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Palm Coast Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 7 years ago

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 4.21.2011

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+ Why is there no recycling at Palm Coast restaurants?
Dear Editor:
I was at a rather new restaurant the other day in Palm Coast. After finishing lunch, I asked the young man where I should put the empty bottle. There were several garbage pails available for table scraps, but I did not see any recycle bins.

He said that Palm Coast does not offer recycling for commercial businesses. First, is that true? All the restaurants, large and small that we have here ...

How can we fix this gross problem?

P.S. Isn’t recycling a large money making proposition?

Charlene Eccles
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: City Manager Jim Landon responded in this way, via email:

“The city … provides residential trash pickup service via our contract with WastePro. Commercial businesses (including multifamily residential complexes) contract directly with a waste-hauling company of their choice.

“Waste haulers must be registered with the city, and we have an ordinance that sets out the minimum standards the haulers must meet to haul waste in Palm Coast. We do require all haulers to provide recycling pickup service, but we have no means to require the business to recycle.

“The haulers do sell recyclable materials in the market place. The prices they receive change regularly based on supply-and-demand factors. I believe the commercial haulers keep the revenue they receive unless the contract they have with the business provides for other arrangements.

“As per our contract with WastePro, the city receives all the revenue from the recyclable material set out by our residential customers. We use this revenue to cover the cost of our ‘green’ programs (e.g., tree giveaway program at our Arbor Day and Christmas tree/electronic recycling events) and other community events (e.g., Holiday Parade).

“We all know recycling is the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do.”

According to Finance Director Ray Britt, the city has collected $606,617 in revenue since 2002, thanks to the recycling program.

+ Citizens Academy reveals true benefits of government
Dear Editor:
My wife and I are recent graduates of the Flagler County Citizens Academy. We were very fortunate to be chosen for the first class for Flagler County. We also attended and graduated from the Palm Coast Citizens Academy a few years ago.

The reason I’m writing this letter to the editor is to inform the citizens of this county that there is a lot to be learned about county government. I’ve heard and read many times the question, “Why should we pay a city and county tax?” I’ve heard about duplication of services and that Palm Coast does not need the county. Well, let me set the record straight. We do need the county; we also need its services.

Our county taxes pay for a lot more than our county’s citizens may realize. The need starts with law enforcement and public safety. Some would say that Palm Coast pays extra for law enforcement. This is true. But, the extra assessment doesn’t pay for all law enforcement does. This would include running the county jail, the drug-related crimes division, investigations by detectives, etc.

Some think that Flagler County Fire and Rescue is a duplication of the Palm Coast Fire Department duties; not true. The ambulance service is run by the county. What about the Emergency Operations Center? This is a much-needed service during hurricanes, forest fires, emergency evacuations, etc.

Community services, public library, extension service, Veterans Service Office, the SHIP program, Tourist Development Council, leisure services and transportation and county parks are but a few of the services that are provided by our county.

These are some of the things that were brought to our attention at the Citizens Academy. I would encourage every citizen in Flagler County to sign up for this academy. It’s a great educational tool, and will answer the question, “Why do we pay county taxes?”

We are very fortunate to have such a strong, diversified government. I would like to thank the many staff members and constitutional officers.

Ron DeCosta
Palm Coast

+ Palm Coast and Holland Park have gone to the dogs
Dear Editor:
I have recently been reading much about what the city of Palm Coast has done at Holland Park for dogs.

My love for dogs is as caring as most others. Our children have grown up with one special dog.

My pet peeve is that there has been much given to the dogs in dollars, compared to the town’s concern over a group of boccie players at Holland Park. These men have been asking for a roof over their heads for the past five years. These concerns include skin damage from the sun, and weather damage due to rain. If it rains, they can’t play.

So far, the dog park has gotten trees for shade, water piping for drinking, seeding of grass, fencing to separate the larger from the smaller dogs, special parking for disabled people, and the dog area has been enlarged at least three times its size.

Shuffleboards were moved and replaced somewhere else, as were the volleyball courts.

It seems that the loudest bark gets the improvements.

It is time for these senior boccie players to get recognition.

Theresa Naeff
Palm Coast


ELECTRICITY AT CENTRAL PARK

+ Family Fun Fest in the dark at Central Park, in Town Center
Dear Editor:
We went to the Palm Coast Family Fun Fest held March 24 to March 27, at Town Center. We went at about 7:15 p.m. and stayed until after 10 p.m. Saturday.

The area out in front of the bandstand and all the way back is nothing but fine dust — sort of a sand and dirt mixture. There are few blades of grass, so it is very, very dirty.

The bandstand was set up at the end of this area toward the back of the lake and facing toward the front entrance, so your chairs had to be placed in this dirty mess.

Just behind where the sound booth was for the stage, there were three horizontal rows of vendors, or I should say there had been three rows — more than half of them had left by Saturday night.

Other than the entrance where the permanent bathroom is and the stage, there were no lights. It was extremely dark.

The promoter of the show had rented one large generator on wheels that had a light post going up from it. There was light around where that “street light” shown.

In talking to the vendors, they were appalled they had no electricity even though they had been told before. A few had generators, many had left, some had battery powered lights which didn’t do much. One of the men who was so willing to talk and be helpful said some people had connected into the city outlets and the city had come out and shut off the electricity.

How can the City of Palm Coast expect to have people attend and have successful events when they won’t even let events use their electrical connections? They could always charge a fee.

It was very dark and dangerous. I tripped several times and saw others trip as well. Handicapped people were in a particularly perilous position.

Did any of the city officials, the mayor or anyone involved in making the decision even go out there at night? They should, as the liability to the city is tremendous.

Gordon Ryland
Palm Coast

Editor’s Note: City Manager Jim Landon pointed out that the Family Fun Fest was organized by a private promoter — not the city.

About the electrical outlets, he wrote via email: “Each year since Central Park opened, the city has made improvements in the park with new tax dollars generated from the Town Center project. These improvements have been phased so that we stay within our capital budget and do not use tax funds that impact our operating budget. This summer, the city will upgrade the electrical system throughout the park to accommodate vendors at events and install additional lighting and benches around the lake.

“All organizers who use Central Park for events are informed in advance that the current electrical system in the park does not have the capacity to handle the demand placed on the system by vendors. Organizers of night activities are also advised that they need will need to bring portable lighting for their events.”

+ Make Town Center outlets available for Relay For Life
Dear Editor:
This letter is on behalf of cancer survivors everywhere, those still fighting that dreadful disease, those who lost the battle and the loved ones of all of them.

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for The American Cancer Society, held all over the country annually. It is all volunteer, with various teams having “campsites,” around a designated track, which are manned for a 17-hour hour period, from 5 p.m. one evening until 10 a.m. the next day. Each team is trying to raise more money than the other so that together they raise a lot of money for this worthy cause. Each team is also to have someone on the track at all times for this 12-hour period. Last year Palm Coast had more than 50 teams raising more than $125,000.

No one can believe that the city of Palm Coast has refused to let any of the campsites or the people preparing the “survivors dinner” plug their lights or other needed equipment, i.e. music, cookers, coffee pots, etc., into the electrical outlets surrounding the lake at Town Center. The city is certainly not being charitable for a worthy cause.

In addition to not being charitable this creates a dangerous liability; the track around the lake is quite dark. Even if every campsite could afford a generator, the noise would be unbearable, along with the decreased power.

City of Palm Coast, we urge you to let any electrical needs of the Relay for Life on May 13, in Palm Coast, use your readily available electrical outlets for this most worthy cause.

Beverly H. Patrick
Volunteer, Aces Against Cancer Team
Palm Coast Relay for Life

Editor’s Note: See the note on the previous letter. Also, Landon added this via email:

“It is not a matter of making an exception. The city would like to provide safe power for the events, but when the electrical system is overloaded, the breakers keep tripping and cutting off the power. Our system upgrade scheduled for this summer is expected to solve this problem for the typical events held in the park.”

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