Greg Hansen is one of three the Republican candidates for Flagler County Commission, District 2, facing Janet McDonald and Denise Calderwood in the Aug. 23 primary.
Two seats are up on the commission in this election cycle: District 2 and District 4, where Mullins has drawn opposition from Republican Leann Pennington in the primary. In the Mullins-Pennington race, the winner will face Independent, or no-party-affiliated, Jane Gentile Youd in the November 8 general election. (There is also a write-in, but that candidacy was likely intended only to foreclose the possibility of an open primary. It is not a candidacy as serious as it is cynical.)
Because only Republicans filed to run in the District 2 race, that race is an open primary, meaning that all registered voters–Republicans, Democrats, Independents and minor party registrants–get to cast a vote on it on Aug. 23. That race will decide who the next commissioner will be, therefore all voters get a voice.
Flagler County Commission members serve four years. They’re paid $59,637 a year, a salary set by the state, not by the local commission.
FlaglerLive submitted identical questions to all candidates, with the understanding that additional questions might be tailored to candidates individually and some follow-up questions may be asked, with all exchanges on the record. The Live Interview’s aim is to elicit as much candor and transparency as possible. We have asked candidates to refrain from making campaign speeches or make lists of accomplishments. We have also asked candidates to reasonably document any claim or accusation. Answers are lightly edited for clarity, relevance and, where possible, accuracy. If a candidate does not answer a question or appears to be evading a question, that’s noted.
But it’s ultimately up to the reader to judge the quality and sincerity of a candidate’s answers.
|To vote: see a sample ballot here. Early voting is between Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at four sites in the county, listed here. You may vote early at any of the four sites regardless of your precinct location. To vote by mail, request your mail-in ballot here. Because of the Legislature's new law, restricting voting convenience, drop boxes are available, but only to a limited degree. The ballot drop box at the Elections Office will be monitored by a staff member beginning 60 days prior to the election, through Election Day. This drop box will no longer be available after office hours or on weekends, except during the early voting period. Other drop boxes will be available at early voting locations, but only during the days of early voting, and only during voting hours. Mail ballots must be received in the Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. If returning your ballot by mail, please allow at least ten days for delivery. A postmark does not extend this deadline. You may track your ballot here. All other election-procedure related inquiries can be answered at the Elections Office's website.
The Questions in Summary: Quick Links
- Method and philosophy
- Critical issues
- Needs and wants
- School concurrency
- Environmental protection
- Heidi Petito
- Public transportation
- Sheriff’s budget
- Background check
Place and Date of Birth: Baraboo, Wis., Dec. 22, 1946, raised in San Antonio, Texas.
Current job: Flagler County Commissioner, Dist 2.
Party Affiliation: Republican
Net Worth: See Hansen’s financial disclosure form here. Brief bio here. (Resume not provided.)
Website and Social Media: ElectHansen.com.
1. What makes you qualified to be a county commissioner? If you’re an incumbent, what examples illustrate how you yourself, as opposed to the board collectively, made a difference in enacting your vision in your previous years on the board? If you’re a challenger, what have you done to prepare, so that you’re ready from day one?
I am deeply involved with my constituents, meeting with them any time requested and participating in all district functions. I am accessible by phone, email, face book, etc. The following is a list of activities that keep me involved in Flagler County issues:
- Member the Marineland Community Redevelopment Agency
- Member A1A Scenic Pride
- Member Friends of the Scenic By way
- Member the Hammock Community Association
- Member Elks Lodge #2709
- Chairman, The Value Adjustment Board
Can you cite one example in your five-plus years on the commission that illustrate how you yourself have made a difference on the commission–in policy, in land regulation, regarding a particular development or initiative–as opposed to collective votes that aren’t necessarily the reflection of one man’s initiative? What, in other words has been your signature achievement in these five years?
Providing water to the households along Old A1A and Willow Woods.
Sally Hunt, District 1
Jill Woolbright, District 1
Lance Alred, District 2
Will Furry, District 2
Courtney VandeBunte, District 2
Christy Chong, District 4
Leann Pennington, District 4
Janet McDonald, District 2
Greg Hansen, District 2
Denise Calderwood, District 2
Palm Coast City Council, District 2
Theresa Carli Pontieri
2. Tell us who you are as a person—what human qualities and shortcomings you’ll bring (or have brought) to the board, what your temperament is like: if you’re an incumbent, what do you consider may have been a mistake or a misjudgment on your part in your official capacity—something you’d do over, differently–in your last term? If you’re a challenger, apply the question to your work or civic involvement in recent years. Who do you admire most in office today among elected officials in Flagler County—the person you’d consider a model of leadership? Who in the world at large (beyond Flagler), and among the living, do you consider a role model of political or intellectual leadership?
I am a thoughtful, deliberate, fact-finding Commissioner who believes in doing what is right for our County. I am accessible and respond to my constituents. Many people think we have an office and a staff. We don’t. I work mainly from home and share a scheduler with my other Commissioners.
What do you consider may have been a mistake or a misjudgment on your part in your official capacity—something you’d do over, differently–in your last term? Who do you admire most in office today among elected officials in Flagler County—the person you’d consider a model of leadership? Who in the world at large (beyond Flagler), and among the living, do you consider a role model of political or intellectual leadership?
Greg Hansen did not answer the question.
3. How do you describe your governing method and philosophy: how do you (or will you) prepare for each council meeting and workshop, what is your analytical method, issue by issue, and what drives your decision-making? What role do politics, ideology or immovable principles have in your decision-making approach?
Many times there are hundreds of pages to read before each meeting. Using these materials and listening to the Citizens of Flagler County I make decisions for the best sustaining results. There is no room for politics when conducting County business.
Beach erosion — This is an issue that we have been working for the last six years. Our southern Beach (6 miles) renourishment program is designed, funded and will commence in April 2023. The Northern 12 miles of our beach will be a significant endeavor and will have to include both State and Federal funding. The current design of the lower 6 miles will only work going North to Jungle Hut Park. We are doing a Beach Management Plan to help design the effort going North where we are faced with narrow beaches, rock strewn beaches and areas of no beach at all. In the next few months we will endeavor to have a plan in place that has a roadmap for moving forward.
Inflation and recession – The entire Nation would suffer from either increased inflation or a recession. These issues are of great concern to us and are being discussed now and are being incorporated into our budget process. We are evaluating our methodology for our Reserve Account to include amount levels and growth rate. If the current rate of inflation continues we will be unable to pay for some of our already funded projects. Additionally, we are considering what to do if we have a recession. The results could be a reduction in property taxe rates and a restructuring of all our projects. We have ranked our projects and are in position to make cuts.
Waste water management – We are conducting a waste water Management study right now and the results will be incorporated into the rewrite of the comprehensive plan.
5. Candidates and commissioners hear the phrase “needs, not wants” from many constituents, usually as a criticism of some specific proposal to spend money on a project the speaker considers a “want.” Please give two or three examples of what you consider “needs” and how you would address them as a commissioner, and two or three examples of “wants” that you believe are important enough to justify the required spending.
Needs: Beach renourishment– This is an issue that we have been working for the last six years. Our southern Beach (6 miles) renourishment program is designed, funded and will commence in April 2023. The Northern 12 miles of our beach will be a significant endeavor and will have to include both State and Federal funding. The current design of the lower 6 miles will only work going North to Jungle Hut Park. We are doing a Beach Management Plan to help design the effort going North where we are faced with narrow beaches, rock strewn beaches and areas of no beach at all. In the next few months we will endeavor to have a plan in place that has a roadmap for moving forward.
Needs: Public Safety — Ensure the Sheriff and the Fire Chief have the resources necessary to provide the best Public Safety.
Wants: Septic to Sewer conversion – We have obtained funding to run the Sewer line up A1A to Marineland and out Malacompra to the Park. We are working for a solution in funding to help residents hook up when it is available.
Note: The 6 miles at the south end of the county begin south of the Flagler Beach Pier, with the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ 2.6 miles of dune reconstruction, then down to the Flagler-Volusia County line, where the county will lead that project, applying U.S. Army standards.
6. Commissioners like to say they won’t raise taxes or will keep taxes, or at least tax rates, flat. How do you define a tax increase—as keeping the rate the same or as exceeding the rollback rate? Adopting your definition of an increase, are you against property tax increases? What three specific line items would you cut from this year’s proposed budget to keep the property tax where you’d want it?
As land values increase the Ad Valorem, or property, taxes increase. This is a tax increase that impacts Non-Homesteaded property owners. I am against tax increases levied by the BOCC. We have not raised taxes and in fact have reduced the millage rate by .1 Mil ($1 million) last year and we are trying to do that again this year. We do not need to cut services as long as we manage the budget.
As land values increase, taxes increase only when the governing body does not go back to the rolled-back tax rate, which ensures that the government collects the same amount of revenue in its next budget year as it did the previous one (excluding additional revenue from new construction, which does not figure in the calculation). You were appointed and sworn-in as a commissioner in January 2017, and elected to the seat the following year. As illustrated in the chart from your current adopted budget documents, below, the County Commission on your watch kept the tax rate flat in two of your five years so far, increased the tax rate once, and decreased it twice, but at no time went back to the rolled-back rate even in the two years it decreased the rate. Under Florida law, that means the County Commission has increased taxes every year you have served, with your approving vote in most or all of those years. Yet you say “we have not raised taxes.” How is that an accurate statement?
Greg Hansen did not answer the question.
7. The County Commission has signaled some readiness to scrap the school-concurrency standard that has prevailed for many years—the requirement that development proceed only when there is sufficient capacity in schools to seat students. The commission also appears ready to change the timing on when developers pay impact fees: not up front (as the school district prefers, for planning purposes), but more in a pay-as-you-go approach. Where do you stand on school concurrency, and were you supportive of the commission rolling back the district’s initial ask for a doubling of school impact fees?
The issue overriding these questions is the number of students currently in our schools and how many additional students we can expect in the years to come. There is currently no significant increase in student enrollment. The School Board has done a study that indicates a significant rise in student enrollment and the builders have done a study that indicates no increase or small increases. Who do you believe? We opted to give the School Board half of their request for impact fees with the proviso that we can review each year and increase it if the student population significantly increases. The Concurrency issue is not one of amount of funding. No matter what solution is reached the dollar amount the School Board receives does not change. The current proposal on the table would be a 30% upfront payment with 40% at some time later and 40% at a subsequent milestone. All the Cities and the BOCC agree to this approach. Now it is up to the School Board to approve. The ½ cent tax for the School Board will be on the November ballot. The BOCC fully supports this (By 5 to 0 vote). Additionally, we, as a board, volunteered to do all in our power to assist in getting this approved. My opponent says we are dragging our feet on these issues. We are not!
Enrollment has, in fact, been flat for 14 years, and the last school year did not change that. But setting aside the crystal-ball debate over how much enrollment will grow, the proposal at last vote was 20 percent upfront, with no specified amounts or timelines for the remainder in mitigation fees, which the district said was insufficient to enable it to bond out the money it needs for a $70 million middle school and $90 million high school. The working group will now submit a proposal that establishes a 30 percent up front proportionate mitigation amount, then 30 percent at 24 months, and another 30 percent at 48 months, with the remaining 10 percent covered by expected impact fees. Is that a proposal you would support?
8. Evaluate the county’s long-term plan to save its beaches. It signed on to a $100 million beach renourishment plan for just 2.6 miles of beach just in Flagler Beach. The cost is expected to increase by the tens of millions of dollars, with half that cost over the next four or five decades the county’s responsibility. It is now demonstrably certain that sea levels are rising, and Flagler’s revenue sources for additional beach protection are tapped out. How do you propose to pay for the next repairs should a hurricane like Matthew or even a strong storm with damaging surges strike during your tenure? How is beach protection not a losing battle?
Your sky is falling approach to this question is alarming. Your $100 million number is worst case. Other counties in Florida are already accomplishing beach renourishment and have figured out how to fund their projects. Our southern Beach (6 miles) renourishment program is designed, funded and will commence in April 2023. The Northern 12 miles of our beach will be a significant endeavor. The current design of the lower 6 miles will only work going North to Jungle Hut Park. We are doing a Beach Management Plan to help design the effort going North where we are faced with narrow beaches, rock strewn beaches and areas of no beach at all. In the next few months we will endeavor to have a plan in place that has a roadmap for moving forward. The majority of the funding will come from State and Federal sources. Every County with beaches in Florida is facing these same issues. We are the last of these counties building a beach management plan. We have always had some beach erosion, but in the last eight years have seen worse than normal beach erosion.
Note: the $100 million figure was that of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, exclusively for the renourishment of the 2.6 miles of beach under its jurisdiction in Flagler Beach over the next 50 years, and was the working figure in 2018, as detailed in the Corps’ and the county’s documents here. By 2018, the Corps had which time it had significantly increased from its won estimates in 2013.
We are paving roads to control runoff of rain water to stop allowing chemicals, etc from seeping into the aquafer. We are converting septic to sewer as fast as we can. We are studying waste water runoff and flooding to plan for future solutions. As Florida grows these problem will also grow. The greater the population the greater the runoff. Water management is key. Florida is an environmentally sensitive State and we will continue our efforts to keep our environment clean and beautiful.
She is managing the Staff with great leadership. She gives the Staff the authority to get their job done without constant interference. Her delegation of responsibilities allows her to focus on big issues as they come up. She is doing a great job!
11. With the county’s population exceeding 120,000, where do you stand on the county and its three major cities devising a collaborative public, surface, fixed-route transportation system that goes beyond the county’s current limited operation? How would such a system be paid for?
The current Cities’ designs do not allow a fixed route bus system. The problem is the “first and last mile” issue. That is, how to get to and from the bus stop. The solution may be some type of hybrid approach where the busses go partially into the neighborhoods. We would look to the State and available grants to fund.
12. The sheriff’s budget plus the capital budget have risen rapidly, with the continuing addition of deputies, the new operations center, and other substantial capital additions such as a new mobile command center and a boat. The budget proposal requests another expansion this year. In light of persistently low crime rates, where do you place the point at which expansions in budgets and ranks outweigh the benefits, or become more burdensome on the county’s overall budget than necessary? Is there such a thing as overfunding police?
We work closely with the Sheriff on his budget. He is hampered by Union negotiated pay amounts and the fact that we have the lowest Deputy Pay Structure in the area. He has not over stepped in his budget submission this year but we have asked him to scrub his submission one more time.
Improving pay aside, the year-after-year addition of deputies is a different matter: how do you explain or defend what has amounted to the largest expansion of the sheriff’s ranks, on your watch, coinciding with a historically low crime rate and a continuingly aging population (with over 30 percent of people over 65 and over in the county), which has a lot to do with the low crime rate? At what point can it be said that the county has enough deputies for its security–and if there is no such point, then where’s the limit in funded deputies, especially as those are among the most burdensome increases that have kept the tax rate you referred to above from going lower?
The answer is not rocker science. Our population is growing by leaps and bounds, our gang problem is growing, the Sheriff is using all his forces to reduce crime and he is succeeding.
13. Have you ever been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor anywhere in Flagler, Florida or the United States (other than a speeding ticket), or faced a civil action other than a divorce, but including bankruptcies, or faced any investigative or disciplinary action through a professional board such as the bar or a medical board? If so, please explain, including cases where charges or claims did not lead to conviction or disciplinary action.
2022 Election Candidates, Flagler County
|County Commission District 2||Greg Hansen, incumbent (Rep)||Janet McDonald (Rep)||Denise Calderwood (Rep)|
|County Commission District 4||Joe Mullins, incumbent (Rep)||Leann Pennington (Rep)||Jane Gentile-Youd (NPA)|
|School Board District 1||Jill Woolbright, incumbent||Sally Hunt|
|School Board District 2||Lance Alred||Will Furry||Courtney VandeBunte|
|School Board District 4||Trevor Tucker, incumbent||Christy Chong|
|Palm Coast City Council Seat 2||Theresa Carli Pontieri||Sims Jones||Shauna Kanter / Alan Lowe|
|Palm Coast City Council Seat 4||Cathy heighter||Fernando Melendez|