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Flagler’s Vacation Rental Reform Bill Advances Through 2 Committees, Buoying Chances

| February 5, 2014

The proposed reform of a law that would return control of short-term rental regulations to counties and cities gained additional support at the Legislature Tuesday as it cleared a second Senate committee and its first House committee with solid backing.

As Walkers and Cyclists Complain of Predatory Drivers at Belle Terre and SR100, Officials Call For More Education

| January 15, 2014

The dangerous intersection at State Road 100 and Belle Terre Parkway focused discussions by county and city officials this week about more safety improvements, starting with making drivers more respectful of pedestrians and cyclists–a shift many drivers are resisting.

Two Years In, Tourism Director Georgia Turner Is Leaving Flagler For Native Alabama

| December 5, 2013

Georgia Turner, the county’s radiant tourism director who oversaw Flagler’s and Palm Coast’s realignment as niche sports destinations, a steady rise in tourism-tax revenue and a first-ever working coalition of local arts groups, is leaving after just two years on the job. Personal, not political, reasons led her to the decision.

County Rejects Donations of Flagler Estates Lots, Seeing No Public Purpose in Acquisition

| December 2, 2013

A divided commission rejected the proposal, 3-2, with Nate McLaughlin leading an adamant opposition that showed no interest in bailing out private property owners who made poor investments, or setting the county on a course that has no clear objective.

A Tiff, and Broader Implications, In County’s Hope of Eliminating Voter Voice in Economic Development

| October 7, 2013

In a reflection of government-backed economic development’s dim luster, Flagler County want to eliminate voters’ role in giving local governments authority to extend tax breaks to companies. That proposal led to a clash Monday between government critic Dennis McDonald and Commissioner Barbara Revels.

Contempt and Deception: How Flagler County Sealed a Dirty Deal for the Old Hospital

| August 16, 2013

In the end, County Administrator Craig Coffey and the commission insulted the public’s intelligence by claiming to have been transparent about the hurried and expensive deal to buy the decrepit Memorial hospital as they hid behind cherry-picked documents Coffey stage-managed to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion.

Commissioner Frank Meeker: Why I Voted to Buy the Old Hospital Despite Reservations

| August 2, 2013

“Honestly, I can’t help but feel I’m being led, at times by the nose, to a conclusion to support the hospital purchase,” Meeker writes. “But fortunately for me, I don’t mind researching issues on my own.” In a broad-ranging discussion, he provides a point-by-point defense of his decision.

Sold: County Commission Votes 4-1 To Buy $1.23 Million Hospital in Bunnell for Sheriff

| August 1, 2013

After some anguish, a lot of analysis and, on Thursday, a pair of meetings adding up to nearly five hours, the Flagler County Commission approved buying the old 60,000 square foot Memorial hospital, ending four years of wrangling over where, when and how to move the sheriff to a more central location.

Appraisals for Old Hospital Place Value at $1.5 Million as County Moves Toward Acquisition

| July 25, 2013

The county wants to buy the old hospital in Bunnell for $1.23 million and use it as an HQ for the sheriff. Two independent appraisers have placed the market value of the old 81-bed hospital at $1.5 million, and an engineering firm that surveyed the hulking 60,000 square-foot property found no overt issues with the building aside from asbestos. A private consortium bought the building for $750,000 in 2003.

Facing Mandatory Spending, County May Raise Taxes by Nearly $100 for Median Home

| July 22, 2013

In previous years, tax rate increases didn’t mean much because they were either entirely or more than offset by decreases in property values. The end result was lower tax bills for most, even as tax rates went up. That’s over. And tax rates are set to go up in every city, too.

Flagler’s Firefighting and Helicopter Costs Expose County Tensions Over Wants and Needs

| June 17, 2013

Looking at the near certainty of a tax increase, Flagler County Commissioners Monday continued to wrestle with a budget submitted by their administration that is adding to their costs rather than making it easier to fill a budget gap, or keep taxes from increasing. But the administration argues there’s no room for going cheap short of eliminating services.

Planning for Flagler’s Future, County Talks Library Repairs, New Fire Station and Jail

| May 31, 2013

Expanding an overcrowded county jail, building a modern new sheriff’s operations center, upgrading an inadequate drainage system as urbanization changes the rural character of Flagler and improving fire and emergency medical response west of U.S. 1 were featured in the first of four strategic-planning sessions by the county commission Thursday.

A “Nasty” Government Building Highlights County’s Priorities as Budget Spells Higher Taxes

| May 29, 2013

An unclear Government Services Building and what it costs to maintain it properly was emblematic of the Flagler County Commission’s budget discussion this morning, as the government faces at least a $3.3 million gap, or more, if it hires an extra custodian, no new revenue, and the likelihood of higher taxes.

Divided Flagler Commission Moves Ahead With $1.23 Million Option on Old Hospital

| May 6, 2013

The vote to acquire the old 60,000-square-foot memorial hospital property in Bunnell followed a flash-lit tour of the building for the commissioners, but did not change the option agreement except to require an appraisal and extend the due diligence period to 90 days. The county would still be acquiring the building for $1.23 million, as is.

Flagler County’s Budget Outlook Adds Up To $8 Million Gap and Likely Tax Increase

| April 24, 2013

It’s difficult to see how Flagler commissioners will emerge from the budget process in September without either a substantial tax increase of one type or another or vast cuts in county services, though they began taking on sacred cows, such as consolidating fire departments.

In Prenup Haggling, County and Bunnell Agree to Split Old Courthouse, With Sheriff in Annex

| January 2, 2013

In an at-times tense joint meeting between the Flagler County Commission and Bunnell’s commission, the two sides agreed to cede the old courthouse to Bunnell for a city hall, but the courthouse annex would remain in county ownership, and be turned over to the sheriff as a new headquarters.

As New Commission Chairman, Nate McLaughlin Quickly Flexes Unyielding Muscle

| December 5, 2012

In a tense few minutes at this week’s Flagler County Commission meeting, McLaughlin refused to yield to Barbara Revels’s repeated request to hold on to her membership on the Public Safety Coordinating Council, which McLaughlin took over, as he did that of the powerful Tourist Development Council.

Commission Candidates Support a Jail Sales Tax, But Not the Way the County Went About It

| August 9, 2012

Four of the five candidates for the Flagler County Commission agree with renewing the county’s portion of a half-cent sales tax, on the books for 20 years, but they’re very critical of the way the commission opted out of a voter referendum on the issue.

Write-In Sham: How an Obscure GOP Group Is Disenfranchising 40,000 Voters in Local Races

| June 6, 2012

Democrats and Independents would normally be allowed to vote in primaries featuring only Republican candidates. By fielding write-ins who have no chance or intention of winning, the Ronald Reagan group is locking out those Democrats and Independents by creating the artifice of a contested general election.

Peterson Draws Commission Challenge From Ericksen, the Man He Introduced to Politics

| February 20, 2012

Four years ago Alan Peterson encouraged Charlie Ericksen to apply to finish the term of Peterson’s seat on the Palm Coast City Council, when Peterson decided to run for the Flagler County Commission. Now the two Republicans will face each other in the Aug. 14 primary for that commission seat.

Col. Jack Howell, Teens-In-Flight Leader, Is Seriously Bloodied in Motorcycle Accident

| January 7, 2012

Update 2, 5:17 p.m. Jack Howell is recovering at home, and AmVets raised over $1,600 for Teens-in-Flight at today’s fund-raiser.
Update, 2:45 p.m.: Jack Howell checked out of Florida Hospital Flagler just before 3 p.m., with a broken finger, a lot of bumps, bruises and lacerations and a sprained ankle, but no more serious injuries. He more »

Jon Netts, The 5% Mayor: Election Turnout Was Lowest By Far in City’s 11-Year History

| September 14, 2011

Just 10.6 percent of registered voters turned out on Tuesday, which means that just 4.7 percent of Palm Coast’s voting-age residents made the difference in electing Jon Netts. The turn-out was worse than Bunnell’s and Flagler Beach’s recent city elections.

Defying Polls and Tea Leaves, Jon Netts Is Re-Elected Palm Coast Mayor

| September 13, 2011

Incumbent Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts held on by defeating Charlie Ericksen with 54 percent of the vote, making a run-off in November unnecessary.

Jon Netts: The Live Interview

| September 13, 2011

Jon Netts, incumbent mayoral candidate in the Palm Coast election, answers 12 questions and a few follow-ups on a broad range of issues. He faces Charlie Ericksen and Joe Cunnane.

Charlie Ericksen: The Live Interview

| September 13, 2011

Charlie Ericksen is challenging incumbent mayoral candidate Jon Netts in the Palm Coast election. He answers 12 questions and a few follow-ups on a broad range of issues.

Palm Coast Mayor: Tea Party Straw Poll Has Ericksen Far Ahead of Netts, 59-36%

| September 6, 2011

The results, based on an internet poll conducted by the tea party, has its limitations, but nevertheless points to unexpectedly lopsided–and surprising–numbers. Jon Netts and Charlie Ericksen may be in a closer race than either expected as early voting continues.

Incumbents Jon Netts and Holsey Moorman Leading Money Race In Palm Coast Elections

| August 26, 2011

Mayor Jon Netts is leading the money race with $8,600. Charlie Ericksen, his principal challenger, has raised $4,469 so far, with 18 days to go for the primary. Holsey Moorman, whose election isn’t until November, has raised $6,840 so far.

Campaign Notes: Defacing Moorman, Excluding Ericksen, Unseating Kim Weeks

| August 25, 2011

Palm Coast City Councilman Holsey Moorman reacts to his vandalized sign, Democrats explain why they invited Jon Netts and not Charlie Ericksen, and the complete list of candidates thinking (or not) of challenging Kimberle Weeks, the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections.

Palm Coast Races: 3 for Mayor, 4 for Council, 2 Elections, No Partridge, No Pear Tree

| August 9, 2011

Qualifying closed Tuesday with Charlie Ericksen and Joe Cunnane challenging Jon Netts for mayor in the Sept. 13 primary, which may prove to be the deciding date in that race. Two council seats will be decided on Nov. 8.

Palm Coast Council Shocked, Shocked To Hear It Ever Had $10 Million for City Hall

| August 3, 2011

The Palm Coast city administration now says that it never had $10 million to build a city hall. The copious record on the matter says otherwise, raising questions about the city’s numbers and verbal shell games.

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