Attorney Charles McMurry attended the St. Marks City Commission meeting last week to present his viewpoint about the city’s dissolution directly to the commission.

This comes only two weeks after a petition was sent out to residents of St. Marks which called for dissolving the city. The petition and an attached letter, penned by Robert Gee and McMurry, makes the case that the people of St. Marks would enjoy lower taxes and utility costs if the city were to be dissolved, citing examples such as Sopchoppy’s tax rates and Panacea’s water system to back up the claims.
At the meeting, McMurry said the taxes and utility rates had increased more than the surrounding county, and that he didn’t see the benefits that he felt should be there. Other citizens expressed concerns that the dissolution of the city might make things more expensive and make services such as road grading slower. No action was taken by the commissioners, and so far nothing has come of the petition that McMurry and Gee mailed out.
In other matters before the city commission:

  • Zoe Mansfield and Ethel Jefferson, the City manager and Administrative Assistant, respectively, are retiring on September 30th, at the end of the fiscal year. The city commission tasked attorney Bill Garner with writing up a job description so a search to fill the City Manager position could be completed before Mansfield and Jefferson leave. Only a job description for the City Manager position is being made, because the Administrative Assistant is hired by the City Manager, not the city commission.
  • Shadrach Hines of the Waterfronts committee was at the meeting to talk about upcoming events in St. Marks. The next event will be on February 24th, and will be a chili cookoff and a community market. Also in the works is the Fourth of July celebration, which Hines is hoping will be on par with Sopchoppy’s annual fireworks display, provided that they reach their donation goal of $8,000. Forms to donate will be made available soon.
  • A buyer has reached out to the city about buying the old refinery, so they may convert it into a place to manufacture building materials. Before the city government can do their due diligence and get the land appraised and evaluated, a resolution allowing such actions must be passed by the city commission, which it was unanimously.
  • An insurance invoice has been sent to COAST Charter School after city commissioners decided to stop paying for the school’s insurance out of the city budget.
  • The Community Reinvestment Act that St. Marks was under has been moved to an inactive list, meaning the city won’t pay its filing fee anymore. It was made inactive because the city has never grown large enough to benefit from it. The CRA can be reactivated if such growth occurs.
  • The last pieces of playground equipment that the city government purchased have been shipped and are en route to St. Marks after a few month delay.
  • There will be a Flash 12K and 6K race in St. Marks on the railtrail on Feb. 17th at 8 a.m.
  • A Sea to Sea race will be held on the 22nd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where over 100 people will be coming over from St. Augustine to walk, bike, and paddleboat around the city and its environs. The Sea to Sea Expedition Race across Florida is an adventure racing event that takes participants on a multi-day journey from the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida to the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast.
  • Wakulla Street will be surveyed, to make sure there’s a concrete definition of where property lines are and where encroachments have happened.