Clayton Sembler, President of CDS Manufacturing, the company looking into buying the old refinery site in St. Marks, was present at last week’s St. Marks City Commission meeting to discuss the plans for the land they’re in negotiations to buy.

Sembler said that while his company provides a variety of services and supplies dozens of products to different clients at their main site in Gretna, the site in St. Marks would only be producing three of those products.
He stated that the reason St. Marks was selected is so that the company can manufacture products and then sell them to buyers in places such as the Keys, by loading those products on a barge. Their current plant isn’t close enough to the water to do this, and that access would open up a lot more business for his company.
Sembler also wanted to add that if any concerned citizen wants to take a tour of the current facility to see what exactly is coming to St. Marks, they should reach out and contact him or the company vice president, and schedule a tour.
Sembler said that someone had recently trespassed onto CDS’ manufacturing site, and had taken photos and video of the operations, which caused legal trouble due to the company’s nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements that it has with many of its clients.
All city commissioners were present at the meeting on Thursday, June 13, including the newly appointed Tim Lawrence, who was appointed on May 15 to replace former Mayor Paul Sheddan, who resigned from the city commission and filed a lawsuit against his fellow commissioners for defamation. (That lawsuit is still pending.)
In other matters:

  • Shadrach Hines of St. Marks Waterfronts gave an update on plans for the Fourth of July celebration, noting that half of the necessary $8,000 for fireworks had been raised.
    Anyone who wishes to make a donation can go to Bo Lynn’s in St. Marks to pick up a donation form.
  • A resolution concerning the mutual aid agreement between the city and the state was drafted, due to a change in legislation at the state level which puts pressure on city governments to enter into mutual aid agreements with the state government, as opposed to just the county government.
    This aid primarily would be needed in times of natural disasters, such as in the aftermath of a hurricane.
    City commissioners were unsure of what the mutual side of the aid was, as St. Marks doesn’t have much equipment that could be used in an emergency, meaning the city would likely be receiving much more aid than it could give.
    And city commissioners also expressed concerns about the vague language of the resolution as it didn’t say whether or not the city would need to pay those who aided them back, or how it would change their current agreement with the county government.
    Mayor Steve Remke asked City Manager Zoe Mansfield if she could get the representative who reached out about the agreement to be present at the next regular meeting, and Mansfield said she could.
  • Mansfield also brought up that the city had recently run an ad in the paper looking for bids to change some of the water lines in the city, as some of them are old and use materials such as asbestos. She noted that the money to replace the lines is coming from a grant, and the city won’t have to pay for the update.