— Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
It’s that time of the year again, when we fill out our Christmas wish list and check it twice or thrice. And to answer the obligatory question, we’ve been nice – and so have our economic fortunes.
Hopefully next year will be like this year, both economically and financially. Our local/state/national economy is vibrant, the financial markets generous, the U.S. job market unparalleled. Politically, hopefully it’ll be a different story (without another impeachment over a phone call).
But let’s look at issues pertaining to Nassau County, and what we wish for next year.
- The A1A widening project is completed in 2020. This is the target date. If you believe that, we have some real estate for you on the north end of Amelia Island – that the ocean swallowed up during Hurricane Dora. This has been a colossal disaster of a road project. Word on the street is that the highway will again be rated an ‘F’ for usage by the time it’s finished – more than eight years since it started.
- Government agencies here reign in spending. The higher property values go, and the more tax revenues generated, the more local governments are spending. What will they do when we encounter a slowdown, or even a recession? When property values would decline, and the tax gravy train halted.
- Widespread developments are controlled, and conditions are placed on them like reins on a bucking horse. We’ve given away the farm too many times. Developers can come in, but they must play by our rules. We’ve buckled too often in the face of lawsuits. We are a desirable location, so they have to pay to play/develop here. Developers should pay for infrastructure, roads, schools, etc.
- We make amends with Rayonier, our largest corporate partner. A lawsuit between the county and Rayonier is counter-productive. Let’s get to a mediator and make amends. Too much is riding on this relationship, especially with Wildlight in its infancy.
- Businesses in Fernandina Beach are unbridled from excessive regulations and restrictions. When it takes three months to get a sign approved, there are too many layers of bureaucracy and regulations. We want businesses to come here – they help share the burden of the excessive taxes being levied. Clean industry is another attractive partner for our area. They provide jobs also.
- We must protect our natural resources – especially our trees, beaches and marshes. Yeah, our area is busier than ever before. Tourists flock here like migratory birds in winter. But we have to keep our roadways clean (and mowed), our beaches and marshes pristine, our trees intact. Doesn’t it take 200 years to grow a massive live oak, but about five minutes to cut it down?
We live in an amazing place. Let’s all pull together politically, environmentally and economically to make things even better here in 2020. That’s our grown-up, and blown-up, Christmas wish.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website. He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of some of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].