A Jacksonville-based construction company will transform the old Memorial Hospital building into a Sheriff’s Operations Center for $4.2 million — a bid for the project that is about $200,000 under budget.
C.C. Borden Construction will create a roughly 35,000- square-foot space for the Operations Center, and was one of six firms to bid on the project. The County Commission approved the bid unanimously at its Monday, Dec. 1, meeting.
The actual construction is scheduled to begin in January, County Administrator Craig Coffey said, “And we’re estimating 10 months. So by Christmas of next year, you should be in the new Sheriff’s Operations Center doing a ribbon cutting.”
The commission will review financing for the project at the next County Commission meeting, he said.
Coffey and County Commissioners Frank Meeker and Nate McLaughlin praised county staff — in particular County Engineer Faith Alkhatib — for their work on the project.
County approves tourism funding
Rugby, crappie fishing, horseshoes and Quidditch events are all coming to Flagler County in the coming year, and the County Commission at its Dec. 1 meeting unanimously approved $62,000 in tourism funding to bring in the events.
Tourist Development Council chief Matt Dunn said the TDC has been aggressively pursuing sporting events that the county would be able to host.
“We started, in January, going after as many events as possible,” he said. “We took a look at the facilities and then matched them up with events we could go out and bid for.”
The events and funding awarded are the American Collegiate Rugby Association’s Women’s National Championship, for $7,500; Crappie USA’s Super Regional, $16,500; the Florida Flag Football League, $7,500; U.S. Quidditch Association’s South Regional Championship, $7,500; Horseshoes Pro Tour to be held March 26–30, 2015, $6,000; a Florida Outdoor Writers Association convention, $9,500; and a Florida Society of Association Executives convention, $7,500.
“This is a whole set of events that are coming here that weren’t previously coming here,” Dunn said.
Dunn said the events — in particular the writers convention, which will involve outdoor writers doing things like kayaking and fishing in Flagler, and then, and Dunn presumes, writing favorable articles — will ultimately bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism money into the local economy.
McLaughlin takes Canvassing Board seat
When the County Commission discussed which commissioners will serve on various committees and boards, it decided to have all commissioners keep their current positions on them, except for one: the Canvassing Board.
Every commissioner who served on it in the last election cycle — former County Commission Chairman George Hanns, Hanns’ former Canvassing Board alternate Charlie Ericksen, and Revels — drew opposition from Elections Supervisor Kimberle Weeks, who cited ethical concerns. (Weeks is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.)
Meeker — who did not serve on the board because, like McLaughlin, he was running for re-election and therefore ineligible — once referred to Weeks by a misogynistic slur word in an off-the-cuff comment to FlaglerLive editor Pierre Tristam, an incident reported on FlaglerLive.com and since referred to repeatedly by Weeks.
By state statute, the chairman of the Board of County Commissioners — now Meeker, who took that position over from Hanns — is a Canvassing Board member, unless the board appoints someone in the chairman’s place.
Meeker broached the subject of the Canvassing Board appointments.
Before he could make a suggestion, McLaughlin offered to serve.
“That is very nice of you,” Hanns said, “because you’re the only one untouched by the wrath.”
Hanns, at Weeks’ insistence, had been voted off the Canvassing Board late on election night over a mailer sent out by Meeker’s re-election campaign that quoted Hanns as endorsing Meeker — a violation of Canvassing Board protocol — although Meeker said Hanns had not uttered the quote or endorsed him, and Hanns said he’s ever endorsed anyone in 23 years as a commissioner.
Revels succeeded Hanns. At the Dec. 1 meeting, Hanns thanked Revels “for defending my honor.”
“Which goes back to who the alternate should be,” Meeker said to Hanns. “I think you need to go back there and defend your honor some more.”
“I’m still taking medication from last time,” Hanns replied.
“At the request of the chair,” Meeker said.
“Does Preparation H come with it?” Hanns joked.
The board unanimously approved the appointment of McLaughlin to the Canvassing Board with Hanns as his alternate.