Beach renourishment is one of the city's proposed priorities. (File photo)

Palm Coast considers legislative priorities

The proposed list includes home rule, water and wastewater funding and beach renourishment.
By: 
Aug. 1, 2018

Palm Coast is preparing to formulate and approve its Northeast Florida Regional Council regional legislative priorities for 2019.

The city is looking at using the same three regional priorities is had last year: protecting home rule, enhancing water and wastewater funding and providing beach renourishment funding. Those would be published in the Northeast Florida Regional Council’s 2019 Legislative Priorities publication.

“I think it’s important that we talk about really key ones, important ones, and understand how the Legislature views these,” Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said during a July 31 workshop discussion on the priorities. “From a legislative perspective, I think both Sen. [Travis] Hutson and Rep. [Paul] Renner would appreciate us looking at this from a regional nature and really becoming more of a collaborative partner in some of the priorities that we identify.”

She asked if any other council members wanted to add to the list.

“Adding anything else is just making the book longer and increasing the chances it’ll be ignored,” Councilman Bob Cuff said.

The Flagler County Commission will consider the cities’ proposed submissions along with a set of proposed county priorities at the commission’s Aug. 20 meeting.

The city will also formulate a local priorities list which will potentially include supporting the Palm Coast Arts Foundation, increasing funding for the school district and a barrier island sewer line. Those will be discussed at future meetings.

The following are Palm Coast’s proposed submissions for the 2019 Northeast Florida Regional Council’s 2019 Legislative Priorities publication:

PROTECT HOME RULE

Background: In 1968, Florida voters amended the state constitution to confer broad “home rule” powers on municipal government. This change was an unequivocal expression of support for local self-government by the people of the State of Florida and the right of the people to access government to address local needs and problems. Unfortunately, each session bills are proposed that contradict the will of the people and usurp local control, where the elected local elected officials are more accountable and responsive to their concerns.

Request Action: Oppose legislation and initiatives that eliminate municipal home rule powers.

Effect: Allow local government to operate without interference from state government and provide its citizens with better access and response from local elected officials.

ENHANCE WATER AND WASTEWATER FUNDING

Background: The city of Palm Coast doubled in population from 2000 to 2010. By 2035, our population is expected to once again double. In addition, the amount of regulatory requirements from both the State and Federal government has increased in order to provide safe drinking water and properly treat wastewater. In the last few years, the city has and will continue to spend millions of dollars on projects directly related to State and Federal regulatory requirements (e.g. Zero Liquid Discharge $11.4 million, wellfield expansion projects $2.75 million).

Request Action: Enhance and provide additional funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Effect: Ensure safe drinking water and proper treatment of wastewater in a cost-effective manner.

PROVIDE BEACH RENOURISHMENT FUNDING

Effect: Ensure that the city’s economy is vibrant and diverse through continued visitor spending.

Background: Tourism and its economic impact helps diversify the economy on Palm Coast. Tourists visit Palm Coast not only for our outdoor activities, sporting events, and cultural activities, but also to enjoy the wonderful beaches in Flagler Beach and Flagler County.

Request Action: Promote and provide funding of beach renourishment programs through partnerships with state agencies and local governments.

Effect: Ensure that the city’s economy is vibrant and diverse through continued visitor spending.