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Palm Coast resident and Flagler County Board of County Commissioners District 5 candidate Herb Whitaker took the podium Monday, Aug. 6, to present the County Commission with an alternative to its planned about $20 million jail expansion.
“Now that the funding has been decided,” he told the board, “now it’s time to go forward with what type, or what price, the unit will be.”
Whitaker suggested Sprung Correctional Units, which are relocatable prison buildings made from architectural membrane panels combined with a non-corroding aluminum substructure. The product was patented in 1973 and is currently used in 15 other states and five Florida counties, including Brevard and Lee.
The corrections alternative was also previously presented to, and rejected by, the County Commission in 2006.
“I’m simply here to … think outside the box,” Whitaker said. “This may be a solution, this may not. That’s a decision you’ll have to make.”
But not before further research is done.
“I recall vividly this coming before the county commissioners some time ago,” said Commissioner George Hanns, current District 5 commissioner. “The sheriff didn’t recommend it.”
He also cited higher utility costs associated with the temporary building, high internal daytime temperatures and the fact that, in 2006, the board believed them to be, “at most, medium-security” facilities.
“But it’s something worth looking at,” he added. “We need to explore all different areas.”
Commissioner Milissa Holland, who has toured Brevard’s correction facility firsthand to see the structures, also noted that the units did not “allow for the ability to segregate” men from women and violent from nonviolent offenders.
“(And that’s) the biggest struggle we have in our current facility,” she said.
“I think it’s an interesting option,” Commissioner Alan Peterson said. “But my impression is, it’s not hurricane-proof. It might be utilized as a temporary storage (facility).”
Staff will study the alternative for possible discussion at a later meeting.
Sheriff allocated $12,000 for sniper rifles
The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners approved the allocation of $12,000 in law enforcement trust funds to Sheriff Donald Fleming Monday, Aug. 6, for the purchase of sniper rifles with accessories for the SWAT team.
The sheriff applied for the fund transfer July 13.
Flagler writes new emergency management plan
Emergency Management Chief Troy Harper announced Monday, Aug. 6, that the county now has an updated emergency management plan. Required by state law to be updated at least every four years, this year’s rendition has a stronger focus on regional partnerships, Harper said.
For a full PDF of the plan, type “Flagler County comprehensive emergency management plan” in a Google search.
Jacksonville firm to design Marineland drainage
Of four bids submitted to county staff, the County Commission selected England-Thims and Miller, of Jacksonville, for the design and permitting of stormwater improvements, as well as the development of an associated funding district for Marineland Acres.
Funding for the $500,000 project will come from gas tax reserves, assuming negotiations with the firm are successful.
County foots $54,784 resident medical bill
The County Commission approved the payment of $54,784.84 to Halifax Medical center, for services rendered to an indigent county resident.
According to Flagler County Human Services, the patient was hospitalized from April 18 through June 11. Payment was calculated at the Mediciad per diem rate of $1,245.11 per day.
To date this fiscal year, the county has paid $124,472.26 in Health Care Reform Act bills, not including this charge.
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