Bunnell City Administration Will Occupy County Offices Rent-Free Through 2012
FlaglerLive | August 2, 2010
The former Bunnell City Hall is good enough for community activities and for the Bunnell Police Department’s paper-rich records division. But it’s still not good enough for the Bunnell city administration, which will continue using a suite of offices in the county’s new Government Services building, rent-free, at least through August 2012.
Bunnell will pay a flat fee of $660 a month, or $7,920 per year, to defray the cost of utilities, phone service and insurance, according to an agreement worked out by County Administrator Craig Coffey and Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez that the Flagler County Commission is set to approve today. Bunnell won;t even contribute for landscaping or maintenance of the building grounds. If the county were to charge rent, Bunnell would have to pay $3,000 a month, or $36,000 a year, for the space it’s using on the first floor of the county building on State Route 100. Unlike Palm Coast, the county is not short of space in its palatial building. It does have room enough to give away.
Bunnell evacuated its old city hall in May 2009 following heavy rains. Water leaked into the building and mold developed. Martinez and Coffey, who get along and make plenty of deals, in July 2009 worked out a nine-month lease, which was to give the city time to figure out its next move. The thinking then was that Bunnell could possibly occupy parts of the old courthouse, even though that structure, in need of close to $6 million in repairs, was much further away from occupancy than the old city hall. The Bunnell administration last summer made clear that it had no interest in returning to city hall, where space was an issue. It was evident even then that Bunnell was not going to vacate county premises by 2010.
Martinez’s and Coffey’s deal-making is also behind the latest plan to renovate and eventually occupy the county courthouse, a deal that initially triggered a fierce rebuke from a county commissioner (the commissioner then attempted to fire Coffey), as well as the plan, not yet approved by the County Commission, for Bunnell to buy Carver Gym.
Bunnell is still hoping to get some money back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if and when FEMA agrees to reimburse the city for damages to the building. That money would then be paid to the county. But FEMA is unlikely to pay more than the cost of damages to the building.
The coquina and stone Bunnell City Hall building went up in 1937. It was renovated in 1980, and its roof repaired in 2005. In late 2009, the city’s Public Works Department spent some $20,000 to replace the roof again, repair gutters, renovate the drainage system, the kitchen and the bathroom and improve the air conditioning system. It became usable again at the end of the year. As of now, the city and the county have not been approved for emergency dollars from FEMA or from Florida’s Division of Emergency Management.
Bunnell was originally due to vacate the county building by April 21 this year.