+ Support the half- penny tax for Flagler County Schools
Maintaining a great school system connects directly to attracting and retaining quality employers and our overall quality of life. Our expectations are high in Flagler County (as they should be) that our local schools provide students with a rigorous, well-rounded education that emphasizes the fundamentals of science, math, reading and writing, and that our high school students graduate and go on to succeed in college and compete for today’s careers.
Our schools deliver high-quality educational programs and maintain a graduation rate well above the state average. Although teachers are highly qualified and academic programs are among the best, total funding for the school district has been reduced by more than $74 million since the 2007-2008 school year.
On Aug. 14, an important referendum has been placed on the ballot to continue the half-penny sales tax that has been in effect since 2002. By voting “yes” on Aug. 14, you protect our schools by providing funding exactly where it is needed: local classrooms. Every penny from the tax will stay in Flagler County.
Revenue from the half-penny tax will support essential capital expenditures that invest in technology and maintain a safe environment for our children by repairing leaky roofs, ensuring classrooms meet current hurricane and safety standards, renovating aging classrooms, updating plumbing and repairing inefficient heating and cooling systems.
In just a few short years, our current high school students will be competing for high-tech jobs in Flagler County and beyond. Our students will become the future engineers, doctors and business leaders who drive our economy and advance our community. Continuing to make this investment in their education and ensure our schools adequately prepare them for their futures is the right thing to do!
+ Red light cameras are legally risky for the city
Shame on you for choosing to go forward using red light cameras in the city of Palm Coast! At first, the thought of saving one life appears to justify the implementation of this program. It did not take me long to research the topic nationally and reveal the darker side of this program. Cameras do not significantly deter accidents; they increase liability and are a subtle, poor technique to provide the city with extra revenue.
It is truly naïve of the city to believe using this system is providing traffic safety for its citizens. National reports indicate no significant decrease in accidents but an increase in rear end collisions by 15%!
Then there are the risks of lawsuits for constitutional violations and camera defects. Red light cameras are drawing civil and class action law suits in nearly every state. They were ruled unconstitutional by a Pasco County judge. A New Jersey senator called for disbanding the devices because they are an invasion of privacy and intersections have not been proven to be safer. Thousands of ticketed drivers in Pembroke Pines will soon get some of their money back following their lawsuit. Their attorney believes this is just the beginning of the settlements and a new trend for the rest of South Florida.
A massive backlash has risen nationally, claiming the increase of red light cameras is a direct result of the economic hard times. Municipalities are searching for a way to build revenue without raising taxes. For our city, the use of red light cameras to generate revenue appears to be counterproductive. With the highest unemployment rate in the state, the city is issuing massive fines to a populace struggling financially.
The city justifies the fine as a means of punishing lawbreakers. But the trend does not support that statement.
And what is the city going to do when the cost of the civil lawsuits cost more than the revenue generated by the red light cameras — add more cameras?
I disagree with your choice of using red light cameras and I’m not alone.
I believe this program will polarize the city from your constituents and place you in legal jeopardy.
From a driver who has not received a ticket (yet) ...
+ Tennis Center accommodated Grand Haven players
We would like to thank the Palm Coast Tennis Center for accommodating the Grand Haven tennis players who recently needed to use PCTC when the courts at Grand Haven were under repair. What we thought would be six weeks of using their facility turned out to be three months.
The staff at PCTC was very professional and considerate when dealing with us. Most of the Grand Haven tennis players are not members of PCTC, yet we were treated most courteously and made to feel welcome.
+ There are better ways for candidates to get noticed
It is that time again the political signs are popping up like mushrooms after a good rain. I have the pleasure of taking Old Kings Road to work daily and just can’t drive past the outcropping of signs without cringing. They litter the landscape shouting their candidate’s name.
I counted them yesterday — 120 signs on Old Kings from Palm Coast Parkway to State Road 100. Is the mentality “He who has the most signs wins”? I hope not. I would love to see an election year come without the political signs, unwanted mailings and negative ads.
Imagine you read about a candidate in the local paper because of something good they did for our community which supports their values and causes. The candidates should have no trouble finding a cause they could support or volunteer with and in return would receive free positive publicity.
+ Now is the time to act: Bring jobs to Flagler County
Over the past few weeks it seems the lead stories are about taxes, franchise fees and tax shortfalls. Flagler County and the city of Palm Coast are trying to find any way to gain revenue but the obvious way.
You can only get so much money out of a population that seems to be shrinking because of a lack of jobs in the area.
Palm Coast is a divided community; there is a segment that believes this is a Florida retirement community, and they don’t want to bring in any type of industry or large companies that are a job producer, but the reality is Palm Coast has a large segment of working families.
Unless you work for the county, city or in the medical field there are no jobs. The majority of the working families have to drive to Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Daytona Beach for work, and this reduces the disposable income they would have to spend in the community.
It is obvious that the lack of strategic community planning by the county and city leaders has contributed to the shortfalls now being experienced in the community. With acres and acres of land available on U.S. 1, our civic leaders should be focused on bringing large job creators into the county. They should be pursuing manufacturers, distribution centers or corporations to move their operations facilities into the county. This would help fill some of the hundreds of empty and foreclosed homes that plague our community, and it would create jobs for residents. The additional jobs and companies would generate additional tax revenue that would alleviate the need to nickel-and-dime residents with franchise fees and other nonproductive taxes.
Flagler County and Palm Coast leaders, our future is in your hands; you can continue to support the old idea that this is a retirement community, or you can be innovative and lead us into a brighter future. We are currently standing at a crossroads, and now is the time to act.
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23 Informative Joint Replacement Meeting
23 MOAA Meeting
23 NAMI Meeting
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
23 SCORE/SBDC Meeting
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
High School students donate to breast cancer patients
The Flagler Palm Coast High School Future Business Leaders of America class donated $580 to Florida Hospital Flagler Foundation’s breast cancer fund, which provides screening mammograms, diagnostic studies and education to local qualified women who are uninsured and seeking assistance.
Florida Hospital Flagler gives $2,000 in scholarships
Florida Hospital Flagler's medical staff donated $2,000 in scholarships to four graduating high school students.
Premier: Rotary of Flagler County gets thumbs up
Also, Club President Rick Staly was recognized with a "Well Done" Award.