' It would be a disservice to the community to arbitrarily score subjects that require in-depth study.'
Editor's Note: Each candidate was given the opportunity to answer questions for the Palm Coast Observer's Speed Campaigning in the Aug. 9 Election Guide, as well as an opportunity to submit a supplemental letter. County Commission incumbent Nate McLaughlin declined to participate in Speed Campaigning. Here is his letter:
Thank you for this opportunity to clarify my response to your questionnaire. County government and the issues it faces are extremely complex. It would be a disservice to the community to arbitrarily score subjects that require in-depth study and debate to determine appropriate solutions.
The question about the Sheriff's Operations Center is asked as if its condition is defined and conclusive, when, in reality, nothing has been determined or concluded.
The health of these employees being top priority, we will continue to examine all avenues to determine the source of their illnesses. These individuals are our friends and neighbors, and we will solve these problems with immediate and dramatic steps wherever the solution lies. There are no apparent regrets in the purchase or the work performed on the building. With the information available to us at the time, it was a good decision.
The purchase and re-purposing of the Sheriffs operations Center was the result of much deliberation by the County Commission. I and another commissioner had originally wanted to build new on the site of the old Bunnell jail. Many other options were explored, and this is the project that won majority support, was gutted and re-roofed with a completely new interior. The only parts that are original are basically the slab, exterior block walls and the roof trusses. All plumbing, wiring, interior walls, framing, air handling, doors and windows are new to the facility.
Until we know what, if anything, is wrong with this "new" building, it would be difficult to estimate further costs or what engineers or contractors will be held accountable for. By using the existing slab and walls, we realized significant savings on the project.
Funds expended on the tourism effort are in complete relation to revenues collected. The efforts to invite visitors to Flagler County are governed by state statute, and funds are restricted to certain uses. No property tax revenues are used in these programs. The tourism tax is collected on overnight stays from a variety of sources, some of which include hotel and vacation rentals.
The preservation of local regulation on short-term vacation rentals helps to ensure not only proper collection but also adherence to local land-use regulations and ordinances.
The local governments in Flagler County work extremely well together. Staffs, like any relationship, are going to bump heads from time to time as they work through what are sometimes conflicting board goals and policies. These conflicts are so infrequent that information outlets determine them to be newsworthy when they do occur.
The county has had many collaborative projects with the cities throughout the years. A few examples: Old Kings Road North extension, Beverly Beach water, dune re-nourishment, pier repairs and the Bunnell Fire Department consolidation.
I have worked very hard to be open and transparent in my service to Flagler County and with limited space here. I will gladly meet with residents to discuss any further concerns.
Call Commissioner Nate McLaughlin at 503-1761.