County Begins Acquisition Process of North Beach Utilities

On March 20, 2024, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved St. Johns Utility District (SJCUD) starting the acquisition process of North Beach Utilities, Inc. (NBU) for water and wastewater services to approximately 1,400 customers in the Vilano Beach area. A public hearing will be held on May 7, as required by Florida statutes, to determine the public interest and present the negotiated purchase and sale agreement.

Neal Shinkre, Utility Director, provided a presentation to the BOCC and shared that SJCUD has acquired seven utilities since 2005. The NBU acquisition process began in 2022. The proposed acquisition includes an immediate $4 million investment into its infrastructure. This will provide short- and long-term benefits to the NBU community by strengthening the condition of existing utility infrastructure and increasing its level of service to its customers. Shinkre said, “We plan to clearly communicate and engage with NBU customers each step of the way on this journey.”

Carol Anderson, NBU customer and President of the North Beach Community Alliance, said, “My family has lived in North Beach for 10 years and appreciate the responsiveness of North Beach Utilities to the residents. But our community has grown significantly with commercial development, and I can only imagine that puts a strain on the small utility. We are very supportive of the County acquiring North Beach Utilities so that residents and visitors have the strong support of the SJC Utilities Department.” 

In March, SJCUD will complete assessments, purchase and sale agreement (PSA), and a Public Interest Report and Resolution to approve the PSA. From May to July, SJCUD will conduct due diligence, including Phase 1 environmental survey and budgeting. This includes a Public Hearing on May 7. In August, the acquisition and closing documents are planned to be finalized with continued customer outreach and education.