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Enterprise Flagler’s Tax and Build Plan Revealed: How They’ll Seek Your Vote

| August 30, 2010

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Watch for football analogies. (© FlaglerLive)

You’ve been hearing about this plan for months–the plan behind Enterprise Flagler’s and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s proposal to raise the county’s property tax and use the proceeds to build “industrial parks” as subsidized bait for new industry. For months, the plan couldn’t be published because it didn’t exist. Enterprise Flagler, the public-private economic development partnership funded mostly by Palm Coast and the county, convinced the Flagler County Commission to put the tax proposal on the November 2 ballot based on a concept: Build a large industrial building somewhere in the county, at taxpayers’ expense, and it’ll be incentive enough for a new firm to set up shop here, creating new jobs that would eventually help taxpayers by diversifying the tax base and lowering the county’s unemployment rate.

The commission agreed to put the initiative on the ballot, but without endorsing it. Most elected officials were somewhere between reserved and opposed to the plan because besides being nonexistent, what verbal shreds of it were being presented were too vague. So were key business groups without whose support passing a ballot initiative is made harder, such as the local home builders’ association.

Finally in the last few weeks, Enterprise Flagler put together a committee to craft a plan to back up the concept and start winning a few friends. (With some exceptions, the committee is a largely insular who’s who of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce’s core members, plus Greg Rawls, the executive director of Enterprise Flagler. If you’re scoring at home, here are the committee members: Michael Chiumento, Gary Lubi, Donald O’Brien, Charlie Ericksen, Frank Meeker, Doug Baxter, Saul Caro, Winnie Costello, Patrick Kelly, Mark Langello, Glen Laury, Jim O’Connell and John Whelan.) The committee also relied on the work of Sandra Mullen, a consultant, and Cindy Dalecki, a marketing and social media specialist.

Last week, Rawls, Chiumento (an attorney) and Lubi (a bank executive) presented the plan to the Enterprise Flagler board. Though in draft form, Chiumento described it as 99 percent complete. (For an analysis of that presentation, read the “Sneak Preview of Enterprise Flagler’s Economic Tax ‘Game Plan.'”)

The plan is scheduled to be publicly unveiled Thursday, when the tax plan’s website,, launches. The plan begins with a claim to “full and transparent accountability.” Yet Enterprise Flagler itself denied a request for the written plan. FlaglerLive nevertheless obtained a copy of the plan outside of the agency.

The plan is presented below as written, uncut, preserving its original syntax and spelling. The final product, once unveiled, may be different than what’s presented below despite being termed 99 percent complete. The plan is being presented not as an endorsement, but as a matter of information, and to spur debate. The plan has been broken into four parts for ease of reading and navigation. The first part appears below.

Economic Development Initiative; a Job Creation Referendum

Accountability Benchmarks and Metrics are broken down into Activities to drive results and

Goals which will measure our level of success.

How the Money will be invested in, and reported to our Community:

  • Full and transparent accountability
  • These dollars will only be used toward economic development, and are not available for general funding purposes.  60% or more of the funding will be used to support infrastructure related costs, 30% (maximum) will be used to support incentives to attract new business, and retain or help expand existing businesses in Flagler County. The remaining 10% (maximum) shall be used to support marketing, and related administrative costs (i.e.  market studies).
  • An Annual Report that will be made by Enterprise Flagler to local County and City Councils addressing performance vs. goals, and providing a full financial report. Additionally, a monthly update report will also be provided to these councils.

Activities to Drive Results:

  • Begin development of Class “A” Commerce Park by April 2011, to include a 50,000 Square Foot Facility with 25 Foot ceilings.
  • Targeted industries to include Technology and Research related businesses in the Medical, Aviation, New Energy, and other growth industry fields.
  • Site Selector Contacts (calls, mailings and emails) by Enterprise Flagler — minimum of 5 per month.
  • Response rate to “Request for Proposal” (RFP) Requests — Respond within required time lines 100% of the time.
  • Networking Benchmarks will be established as we work with key organizations throughout the state of Florida, and nationally as well (i.e. Cornerstone, Enterprise Florida, Central Florida Economic development organizations, trade organizations, etc.). Additionally, it is expected that Enterprise Flagler will maintain strong working relationships with National, State, County, and City Elected Officials.
  • Enterprise Flagler will partner with Flagler County Schools, Daytona State College (including ATC), Workforce Development Center for Excellence, and support “Hire in Flagler”, to accelerate the delivery of highly effective job training and retraining programs designed to meet the needs of our employers.

Goals and Desired Outcomes:

  • Create 1,000 new jobs by 2015, and 2,500 new jobs by 2021, above the median wage for Flagler County.
  • Reduce our residential tax burden from 86% of our tax revenue to 75% by 2016 and to 70% by 2020.*
  • In town Site Visits Generated via Site Selector Contacts with Prospects — Owner Operators less than 100 employees (15 per year), and 100+ employee companies (4 per year).

(*)A residential taxpayer consumes $1.18 of every tax dollar while a commercial/industrial

taxpayer consumes 280 of every tax dollar.

Wouldn’t you rather have commercial and industrial companies paying a larger percentage of the overall tax burden?


All About the "Economic Development" Tax Referendum

The Tax Plan, Word for Word
Part 1: Background and Main Points
Part 2: FAQ
Part 3: Talking Points
Part 4: Enterprise Flagler's Sells Itself
Other Items of Interest
Preview and Analysis of the Tax Plan
How the Chamber’s Tax Proposal Undermines Schools, Cities and the County
Council Slams Enterprise Flagler’s Camouflage, Casting Doubt on “Development” Tax
Hell Freezes Over: Flagler Chamber Wants To Hike Your Taxes
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32 Responses for “Enterprise Flagler’s Tax and Build Plan Revealed: How They’ll Seek Your Vote”

  1. BW says:

    No matter what, my vote is still ‘NO”. The ‘build it and they will come’ is worthless and a waste. I personally think it’s time to end all funding to Enterprise Flagler and shift those valuable funds to more important things . . . like our schools.

  2. silent says:

    Amen to BW’s comments

  3. NortonSmitty says:

    We’re in the middle of the largest economic downturn in 70 years. Manufacturing that isn’t bankrupt already is downsizing or moving offshore. Everywhere you look is vacant manufacturing facilities begging for tenants and rusting away. And we should build more? By raising our property taxes?

    And this coming from the Chamber of Commerce who’s only consistent mantra has been “Raising taxes bad, Government interfering with business bad” . The same greedy bastards that keep banging the drum to cut unemployment benefits, Aid to poor families and social security now favors a government handout to maybe help some business somewhere that might need a new facility and then we can give it to them for nearly nothing in the hope we might get a few minimum wage-like jobs and someday have them start to pay property taxes so other busnesses will pay less, and by raising taxes on the home owning proles to boot. And our little group will see immediate benefits by picking who we buy the land from, who we say builds it, markets it, designs it and manages it.

    Wow! What’s not to like? Lets do it!

    Business as usual for the greedy little pricks that brought you this lovely little slice of New Jersey with Rattlesnakes. Capitalism for the poor and Welfare for the rich. In a Just world they would all be swinging in the wind under a Texaco canopy.

    How about we spend 1/50 of this amount to keep the Libraries open and tell them if its such a good idea, fund it themselves.

  4. Karen W says:

    Yeah! I agree with BW!. We don’t need any jobs just schools!

    But what are the kids going to do when they graduate? Stop confusing the issue; We just need schools!

  5. John says:

    I heard a rumor (I’m still verifying the validity) that Tom Lawrence head of the local tea party and member of the chamber board of directors has asked his tea party members to support this referendum, this runs counter to their principles, but I guess they are okay with welfare, corporate welfare that is, this smells of hypocrisy!

  6. says:

    i agree with BW there is no guarantee. i have no trust in these people. look at who is running it attorneys and a banker

  7. starfyre says:

    i pray for bw–he has no faith in our county!!

  8. Bn3 says:

    I have attended a couple meetings of the tea party.  The tea party is not all anti-government.  They want an accountable government.  They want a government that listen to their citizens and a government that gets back to principles of the constitution; especially the 10th amendment. 
    This tax is not to make up for a budget short fall; this tax is not to build a trail or sidewalk.  This tax is to address a critical concern of our community: the lack of current and future job growth. 
    So please do not get your talking points from MSNBC or CNN about the tea-party. 

  9. Joseph says:

    Doesn’t T.E.A. stand for Taxed Enough Already? That pretty much sums up their primary principle to me, it does seem rather hypocritical of that movement to support this tax, but I assume if it was a liberal organization asking for the same EXACT tax, you folks would be crying foul!

    It’s funny that the Tea Party has been hijacked by Rupert Murdoch and other neocons within the GOP. The Tea Party started with Ron Paul on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party as a money bomb for his 2008 campaign. He raised a record amount of money that day. Beck and Palin are imposters along with others, hijacking the tea party. Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty is NOT the Tea party, nor has Ron Paul aligned himself with that movement.

    I’m a Libertarian, the Republicans are a big effing joke and the Democrats are a mess, all of you can continue to vote for the two party corporatist system, the only change will come with the emergence of a third political party and I don’t mean the silly Tea Party!

  10. Alexis says:

    A tax is a tax, it doesn’t matter how you package it, I do not support a tax for more corporate welfare, our schools yes.

  11. Alex says:

    Giving taxpayer’s money to people in need is SOCIALISM by SOCIALIST.

    Giving taxpayer’s money to business is NOT SOCIALISM and the givers are NOT SOCIALISTS.

    Very confusing.


  12. starfyre says:

    i like socialism-this way my out of work husband can spend your money and not ours!!

  13. Janet says:

    The Chamber (including Enterprise Flagler) is acting very much like its parent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nations largest lobbying firm for big business and the GOP, this does not bode well for taxpayers in Flagler County. This is nothing more than corporate welfare and it’s shame the proponents of this referendum don’t see it that way and as pointed out, the committee is comprised of bankers and attorneys. Sound the alarm! SAY NO TO THIS REFERENDUM!

  14. BW says:


    Do you really think that the proposed initiative will guarantee jobs in the area for present and/or future workers? Enterprise Flagler has presented no such plan and never has. They are merely presenting a plan to build in the hope that business will come. That is no plan at all. And is merely a waste. In fact, it is the same tired lines that this organization has been feeding this community for years now.

    There is one avenue I definitely think would bring a true ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for this area which is to court Daytona State College in opening a full-fledged campus here. That would be true economic development. That would also be the foundation to bringing new business to the area.

    Go figure, much of the development in this area has been misguided and thoughtless with poor attempts to make the area that which it is not. And we all see the result of those development projects.

  15. Bn3 says:

    So what are we to do? Nothing; everything is so great here? Sitting here with the highest unemployment in the State and all we can say is we hate business. I want to live, play and WORK here. I want my son and daughter once they graduate from school to be able to stay here. Wake up people.

  16. Cindy says:

    Personally, I’m going to wait until Thursday to see if there is a solid plan for the funds. I don’t think sticking our heads in the sand and doing nothing about the unemployment rate will solve the problem.
    Florida made the Top 10 for highest unemployment and Flagler County made the Top 20 (out of 67). Those are not top spots to be proud of. It’s time we do something about it. Otherwise, after the kids in school graduate, they will all just all move away!

  17. George says:

    I don’t hate business but corporate welfare is not the answer, this tax is just that, mini bailout.

  18. Kell says:

    I like this part of the plan… Targeted industries to include Technology and Research related businesses in the Medical, Aviation, New Energy, and other growth industry fields.

    It seems to me that Flagler is a bit behind when it comes to the industries that are here, if we can bring in a bigger industry it will create more jobs… right?

  19. Cindy says:

    And it’s Sandra Mullen, not Susan.

  20. I need a job says:

    “corporate welfare” If it takes welfare to get employment here then show me the forms and I will send them to these companies. But seriously are we going to be so principle to say ” no corporate welfare” in Palm Coast; the hell with the jobs these companies may bring.

    From what I have read Flagler doesn’t have the buildings that many companies need to relocate here. I didn’t read that they are giving the building to them?

    But back to my original point, if other communities are offering “corporate welfare” to attract new business, I guess we can be principle and “sit of the bench” watching other communities get these companies. We need jobs here!

  21. NortonSmitty says:

    I need a job, I feel for ya. But ask someone around here for a while to tell you the story about ITT.

  22. NortonSmitty says:

    I have a radical idea. What if we sell the idea to an existing or bona fide start up first. Get the deal on paper, then we can tailor a facility to the specifications the company needs for what it does. No risk, better chance of real returns on our tax dollars instead of just lining the pockets of the local powers that be for the umteenth time. They’ve pulled this shit more times than Charlie Brown kicked at that football with the same results. Please don’t let them stick us with the tab again.

  23. Robert says:

    Let me get this straight.

    These folks want to tax me so that facilities can be built to entice a business to move to Flagler county.

    That sounds a lot like real estate speculation. And the speculation is with our tax dollars. The county administrators or Palm Coast council will give away the proverbial kitchen sink to get the deal inked up. So there won’t be much if any tax revenue for a number of years.

    Try this. Why don’t those folks that are proposing the tax pool their money, purchase land from one of their cronies and build one or two spec buildings. Then when a business occupies the facility they can benefit from the windfall.

    Whatever happened to developers who would build to suit the tenant?

  24. Janet says:

    I like Robert’s idea, this is a private enterprise and taxpayer’s money should not be part of the equation.

  25. Federally ordered Business Building says:

    It is further ordered, That, not later than six (6) years after the service upon respondents of this order, respondents shall cause the corporate headquarters of ICDC to be transferred to and located at respondents’ property at Palm Coast, Florida.
    (1) shopping center building or buildings located upon respondents’ land at Palm Coast,with a total floor space of at least 40,000 square feet;
    (2) an office and reserach park area locateed upon respondents’ land at Palm Coast, to consist of at least 40 acres, which shall include appropiriate roads, water lines, sewers and landscaping suitable for possible future construction of office buildings or research facilities;

    (3) a multi-purpose office structure located within the office and reserach park area referred to in (2) herein which shall have a total floor space of at least 5,000 square feet;

    Page 952-953 Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Decision and Order 88 F.T.C.

  26. NortonSmitty says:

    FOBB, where is that from. Recent or old? Did it ever happen?

  27. Kip Durocher says:

    These people are all tied togetheri n one big knot. Garry R. Lubi, senior vice president with Prosperity Bank and a board member of Entersuprise Flagler. Is he hoping some of this public largess goes his way?
    Doug Baxter, president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce and Affiliates, Board member of Entersuprise Flagler. Does he not have enough to keep him busy with the chamber’s schemes to spend taxpayer money? Michael Chiumento – ’nuff said.
    Entersuprise Flagler PR blurb, “How the Money will be invested in, and reported to our Community:
    ■Full and transparent accountability.
    OK – start out by telling us exactly how much money every paid employee of Entersuprise Flagler is paid and how much every Board member has been reimbursed for expenses. That would be a lovely transparent start..
    Entersuprise Flagler PR blurb “■Begin development of Class “A” Commerce Park by April 2011, to include a 50,000 Square Foot Facility with 25 Foot ceilings.”
    Really big Cakes over America would fit in there!
    I hope the people of Flagler Will become aware of this abomination when the vote booth curtians close.
    My hat is off to Flaglerlive for giving us this forumn as the News-Journal is shaping up to be the media wing of the C of Cs and does not allow dissent in their paper anymore.

  28. Federally Ordered Business Building says:

    Reply to Norton Smitty:
    Yes, the $ 30,000,000+ Redress – ‘largest Redress ever ordered to that date’.
    International Tel. and Tal. Corp., pp.933. , Docket # C-2854, Findings, Opinions, and Orders, July 1, 1976 – December 31, 1987, Volume 88 Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Decision and Order pp. 950 – 951 Volume 88.

    From the Year:


    Dear Palm Coaster,
    It seems every year gets better at Palm Coast and 1979 was a year of solid accomplishment. A brief look at the year in retrospect will explain why I feel that way.
    Early last year Palm Coast Shopping Center saw five businesses open and in April, Publix Supermarket held its grand opening. Today there are 17 tenants in the shopping center, with more on the way.
    The East Flagler Service District was activated in April. This was a giant step towards Palm Coast having one uniform governmental entity.
    …The Palm Coast Industrial Park gained a new tenant with the decision by the Wittemann Company of Buffalo, New York, to relocate here. We also began construction of a 25,000 square foot building shell, which we will finish to suit a tenant, and thus provide a competitive delivery date for new industry…
    A new ITT subsidiary ITT Transportation Distribution Service Center, established its headquarters in Palm Coast.
    Another busy element was the religious sector of Palm Coast. The Mother Seton Catholic Church was dedicated in May. Temple Beth Shalom is under construction and the United Presbyterians and United Methodists are both planning to build houses of worship.
    The 200 member Italian American Club held its annual Festa in the Spring, and the club purchased an acre of land where the clubhouse will eventually be built.
    The amenities in Palm Coast continue to expand with the new Swim and Racquest Club completed in December 1979, the expansion of the Marina facilities nearing completion , and our second 18 hole golf course, which was designed by Armond Palmer and Ed Seay, is under construction and due for completion by the end of December 1980.
    Sepaking of golf, Nancy Lopez has continued to represent Palm Coast well by leading the LPGA in wins. Nancy will also purchase one of the new Fairways Condominiums nearing completion , along the 17th Fairway.
    The capacities of the water treatment plant and the wastewater treatment plant were expanded last year. The water plant tripled its capacity and the wastewater plant doubled its capacity. Not only de we have good water in Palm Coast, but the water service we provide had a direct bearing on the reduction of fire insurance rates for residents of the Palm Coast Fire District – a savings for everyone in the District.
    Another highlight last year was the opening of Daytona Beach Community College Flagler Center in the Palm Coast Shopping Center. With nearly 400 students from all parts of the Country, the center has already outgrown its facilities and may soon be expanding to a second building in the shopping center.
    Continuing in education, ICDC again last year awarded a 1,000 scholarship to a Flagler Palm Coast High School graduating senior.
    A middle school has been recommended by the State, and ICDC has donated 20 acres of land to the School Board for the school site with an option to purchase an additional 10 acres if needed.
    Our postal service grew again last year. The new Palm Coast Post Office opened in March and began home delivery service in November.
    Construction of new homes was brisk last year, nearing the 300 mark. Our new model home center opened in the Woodlands featuring homes by Palm Coast Construction Company, Brattlof Construction Company and Red Carpet Development.
    The models are open in our new 200 unit condominium being constructed along the 16th and 17th golf course fairways, and units are available for sale in the states where we are registered.
    After many months of planning the I-95 interchange moved closer to reality. Constuction should begin by early 1980.
    Tournaments were much in evidence last year. First, The Nancy Lopez Pro-Am was held in February, followed by the Florida PGA Tournament of Champions . In June, The Colgate/PalmCoast World Mixed Team Championship was won be Lee Trevino and Nancy Lopez. The Michelob Light/Palm Coast Pro-Am Tennis Championships were played at our tennis complex. Out Touring pro Tom Gullikson, who is building a new home in Palm Coast played an exciting exhibition match with another outstanding pro Marty Riesssen.
    Approximately 6,000 homesites were completed by the end of 1979. In addition to all committed improvements, these homesites have central sewer facilities.
    All in all, it was a tremendous year in PalmCoast, and we look forward to 1980 and the beginning of Palm Coast’s second 10 years, Sincerely, Alan Smolen President EXEC1/B

  29. Randy for a better Palm Coast says:

    …The Palm Coast Industrial Park gained a new tenant with the decision by the Wittemann Company of Buffalo, New York, to relocate here. We also began construction of a 25,000 square foot building shell, which we will finish to suit a tenant, and thus provide a competitive delivery date for new industry…

    even Itt built buildings before they had companies for them. and guess what it Worked! they were able to bring great companies to our community.

    also the article dispels the urban legend that Palm Coast was planned as a retirement community. If so why would they build an industrial park and build a spec building. One of these “if you build it they will come buildings”. But guess what THEY CAME!

    all the negative people on here must be retired and not worried about anyone but yourself

    We are talking about $35 dollars A Year. I spend more than that in one night at Outback.

    I would say almost a fourth of the homes in my neighborhood are empty and unkept. I know a lot of my friends are either out of a job or worried about losing it.

    And all we can say is no? We hate business; no corporate welfare ? Are u serious??
    I have one question, when does early voting start?

  30. NortonSmitty says:

    If we’re lucky it might turn out as well as the Ginn hanger! Or the Cake Company or all the other pipedreams we’ve funded and are still paying off. Show us something concrete and maybe. You have to admit your track record on these things is abysmal.

  31. Bruce says:

    We don’t hate business, just corporate welfare.What I don’t understand is why nothing is being done to help existing businesses in Flagler County, are they worth less than other business that may or may not move here?

  32. Liana G says:

    “One of these “if you build it they will come buildings”. But guess what THEY CAME! ” – A little confusing here,

    They came? And how are they doing???

    Enlighten me please!!

    “Today there are 17 tenants in the shopping center, with more on the way.” Reeeeally

    “Construction of new homes was brisk last year, nearing the 300 mark” How’s that working out TODAY?

    I claim no affilation to the north nor south – but it seems like, I know,- but dare I say – northern oppression of the dumb down south. Who are the ones profiting and who are the ones suffering. How about we promote quality education for an educated south. Why do you suppose all the best jobs are not here? Lack of a well educated work force.

    I not against expansion. I am against BIG salaries for gov’t employees in a community unable to afford these salaries. Studies have shown that bigger paychecks does not increase productivity just more psychopaths. Look at Wall St. They are a prime example.

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