St. Johns County Legislative Affairs Mid-Session Update

At the Feb. 20 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regular meeting, the BOCC heard progress on a number of County priorities as part of the Legislative Affairs Update. The 2024 St. Johns County Legislative Action Plan is available to the public on the County website.

The following St. Johns County Priority Projects are currently slated to be included in the State’s Fiscal Year 2024/2025 Budget with yet-to-be-determined funding amounts.

Regional Emergency Response Capacity:

  • Central Public Safety Station
  • All Hazards Training Facility and Unified Command Center
  • District 23 Regional Medical Examiner’s Office

St. Johns County continues to pursue opportunities to enhance public safety, such as the planned Fire Station #11 and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Southwest Operations Center in Elkton.


  • State Road 16 Improvements
  • County Road 2209 Improvements

St. Johns County recently celebrated the start of the $15 million widening of County Road 210.

Coastal Restoration:

  • South Ponte Vedra Beach
  • Vilano Beach Main Street

St. Johns County continues to make progress on a multitude of coastal restoration projects.

Additionally, St. Johns County continues to work to advance multiple policy initiatives through the State Legislature, including the following.

Emergency Responders

Preliminary studies indicate routine exposure to toxic chemicals may make firefighters more likely to develop neurological diseases. The proposed legislative policy would expand presumptive disability to first responders diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases.

BOCC Chair Sarah Arnold brought awareness to this issue in January. County staff met with the Florida Department of Financial Services, pursuing State support for a comprehensive research process to determine if there is a connection between toxic exposure and neurological deficits. These findings may lead to legislation in future sessions.

Hastings Rural Designation

Hastings lost its statutory identity as a rural community on March 1, 2018, when Hastings became a part of unincorporated St. Johns County.

St. Johns County is requesting an amendment to Florida Statutes to restore the statutory identity of Hastings as a rural community, facilitating public infrastructure investment, agricultural tourism, and the protection of working lands.

St. Johns County is working with the legislative delegation on amendments in both the Florida Senate and House to further this cause in future sessions.

Restoration of Regional Estuaries

St. Johns County has identified a need for improved regional coordination and strategy for estuary restoration.

St. Johns County is seeking to forge a regional estuary partnership with Flagler and Volusia counties to enhance collaboration and bring additional resources to the area.

St. Johns County has met with stakeholders in these counties, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the Florida legislature to begin building this partnership.

Florida Museum of Black History

St. Johns County is proposing to build the museum at the site of the former Florida Memorial University, honoring the legacy of those who heroically led the Civil Rights Movement in Florida. This would be a partnership with Florida Memorial University and the West Augustine CRA.

This proposal has received widespread support, including from Florida A&M University, the City of Palm Coast, Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), JAXPORT, and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.

The Florida Museum of Black History Task Force survey is open to the public until Feb. 29.

St. Johns County-St. Johns County School District Joint Meeting

Additionally, Commissioner Christian Whitehurst shared during the Legislative Affairs Update that he and County staff have met with representatives from the Florida Department of Education to discuss key issues affecting St. Johns County public schools, including school facility capacity, teacher recruitment, and school security.

The BOCC unanimously approved a motion to direct County staff to schedule a joint meeting with the St. Johns County School District in the next six months to discuss these issues.