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County, Sen. Rubio to host Irma Disaster Recovery Center
St. Johns County and Senator Marco Rubio will host a Disaster Recovery Center event for residents affected by Hurricane Irma from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday at the St. Johns County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian View. Representatives from FEMA, insurance agencies, and other state, federal, and local entities will be available to answer questions and provide needed hurricane recovery assistance and information. For more information regarding Hurricane Irma recovery and response, visit www.sjcfl.us/hurricane or call the St. Johns County Emergency Management hotline at 904-824-5550.
City’s boil water notice rescinded
The boil water notice issued earlier this week for an area along a portion of San Marco Avenue has been rescinded following two days of sample that passed bacterial testing. Questions should be directed to the Public Works Department at 904-825-1040.
Where to get help …
• FEMA has issued an Individual Assistance Declaration for St. Johns County in response to damage incurred due to Hurricane Irma. To apply for individual assistance, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.
• A Disaster Recovery Center to help those affected by Hurricane Irma will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the St. Johns County Wind Mitigation Building, 3111 Agricultural Center Drive. The center will remain open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the immediate future. Disaster Recovery Centers serve as one-stop shops for eligible storm survivors seeking one-on-one help. Representatives from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and various other state agencies will be at the center to answer questions and provide assistance. For more information, call the Emergency Operation Center Hotline at 904-824-5550.
• The U.S. Small Business Administration offers loans to businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and renters who were harmed by Hurricane Irma. Go to disasterloan.sba.gov/ela for details.
• The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will manage and provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm.
To complete an application by the Oct. 17 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.
• Residents who need help repairing damage to their homes because of Hurricane Irma could get help from St. Johns County. The county can help residents residents who qualify (income is one factor): purchase of emergency supplies for weather-damaged homes; tree and debris removal and interim repairs to avoid further damage in order to make a housing structure habitable; construction of wells, or repairs to existing wells, where public water is not available; payment of insurance deductibles for rehabilitation of homes covered under homeowners insurance policies; security deposits or rental assistance for people who have been displaced from their homes due to damage from the storm. For information call the St. Johns County Housing and Community Development Division at 904-209.1250.
• City of St. Augustine residents who were “heavily impacted” by Hurricane Irma and need special help with a utility bill can contact the city’s Customer Service Department. For help, call 904-825-1037 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• St. Johns County has activated a hotline for residents and business owners with concerns regarding property and structural damage. If you have storm-related structural damage or permitting questions, call the St. Johns County Building Services Structural Hotline at 904-827-6836.
• St. Johns County has opened the Solomon Calhoun Community Center, 1300 Duval Street, as a post-impact shelter for those who are unable to return to their homes. All other shelters are now closed.
• St. Johns County residents can get free tarps if their homes have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Tarp sizes include 20 feet by 30 feet or 30 feet by 40 feet and are available on a first come, first served basis at the St. Johns County Health and Human Services building at 200 San Sebastian View. Call 209-1250 in advance to request a tarp that can be picked up at the Health and Human Services Building during normal business hours.
Cleaning up …
• As the water levels go down, the proper disposal of sandbags becomes important. Residents who picked up sandbags in preparation for Hurricane Irma are encouraged to keep them for the remainder hurricane season and for future use. Sandbags may also be used as general fill or in areas such as lawns, landscape beds, or base for paving blocks. Sand or full sandbags will not be collected with regular garbage or yard debris. Emptied bags can be kept for reuse or disposed of with household garbage.
• St. Johns County’s standard household garbage, recycling, and yard debris collection schedules will resume the week of Sept. 18.
• St. Johns County initiated the Hurricane Irma Debris Collection Program on Friday, September 15. Residents are encouraged to move all storm debris to the curb as crews will collect debris from the public right-of-way. The contractor will make multiple passes through various neighborhoods to ensure all storm-related debris is collected. The following guidelines will assist the County in expediting debris removal:
– Please place storm debris in the right of way at the curb
– Debris must be three feet from utility boxes, mailboxes, hydrants, and other obstacles.
– Debris collection crews will not pick up bags, containers, leaves, or small debris.
– Please separate vegetation from all other storm-related debris.
– Bagged vegetative debris (leaves) will be picked up on regularly scheduled garbage collection days.
No chemicals or hazardous waste will be collected curbside. Hazardous waste may be disposed of at the Tillman Ridge or Stratton Road Transfer Stations for disposal during standard operating hours. For more information, call 904-827-6980 or visit www.recyclestjohns.com.
• Collection of storm debris for the City of St. Augustine starts today (Sept. 16) with vegetative debris only. A schedule for the collection of other storm debris, including construction and demolition debris, appliances and white goods, electronics, and household hazardous waste will be announced next week.
All debris is to be placed curbside, but not in the street or obscuring infrastructure such as storm water inlets, water meters, cable boxes and fire hydrants. No debris is to be placed in bags, even small vegetative debris.
The city’s Public Works Department estimates four weeks to complete all storm debris pickup with a target completion deadline of Oct. 13. For details, call 904-825-1040.
• The City of St. Augustine’s regularly scheduled collections will resume Monday, except that Wednesday’s yard trash collection will be suspended during the collection of storm debris which includes vegetative material. Call the Solid Waste Division with questions at 904-825-1049.
Parks and recreation closures
• These St. Johns County Parks and Recreation facilities are closed because of inspections after Hurricane Irma: Alpine Groves Park, Vilano Boat Ramp, Shands Pier, Riverdale Picnic Area, Bird Island Park, Canopy Park, Vail Park, Palmo Dock, Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park, Solomon Calhoun Center and Ketterlinus Gym. Even in parks that are open, some areas may be closed because of safety concerns.
• The St. Augustine Municipal Marina will be closed until further notice.
• While the Galimore Community Pool is closed due to Hurricane Irma damage, the St. Augustine YMCA will honor Galimore’s annual passes at its facility on Pope Road.
County Commissioners meeting canceled
The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled. All items scheduled for the meeting will be heard at the next regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 3. In addition, the budget hearing previously scheduled for Tuesday has also been canceled, and the state has waived all budgetary timelines. The budget hearing is anticipated to be held at 5:01 p.m. on Oct. 3.
The Final Action on the proposed Substantial Amendment to the Community Development Block Grant Consolidated Plan and the 2016-2017 Annual Action Plan, previously scheduled for Monday’s Board of County Commissioners regular meeting, has been moved to the next regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 3.
Board meeting canceled
Monday’s meeting of the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council has been canceled. The next meeting will be 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16.
City of St. Augustine suspends parking fees
City metered parking in St. Augustine, both parking lots and on-street spaces, are available for free until 7 a.m. Monday. Fees for the city’s parking garage are still in place at a cost of $12 per vehicle.
St. Augustine Beach updates announced
The city will hold its first of two required public hearings for the budget at 5:01 p.m. on Monday. The regular City Commission meeting will follow.
Also, crews are moving from north to south in the city removing debris, and they’ll continue the work during weekdays. Advanced Disposal will collect recycling citywide on Sept. 15.
CoSA reschedules special budget meetings
The St. Augustine City Commission has rescheduled the two days of meetings relating to the 2017-2018 budget that were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. The meeting dates are Sept. 20 and Sept. 27. Both meetings will start at 5:05 p.m. and be held in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King St. They are open to the public and will be available for live and on-demand viewing at www.CityStAugTV.com.
Schools, colleges announce schedules
All St. Johns County School District schools will reopen Monday, Sept. 18. All St. Johns County after-school programs held at the Ketterlinus Gym and the W. E. Harris Community Center will resume on Monday to coincide with schools re-opening.
Flagler College classes will resume Monday at normally scheduled times. Residence halls are expected to be ready for student arrivals on Saturday.
All St. Johns River State College campuses will reopen and classes will resume on Monday.
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind will reopen for classes on Monday, Sept. 18.
Castillo de San Marcos to reopen Saturday
The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument will reopen to the public today. Normal hours of operation are 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Due to storm damage, no public restrooms are available at this time.
Fort Matanzas National Monument remains closed at this time due to hazardous tree limbs, damage to park boardwalks, and damage to the park dock system. Park ferry boats also suffered significant damage. There is no expected reopening date for Fort Matanzas at this time.