If elected mayor, Courtney said he hopes he will be remembered after his term for re-envisioning the future of Palm Coast.
Doug Courtney has seen a lot of changes in the 24 years he has lived in Palm Coast.
In his interview with Palm Coast Observer Publisher John Walsh, mayoral candidate Doug Courtney joked, “They stopped rolling up the sidewalks around four years in.”
Below, you'll find the full video and an edited transcript of Coutney's interview with the Palm Coast Observer.
What makes you qualified to be mayor of Palm Coast? Top three.
Education, background and experience.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the city of Palm Coast today?
Picking the city manager.
How should it go? Should we hire a professional consulting firm in the business of executive search, or let the City Council figure it out on its own?
I believe we need executive search. I very strongly do. I appreciate the management people inside the city of Palm Coast and I encourage them to apply as well.
Do you have someone in mind now for that job?
None. I’m totally open on it.
Are our local taxes too high, too low or just right?
... If you want to cut taxes, which everybody wants to cut taxes, I mean what are you going to cut? Are we going to cut out the services for the arts? Are we going to cut out (some services) for the Sheriff’s department?
... I would like to see the numbers.
Would you propose to defund MedNex?
Not now. We’ve really got a lot of investment into it. ... I would like to look more desperately into what they’re doing here. This can be a lot of money, not only for the city, but for the services that could be offered to our citizens.
Another big ticket item recently approved is the enhancements to the tennis center. Would you support defunding?
... If the contracts (have been) signed (then) no I’m not going to ask to have it revisited. One of the issues I have is we have been investing a lot of money into large projects. And I’m not saying it’s bad, but what about the neighborhood projects? Why are we not investing more into the neighborhood community parks, which I think we can invest in with a whole lot less money?
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office reports that compared to other communities our size staffing levels are too low by an estimated 40 deputies. Are you satisfied with the current public safety and crime levels?
Who’s satisfied as long as we have crime? That said, I believe our levels right now are better than we could hope. And we could do better. My problem is not so much adding deputies. I think Palm Coast ought to be involved in more of the decision making. One of my issues is (the sheriff) decides where he is going to put a precinct. We hand him a check, he takes care of it. I think as a city we need to be more involved.
Let’s move on to economic development. Do we have enough retail, commercial and industrial businesses here?
As we stand right now we got a lot of retail here. We also don’t have enough industrial. We have been searching for the 24 years I have been here for the unicorn that’s going to come in and build a new facility here. ... Maybe it’s time we not abandon that process, but maybe it’s time to take the blinders off and look at a new idea.
What is the role of the city in economic development?
The role of the city is to support economic development. ... I’m also not saying I’m for unregulated growth. Let’s get the business we want.
Part of economic development in some people’s mind is permitting commercial vehicles including signs to be parked in residential driveways after business hours.
Some of this I do believe is a little on the edge of ridiculous. I have a neighbor who works for an electrical company. Every night he comes in with his electrical company truck and he actually has to put a tarp on it. And I’m like, that’s not offending me, just leave the tarp off. Now you bring your dump truck in there, you bring your cab from your 18-wheeler, I’ve got an issue with that. This is something that has to be created within the ordinance itself