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City leaders work to eliminate abandoned boats

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Updated: 11/01/2013 8:48 am
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Green Cove Springs city leaders believe they may have the solution to a problem with abandoned boats along the St. Johns River. The mayor said a new bill could make the waterways safer and save taxpayer dollars.

Spring Park in Green Cove Springs is a frequent spot for fishermen to grab their main catch of the day. But, among the seafood and wildlife in the water are abandoned boats.

“Many of them abandon the boats and anchor it and leave it laying,” said Mayor Mitch Timberlake.

Timberlake said it’s even costing taxpayers about $5,000 per boat to remove them from the water.

Timberlake said they have removed about a dozen boats from the water, some, which had sank. He added it’s a tough process to get them out.

“For one, a sewage issue, and the disposal of that kind of material. The second is just the oils and the gas and the other thing that are on the boat,” said Timberlake.

He said new legislation is needed to help put a stop to the problem. Timberlake said the bill would allow law enforcement to remove deserted boats without extensive searches to find the owner.

“In some cases a title isn’t filed and it’s difficult to go back through to get proof of ownership,” said Timberlake.

Robert Hartley, a frequent fisherman on the river, said he supports the bill to end the problem.

“If there’s something that’s causing problems pollution wise, I’m all for it in paying my taxes,” said Hartley.

Timberlake said city leaders are teaming up with state lawmakers and Florida wildlife officials. He said he hopes the bill will pass during the 2014 legislative session.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

gwing - 10/29/2013 8:24 AM
0 Votes
due process will be done. If there is no owner of record it should be removed. The area these boats are in has little or no water circulation due to the rivers makeup. This has been going on for years and not half cocked. If you want turds floating in your front yard we will be happy to move the boats to your area.

RFM2009 - 10/28/2013 6:23 AM
0 Votes
Due process must prevail! Weare by these jaded politicos slowly sliding toward a total Police State. This is not a knock against the Uniforms but against non-thinking politicians who go off half cocked, creating legal quagmires and unusual temptations for all Officials.

Pablo - 10/28/2013 1:38 AM
0 Votes
So, you are saying that the cops can just take any boat they want, call it abandoned, and remove it from the water? Nah! I don't see any abuse coming from that direction.... Come on, Man!
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