Also at the June 20 meeting: county employees' COLA could increase.
The Flagler County Commission voted 3-0 to postpone a vote on the Radiance development (formerly Eagles Lakes) until July 11 — and to move the meeting’s start time from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., to enable more residents to attend and voice their opinions.
County Commissioner Donald O'Brien was absent; County Commissioner Andy Dance abstained from the vote.
County Attorney Al Hadeed said Dance had consulted with the Ethics Commission about the propriety of voting, considering his personal connection with the matter, and he was advised that he could be involved in the discussion but could abstain. Dance chose to abstain from voting, although he did say he felt the next vote should occur in the evening, not in the morning.
Mullins said some residents who weren’t in attendance at the June 20 meeting may have wanted the Radiance/Eagles Lakes vote to be in the morning on July 11. In either case, residents can email their concerns, he said, and be heard.
The Radiance/Eagle Lakes community spans the gap between Interstate 95 and Old Kings Road in southern Flagler County. Recent changes favored by the county's planning board would cap the community at about 1,200 homes, rather than the approximately 1,800 that developer Kolter Land Partners would otherwise be able to build under the new Future Land Use Map designation. Density would be about 1.94 units per acre.
“We have staff that’s reviewed it,” Mullins said. “Something is going to occur in our community. We’re not going to stop growth in any county throughout the country. Something will come there if this doesn’t.”
In other county news:
COUNTY EMPLOYEES' COST OF LIVING
The Flagler County Commission voted June 20 to remove the 4% maximum cap to the cost of living adjustment for county staff members, in order to be “continue to attract and retain high quality employees” in a time of high inflation.
The COLA will now be based on the Consumer Price Index calculation in March, rather than the preceding December.
There was no estimate provided for the impact to the county budget, but Commissioner Dave Sullivan warned that it could be substantial.
Unlike the federal government, he said, “We’re not allowed at this level to print money, and this high rate of inflation is putting us in a difficult situation.” He said the item, which was on the consent agenda and was not accompanied by a staff presentation, “is going to cost us a lot of money. … Stand by. There’s a lot of employees who are well deserving. … I just want to caution everybody: This is a serious matter. … Things are happening beyond our control, and it’s really affecting how we are operating on the county level.”
County Commission Chairman Joe Mullins praised the move, saying it will allow the county administration to adjust staff salaries “in real time.”
The commissioners also asked suggested that county employees be given July 5 off — with pay — if County Administrator Heidi Petito felt it was possible.
JOHN ANDERSON FOUR-LANING REMOVED FROM LIST
After county commissioners debated how to prioritize a list of requests for state funding of local transportation projects at the June 6 meeting, the new list was brought back for a vote at the June 20 meeting, with one project eliminated: a proposed four-laning of John Anderson Highway from State Road 100 to the Flagler County line.
Instead, four-laning Colbert Lane from State Road 100 to Palm Coast Parkway was added.
Neither project is a high priority and will not likely be funded in the near future, but adding the projects to the list makes them eligible for consideration. The top priority on the list is the replacement of four bridges on County Road 304.