manager Mike Null, a unanimous approval was reached for a 20-year loan with a 5.5% interest rate, with the option to renegotiate after four years.
“The rates aren’t awesome,” said Kelley as he examined the other options.
The loan with a 5.5% interest rate from Truist Bank was chosen for its flexibility to be renegotiated down the road, especially with the targeted Federal funds rate anticipated to be lower.
“Four years from now, the (interest rate) might not be better, but I doubt it will be worse,” said Kelley, which the council agreed with.
In other news, the city can’t cheer yet for its win in the Pegasus vs. Green Cove Springs court case. The lawsuit was filed last year after the city approved the development of a four-story apartment complex a half mile from the end of the runway at Haller Airpark used by Pegasus, an aviation company and tenant at Reynolds Industrial Park. Judge Don Lester ruled in favor of the city.
“Pegasus intends to exhaust its litigating capabilities. I don’t presume they’ll get another hearing, and after their request for an additional hearing is denied, I presume they’ll file an appeal,” said City Attorney Jim Arnold.
The vote that required the most deliberation was the motion to authorize leasing the old firehouse at 25 Roderigo Ave. to the Green Cove Springs Wrestling Club. City Council cautiously moved the motion to a vote next meeting, with the understanding the location has been Richard Knoff’s workshop.
For 35 years, Knoff’s mission has been repairing bicycles to give to children during the Christmas season, a mission ubiquitously admired by the city council.
If approved with a majority vote, the city can lease the building to other organizations. City Council may face pressure next year from competing nonprofits that would benefit from the space.