City was prepared for Hurricane Idalia
Although, thankfully, Hurricane Idalia only caused minor damage to the City, as the storm headed toward Florida, City departments mobilized in preparation for the worst.
Before Idalia was to hit Florida, City department heads met to plan in case the storm affected the area.
Preparations included ordering sandbags and sand for residents, increasing staffing at Public Works, the Fire and Police Departments, and the City’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The Palatka City Commission met in an emergency session to issue a Declaration of Emergency on Tuesday evening. City garbage collection was suspended, and City Offices closed on Wednesday.
Public Works had a crew of four working overnight Tuesday to respond to issues when the Idalia was scheduled to affect the City. Wednesday morning, Public Works staff drove every road in the City, checking for flooding, downed trees, and blocked storm drains.
The City was spared any significant damage, with the Police and Fire Departments reporting very few calls for service. Public Works removed a tree branch from a road, and the utility plants experienced no service disruptions.
Storm Related Delays
Because of the storm, the reopening of the boardwalk under the Memorial Bridge has been delayed until Friday, Sept. 8, and the project to clear and retention pond in the Tierra Woods community is delayed until Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Commission approves new City Attorney
Palatka resident Jane West was sworn to be the City’s new attorney after being approved by the City Commission at their regular meeting last week. West will replace retiring Valaria Thomas, who has been with the City since 2020.
West, who graduated from Nova Southeastern University Law School in Fort Lauderdale, specializes in local government, environmental, and land use law.
She is expected to start on Sept. 18.
Among the items approved by the City Commission last week were the following,
- Special Event Permit to Palatka Jr. - Sr. High School for the Homecoming Parade on October 12
- Setting Halloween trick-or-treat date/time for October 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- A Special Event Permit for the Palatka Craft Beer Festival to the Rotary Club of Palatka on November 18, 2023
Employee of the Month
Eddie Cutwright, Palatka’s Director of Community Affairs, was honored as the City’s Employee of the Month for August at the City Commission meeting last week.
Eddie, who was nominated by Community Affairs staff members, has worked for the City since 2019 after retiring from the U.S. Army.
“He is a great mentor and a great leader,” said department assistant Erin Hewes, who presented Eddie’s nomination to the Commission on behalf of the department staff.
Eddie manages the department, which includes the City’s athletic programs, Parks and Cultural Resources and Code Enforcement.
Police Officer honored with Life Saving Award
Palatka Police Officer Matt Buchanan was honored at last week's City Commission meeting with his Department’s life-saving award for saving the life of a man who was threatening to commit suicide last month.
“On the night in question last month, Officer Buchanan responded to an individual who was actively trying to take his life. One arriving on the scene, he noticed he was in the process and did not hesitate to act. He thrust himself into the situation and prevented that sad situation from occurring. It was because of his actions that the individual is alive today,” said Police Chief Jason Shaw while presenting Office Buchanan the award.
Officer Buchanan's award reads, ‘In recognition of you providing immediate emergency care in the face of a potential suicide, the Palatka Police Department would like to award you the Life Saving Award’.
Congratulations, and thank you, Officer Buchanan.
The City of Palatka has job openings available for the following positions. If you are interested in any of the following roles, please consider applying:
Water Plant Superintendent
This position oversees the day-to-day operations of the City’s Water Treatment Plant, including direct supervision of operators and mechanics; payroll, budgeting, purchasing, and project management; strict adherence to regulatory requirements via FDEP and EPA; water sampling inside and outside of the facility; producing reports of water quality and operating history for FDEP; emergency response; visual and physical inspections of equipment; review and maintenance of standard operating procedures and safety training/manuals; and handling of hazardous chemicals.
Equipment Operator (Driver):
This role involves skilled work in operating manual and semi-automated refuse collection and disposal equipment on designated routes.
We are seeking dedicated firefighters to join the City of Palatka’s Fire Department and contribute to the safety and well-being of the community.
Join the Palatka Police Department as an officer and play a crucial role in maintaining law and order within the city.
In this position, you will perform routine manual refuse collection work as part of the city’s refuse collection and disposal program.
The Facilities Maintenance Assistant performs a variety of unskilled and semi-skilled tasks to maintain the City's portfolio of facilities, grounds and infrastructure in a safe and effective working condition.
Sanitation Equipment Operator (Driver):
We are looking for skilled individuals to operate manual and semi-automated refuse collection and disposal equipment on designated routes.
As a Streets Laborer, you will perform various types of semi-skilled and skilled work, operating equipment involved in the repair and maintenance of city streets, storm sewer systems, and other municipal property.
Utility Maintenance Worker-Trainee:
This position involves semi-skilled work in constructing, installing, maintaining, and repairing water mains, water services, fire hydrants, sewer mains, sewer laterals, manholes, force mains, and valves.
Water Plant Mechanic:
Join our team as a Water Plant Mechanic and use your skills to perform preventative and corrective maintenance on machinery, engines, generators, pumps, and motors at the water treatment plant and related facilities.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee:
As a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee, you will be responsible for performing various semi-skilled and skilled tasks and operating equipment involved in the repair and maintenance of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and associated collection systems.
For more information or to apply for any of these positions, please visit Palatka-fl.gov.
Family Movie Night on the Riverfront