Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates Debate Neptune Beach Challenges; One Advocated Backing Businesses, the Other Local Residents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates Debate Neptune Beach Challenges; One Advocated Backing Businesses, the Other Local Residents

Article excerpt

Byline: Tiffanie Reynolds

Neptune Beach mayoral candidates Elaine Brown and Bob Shimp presented two choices during a forum hosted by Beaches Watch on Tuesday night: Vote for businesses or residents on Nov. 8.

Both candidates stuck to their platforms during the Q-and-A presentation. Brown advocated for supporting local businesses and creating an environment for businesses to thrive in Neptune Beach. Shimp focused on his goal of expanding the voice of residents, particularly when it comes to property rights and services from city departments.

On topics of Neptune Beach's future growth and working with neighboring Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach, Brown said business is the future of the city and that she would support the Beaches Town Center and work on policies that would help local businesses expand and grow. She said if businesses are vibrant in Neptune Beach, the revenue that they bring would be able to support City Hall and help improve the quality of life. She also said that it's through the merchant's association that all three Beaches can unite and work out issues of parking and keeping local business in the area.

Shimp said expanding rights of residents and property owners is the way of the future for Neptune Beach. He would initiate a group of residents, business owners and city officials from all three Beaches to address area-wide issues. He would also focus on a unified dog ordinance across the Beaches to better support the variety of dog owners and pet-focused organizations in each community.

Both agreed that the Beaches' dunes need to be rebuilt through the Duval County Shore Protection Project. While it would add millions to the cost, both candidates said that it is possible for the dunes to be added to the project. Brown said the city needs to wait and see what comes out of the renegotiation of the project. …

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