Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Voters Choose New Commissioner, Approve Land Bonds Fernandina Beach: Joe Gerrity Will Take Office May 1

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Voters Choose New Commissioner, Approve Land Bonds Fernandina Beach: Joe Gerrity Will Take Office May 1

Article excerpt

Byline: Derek L. Kinner, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Fernandina Beach residents got a new city commissioner and money to purchase more lands for preservation during Tuesday's city elections, while all Nassau County residents got a preview of possible new voting methods.

Joe Gerrity, a part-time Realtor with Prudential Island Realty, outpolled incumbent James Rodeffer to win the Group 1 City Commission post. Gerrity, a political newcomer, won a three-year term and is expected to take office May 1 during the commission's annual reorganization meeting.

Rodeffer is completing his first three-year commission term as well as one year as mayor. A new mayor will be chosen by the commission at its May 1 meeting.

Voters, meanwhile, approved a $6 million bond issue to finance the purchase of land for the Egans Creek Greenway and to improve city parks and recreation centers.

City Manager Andy Barton said the city now will form an interdepartmental committee to coordinate putting the bond sale together.

"It's goIng to take more than one department to put it all together and coordinate what we need to do," Barton said the day after the election. "We're also sending out letters to property owners to see if they might be interested in selling to the city."

City officials have made up a list of targeted lands that are adjacent to the greenway or in other parts of the city. The values of the properties range from $1.3 million for dunes along South Fletcher Avenue to a nearby lot worth $17,600.

Barton said that, though he doesn't know precisely when the bonds will be ready for sale, it should be soon.

"We have learned one good thing. The market is actually quite strong for bonds. In terms of when we actually sign the papers, it'll be in a relatively short period of time," he said.

A celebration party for the success of the bond issue was thrown at O'Kane's Irish Pub and Eatery late Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Cannon said the new voting system worked well. …

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