Tim Poyner, City Commissioner and Cafe Karibo owner stopped by to give us an update on all things Fernandina!


Tim exudes passion for his city commissioner and vice-mayor role. Coming to us originally from Cincinnati, OH, his full-time job is owner/proprietor of Café Karibo in the historic district. He spoke of plans to open a new restaurant per his arrival strategy, but he didn’t get much chance to tell us about it.

     He spoke to a variety of current issues, sharing the logic for his position as well as the entire commission. Inviting questions and contrasting comments, the further we got into his presentation the more it took on the character of a discussion or dialog.

     The first topic was the west end road (Alachua) crossing of the railroad tracks. Yes, his café is right there, but he was very convincing this is first and foremost about the community, not his business. Pretty much everyone present, regardless of preconceived ideas about this, was moved to look through eyes of “what’s best for Fernandina and the future development of its best assets” which are tied more to the historic district than the beaches.

 & nbsp;   Tim is convinced whatever is decided on this and other topics we discussed, the fairest way to fund whatever is NOT with bonds that get tied to property taxes, but rather a shared assessment tied to usage of electricity. Fairest for a number of reasons, this includes many like renters otherwise exempt, and still asks the largest share from the businesses in the community (their electric usage being proportionately and huge compared to a residence). We are talking like $1.12 per every $100.00 of usage.

     Next topic discussed was the downtown post office. Thoughts contributed made equal sense to both keep and let it go. Tim, however, made a good case for being sure of the “right” approach to keep it but let go of the old city building close to the waterfront (figuring continued growth of tourism in the historic district would make that property irresistible to a hotel developer and simultaneously support preservation of the historic post office as a city building. There are in the U.S. 6,000 properties like our post office, not an isolated issue.

     We discussed parking meters which Tim says have never been discussed or considered except at the beaches. City residents who have already paid for the beaches in taxes would be exempt from the meters. The beaches now use a half million tax dollars just to be maintained. Tim believes non-resident payment for parking at the beaches to support that maintenance makes sense.

     Last discussed were trees at the airport. Only certain runways are part of the concern and Tim believes only trees in their approach being trimmed as needed makes the most sense, not denuding the area. Sean confirmed becoming a regional airport talk is bogus; there is really no such animal to begin with.