State Legislative Efforts Update

St. Johns County Commissioner Sarah Arnold was a featured speaker at the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce 2024 Legislative Update Breakfast held on May 17, 2024. Commissioner Arnold provided updates on the County’s legislative priorities, including initiatives to address the recruitment, retention, and long-term care for emergency responders and critical transportation projects that will provide traffic relief along I-95 and US 1. A video produced by the County’s Office of Public Affairs captured the event’s highlights.

Arnold said, “This year, our 2024 take home, pending we don’t get vetoed by the Governor, was more than $53 million in appropriations. Out of that, $26 million is for public safety. We have been very active in initiating and prioritizing new legislation for a presumptive disability for our first responders regarding neurological deficits from chemicals these first responders are exposed to in fires.”

Joining Commissioner Arnold on the stage for legislative updates were Paul Renner, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives; Mayor Nancy Sikes Kline, City of St. Augustine; Mayor Dylan Rumrell, City of St. Augustine Beach; Shorty Robbins, Legislative Aide to Representative Cyndi Stevenson; and Craft Talbot, Legislative Aide for Senator Travis Hutson.

Adam Tecler, Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, said, “St. Johns County is hopeful of receiving the Governor’s approval of several county projects in the FY 25 State Budget, including $11.7 million for a District 23 Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, $7.5 million to widen State Road 16 to four lanes from IGP to I-95, $10 million to extend County Road 2209 from IGP to State Road 16, $7.5 million for an All Hazards Regional Fire Training and Unified Command Center, $7.5 million for a Central Public Safety Station, $4.75 million for the South Ponte Vedra Beach Dune Restoration, $225,000 for the Lincolnville Museum and $125,000 for the Historic Vilano Beach Street Improvements.”

Tecler has served as the County’s Grants and Legislative Development Manager since 2022. During that time, the County has secured more than $170 million in funds to advance critical infrastructure projects. The County’s Office of Public Affairs showcased the legislative efforts in a video. In November 2023, the Grants and Legislative Affairs Office was restructured to become the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Tecler was confirmed as the Director on April 16, 2024.