The City of Palatka Newsletter – June 27, 2023
Public Works Supervisor Aaron Kerwin named Palatka’s Employee of the Month for June
Aaron Kerwin, center, stands with Public Works Operations Manager Joe Verrechio, Public Works Director Del Mc Millen, his wife Elizabeth Kerwin, and Project Manager Marcia Ganoe during the June 22, Palatka City Commission meeting.
Public Works supervisor Aaron Kerwin was named The City of Palatka’s Employee of the Month for June during the June 22 meeting of the City Commission.
Aaron has worked for The City of Palatka for 13 years in Public Works after retiring after serving as a law enforcement officer with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
As a primary point of contact for Public Works, Aaron has helped supervise more than $13 million in large-scale infrastructure improvement projects for the City, including the South 14th and 15th Street drainage upgrades, potable water projects along St. Johns Avenue and the Downtown streetscape work on intersections.
“[Aaron’s] extensive knowledge of the existing utility grid and city services provide an invaluable service to the contractors and layers of subcontractors for problem-solving and troubleshooting issues. In addition to the day-to-day support, Mr. Kerwin routinely responds to numerous requests for emergency repairs and support during nights and weekends.” said city project manager Marcia Ganoe at the City Commission meeting last week.
“I love working for the City. You come to work, you work hard, and get treated right,” said Aaron
Thank you, Aaron, for what you do for the people of Palatka.
Commissioner Honored as ‘Home Rule Hero’
The Florida League of Cities recently recognized Palatka City Commissioner Rufus Borom with a 2023 Home Rule Hero Award for his hard work and advocacy efforts during the 2023 Legislative Session. Commissioner Borom worked tirelessly throughout the session to promote local voices making local choices, protect the Home Rule powers of Florida's municipalities and advance the League's legislative agenda.
Home Rule is the ability of a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the League's request to reach out to members of the Legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.
"Home Rule is super important because we [the commissioners] represent the people of Palatka. We work with the people of this city every day. We know the people of Palatka. When a pothole needs to be filled, they call. When the trash is not picked up, they call. Water outage or sewer line that's broken, they call. We are responding to people's immediate needs and that's what is very gratifying about being a commissioner; being able to help the people of Palatka." said Commissioner Borom.
"Home rule allows for you to provide local legislation that meets the needs of your community. There's no blanket legislation where one size fits all. What may work in Miami may not fit in Palatka or in Tallahassee. Palatka is one of 411 unique cities in our state and home rule lets us preserve what makes Palatka special," the commissioner continued.
Commissioner Borom has served on the Palatka City Commission since 2015 and is currently President of the Northeast Florida League of Cities.
Commissioner Borom can be reached at (386) 329-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training to save lives
The City of Palatka Fire Department hosted a weeklong training program on structural collapse rescue last week at the City’s Kay Larkin Station on Moody Road.
Thirty firefighters from Madison, Putnam, St. Johns counties, and city fire departments in St. Augustine, Palatka, and High Springs took part in the intensive 45-hour, hands-on program taught by instructors from the Palatka Fire Department.
The course trained the firefighters in the latest techniques in urban search and rescue, and to save victims in situations such as the condominium collapse in the Miami suburb of Surfside in 2021.
Continuing education classes like this are required of all firefighters in the state yearly to stay current with their licenses.
“I am super proud of our instructors and all the students in this program,” said Palatka Fire Chief Chris Taylor, “A lot of people stepped up and worked really hard to make this happen. Training like this makes us all safer.”
The Palatka Fire Department has an opening for a Firefighter for anyone wanting to join their team. For more information or to apply, please visit https://www.palatka-fl.gov/Jobs.aspx
Coast Guard inspects ‘Pride of Palatka’
Capt. Kim Walther talks to a U.S. Coast Guard member as he inspects the City of Palatka’s ‘Pride of Palatka I’ at the Boat House Marina in the city last week.
Last week the U.S. Coast Guard traveled to the Boat House Marina in Palatka to inspect the City’s 42-foot-long sightseeing boat, the ‘Pride of Palatka I.’ The assessment was a step the vessel needed before joining its sister boat, the ‘Pride of Palatka II,’ in service on the river.
Both boats are part of a long-term project, that was partially funded by grants from the Florida Department of Transportation, to offer a river taxi service in Palatka eventually. The construction of the City’s Water Taxi Terminal, north of the city’s boat ramp, is also part of the project that is part of the City’s continuing effort to revitalize the Riverfront.
City Commission proclamations – June 22
The City of Palatka Commission proclaimed the month of June as Pride Month during the commission’s meeting on June 22. The proclamation was in support of the City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex residents whose influential and lasting contributions to the City’s neighborhoods make the City of Palatka a vibrant community in which to live, work and visit and in celebration of the pride that powers the movement for LGBTQI+ rights.
Erma Boyd Hines Day
The Palatka City Commission proclaimed June 30 as Erma Boyd Hines 94th Birthday Celebration Day to honor the long-time Palatka resident for her 40-year career as an educator and for her leadership in the community. Ms. Hines served as a deaconess for more than 65 years, serving as Mt. Tabor First Baptist Church in Palatka and Fort Foote Baptist Church in Ft. Washington, Md. She has 7 children, 26 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great-grandchildren.
The City of Palatka’s Community Affairs Department, in partnership with the Palatka Police Department and Housing Authority, will hold a free Foam Party for children in the community on Tuesday, June 27, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Calvary Life Center, 322 North 10th St, Palatka. The free event will have refreshments, games, music and the chance for children to play in foam. Call (386)-329-0100 for more information.
4th of July Celebration
The City of Palatka's Annual 4th of July Celebration will be held at Riverfront Park on the 4th of July. Festivities start at 4 p.m. Fireworks will begin at approximately 9 p.m. There will be food trucks, kid-friendly activities, and music provided by the band Soulful Roots from Gainesville.
We are looking for vendors and sponsors. If you are interested in participating, contact Erin Hewes at (386)213.0948 (cell) (386) 329.0100 x331(office) or by email at email@example.com.
July 4 - City offices closed in observance of Independence Day
July 5- Airport Advisory Board Meeting 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
July 6 - City of Palatka Historic Preservation Board Meeting 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
July 11 - Planning Board Meeting 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
CANCELLED July 13 - Palatka City Commission Meeting
July 20 - 1st Budget Workshop Community Redevelopment Agency CRA 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
July 20 - Commission 1st Budget Workshop All funds 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
July 21- Commission 2nd Budget Workshop All funds 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
July 27 - Palatka City Commission Meeting 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - City Commission Chambers
Please visit https://www.palatka-fl.gov/ for more information.
Career Opportunities with the City
The City of Palatka is currently taking applications for the following positions,
- Police Officer
- Equipment Operator (Driver)
- Sanitation Equipment Operator (Driver)
- Refuse Collector
- Wastewater Treatment Plant - Operator Trainee
- Utility Maintenance Worker-Trainee
- Water Plant Mechanic
For more information or to apply, please visit https://www.palatka-fl.gov/Jobs.aspx
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