Also in Letters to the Editor: Readers comment on the city tax hike, the FPL easement project and NFL athletes' protests
Palm Coast doesn't need its own police force
I completely disagree with former mayor Canfield's position that Palm Coast form its own police department.
The city of Deltona, population approximately 90,000, studied forming a police department and found that the cost ranged in the vicinity of $14 million to $25 million. In fact, the citizens of Deltona rejected forming a police department via referendum.
Deltona is served by the Volusia County sheriff via an agreement which is similar to Palm Coast's.
Currently, Deltona pays approximately $10 million annually for police protection. (This figure is based upon the number of deputies assigned.)
Forming a police department would have to consider salaries, health benefits, pension costs and most importantly liability expenses. Liability is a major factor that any city should consider of major importance. A rogue deputy or civil circumstances could result in damaging lawsuits.
The proper way to assess the viability of forming our own police force is to ask the county to do a comprehensive study which includes all possible expenses, including liability. In my opinion, our annual cost for police protection is a bargain.
No to a Palm Coast police department.
Vincent A. Liguori
A city police force would be too expensive
Here we go again: people saying Palm Coast needs its own police department.
First, I would like to say that the men and women of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office are doing a great job in our city, and for what the city pays for it the cost is reasonable. They have the personnel and equipment in place if an emergency happens.
Do people realize how much up-front money it would take to start a police department? There's the cost of equipment (vehicles, radio, office space and more). How about the cost of employees (officers, office staff, training, salaries, insurance, pension programs and more)?
Yes, we pay taxes to the county for the Sheriff's Office, and yes, we pay extra for the deputies that are assigned to our city to serve, protect and PATROL our communities. What we pay for what we get is very reasonable considering what it would cost us to have our own police department. If we had our own, I am sure the politicians would want to have their hands on it, which is not a good thing.
What this city really needs is a city manager, council and mayor who spend our tax dollars wisely and stop spending it on things we don't really need or can't afford. Every time they overspend, they raise taxes and tell us it's because we needed these things. Do we really need more signs, bicycle path and walking paths? The taxpayers must hold these politicians responsible for their overspending. Our taxes keep going up, but our paychecks aren't. Sometimes we are told that the money comes from the federal government. Wake up: That is still our tax dollars. Politicians on ALL levels must be held accountable for the overspending of tax dollars, because we the people are running out of money to pay these taxes.
One last thing: $200,000 dollars for a sign on I-95 plus $30,000 dollars to design it? Design what — how to spell "Palm Coast"? Give me a break. Believe me, people from the north know about Palm Coast, and there are many signs already in place on 95 showing them where to get off.
Next they will want to build a welcome center to attract the motorist.
Editor's note: The City Council has decided not to move forward with the $200,000 sign on Interstate 95.
Tax hike is outrageous
I think a 14% tax increase is outrageous. "Public safety," the council states, being the reason. Was public safety factored in when the city spent $7,830,000 for a community center? How about public safety considered when spending thousands of dollars for shade sails?
Palm Coast citizens have been clamoring for additional street lighting for several years, and nothing was done other than a study of where lighting is needed.
The city of Bunnell is the county seat of Flagler County. The office of the sheriff is in the county's jurisdiction. Isn't it up to the county to hire additional deputies? Why should Palm Coast have to subsidize the cost? Will these new deputies be employees of Palm Coast? Is any other town in Flagler County going to contribute money since they will be receiving the benefit of sheriff's deputies?
The city council was ready to spend $200,000 for a sign over I-95 but has been overturned, thank goodness. Where was the money coming from to pay for this and how was it going to benefit public safety?
Budgeting for lighting is certainly understandable, but why has it taken so long? Now we are facing a large tax increase assessment to defray costs.
Many Palm Coast residents are on fixed incomes and face more hardships from large tax increases. We moved here for the low cost of living. Did anyone stop and think about the impact on seniors? I hope we are not going the way of large cities which discourage businesses and investors relocating because of mismanagement and taxes.
I speak for many concerned residents in hoping the city council members and mayor sit back and take a hard look at where the future of Palm Coast is heading and where it should be. Deeply consider expenditures and how they will affect our city and our residents equally.
City tax increase is 'exorbitant'
As senior citizens existing on fixed incomes, my husband and are appalled at the exorbitant new taxes the city plans to impose on our PROPERTY. There should be an outcry!
Every where you turn the swales are turning into swimming pools; the drainage system is flawed and inefficient. If it drizzles, there's a flood. The city seems unconcerned with all the standing water, yet they caution you about mosquito infestation. The trash pickup is a fiasco. How long will it take for the neighborhoods to look free from piles and piles of dead trees? The power outages are frequent, and the list goes on and on.
All of the those glaring problems directly impact the VALUE of all our properties and the aesthetics of neighborhoods.
The city, I'm sure, know they have hoodwinked the citizens with imposing a 14% TAX INCREASE on their properties without calling for a REFERENDUM.
Unhappy Seniors in Palm Coast
William and June Phillips
FPL easement project is disconnected from actual need
Paragraph 2: "The primary reason for paving it was to give kids a safe way ... to school ... spurred by the death of ... Michelle Taylor who was struck by a car as she walked along a dark NEARBY ROAD in March."
In fact, the accident happened about 8:50 p.m. on Lakeview Boulevard, which is the extension of Belle Terre Parkway north of its intersection with Matanzas Woods Parkway and west of I-95 while Matanzas High School is east of I-95. In other words, this is a very far-fetched "solution" to a very real need for street lights and a sidewalk along Lakeview Boulevard for the residents, their children, and in this tragic case their children's babysitter.
I sincerely question how the Palm Coast City Council could be so completely derailed from the basic priority of a city to provide sidewalks and street lighting for all residents by implementing a project that does not address the unlighted Lakeview Boulevard nor the lack of sidewalks there.
The unrelated "FPL easement path project" did not have an even rudimentary cost-analysis as to the number of students using the FPL easement path "as is" or the projected number of students that MIGHT use the paved and lighted path, nor consider the objections of the homeowners, the cost, the question of liability if FPL equipment damages the "path," who pays homeowners if/when the "path" is used to access their homes and who maintains the "path" area of the FPL easement.
As an observer of city, county, state and federal government "representatives" of the people, I lament their lack of priorities on behalf of their constituents as well as the failure to pursue policies that focus on implementing cost-effective, in-house ways to achieve those priorities.
As a resident observed at the $15 million property tax increase meeting (which only designates $550,000 for the purpose of additional deputies leaving $14.5 million for ???), "Does Palm Coast really need high-maintenance flowers in the medians?"
I would add: "Does Palm Coast really need the FPL easement path?," "Were the 12 to 18 recently installed playground shade sails a better solution than planting low-maintenance trees?," and, "Is contracting 'studies' of street lighting cost-effective" when the city engineer should be fully capable of looking up the placement of the lights along Town Center Boulevard and applying that knowledge to installing solar street lights along Lakeview Boulevard. In addition, I'm also sure that city employees are fully capable of laying out and installing sidewalks using the sidewalk installation at Palm Coast High School on the far side of the drainage swale as a model.
City should deal with unkempt eyesores behind home fences
All land, I mean every square inch, within the boundary of Palm Coast is either publically owned or privately owned. If it is privately owned, then the homeowner is responsible for keeping it up. On the other hand if it is publically held land, then the local government is responsible for its upkeep. If you pay a yard guy to maintain your property, then he has the obligation to acknowledge your payment and maintain your property. On the other hand, when you pay taxes, you therefore are paying a publically held company, the city of Palm Coast, to maintain your public land.
Now to the point. The city meticulously maintains the medians with beautiful landscaping, which is alright, yet neglects the thoroughfares such as Royal Palms Boulevard, Rymfire Drive, and many more. Sure, they cut most of the right of way in a rough manner, but the true "ugliness of the landscape" lies between the back boundary of a home's fence and the drainage ditch. You have as most looked at these eyesores and thought the same.
Fences are not always installed on a true boundary because of trees, ditches and other obstacles. On the backside of some of these fences are a jungle of weeds, brush, thickets, and fallen trees. Apparently the city is not going to alleviate the problem; therefore, it remains as is.
Returning to the statement that all property is either public owned or privately owned, much effort should be made to determine whom the property belongs and force them to clean it up whether it is homeowner- or city-owned. Whether grass is long on the front side of a house or the backside, it is still a code violation. I have never seen a city cite themselves for a violation, but in this case it could be appropriate.
Government inaction on Hammock drainage costs residents
Facebook has this cute way of reminding you of your memories from years past.
Over the weekend I was treated to pictures of my house on First Avenue north of Malacompra that could have been taken yesterday. Sadly, they were taken a year ago as the contaminated water from Matthew sat in my yard for eleven days.
Yes, once again, as has happened with every single major rain event since May 2013, this street is flooded and standing water is on my property and others' well after the rains have left.
Are there other roads in the Hammock that have the same problem? Absolutely. Their problem will supposedly be dealt with in the upcoming project (to the tune of $8 million plus in grants, etc), but at least they have a timeline and a plan — a plan that will not help First Avenue.
What makes First Avenue different from other neighborhoods is that there is a solution 200 yards from the farthest reach of the flooding — the Malacompra canal.
The canal sits half full while yards on the street are full of a soup of sewage, water and mosquito larvae. This soup destroys landscaping (again and again), poses a health risk and as of this writing, does not allow my to use indoor plumbing. Yes — ten days no toilet flushing.
There is ample room in the platted right away for a swale to convey the flooding to the canal if the county would remove all the dead trees that have been allowed to grow basically in the street by the county. The county could then dig a ditch and pump into the canal from one point.
The county has been negligent‚ plain and simple. Our plight has been well known and documented for years, and the county has done absolutely nothing but react to storm after storm.
This pitiful lack of planning has cost our neighbors hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair and renovation. Further, we have lost untold more in the loss of property value.
Imagine trying to sell a property on this creek, er, road. I mean who wouldn't want a house a 10 minute stroll from the beach ... through water contaminated with sewage? Nothing like pulling on the Wellies to go for a swim!
There is no plan, no plan to have a plan, and of course no timeline to help us. How do I know? I asked.
I have tried to remain respectfully engaged with the county, but it is clear to me we will get forgotten again.
Can't wait for May when Facebook will show my memories of 2013 with pictures of my flooded property — deja-screwed.