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Mayor Milissa Holland’s 2019 State of the City Address: ‘We Are One Palm Coast’

| April 5, 2019

A video still from last year's State of the City Address at the Palm Coast Community Center.

A video still from last year’s State of the City Address at the Palm Coast Community Center.

Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland was to deliver the State of the City Address at 4 p.m. Friday at the Palm Coast Community Center, an event sponsored by the Palm Coast Observer. Following are prepared remarks provided by the city, slightly adapted for publication–without the introductory remark listing official recognition. Three surprise announcements and awards that were initially excluded from the text so as not to spoil the surprise, since the text was published before the speech was delivered, have been restored. For a summary analysis of the address, go here.

We are here today to celebrate the State of our City. This is a very important year for Palm Coast. We have been a “place” on the map for 50 years, and on December 31st, 2019, we will celebrate our 20th anniversary as a City! Our population has nearly tripled over these past two decades – with 86,516 residents strong.

Our theme this year is “One Palm Coast.”

I’ve been thinking about connection a lot lately – how we are all connected, past, present and future, as “One Palm Coast.”

When I first became Mayor, I sat in my office and gazed out the window over Central Park and our future downtown and thought about the possibilities and the connections that would be necessary to move Palm Coast forward. I then looked around the room and thought about the things that I wanted to be surrounded by, to help inspire me, remind of the connections that brought me to this point, and forge ahead with the connections necessary to make “One Palm Coast.”

I then asked our team for a collection of Palm Coast photos and I was very intentional about my selections for my office. The pictures in my office are reminders of the connections possible in Palm Coast and the truly exceptional quality of life found here. In our latest Citizen Survey, completed in February, Palm Coast earned high rankings for quality of life and overall appearance. We asked citizens what they consider our greatest assets to be, and to no surprise, the top 3 were natural habitat, beautiful appearance and recreational opportunities.

The images in my office reflect our greatest assets and drive me every day to move Palm Coast forward.

Our tree-lined trails and calming tree canopies connect us, and I’m proud that we now have more than 130 miles of connecting pathways and bicycle lanes with the addition of the Lakeview Drive pathway . We’re just wrapping up two sections on Sesame Boulevard in Seminole Woods, and we have another project – on Citation Parkway – now in design. Thanks to our gorgeous weather, our parks and our location near the beach, we are fortunate to have an active outdoor lifestyle year-round.

Our shared experiences with friends, neighbors and family members connect us. This beautiful Palm Coast Community Center has been open for a year now, and already thousands of connections have been made through social activities, recreational and wellness programming for seniors and toddlers and teens and children and active adults. The number of recreational programs we offer has more than doubled. In the past year we offered more than 1,300 activities and had 822 reservations for weddings, birthday parties and family reunions. Last summer, we hosted 1,337 summer campers!

Holland Park is another exceptional amenity for us as a community to come together to connect. I am excited to announce that construction of the second phase of Holland Park will begin in just a few weeks. This will make Holland Park even more exceptional, with improved amenities, including kids play and splash zones, activity lighting and more shade coverings.

Both of these projects were paid in full by sales tax dollars – with no need for us to take on debt – and this is one way our citizens can assist us with new capital projects. When we buy our gas and groceries here, shop at our local retailers and dine at Palm Coast’s restaurants, it helps our local economy. But it also directly benefits our residents because a portion of the sales tax is returned to the City of Palm Coast for two purposes – to keep taxes down and to fund capital projects such as sidewalks, street improvements and parks. So Be Local Buy Local!

With our focus on an active lifestyle, we are fortunate to have a dozen beautiful parks, a sports complex, and our world-class golf course and tennis center. This year was our 10th year hosting a USTA professional tennis tournament at the Palm Coast Tennis Center.

In 2015, we were thrilled to have Palm Coast’s very own Reilly Opelka play in the tournament, and later that year he won the Junior Wimbledon tournament at the age of 17. Reilly grew up playing at Grand Haven and other local courts. Obviously he got really good – former pro tennis player and coach Tom Gullickson helped in his development.

During my term, I have been most inspired by our talented youth who truly are our future. I have watched Reilly grow up and become one of the top tennis players in the world, recently winning his first major tournament, the New York Open. Today he is ranked 56th in the world. I truly could not be more proud of him and how he carries the Palm Coast banner to the tennis world.

Reilly Opelka is a shining example of the potential of the youth in our community. He shows us that you really can achieve anything if you work hard for it.

For that reason, I have selected him to receive the Mayor’s Next Generation Award.

His father, George Opelka, is here with us today to receive the award on Reilly’s behalf – George, please join me – and please let him know how Palm Coast Proud we are of him!

The City’s mission is to provide our residents, visitors and business community with exceptional services to improve your quality of life, grow the local economy and protect the natural environment through a planned, integrative approach using available technology. This year we had many accomplishments to support our six overarching goals. Our Annual Progress Report and a summary of our budget is being provided to each of you. I will highlight just a few.

We opened our second Wastewater Treatment Plant and expanded our use of reclaimed water.

We adopted a new master plan to add more streetlights on major roadways – and we have just completed installation of 42 streetlights on Lakeview Boulevard and Belle Terre Parkway is under design.

We improved intersections at Belle Terre and State Road 100 and also at Seminole Woods and State Road 100 to improve safety.

We are in our third phase for traffic signal optimization to improve traffic flow.

The Florida Department of Transportation has funded the first phase of our No. 1 transportation project – the widening of Old Kings Road from Palm Coast Parkway north toward Matanzas High School – and construction will begin next year on the first phase.

Following the last few years of unprecedented rain events, a big project we have launched this year is a comprehensive stormwater management plan to address drainage issues across Palm Coast. Using the latest technology, you will see a brand new approach to improving stormwater flow in our ditches and canals, so swales ultimately drain better. We’ve already started two major projects in the W and E Sections, and there’s so much more to come over the next few years – to ensure our homes and property are protected from flooding.

Public Safety continues to be a major focus for us. With the retirement of Mike Beadle, we swore in a new fire chief – Jerry Forte. To date, 10 fire volunteers have become full-time career firefighters through the department’s innovative Internship Program. We are providing hands-on experience and training to the students in Flagler Palm Coast High School’s Fire Leadership Academy. And Palm Coast Fire Department has become a leader in strategies to reduce firefighters’ exposure to cancer risks – a particular occupational hazard in firefighting.

For law enforcement, we are fortunate to have a strong connection with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Rick Staly recently reported to the City Council that crime dropped 22 percent in 2018. We funded five additional deputies for traffic enforcement, and the number of fatal accidents decreased 42 percent.

Sheriff Staly restructured Community Policing to reflect the three distinct and unique communities of Flagler County – the beaches, Flagler West and Palm Coast – to allow deputies the ability to familiarize themselves with each area in order to build partnerships with the residents and businesses there. School safety is also a top priority, with a deputy in every school and two in the high schools.

82 percent of our residents surveyed said they feel safe in their neighborhoods and rate our law enforcement services as excellent or good. I have worked closely with Sheriff Staly over the past two years and have been incredibly impressed by his commitment to our citizens and to his efforts to decrease crime and to improve safety.

Today I would like to honor Sheriff Staly for his service. Sheriff, would you please come forward to receive the 2019 Mayor’s Public Service Award? <PRESENT AWARD>

So many accomplishments and achievements in one year! And yet, there is so much more to come. While the pictures in my office remind me of how special Palm Coast is and continues to be, peering out the window reminds me of the possibilities and the connections necessary to move “One Palm Coast” forward.

In 2018, the City Council charted a new course to transform Palm Coast into a Smart City – using technology to improve people’s lives – and to attract more high-tech businesses to our City. And we are already seeing positive results and building momentum.

We are expanding our technology infrastructure and have launched a Kick Start incentive program to attract new development to Town Center so we can achieve a true, vibrant downtown community for Palm Coast.

One of our top priorities is to maximize the potential for our fiber optic network for high-speed data services. FiberNet already connects City facilities, Flagler Schools and some businesses with its 60 miles of conduit – generating $600,000 in revenue for the City every year and saving us over $3 million in data-related expenses since it started 9 years ago. It has more than paid for itself.

But it has the potential for so much more – especially as we recruit high-tech businesses to Palm Coast that need this kind of technology. Eventually we hope to bring FiberNet to residences as we all become more wired and need more and more high-speed connections.

The City Council has approved a new broadband business plan and now the City is seeking a public-private partnership to assist us in our goals of expanding FiberNet. We are hoping to name that partner this summer.

We are improving cell phone service across the City. Our first new cell tower has just gone up on Palm Coast Parkway west of Belle Terre. AT&T has antennas on the tower and other cell providers are being recruited. Two other cell towers will soon go up – one at the Palm Coast Tennis Center and one at Fire Station 24 on Palm Harbor Parkway.

We are expanding our digital City services – including online permitting, advanced meter reading and a pilot program for smart manholes to help us prevent sewage overflows during major rain events. This year we started a drone program for maintenance of the stormwater system and other infrastructure and for use during emergencies. We are currently working on high-tech solutions for security at City parks and facilities.

The City has partnered with Coastal Cloud, a local technology company, to build a world-class Citizen Engagement Platform. I am excited to announce that Palm Coast Connect will go live in May! Palm Coast Connect will allow citizens to be truly connected to their City, with the ability to access City services, resources and information using their smart phones, tablets or computers.

Previously, citizens could report various issues – such as broken equipment at a City park or a pothole or a Code violation that needs attention. But there was no efficient way for us to stay in touch with the resident as the problem was corrected. Palm Coast Connect will provide two-way communication so that citizens can remain connected to the City as the issue is resolved.

On the backend, Palm Coast Connect will allow City departments to automate work orders – and consolidate the many software systems our departments use currently. The technology uses GPS functions and geo-coding to allow City crews in the field to respond to reported issues quickly, in the same part of the City where they’re already working. And all of this will occur while also communicating the progress back to Customer Service and the affected residents.

Today, you will be the first to see what we can all expect. Trevor Wilson, a consultant at Coastal Cloud, will come up to give you a demo to show you how it’s going to work. Won’t this be an exciting new way to stay connected to our citizens using cutting-edge technology?

Now, I want you all to look out my office window and see the possibilities of our Town Center as a hub for innovation, technology and growth –a bustling center where residents can connect, live, work and play.

Close your eyes and visualize: sleek offices abuzz with software engineers and small-batch manufacturing entrepreneurs overlooking the lake at Central Park; young professionals and retired neighbors sharing coffee in the sun on the patio next door; medical researchers testing advancements in knee replacement surgery, just a mile down the road; and high school students participating in a hack-a-thon in partnership with a top university. This hack-a-thon will bring together programmers, technologists, and others to our downtown to collaborate and develop a technology solution to solve a problem in an intense and exciting event.

A mix of high-tech companies, housing, the park, cultural arts, coffee shops, entrepreneurs and retail in a walkable neighborhood. This is our vision for Town Center and the future of our City!

We are attracting new investment through an Opportunity Zone designation, and this year we launched an Innovation District and kick-started a development incentive program that provides qualified projects a reduction in their Utility impact fees. We already have our first two projects approved to bring upscale but affordable housing for teachers, nurses, firefighters and future employees in Town Center.

Innovation Districts are a fusion of business incubators, hospitals, schools and universities and high-tech companies. These creative firms and workers crave proximity so that ideas and knowledge can be transferred quickly and seamlessly. They are highly wired and share space supported by coffee shops and restaurants, public parks, clean industry, nearby housing and retail shops. Innovation Districts have the unique potential to spur productive and inclusive economic development.  They provide a strong foundation for the creation and expansion of firms and jobs by helping companies, entrepreneurs and investors co-invent and co-produce new discoveries for the market.

Our Town Center has the perfect ingredients to join this movement – over 1,600 acres of high-quality development area near the interstate, healthcare facilities, high-performing schools and a master developer eager to help us realize our vision. Palm Coast has attributes that many in the high-tech, innovation world are looking for: easy access to the beach, amazing weather, exceptional quality of life and affordability.

This vision is why it’s so important to expand FiberNet and upgrade our wireless infrastructure…to truly become a Smart City.

Our new priorities and strategies are already paying off! Palm Coast has been named a finalist in the 2019 North American Smart Cities Readiness Challenge and will be competing against other forward thinking communities, such as Dallas, Baltimore, and San Diego, to help Palm Coast turn our smart city vision into reality.

We have a laser focus – or I should say a fiber-optic focus – on becoming a Smart City, and the City Council is determined to fast-track those efforts. We have the backbone for the technology. This is the window of opportunity to accomplish our goals – and we’re going for it.

We need to be able to compete in a global market to be successful with our goals for the Innovation District and Town Center, the expansion of our fiber optic network as an economic development driver, and the use of technology to improve our residents’ lives.

None of this would be possible without the support of key stakeholders. We have aligned with strategic partners in an effort to connect and collaborate on these important initiatives and in doing so, our vision for downtown will become a reality. I want to take a few minutes to highlight some key strategic partnerships.

Flagler Schools is on the cutting edge of developing the workforce of tomorrow through their innovative Flagship programs for classroom-to-career success. We could not carry out our vision for our downtown without a world-class K-12 education system. And Flagler Schools is the keystone in our success. In fact, this fall we are partnering with the I3 program at Flagler Palm Coast High School to design a visual rendering of our future downtown.

We’re fortunate to have strong leadership representing us in Tallahassee, as well. Representative Paul Renner and Senator Travis Hutson are outstanding leaders for us at the State level, and they share our vision for the future of Palm Coast as a hub of innovation and economic growth.

The success of Palm Coast could not be possible without private investment in the development of our community. We are fortunate to have Allete Properties as our largest single investor and proud of the vision they created for Palm Coast Town Center. And we are especially thankful for their continued dedication and investment to ensuring our high standards for quality of life as they continue building in Town Center and throughout Palm Coast. Allete’s development team, Douglas Property & Development, has been an outstanding partner for us as we position our downtown for the future. I’m sure you have already seen the positive momentum and development activity that is currently taking place in our Town Center.

The arts play an instrumental role in Town Center, and I see great promise for how they will help shape our future. For the first time there’s a larger conversation taking place with several art groups. They are working collaboratively to plan for a vibrant arts district in the downtown. The Palm Coast Arts Foundation is working on its Performing Arts Center and already offers high quality programming that brings activity to Town Center.  We are so pleased by the Gargiulo Art Foundation’s recent gift to start a Sculpture Garden at Central Park to add to our Art in Public Places program. I’m looking forward to watching all of these partners come together to enrich our cultural arts experience.

AdventHealth Palm Coast is not only a great provider in delivering cutting-edge medical services, but is also a great partner in helping realize our vision for the future of downtown. The hospital has invested millions of dollars into medical technology and robotics found in few other places in Florida. And their footprint will only grow as they build out their master plan in the coming years, providing additional medical access to excellent healthcare, bringing more employment opportunities, medical professionals and people looking to have state-of-the-art procedures completed in Palm Coast. Recently the hospital announced a $25 million project for a freestanding emergency department coming to north Palm Coast – providing even more access to high-quality medical care for our community.

AdventHealth Palm Coast also enriches us through its outreach programs and community education. One initiative I’ve learned about as Mayor is the AdventHealth Foundation’s Palm Coast DiaBEATes Alliance. The purpose of the Alliance is to raise awareness for the prevention and treatment of this life-threatening disease and to expand education, support and resources within our community.

One member of the Foundation’s board is especially passionate about Diabetes education and awareness – and she has been the driving force behind the work of the DiaBEATes Alliance.

Laura Gilvary is especially driven in her mission because her husband, John Gilvary, has Type 1 Diabetes, the form of the disease in which the body does not produce insulin.

Laura and the Foundation Alliance are working tirelessly to connect with our residents to promote better health and wellness. It’s personal for Laura, but this mission is making a major impact on the overall health of our community – and in the process, they are literally saving lives.

Laura, to honor your leadership and dedication to helping others in our community, would you please come forward to receive the Mayor’s Citizen of the Year for 2019.

Connections – they are all around us. Amazing citizens like Laura Gilvary, Sheriff Staly and Reilly Opelka. Our public servants. The civic organizations that give us our heart and soul. The businesses that drive our economic engine. Our strategic partners as we plan for the future for our downtown.

In conclusion today, I would like to go back to the theme of this year’s State of the City: “One Palm Coast.” The key word being “one.” We come together with a purpose – for the future of our community.

All of us – business owners, civic leaders, government employees, elected officials and all citizens of Palm Coast – have a stake in the future of our community. It is of utmost importance that we continue working together to keep Palm Coast progressing in a positive way for future generations – so that we are a robust, well-rounded community that is always stretching, reaching and growing. We are poised for something big – for our residents and, above all, for the children who will be the future leaders of Palm Coast.

I especially look forward to our connections with Allete Properties, Douglas Property & Development, Flagler Schools, AdventHealth Palm Coast, PCAF, the Garguilo Art Foundation, our State partners, and others that are joining us to complete exciting projects in our downtown. Please stay tuned, as I am sure many exciting developments are to come in 2019 and beyond.

In just a moment, we’re going to end with a short video to help you see the possibilities through my window and inspire you to join with us. But before that, I just want to tell you how honored I am to be your Mayor and how much I appreciate the chance to be part of this occasion.

I’m proud of the State of the City today and I am excited about our bright future ahead. Thank you for attending and thank you for being part of our future. We are One Palm Coast.

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14 Responses for “Mayor Milissa Holland’s 2019 State of the City Address: ‘We Are One Palm Coast’”

  1. Mikey Eyes says:

    Can Mayor Holland name one opportunity fund related to investing in the town center? Will the City of Palm Coast create their own opportunity fund? Here is a link and will explain what Opportunity Zones are all about.

  2. Concerned Citizen says:

    The Mayor’s outlook is fine and all but where does she plan on housing all these software engineers and “young entrepaneurs”?

    With all the outrage and opposition towards affordable housing you’re going to need a way to attract young people just starting careers here. And that goes for new Teachers, Nurses, and other career fields. Most people starting a new career don’t make a lot at first and are usually in debt from getting an education.

    The renaming of FHF was a great marketing scheme but it’s still Florida Hospital Flagler. We still don’t have a Trauma Center or Maternity floor. Trauma alerts still have to go to Halifax which takes time. Advent Health needs to catch up with the times and growth of the area and provide critical services.

    Lastly I saw no mention of the Homeless situation. Art parks and splash pads seem to be the major focus. I suppose if you ignore something long enough you think it will go away. Just think if the city allocated resources what could be accomplished.

    It sure seems crious that the Mayor is employed by Coastal Cloud and they are getting a lot of busniess. Yet Matt Dunn was just suspended and is being investigated by FDLE. I guess she hasn’t pissed someone off yet.

  3. Callthemasiseethem says:

    Here is our service for free just pay our business associates who are far from free. But dont let those pesky bid processes get in your way. We have a work around. Lol.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ FlaglerLive

    Thanks for clearing that up. And thanks for the detailed reporting of goings on in this County. A lot happening and it pays to stay informed.

  5. Realist says:

    Melissa Holland must go. I cannot wait to vote against her in the next election. She is part of the cabal that is ruining Palm Coast. I was here for and worked for ITT. It was a lot better then.

  6. Palm Coast Realer Realist says:

    When ITT was here,the population was less like 10k for all of Flagler County. If it was better then, it’s because it was quiet. Growth brings change. Palm Coast is changing rapidly, and it’s a good thing. We are a developing county and city. We haven’t yet curated our city brand–our unique value proposition, so we’ll see new development strategies involving culture, economy, and housing while we deal with the growing pains (homelessness, business turnover) of a developing municipality. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth, and it looks like we’re moving in the right direction.

    To the homeless situation, wow! We’re really doing well considering our population. Homelessness happens, and frankly, we’re dealing with much less of a homeless problem than many other cities/counties of the same population.

    People are freaking out about it because it’s boiling to the surface, but really, our unique challenges (location and land by the library, etc.) are being addressed by the county, by the community, by nonprofits, and by volunteers. Everyone seems to nod in agreement that the solution is a process, but then they backtrack and say stuff like, “we need to do something about it! right exactly now!” Yes. Stuff’s being done. Plans are happening both long term and short term. The individuals experiencing homelessness have to have their OWN design for their personal success, and if they are in a state of mind of “leave me to panhandle,” then it’s going to take a while. No one can save them from homelessness until they are ready to partner with all the resources available to help them achieve that success with a genuine request to help them either get disability, get a job, and get on track financially, mentally and physically.

    Concerned Citizen is right to ask about housing for young professionals. Based on our population and demographics, what type of housing do we need for this projected growth? What does the housing need look like for these professionals, and do we have that available? Do we have the land and zoning to accommodate that projected need?


    But the Mayor is by Coastal Cloud !!

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ Palm Coast Realer Realist

    I’m reminded of the old saying “If you build it they will come” I think this is surely true in this area not just for housing but for jobs also. A lot of younger people are gravitating towards Orlando and Jacksonville. The bigger cities have the better jobs, better pay and housing to support it. Those cities also have the infra structure to support the population as well.

    On that note you need to take care of your city /county line workers first. Get them raises and and better benfits. Those women and men out there taking care of your streets and maintenance projects are who make it happen. Why does a city/county manager need to make 150K plus when swale crews struggle to feed families? Same goes for Fire Fighters , LEO’s and Teachers. Stop taking care of management and start taking care of rank and file. I bet you’ll see a difference.

    If the mayor wants growth and expansion in Palm Coast there has to be the basic services to support it. Jobs that she talks about need to be here first in order to attract new residents. Then affordable housing. It’s highly doubtful a “young entrepaneur” or new software engineer can afford a 250K or more canal home.

    Also when will they address upgrading infra structure. For the growth that’s happening now sewage and other facilities need to be addressed. We still have streets that flood when we get more than an inch of rain in an hour.

    And what about public transportation? I have lived in this county nearly 20 years and have been without a vehicle twice for short periods. Very hard to get around without your own car.

    Growth is inevitable in this area. For as long as I have been here I have seen the changes already happening. Growth can be a good thing or bad thing. Like any challenge it’s what you make of it.

  9. Curious to know says:

    And just what is Palm Coast’s brand, unique value proposition that hasn’t been curated yet?

  10. gmath55 says:

    @ Concerned Citizen – What! “It’s highly doubtful a “young entrepaneur” or new software engineer can afford a 250K or more canal home”. BTW it is spelled Entrepreneur.

    Average Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary $78,599. Bonus $5,032, Profit Sharing $4,141, Commission $4,852.

    Average Registered Nurse (RN) Hourly Pay $29.40 per hour. Bonus $1,018, Profit Sharing $1,033, Commission $1,517.

    And, right now. Registered Nurse PACU AdventHealth Palm Coast $10,000.00 Sign on Bonus, $3000.00 relocation incentive.

    Please explain to me how they cannot afford a 250K home?

  11. palmcoaster says:

    We had a very interesting meeting with massive walk by a crowd of disappointed residents when Mayor, Flukas and Cuff voted against those taxpayers request. Is that the reason why the April 2 live video meeting hasn’t been posted in the city web site yet as is usual they are posted? We pay for the live streaming and placing the video on the city web site and we want to see it there. So please do your duty and place the April 2 video in the city web site as is a public record that the taxpayer pay for.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you to the city officials for placing the April 2 council meeting video after our request in the city web site! Better later than never!

  13. Anon for a Reason says:

    @flaglerlive commented that “Coastal Cloud is not getting paid for the service it’s providing the city.” But that does not mean that Palm Coast Connect will not cost the city anything. I am sure that the Mayor and Coastal Cloud’s intentions were good when pursuing this idea but what will be the cost to the City. I have not seen or heard anything about this from the City Council or Mayor. How much of the City’s IT resources are involved or have been pulled away other areas and at what cost? Coastal Cloud provides its services through Salesforce which will be the service the City will be using to run Palm Coast Connect. Will Coastal Cloud be absorbing those costs which aren’t inexpensive? Speaking with some involved, I understand it could cost the city between $6-9 each time a citizen submits a request through the Salesforce system. I am not sure how many people currently use the city’s website to complain about potholes, trash pick-up, etc. but the idea of the new Connect system is to increase engagement between the citizens and the city. This cost can easily skyrocket to an astronomical cost which, now, is unknown. While this may still be a great solution and service for Palm Coast, there will be a cost. And if there is a cost, why isn’t it required for the City to go out to bid, even if Coastal Cloud may not be charging for their service. If there was an RFP out there before the City committed to this, it would have given the city an opportunity to see if this is truly the overall lowest cost option regardless of Coastal Cloud’s offer. It may also be required by State Statute.

    Finally, Palm Coast is fortunate to have an employer like Coastal Cloud located here and we would be more fortunate to have other potential employers see their success and decide to locate in Palm Coast/Flagler County. The city council just needs to make sure that they consider all options when considering large costly projects. Somewhere along the way, the City Council and Coastal Cloud decided to pursue the Palm Coast Connect project even though a year earlier, @FlaglerLive reported, “As for Holland blurring the lines, Tim Hale addressed it directly: he said it may have been a bit much, but even though Holland is the company’s director of business development for the public sector—she recruits clients—her work is well beyond Flagler, and neither Palm Coast nor Flagler County, where she was a commissioner, are in line for any projects with Coastal Cloud.” I understand that circumstances change, and the success of this project will enable Coastal Cloud to showcase it to other potential public sector clients. Hopefully that will continue their growth and hiring here in Flagler. But the City Council still should have insisted on competitive bidding to ensure the ultimate cost to the City is as low as possible. Nothing is free.

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