The county rejects the request to follow city standards at the airport. It also wants an explanation for its increased water rate.
The County Commission and the City Council have sent several proposals back and forth through their couriers, County Administrator Craig Coffey and City Manager Jim Landon, to try to come to an interlocal agreement about how water and sewer services will be supplied to the proposed National Guard facility on a 55-acre tract adjacent to the Flagler County Airport.
As of yet, there is still no deal.
The latest move belonged to the county, and at a workshop Monday, Jan. 24, the County Commission rejected the city’s proposal, which asked the county to follow the city’s signage and landscaping codes.
“Control rests with the municipality who has the jurisdiction over the land,” Commission Chairman Alan Peterson said, implying that because the county owns the airport, it does not need city approval for its design.
He later added: “We would hope that Palm Coast would comment on the proposals, and recommendations would be considered, but the final determination rests with the county.”
A second point of contention is the cost of water and sewer.
The city, which owns the utility company that provides water and sewer, charges a 25% premium to properties outside of the city limits. The National Guard would likely pay this extra charge. But the County Commissioners were under the impression that the county paid the wholesale rate, at a 12% discount. At the workshop, it was made clear that the county has been paying the 25% surcharge.
County Commissioner Nate McLaughlin said the 2007 agreement on water rates clearly said the county should pay 88% under this set of circumstances, and County Attorney Al Hadeed said staff should request that the city provide documentation as to why it increased the county’s rate to 125%.
Commissioner Milissa Holland agreed, saying, “I want to see why, in writing, we have to pay 125%.”
Commissioner Barbara Revels took it one step further, saying, “If not, then on the next month’s billing, we pay 88%, not 125%.”
One of the biggest challenges, County Administrator Craig Coffey said, is to identify the key elements that are required to be resolved now, and those that can be addressed at a later date, to ensure the National Guard doesn’t back out of its deal.
“We’re trying to shrink it down to just the issues we have to address now to get this done,” Coffey said. “I think we’ve got to work together as best we can.”
Peterson implied that time is running out.
“If the city doesn’t agree,” he said, “that’s when the interlocal dies.”