Also, city releases 2020 Annual Floodplain Management Report.
Press releases provided by the city of Palm Coast
Brad West is the new chief communications officer for the city of Palm Coast.
West and his family have been residents of Palm Coast since 2004. West was a candidate who was considered when the communications officer position opened in 2019. Although things did not work out at that time, West has continued to keep in touch with City Manager Matthew Morton, offering communications best practices and suggestions over the months. More recently, the opportunity was revisited with West and he agreed to accept the position. West is scheduled to start on Oct. 5.
“It’s been like a year-and-a-half long interview in some ways,” West said.
West brings a strong background to the position in communications and marketing in a community organization and in managing teams with over 15 years of experience in sales and operations management.
For the last seven and a half years, West has served as the Digital Media Coordinator for the Orlando-based Florida section of United States Tennis Association. In his role, he realigned the organization’s various online channels, developed their digital strategy, was hands-on in the development of two iterations of the organization’s website and even headed-up the organization’s project to change their IT infrastructure over to be cloud-based.
“I’ve truly enjoyed my experiences over the past seven plus years and this was not an easy decision,” West said. “Professionally and personally, the opportunity made sense. I am always looking to grow and this is an opportunity to grow in a field I am passionate about in the community I call home. So the opportunity to serve this community and leveraging my experience is a win-win for me personally.”
“I’ve remained impressed with Mr. West since the original interview over a year ago,” said Morton. “When I revisited the applicants, Brad’s experience, skills and capability continued to shine through. While Brad and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on every issue, I believe his critical analysis skills, transparent style and ability to address ideas and issues head on with our residents is critical to a successful communication partnership between our residents and their city.”
As chief communications officer, West will report to Morton. He will manage a small team of communications professionals at City Hall. The team is charged with overseeing the city’s communications to help keep local residents informed and tell the city’s story to potential businesses and partners.
In other city news ...
City of Palm Coast releases 2020 Annual Floodplain Management Report
The city of Palm Coast has completed its 2020 Annual Floodplain Management Report, which details the city's strategies, projects and outreach efforts to protect citizens and property from flood disasters.
“Through the leadership our Mayor and City Council, we are one of the best in the state with a rating of 4,” said Denise Bevan, City Administration Coordinator. “This means that the city staff works extremely hard to reduce the risk of flood in our community while passing on the benefits to our residents in the form of reduced flood insurance premiums. I do encourage all residents to talk to their insurance provider to verify their community information is correct.”
Citizens of Palm Coast are eligible for a 30% discount of flood insurance premiums within Special Flood Hazard Areas (A and AE zones); 10% discount outside these zones.
The city does the report each year as part of requirements to maintain a specific status in order to provide discounts on certain flood insurance premiums for citizens who might live in specific flood hazard areas.
Protection efforts are driven by what’s called the Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS), which is a unified approach among county, municipal governments and local stakeholders for dealing with an identified hazard and hazard management problems, including flooding, in the Flagler County area.
Examples of some of individual mitigation projects include:
· replacement of Pretreatment Effluent Pumping (PEP) system panel to provide generator connection;
· installing generators at city facilities including utility lift and pump stations;
· manhole dish project to install flood prevention devices;
· stormwater conveyance improvements;
The report, which lists all of the projects and more details, has been posted on the City website at https://fullsite.palmcoastgov.com/emergency/hurricane-flood-preparedness.
The report is part of a larger initiative of the city of Palm Coast through the Community Rating System (CRS) Program, which is a voluntary incentive program through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
As part of the program, cities provide an Annual Floodplain Management Report, execute a Local Mitigation Strategy (working with Flagler County Emergency Management) and complete mitigation projects.
The city joined the NFIP in 2002. Since then, its rating has improved from a class 7 in 2004 to a class 4 in 2017. Community rating designations range from 1 to 10, with the lower the number, the better the ranking. More than 1,500 communities in the U.S. participate, with 20 of them earning a rating of 4 or better as of May 2020.
The city earns points for flood mitigation activities. Every 500 points, the city climbs to a better rating with bigger discounts. Currently, only three communities in Florida have a class 4 rating or better; the City of Palm Coast leads northeast Florida with most points achieved.
The city of Palm Coast is currently being evaluated on its class rating and staff has been working with program reviewers since March to elevate the recognition of stormwater advancements to once again increase its ranking.
In addition to special mitigation projects mentioned above, the city maintains a well-structured and rigid maintenance schedule of the stormwater drainage network that reduces the risk of flooding hazards. The Enhanced Stormwater Master Plan launched spring of 2019 and is underway and growing. The city’s Enhanced Stormwater Plan was awarded the Florida Stormwater Associations Outstanding Achievement Award in 2020 for its level of service, staff, funding, coordination and projects.
Projects will be ongoing as the plan addresses drainage issues resulting from an aging infrastructure and years of growth. Solutions now focus on improving ditches and canals versus individual swales to provide greater long-term impact on improving the drainage system across Palm Coast. Staff has performed several ditch clearing projects that have resulted in positive improvements to neighborhood drainage systems in addition to other maintenance of swales, pipe replacements, and cleaning of water control structures. “We work to prevent flooding year round by doing maintenance not just when there is a storm coming,” said Stormwater Operations Manager Donald Schrager.
Areas susceptible to potential flooding are also identified. With this approach, city staff develop a capital improvements program that addresses areas of concern and identifies projects that will provide the greatest benefit to the citizens of Palm Coast. “The focus is now on the big picture,” said Schrager. “Fix the canals and the ditches work better. Fix the ditches and the swales work better.”
The city estimates notification of a new rating in the coming weeks. The city communicates this rating through various events, direct city communications to our citizens along with local realtors and insurance companies.