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Palm Coast Monday, Jun. 4, 2018 1 year ago

Full-time flight school comes to Flagler Executive Airport, invests $500,000

Phoenix East Aviation already uses the airport here, and staff does not expect traffic to increase.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Phoenix East Aviation Enterprises LLC will convert a hangar at the Flagler Executive Airport into a flight school with 15 to 20 full-time students, including adding classrooms, a lounge and a flight simulator room. The renovations to the facility, which was built in 1960, are expected to cost $493,000, plus another $150,000 in furnishings, which increases the value of the county’s asset, according to Airport Director Roy Sieger.

The Flagler County Commission voted on June 4 to accept the terms of the deal with Phoenix East.

Phoenix East started in 1972 and moved its operation to the Daytona Beach International Airport in 1984. It also has operations in Broward County and Kennesaw, Georgia. The school has taught students from nearly 70 countries, according to a staff report. 

“These guys are solid,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said after the commission meeting. “The status of our airport is up another notch.”

Because Phoenix East already uses the Flagler airport for its students, this change won't necessarily increase the traffic operations here, but it will increase revenue in rent and fuel sales, Sieger said. The company will rent 5,680 square feet of hangar space, just west of Highjackers Restaurant, for five years with options for more.

"Probably, as this flight school grows, it’ll bring people that live in Volusia to actually move here," Sieger said.

Four Star Aero Services Inc., which has been a tenant in the space since 2006, will reduce its square footage to make room for Phoenix East. The combined rent payments to the county will increase from $1,028 to $2,300 per month.

In other airport news, Boca Hangar Inc. will lease 3,600 square feet of hangar space at the Triangle Air Business Park. Rent is $18,000 per year.


Other news from the June 4 meeting:

A boost for public transportation budget

Helping to address an “unanticipated revenue shortfall” in the public transportation budget, Flagler County staff has applied for and received a Public Transit Block Grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, for $241,005. This is the first time that Flagler County has been awarded this type of funding, according to a staff report, adding: “Without these funds, we may have had to cut back some of our para-transit activates to meet the board's budgetary goals."


Revels not appointed to RWDB

The Flagler County Commission declined to appoint Barbara Revels, a former county commissioner, to the Regional Workforce Development Board of Flagler and Volusia Counties (with CareerSource as program administrator). County Administrator Craig Coffey said Revels, who was recommended by Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Helga van Eckert, already serves on two other boards, and he said it would be good to give another resident a chance.

County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen voted to appoint her regardless, but the other four commissioners agreed with Coffey and voted to find someone else. Also included in the vote was approving the annual budget for the RWDB and to reappoint the following board members: Robert Davis, Kent Sharples,  Nancy Bradley, Tyrone Walker, Aubrey Long and Carlos Valderrama.


Next step for National Guard Armory

As another step in the construction of the Florida Army National Guard Armory and Phase II of the South Entrance Road projects, the commission voted to give an easement on the property of the Flagler Executive Airport to the St. Johns River Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ericksen used the vote as an opportunity to remind residents that the county, in the past, donated nearby land to the city of Palm Coast. “So we do favors for them, too,” he said, adding: “It’s something we didn’t have to do, but it does show some cooperation."


Event could yield more than $500,000 in impact

The Florida Flag Football League state finals, women’s tournament and Hall of Fame ceremony, June 22-24, at Indian Trails Sports Complex, will get a boost of $3,500 from the Tourist Development Council. The County Commission approved the expenditure to support the event, which is projected to yield en economic impact of $576,534. Florida Xtreme Adventures was awarded $1,000, and Paddle Florida was awarded $4,000 for upcoming events as well. The TDC has $74,400 left in its discretionary event fund.


Camera glitches at jail to be fixed

Since a warranty expired in June 2017, sensors and cameras at the Flagler County jail have malfunctioned, and other system glitches remain unsolved, according to county staff. To provide maintenance support, the county voted to hire South Western Communications for five years at a cost of no more than $65,000 annually.


Aquatic vegetation bill up 65%

With the current vendor choosing not to bid on the project, DeAngelo Brothers LLC dba Aquagenix was hired by the county to provide aquatic vegetation management, for a cost of $9,821 per year for three years. That’s 65% higher than the deal with the previous bidder.


Timber sale could yield $200,000

About 2,000 acres of pine forest in the Flagler County Hunter’s Ridge Conservation Area will be harvested by Alford Timber Inc., after the County Commission approved the bid. The pines on this site are not planted; they are natural regrowth after the 1998 fires burned almost all mature trees off this site. Staff predicts revenue for the harvest could exceed $200,000.


County accepts roadway in Marineland Acres Drainage Basin

The county agreed on June 4 to accept a roadway, including any future maintenance responsibilities, in the Sea Scape Subdivision, located in the faltering Marineland Acres Drainage Basin, in northeast Flagler County. Seascape Drive lacks a functioning outfall for the drainage system and, as a result, has experienced flooding that is causing the asphalt to deteriorate, according to a staff report. This project will be added to scope of the Florida Department of Transportation paving project.

The vote was delayed till the end of the June 4 meeting so that Commissioner Donald O’Brien’s question could be answered. He wanted to know whether the Sea Scape Homeowners Association had any funds that had been reserved for maintaining the road.

He said it was “a matter of principle. That money should offset whatever cost we have.”

County Administrator Craig Coffey contacted the HOA during the meeting and reported later that there were no funds available for that purpose. O’Brien said he was satisfied, and the vote proceeded, 5-0, in favor of accepting the roadway.

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