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Tax Fears and $2 Million Gap Have Palm Coast Talking Firehouse Layoffs or End to EMS

| July 12, 2011

Station 22's days, among other Palm Coast services, may be numbered if fire services fall victim to budget-cutting. (© FlaglerLive)

By the end of the Palm Coast City Council’s first serious budget and tax discussion of the year today, this much was clear: At current tax rates, property tax revenue will fall $2 million in a $26 million general fund budget. Either taxes must go up, or services will go down. Using reserves is no longer an option: the city’s reserves are at their lowest in 10 years. Borrowing money is also not an option.

Severe cuts are. Among them, proposed by City Manager Jim Landon—as options for discussion, not as recommendations: Reducing code enforcement (savings: $144,000 per team of three); reducing law enforcement (savings: $103,000 per deputy); reducing street and drainage services by eliminating 11 employees, which also means limited litter pick-up, much more limited neighborhood mowing (which would let grass grow to code-enforcement-violation heights), ditch maintenance reduced to once a year, from twice, longer waits on pothole and sidewalk repairs, and other such service reductions.

None of those options appealed much to the council, particularly not to Jon Netts, the mayor, who said outright that reducing any of the three should not be an option.

But a fourth option did have appeal: significant reductions in fire services.

That proposal entails closing one of the city’s five fire stations—most likely, Station 22, on Palm Coast Parkway near Florida Park Drive, the city’s oldest fire station. It would also mean layoffs for nine to 11 firefighters, or a fifth of the city’s fire rescue force, and a savings of $1 million.

Landon also proposed ending the city’s role in emergency medical services and leaving that to the county, which, in any case, is responsible for sending out an ambulance to any call in the county, its cities included. That proposal would end a form of systematic duplication of services, but could also, to a small degree, lengthen some critical response time when extra paramedic help is needed. These days, the county sends an ambulance to every medical call, and in Palm Coast, the city also sends one of its fire rescue engines. Eliminating the city’s EMS role would save $403,000, by the city’s calculations. Combined with closing a fire station, the savings would come close to closing the city’s $2 million gap. (The city’s fire department unionized this year, to the displeasure of the city manager. City firefighters would likely perceive layoffs, particularly after a wildfire season when the department distinguished itself, as payback.)

Netts made a further fire-rescue-related proposal: reduce staffing to three individuals, from five, in fire stations, to the extent that, when firefighters are out on a medical call from a particular station, that station is, in effect, closed. Rather than closing stations, there would instead be “rolling,” brief closures.

Asked directly about more broadly consolidating Palm Coast and county fire rescue services, Netts said: “Does some sort of consolidation result in economies of scale? That’s a legitimate question that needs to be asked, that needs to be answered. But if it takes 100 people to provide EMS service and you’re going to somehow reduce it to 80 people, that’s a reduction in service.” The issue for Palm Coast, he continued, “is you now take an asset or resource we have been paying for that is almost pretty much dedicated to service to Palm Coast, and you’re now going to spread that out more equally over the entire county. Yes there’d be savings, but would that be a reduction in service?”

Landon also proposed four other cost-saving measures, including ending the city’s $93,500 contribution to Enterprise Flagler, the private-public economic development group mostly funded by Palm Coast and county government, and ending the city’s own economic development incentive program (at a saving of $100,000; that program, similar to the county’s, has had little impact locally). Contributions to Flagler Senior Services ($25,000), culture and the arts ($20,000), and the Palm Coast Historical Society ($3,000) would also end, and the city’s Freeda Zamba pool would close from late November to early April, saving $57,400.

Even with those cost-savings, the city would not be able to restore its stormwater maintenance and its capital funding back to pre-2011 levels. The council is worried about letting those areas lag again. But to restore funding, it would have to find still more significant cuts—or either raise taxes or find new sources of revenue. Monday’s suggestions: a utility tax on electricity, which would raise a maximum of $2.5 million, but would also result in an across-the-board tax increase for all residents (the tax increase would appear on residents’ electricity bill every month), or establish a utility franchise fee, which would be identical—as far as customers’ bills are concerned—to a utility tax.

Meeker spoke of using revenue owed to the city, such as the $5 million owed by the city’s own Town Center Community Redevelopment Agency, to close gaps. Landon, who earlier this year had proposed using that money to pay for half the cost of a new city hall, spoke strongly against that approach if the money is to be used for recurring needs. “It’s very important when you start talking about CRAs, or any of these others, they’re one-time shots,” Landon said. It’s more feasible to take those dollars and transfer them toward capital funding, he said. “One-time revenue, and I keep harping at this, one-time revenue, you’re not solving the problem, you’re pushing it out a year or two. But then the pain is actually greater. I’ve seen that happen in other organizations,” Landon continued.

“Personally I’m not necessarily interested in increasing the millage or increasing the budget in capital funding until I start getting some of that CRA money back,” Meeker said.

“That would be an OK decision, I would agree with that,” Landon said, reiterating the danger of using the money for recurring needs. “It works well for elected officials who are just trying to get through the next year, but if you really look at the long term, it’s—please, don’t do it.”

The council made no decisions Monday, except to ask for more numbers, particularly in the fire rescue department. In sharp contrast with its approach last year, when it deferred most recommendations to the city manager (publicly, at any rate: council members routinely, if individually, meet with the manager behind closed doors), the council is taking a more engaged approach, though still nowhere near the extent of county commissioners, who are in the midst of a nine-meeting schedule to analyze their budget virtually line by line.

The council will hold a discussion meeting on its general fund on July 26. If prior practice is any indication, Landon will not release back-up documentation to the public for that meeting until the meeting itself, just as he did not release today’s budget presentation until the meeting began.  (The county usually publishes its back-up materials three to five days ahead of time on its website). It’ll be the only discussion meeting devoted to the matter, and the public won’t be allowed to speak. (The county now welcomes public input even at budget workshops.) On Aug. 2, the city council will set its proposed property tax rate. On Aug. 9 it’ll hold its only other budget-discussion meeting—on special revenue and capital project funds. And on Aug. 23 Landon will submit the final budget proposal. Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for Sept. 13 and 27, but those hearings are more pro forma than substantive: by then the numbers are set and the decisions have been made. On the other hand, the public still has its platform at any of the council’s bi-weekly meetings.

And this council has been sensitive to public sentiment: Netts and council member Holsey Moorman are running for reelection this summer. Both face opposition, including stiff winds from the tea party.  The public’s louder voices remain intensely, if irrationally, opposed even to the sort of tax rate increase that would not essentially raise tax bills.

To keep the same revenue and maintain the same services next year that the city had this year, the tax rate would have to increase from $3.5 per $1,000 in taxable value to $4.09 (or 4.09 mills), an increase of $59 for a $150,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption.

That doesn’t mean your actual tax bill will go up. In many cases, it won’t. That 4.09 rate is the so-called rolled-back rate: the rate at which the city would bring in the same revenue it did this year. Under Florida law, even though the tax rate increases, that’s not considered a tax increase, because overall revenue will not increase.

Most people don’t see it that way, including some politicians. They only look at the tax rate. If that rate goes up, they consider it a tax increase, even though, in reality, many people’s tax bill went up in previous years even when the rate went down, because the value of their property was going up. Those politicians, among them the council’s Frank Meeker, want to keep the tax rate from increasing almost at any cost.

That’s what Palm Coast did last year. It kept its tax rate at $3.5 per $1,000—the second-lowest rate of any medium size city in Florida, as Netts is fond of saying (in a state with comparatively low property taxes to start with), even though property values fell, and tax revenue fell with it, by $3 million. Doing so blew a hole in the city’s finances: reserves are at all-time lows, and capital expenses have been eliminated, which means that every day that goes by, the city’s infrastructure, already shaky from ITT’s porous foundations, is getting weaker.

And this year’s decisions can’t be made under the assumptions that the budget outlook will necessarily improve next year, Netts said. “Everything suggests that we’re in this for a longer haul than we’d like to be,” the mayor said.

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53 Responses for “Tax Fears and $2 Million Gap Have Palm Coast Talking Firehouse Layoffs or End to EMS”

  1. Pat Mc says:

    I totally agree with taking money away from Enterprise Flagler. I thought it was not a productive use of tax payers money. I am truely concerned that “again” our Fire Fighters will suffer from budget problems. These people continually demonstrate their dedication, especially over these recent months. Reducing their number is just plain wrong.

  2. Nancy N. says:

    That extra $59 (or whatever it ends up being, if it ends up being an increased bill at all) will seem like a bargain when it is YOUR loved one lying there and the minutes seem like hours as you wait for an emergency medical response to arrive that could have been quicker. Would the voters of this town rather let their loved ones die or their houses burn than pay a few extra dollars for emergency services? That’s insane!

    I’ve been the one lying unconscious while the 911 operator tried to assure my husband that help was on the way. When that is YOUR family…you’ll wish that EMS truck was coming instead of having to wait extra minutes that feel like eternity (and can mean the difference between life and death in some situations) for an ambulance as the first response.

    And before anyone thinks that only the old people need EMS and why should all of us have to pay for it…I was in my late 30’s the night that my husband made that 911 call for what turned out to be a seizure. On any given day, an accident or medical emergency could make any one of us need to call for help.

    Will that help be there when you need it, or will you let your council send it away so you don’t have an “on paper” tax increase?

  3. bill says:

    Shut down the fire house and get rid of the union!

  4. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Trim the payroll of all development, planning and other non essential people and assistant anythings before cutting firefighters and the EMS, the time-dishonored scare tactics used since time immemorial. It’s bogus and they know it.

    City mgr doesn’t want to “waste” CRA money on recurring expenses, he wants to save for the new Palm Coast City Hall. All CRA’s must be dissolved. They skim tax money for questionable projects like the City Center now a real blighted area as well as lesser disasters.

  5. Citizen says:

    Hahaha… obvious retaliation for unionizing. I love how everyone talks about consolidation like the second coming of Jesus himself. Let me break it down for you.

    Year 1 – The county promisses the world – “less than you pay now and the same or higher level of service. just give us all your equipment and stations”.

    Year 2 – the rates start going up, the monster is born. Palm Coast tax dollars are now subsidizing protection for the Mondex and other county areas that can’t afford as much protection. Palm coast tax dollars are being spread amongst everyone! Isn’t that fair? Well, sure, unless you live in Palm Coast I guess.

    Year 3 – Palm Coast starts to re-evaluate when citizens realize the only influence they have is with the county commission who answer to the entire county. Oh no my vote doesn’t scare the county commissioners as much because they answer to everyone in the county. Their goes your voice. Oh, and guess what… the cost of “bringing the fire dept back to the city” is impossible because of the startup costs. The county has your trucks and your stations and the price will never “make sense” for you to take it back over… they will make sure of that.

    Reap what you sow Palm Coast…

  6. palm says:

    I totally agree with the very responsible proposal of Councilman Meeker. Its time we get back our 5 million lent to the Town Center CRA and right there we have for the 2 million shortfall for the 1st year.
    No need to fire our city employees and curtail our services. This is not the time to fire our firefighters and non of our other employees in code enforcement , etc. We shot ourselves in the foot doing that! We don’t need any higher unemployment in Flagler as is over 16.5%. If our Palm Coast Utility was and is so successful that lent/paid 6.5 million to create the Old Kings Road infrastructure for the Walmart failed project, then now its exceptional revenue should be used to help in our budget shortfall as well without any lay offs. Did we waste how much in the Coquina desalt meetings?
    Other than wasting the utility revenue to pay these high rate consultants for a failed saltwater desalt Coquina Plant that is nowhere near to be able to be afforded in years, use the funds to help our budget.
    Just for a couple of years, until Flagler County unemployment subsides at least. No more frivolous capital projects like, Town Center or Olds King Road, no more buying properties to benefit Town Center. We are broke. No more Enterprise funding. No more useless star consultants at rip offs rates. Use our professionals in house. No more full color newsletter, a black and white will do just find. No more full color expensive media funding for private businesses as developers, FCHBA, etc. We need to do all the above at least not to lay off our city workers and cut our services without raising taxes.Do not cut funding for the arts and the historical society. If all the above isn’t enough to keep our EMS ambulance service then I don’t mind to pay few dollars more for it! Just cut the fat only, that still is plenty. I would not take the city manager’s and mayor Netts advise as the bible.

  7. Joe A. says:

    Why are they cutting vital services like the fire department and ambulances? When I have a heart attack who is going to respond? Why don’t they cut the budget with Mr. Landon. I think they can save 220k that way.

  8. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    But…….But…….But…….WE made property selections based upon where the Amenities, Features, Improvements, etc. were….
    Because you have made a commitment in Palm Coast by establishing your home here, we believe you should be aware of an agreement that we recently reached with the Federal Trade Commission.
    ITT Community Development Corporation ( ICDC) has signed a Consent Agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the furture development of Palm Coast. Signing the agreement does not constitute an admission that any law has been violated, as the agreement itself states. We feel the agreement is important in order to attain our primary goal — the development of Palm Coast as a balanced, well-rounded community.
    An important part of the Consent Agreement calls for the execution of plans, within six years, which we believe, in the long run, will be good for Palm Coast. In brief, among other things , we have agreed to the following:
    1. A shopping center with at least 400,000 square feet of floor space will be provided.We are already in contact with prospective developers of individual stores, including a supermarket.
    2. With appropriate governmental agreement, a traffic interchange on Interstate Highway 95 will be constructed to serve Palm Coast according to plans we submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation in August 1972. ICDC will pay for the interchange as originally designed.
    3. An office and research park area will be developed with appropriate roads and utilities to serve it and landscaping to make it an attractive part of Palm Coast. Planning for this already is under way.

    4. A multi-purpose office building, with at least 5,000 square feet of floor space, will be constructed for tenants in the office and research park. This structure, also, is under planning.

    5. We will move the headquarters of ICDC to Palm Coast. We plan to be substantial employer contributing much to the economy of Palm Coast and Flagler County.
    The agreement also provides for us to restrict our developoment efforts to 42,000 acres for a period of 15 years ( with possible extension for another five years). This will allow appropriate construction in areas set aside for commercial establishments, light industry, recreation, preservation and conservation and other residential uses. Moreover, during this 15- or 20-year period, sales will be limited to 48,000 registered lots of which over 36,000 already have been sold.
    The aforementioned are some of the most important points contained in the Consent Agreement as it affect you and the balanced development of Palm Coast. You will also be interested in knonwing of additional projects that we believe further enhance the community.. Here are some examples:
    ————–>We have donated two acres of land, adjoining the furture Emergency Services Building site, to the Palm Coast branch of the YMCA to be used as the location fo a Community Activities Center. We will bear the cost of constructing this facility for all community residents and for sharing in operational expenses during its first three years — a gift totalling more than $400,000.
    We have provided as a gift a site of 57 acres to the Flagler County School Board for a junior-senior high school. The first class of proud seniors was graduated from Flagler-Palm Coast High School last spring.
    We have designated a number of sites for recreation parks, preservation and conservation, and other public areas. One site, in Section 1-A, now is being developed and a paved bicycle path has been constructed. Another bike path, starting near the Yacht Club, is in use.
    We are working with the Palm Coast Civic Association so that Palm Coast residents can form a legal entity to which we can donate oa one-acre site and an Emergency Services Building to house fire and security forces, an ambulance, and facilities for community activities. A preliminary blueprint fo the structure has been approved by a committeee from the Community.
    As you know, we donated a $36,000 pumper fire truck to the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Department , which will be stationed in the Emergency Services Building..<———
    Palm Coast's first church building, St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church, ws dedicated on the morning of July 4. Catholic and Baptist church organizations have purchased sites for their proposed churches. And Temple Beth Shalom is considering building a Synagogue. We at ICDC are very pleased, as we know citizens of Palm Coast are, to witness this growth and progress in the vitally important religioius life of our community.
    Palm Coast's first financial institution, a branch of the Security First Federal Savings and Loan Association, recently opened for business. We believe others will follow with the growth of the community.
    These and many other facilitites will be needed to serve Palm Coast's growing population. And it is growing. During the last nine months, construction of over 200 homes began. We now have over 1,000 people living and enjoying the good life at Palm Coast.
    In closing, let me assure you that the ITT Community Development Corporation believes very strongly in the furture of Palm Coast and that we are determined that it will grow and progress in a balanced and healthy manner.
    Sincerely yours,
    Alan Smolen

  9. palmcoaster says:

    Adopt Mr. Meker’s suggestion and lets have him run for mayor as well. I could ever Mayor Netts suggest lay offs in our fire departments or EMS? Lets fight against any of our city employees lay offs! We don’t need any higher unemployment even if I have to pay $59 more a year in city taxes, but only after Meker’s magnificent idea of recovering our CRA lent 5 million, materializes. Also what was the deal with Walmart and what was signed with them in order to spend 6.5 million of our utility revenues on that welcome wagon infrastructure? Walmart did not comply his part of the deal. Any contract there for which we can recover all or part of the 6.5 million? Otherwise this type of Landon’s-Nett’s deals are jokes.
    No more Enterprise or pseudo economic development funds, no more funds for advertising media to any private entity or developers, no more money for the Flagler Chamber of Outsourcing. Lets invite a group of retired professionals in Palm Coast to volunteer at the city offices with some guidelines to grab those city phones lines and some computer connections to invite small business seating in the frozen North to move them here and create jobs over coffee and cookies. Sure I would volunteer! In Palm Coast we have so many benefits and attractions that most are not aware of… We have retired professionals here that are even multilingual, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish etc. that will be more than eager to help on the endeavor and once a goal is achieved and a business moved here and employed local workers and has them on their payroll then those instrumental get some kind of reward. Get our retired German speaking professionals to formally contact under city guidelines Audi AG German Company and lure them to settle in Flagler County….Now!
    Invite them to come here “in their own language” after proof reading, and you will have big advantage up front! I know so! Do not delegate, jokes like Enterprise and CO Outsourcing on charge of this one please.

  10. John Boy says:

    I recently saw an article that stated the salaries of various City Managers, if I remember correcctly Landon’s salary and total compensation was higher than the cities like Los Angles, Miami Dade, Jacksonville and many othercCities that where multiple times the size of Palm Coast in population and total budget.

  11. rob says:

    Each year over the past several years the town council acts as if the loss of revenue is new news and is a one-time event. The mayor closes by saying “Everything suggests that we’re in this for a longer haul than we’d like to be,” Where has he been? Where have they all been? This isn’t new its not the first year nor will it be the last of declining tax revenues. This city is in a tailspin. The cost of government exceeds revenues and the cost will continue to increase, while revenues won’t.
    There should have been some out looking and planning at least two years ago. The mayor was quoted two years ago saying, “ we don’t want to do anything drastic”. Well drastic is here and not going anywhere. The closure of fire and or rescue services is consolidation with the county. That duplication of service should never have been enacted. The unspoken truth is that this city cannot support itself without continuously raising taxes. It has no industry to speak of, only service business for one to spend money. The citizens who voted to incorporate into a city were given a snow job. And to think that these shortsighted politicians wanted to ram the construction of a town hall down upon the citizens is beyond belief. Couldn’t they envision what is happening in this country, state, county and city?

    Dissolve this city and merge into one government with the county. One mediocre managed government is better than two.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Regarding the above Palm Coast Pioneer historical proof that ITT probably illegally sold our grandfather in amenities, I will ask again, did our city reply to your formal request suggested by our Jacksonville state attorney Pam Bondi?
    I was told that Palm Coast Yatch Club representatives had a meeting back when they stripped palmcoasters of our Palm Coast Marina usage of free launching ramp and other services provided that should have been grandfather in. I was told that the Palm Coast Yatch Club had a meeting complaining about that and our grandfather in rights violation with some representatives of the City and the Developer specifically Jon Netts and Bob DeVore among others. I was told that Jon Netts, representing the city and Bob DeVore representing the developer were the two that adamantly denied any wrong doing against the claimed grandfather in rights on the deal and that all that was done was correct and we had no right to the claim. In spite of it PYC representatives were not 100% convinced as I never was myself and kind of by majority decided to let go. I would ask for the minutes of the meeting as should have been taken because the meeting was about our rights to that Palm Coast Marina not to be part of the resort sale, being a grandfather in ITT offered amenity. Ask for the public records.
    When are we going to go to an outside Florida Attorney Firm on a contingency basis, that would look into these potential violations by ITT-Lowe’s- and others allowed by our city reps. I am almost positive that we will recover all our lost amenities including our still profitable with free launching ramp for our city boaters and the Matanzas Gold Course back to its pristine status from Lowe’s and our Players Club Tennis Courts with its two pools, one located in the gorgeous ocean front location with cabanas, bar, etc. that county commissioners, illegally traded to Ginn.

    Further more the Players club tennis courts seat neglected and uncared for as well as the Matanzas Golf Course further devaluating those homes located around them.

  13. JL says:

    I think to cut the services of the Fire Department, to cut trash service, code enforcement, police, will only result in more people leaving Palm Coast, and no one moving in. I came to Palm Coast in 1998 because it was a beautiful city. I liked the roads were being kept up, that people had to keep their lawns mowed, that crime was low. It was a good place for my children to attend school. I was proud to tell people from the north to come to Palm Coast. If you cut the services, this place will become a dump. Crime is already escalating. We just came out of a scary fire season. Sure, your homes are safe now, but why? Because of the firemen who were on duty. I think given the choice, most homeowners would rather pay a few bucks extra, rather than lose necessary services. We chose Palm Coast above other cities like Daytona and Jacksonville, because of the services. I think the city manager is using scare tactics, just as Obama is trying to do to the American people. Palm Coast voters need to speak up and call his office. Tell him if he makes these cuts, he had better start looking for a new city to manage because we will vote out everyone who backs this plan.

  14. Cyd Weeks says:

    A tax on my electric bill? Uh…no.

  15. Dorothea says:

    Unbelievable. For an average of $5 dollars a month we can keep our current level of services. Instead the city council thinks it’s better to let the right-of-ways become weed-ridden, the roads become a mass of pot holes, unsightly yards will remain just that, and citizens will die waiting for EMS to come to the rescue. Did I mention another dry season next year when we have laid off our firefighters? Perhaps the volunteer firefighters should stop responding because they will have to shoulder the extra burden and for no salary. Did I mention that we are adding to the unemployment ranks? What new business in their right mind would relocate to Palm Coast with its declining services and unsightly houses? I only see more dollar stores and thrift shops.

    There is some karma in this. Station 22, now on the prospective chopping block, serves Grand Haven and all the “taxed enough already” folks. Let’s see what happens when they realize that they will have to wait longer for fire and rescue services. They get what they deserve, lower taxes and reduced government services. Isn’t that what they are clamoring for?

  16. Dorothea says:

    JL, I agree with most of your comment. But what scare tactics? The debt ceiling? If you think that’s a scare tactic, you just wait until the seniors and vets stop getting their checks. Wait until the interests rates go through the roof and the world economy sinks.. If that doesn’t scare you, I guess you have gold bricks hidden under your mattress. The city council isn’t usn’t using scare tactics, they are scared of not getting re-elected over $5 dollars a month in increased revenues.

  17. Jennifer says:

    First of all – Palm Coast – you do not have EMS! That is a county service. There are no ambulances run by the CIty of Palm Coast. A county ambulance is at Station 21 and 22 in Palm Coast.

    Second, Palm Coast firefighters are not required to be paramedics, just the few for the ill-fated special trucks that were taken off line in a failed attempt to garner medical runs from the county. Third, when the trucks are out of the station they are closed no matter what, whether it is a medical call, a fire call or a run to Publix for lunch.

    Consolidation of fire-rescue services with the county makes sense. Jacksonville did it with their services in Duval Coutny. You are not losing anything. Where is the location of Station 25? Less than two miles from Station 92. This is duplication of services that are needless. Two miles is too close. Instead of laying off people, by consolidating services, station 25 could close, those firefighters would as “county” employees be possibly moved to a needed area in the county, if you want to truly save jobs. This also saves money for the city. The fire service is going to continue to be a topic for discussion with cuts on the horizon. Consolidation gives peace of mind, saves jobs while eliminating duplication of services. While change is never easy, it is for the best for the good of the everyone, especially Palm Coast.

  18. palmcoaster says:

    I disagree 100% with Rob…your are aiming at the wrong tree here. Please take a close look at your home tax bill and see that our county taxes almost double our city taxes and for what…just the sheriff services? City provides all our services and on top we have to pay additional for the Sheriff services already charged to us in our county taxes line….before you advocate so much for us giving up all what we voted for in 1998. You need to read your tax bill first.
    Yeah… to give our city back again “to the good old boys” for the disservice we received from them while under their foot! Palmcoasters are still funding too much the county taxes…waste. How come I do not see your complaint against the clerk request of 90,000 more to fund their lavish training, travel, dinning expenses? Last year commission denied a request to the Supervisor of Elections raise for 67,000 budget request but they gave the Court Clerk 120,000 hello? Bias! Hey Rob, are you a county good old boy too? No comments from you on the over 1,200/hour consultant hired by the county commissioners to bring zero ideas. To say the least, moronic. What about your comment in our houses tax county bonds lines (2) for both Taj-Majal and King Hammond’s Palace. So you need not to mess up with Palm Coast and our public employees and our services and concentrate in these county commissioners waste of our taxes instead.
    For sure I will vote as JL advises here if city council or manager vote to fire employees and cut our services. Those risponsible should be out!
    Get our CRA 5 million back and if needed charge me $5/month more, not to increase our unemployment in Flagler County. Lets make it clear here that I do not work for any government agency. I am, a small business owner that well into my retirement age still do not claim/collect SS, but in spite of that, these “Repulsikans” need to stay away from my SS and Medicare as I already paid up front on it! Not that all Republicans are bad just the one’s named before.
    My businesses do not want or get any freebies, we make our living the good old fashion way “we work hard and earn it” but we are not greedy and reality tells us that firing our public workers only increases our economic tragedy.
    Regarding the Feds…Obama go ahead and raise the debt ceiling as our constitutions obligates us to pay our bills!!
    Bush did it 7 times on his 8 years on office and no one raised hell! These Repulsikans need to stop their boycot!

  19. Paul Apfelbach says:

    First and Foremost,

    I think anytime you attempt to balance a budget on the backs of the emergency service professionals, you are just telling the community you are going to raise taxes. You are threatening us. Saying, hey, if you don’t allow us to raise taxes, we are going to layoff 9 to 11 firefighters. Well, here is the math on your claim! The firefighters in Palm Coast are the lowest paid departments in this area making around $32,000 to $34,000 dollars starting out (something we should not be proud of either), how does laying off 11 of these equal $1 million dollars? They don’t make anywhere near $100,000 dollars a year (the deputy chief’s salary is a mere $50,000 dollars). And even adding 40% to their starting or base salary of $34,000 dollars does not make the gap of money you are looking to make up by making the claim of saving 1 million dollars. The bs flag has been thrown on this!

    Now, lets look at how you previously spent money as a council, you purchased a bunch of homes in the community a couple of years back, start selling the homes immediately! The city was never developed to be a rental agency! Sell all the homes immediately, make all assets liquid as quick as possible if they do not deal with the general operations of the city! The tax payers never approved the council to purchase these homes!

    The re-development of Belle Terre, the city replaced the trees and grass three (3) times on Belle Terre Park Way. Well, now our town is burning down due to brush fires, but at least the grass looks good on Belle Terre (really, really)!

    City Hall- the council moved City Hall into a strip mall, instead of attempting to build an unreasonably expensive building, maybe look to something more reasonable where you are not paying rent for the entire building. The city has property they could build a building on, there is no reason a building could not be built.

    Industry- Instead of playing games with corporations looking to open their business here, maybe be more willing to work with these companies! Also, the city should be more willing to work with the current businesses that are in the city right now, remember, with out these businesses, you don’t have a job!

    One last thing, I hope the taxpayers sees this as a threat. I am sure this was all planned out to release all this information once the brush fires came around. If they had not, then they could not strong arm us into believing the city was really going to cut the amount of people on the street protecting us. I understand sometimes fat needs to be trimmed, but what I don’t ever represent is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of first responders. And then to boot, they are one of the lowest paid departments in NE FL. Not only are they the lowest paid, they also sacrifice more for less. They are not in line with rest of the state as far as pensions are offered. These men and women work for a 1.6% multiplier for high risk work, when the remainder of the state a a minimum of 3%. The City manager has a higher multiplier for retirement, and what is the threat to his job, a paper cut? He also takes up a larger part of our tax dollars, he gets paid around $150,000 plus 40% for benefits. Then if he has any stipends (travel, car, phone, etc…).

    I hope the average citizen sees this as a ploy to raise taxes. I am sure much more can be cut to become more efficient, they just need to know where to look!

  20. Lin says:

    The scare tactic Obama used is either approve tax increases and leave his list of untouchable entitlements such as his healthcare bill alone or the seniors will not be getting their social security checks (which seniors have already paid for). That is blackmail. The social security fund is solvent for the next 25 years yet he is threatening to take that money.

    Regarding firefighter cuts and layoffs — leave our firefighters alone. Enterprise Flagler — just what have they accomplished? I do believe there are still cuts to be made elsewhere in the city. I don’t believe that Landon’s salary is justified either. Meeker has some good ideas.

  21. Dorothea says:

    Jennifer, most of the Palm Coast firefighters are also paramedics. If county EMS has all its trucks in service, which it frequently does, acutely ill Palm Coast citizens may not have time to wait for emergency services from the county to be freed up. I’m satisfied with having our own fire department and have little faith in the county’s ability to run anything efficiently. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, expecially when it only costs $5 a month to maintain local emergency services and keep our city at least minimally neat.

  22. ol'sarge says:

    Dorothea, you hit the nail right on the head…

    Here you go, “fair” citizens who feel you have no need to pay slightly higher taxes than you do now…you reap what you sow. The lack of vision and foresight of some of the upper/middle class hoarders has left the ENTIRE city in a big bind. So pay attention: If you had been willing one year ago to deal with an increase in millage (that would have put us up to par with the rest of the state) and serve a greater good, you would not have to sacrifice an ESSENTIAL service like fire/ems. Your greed and desire to keep what is yours for yourself is going to cost citizens their homes and possibly their lives…great job. So, keep on fighting TeaBaggers to hoard it all for yourselves, maybe you can start fighting fires with your gold plated water hoses…oh, you better also go to paramedic school so you can realize it takes a lot more than a band aid and a bottle of aspirin to protect this city’s citizens. Let me know how that works out for you! By the way, are you guys going to show up to the meetings in which firefighter’s are told their services are no longer needed? Wait, that’s silly…you only lobby for yourselves…congrats, you just cost your city it’s fire department.

  23. Mjohnson560 says:

    I think our City leaders should really look into a change in our trash collection. Do we really need two days a week? I understand our garbage contract is coming up for renewal and taking a look at what other companies can offer could save us millions. I’ve seen it happen in other cities and it could happen here.

  24. palmcoaster says:

    Can someone in the Palm Coast Fire Department confirm what Jennifer said above? Thank you in advance.
    Also Jennifer, if someone is to merge here should be the county into the city of Palm Coast as we are the 800 lbs gorilla that sustains our county with our tax revenue. Something like Miami-Dade south of us, as Miami sustains Dade County not the other way around! Here should be Palm Coast-Flagler! By any chance can anyone believe that this county will have those fancy structures if not for the Palm Coasters taxes?
    Just put it in a referendum and you will find out! Makes no difference who likes it or not.

  25. FLorida says:

    cut TEACHERS, AND NOw fire fighters…..what is next? police force…this is so ridiculous

  26. Chris71 says:

    I don’t think cutting firefighters is the answer, but saving in other areas could be an option for our city. I like the idea of seeing what type of savings are out there for our trash collection. What could be the harm? Also, I agree that we could reduce the garbage pick-up to once a week.

  27. palmcoaster says:

    When is the next meeting “about cutting our city employees and or services”…because we need to be present and fight it off! Bring back our CRA 5 million first as Meeker suggest! End of discussion.

  28. ol'sarge says:

    Dorothea- I initially agreed with you, but your last statement has me changing my mind a little. Your lack of faith in the county and it’s ability to be efficient seems hilarious since it is the city and their unbelievable mismanagement of funds that is open for discussion right now. The day the Palm Coast Fire Department begins generating income for the general fund, as does the county, you let me know. Until then, the county will continue to win World Championships for their medical skills and providing the only, if I’m not mistaken, patient transport available to the people of Palm Coast. Unless, of course, they start putting patients in those big, pretty, fancy new trucks that cost a million dollars a piece.

    palmcoaster – As for the 800lb gorilla, I reiterate my sentiments above…start generating income before placing yourself in charge. Until then, that gorilla is just the county’s big, strong, HOMELESS cousin…

  29. Liana G says:

    Once a week garbage pick-up is practical and will also reduce wear and tear on our roads and air pollution while adding to a better quality of life.

    Cutting jobs is not the solution but cutting overblown salaries definitely is a solution. Many of these higher ups in gov’t are paid salaries that are unrealistic within our local economy. Cutting Mr. Landon’s salary by 1/2 will alone pay to retain 3 firefighters. This is not Wall Street! If you folks want to earn that kind of money, go work in the private sector. Your greed and self importance will fit in well there.

    We are a community of hardworking, taxpaying, retired and low/middle income working families. We cannot afford your salaries and frivolous spending with our hard earned taxpayer dollars. When you start cutting these, talk to us about tax increases. I don’t mind paying higher taxes, but I’ll be damned if I going to pay higher taxes to maintain your overblown salaries and frivolous spending. And that goes for ALL gov’t services/agencis – school district, election office, property appraiser, tax collector, city management, county commissioners, etc.!

    What good does it do this community to have one high paying job, when it can have 4/5 jobs for the same amount providing the same essential services. That is 4/5 more individuals employed, 4/5 more individuals owning/renting homes, 4/5 more individuals making purchases, and 4/5 more individuals contributing to the general welfare of this community.

    Enough is Enough!

  30. palmcoaster says:

    ol’sarge same advise…keep tabs in the county waste that I enumerated before. County taxes almost double our city one’s and for what? just the sheriff services? that by the way we have to pay several millions extra too? and what else a county EMS web site publishing 2-3 or more days old news?
    Come with a referendum for a Palm Coast-Flagler consolidation and lest see. Something like Miami-Dade to not double services but making sure Palmcoasters have them too and not like before PC Incorporation used to be. We paid the bills for the whole county and were the last on the jar for any services including the mowing of our PC Parkway. Sure I remember well, when ITT left until 1999.
    Liana de only problem is that Landon has a contract and if we breach it before renewal time, the ensuing lawsuit will cost us several times what we pay him now.

  31. rob says:

    I am not in favor of paying an additional $50 per year as a result of run of the mill leadership. Taxes were raised two years ago and revenues have continued to decline without a corresponding reduction in the cost and size of government.
    Not only pay freezes but pay reductions coupled with furloughs are in order

    Here are a few of the costly forays the city has embarked upon.

    1. awarded the city landscape contract to the HIGHEST (Fox), not the middle nor lowest bidder.

    2. paid way above and beyond the value for land to widen a road into a largely deserted Town Center
    and which drove out a number of business’ in the process.

    3. pursued a costly desalination project that municipalities more solvent than Palm Coast have
    quit. And according to the Daytona News Journal city officials still want to pursue this costly

    4. embarked on a CRA venture that has yielded little in the way of business development or property
    tax revenue. (please don’t applaud a movie theater)

    5. insists on paying a town manager top dollar because the town council believes that higher pay
    yields superior results.

    6. developed a golf course when there are three in the area. Has it turned a profit?

    7. approved demolition of an existing hotel and restaurant business based on a developer’s promise
    to rebuild, losing many jobs in the process.

  32. Joey Mazz says:

    Palmcoaster says “County taxes almost double our city one’s and for what? just the sheriff services?” To assist you Mr/Ms Palmcoaster, this is a list of services that the County provides to all residents:

     E911 Call Center
     Senior Center and Meals
     Meals on Wheels
     Senior and Social Services
     Adult Day Care
     Public Transportation
     Library
     Community Centers
     Countywide Ambulance
     FireFlight Helicopter
     Extension Service
     Housing Assistance Programs
     Veterans Services
     Judges
     Courts and Legal System
     Clerk and Official Records
     County Jail
     Juvenile Detention
     Tax Collector
     Property Appraiser
     Regional Parks – Princess Place
     Sheriff’s Office – Law Enforce
     Emergency Management
     Elections
     800 Megahertz Radio System
     Firefighting

  33. JL says:

    Maybe we can cut the position of city manager and allow that position to fall under Flagler County? How much would that save us between salary and benefits? Do we really need a city manager if the city is in such poor financial condition. If we are to turn over our city services to the county to cut costs, I think we should start with the city manager. We can live with trash pick up once a week. Other cities have that. And maybe the city could stop planting trees and such for now to beautify the city. People’s jobs are more important.

  34. Joe A. says:

    We can cut the City Manager position and change the City Charter to have the Mayor actually run the City. I really think Mayor Netts would do a much better job if he were soley in charge. It is a waste of money to have a Mayor and City Manager. I think the city could save 220k by doing away with that position. Seems we can save more if we cut the most expensive than cut the lower paid ones. Simple math.

  35. ol'sarge says:

    Joey Mazz…thank you! Perfect…

  36. palm coast concerned citizen says:

    The county does not provide firefighting services to the entire county, only EMS to the entire county. They are not legally required to provide firefighting services, only EMS.
    The 800mhz system was funded by both the county and the city.

    The city does not have teachers; all of the teachers are county employees.

    Jennifer – All new firefighters for the last couple of years are required to be Paramedics. The city does provide EMS, just not transport.
    The city provides paramedics, to assist the county and to provided Life Saving Care, when a county unit is already busy or doing a transport to another city. The county only has 6 ambulances, and they all work very hard.
    Reducing firefighters is stupid. The station they want to close is the third busiest in the county, that makes sense to close that one.
    I hope $50.00 a year is worth someone dying or their house burning down, this is only a fraction of all the things the fire department does.

  37. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Reply to Palm Coaster:

    Sadly the city has not replied to any of our many requests to use its resources to give us back all the Amenities, Features, Improvements, acreage, etc., that we not only paid for , but, are within the Federal Consumer Redress ordered for us and of course that would have benefitted later purchasers and all future Palm Coasters.

    RE: Palm Harbor Golf Course – we and our neighbors paid for the ‘Palm Coast Golf Course’ a.k.a. the ‘Palm Harbor Golf Course ‘ … the first time around in 1971. We do not know WHY Features we already paid for in 1971 are either *gifted* to us now, or Features we already paid for in 1971 are now *rented* now, and other * Features of the Golf Course / acreage that we already paid for in 1971 are now….lost….

    * ( Large Bar-B-Que area adjacent to the Golf Course Waterway; Large Pic Nic Area adjacent to the Golf Course Waterway, full acreage of the initial ‘Palm Coast Golf Course’, our **Neighborhood Park and Neighborhood Park Parking area, our Concrete Block and Stucco Clubhouse adjacent to the Golf Course Waterway with Dressing Room and Locker Room with Golf Club Repair, entrance Monument on Palm Harbor Drive…)…

    Our public with membership Palm Coast Beach Club a.k.a. SunSport Beach Club along with our Two Palm Coast Resorts, oceanside and also on the Intracoastal are within the Advertising Land Promotions and Federal ‘Compliance Report’.

    Our ‘Players Club’ a tennis and Swim Club are within the ILS Land Sales recorded with HUD and also listed in the Federally ordered ‘Compliance Report’ as another Federally ordered Consumer Redress Amenity for us.

    RE; Palm Coast Yacht Club – we do not know why, when/if we join it our membership dues will be used to pay down a Mortgage. A Palm Coast Yacht Club was an advertised pledged Amenity with features for us. We have the advertisements on our Webpages.

    ** We have respectfully asked our Honorable First Lady, Michelle Obama to please please please ask the city to give us our Neighborhood Park and Neighborhood Parking area that was recently demolished back to us since it was an Inducement to Purchase for us. We once had a View and Vista of it. It helped us with Lot / House selection. This way, if the city gives us Palm Coasts’ First Neighborhood Park that we paid for back we can perhaps be part of the First Ladys’ ‘lets move’ Program.
    Since we know the First Family is very close we did not want our President to feel ‘left out’. Consequently we asked him if he would please ask the city to give us back all the other *Stuff* that is within the Federally ordered Consumer Redress for us.
    Perhaps the city is busy.

  38. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Reply to Palm Coaster:
    Since you asked about the Palm Coast Yacht Club we double checked some of our records:

    Florida Public Offering Statement
    Filed by
    28 West Flagler Street
    Miami, Florida 31230
    13,501 homesite lots, typically 80 feet x 125 feet, platted of record in Flagler County , Florida
    Disignated as
    Sections 1 through 19
    Effective date: July 30, 1971
    Seller may retain Title and possession of property until all promised Improvements have been completed and warranty deed delivered.

    Palm Coast, Sections 1 – 19 , consists of 13,501 homesite lots, typically 80 feet x 125 feet.
    Palm Coast is the first development of the Company. The Company plans to develop 20,000 acres in Palm Coast at present and may develop substantial additional acreage of contiguous lands held within the ITT system.

    There are no mortages encumbering this property.
    The property is being offered for sale subject too:
    1. Public streets and easement for drainage and utilities including community antenna television facilities.
    2. Covenants and restriction imposed to limit use of the homesites to residential purposes, to create setback lines, and size requirements, to regulate the use of canals and waterways, to create an architectural control committee and to establish other standards and requirements which are customary for the preservation and maintenance of the residential character of the property being offered.
    3. The right of ITT Rayonier, Inc. to harvest merchantable timber on the properties, including plantation timber, until such time as deeds are delievered to purchasers, after which such time rights shall cease.
    4. Any applicable ordinances, regulations and statues.
    Access to the property is from Interstate Highway 95 to State Route 100 and then Old Kings Road to Palm Coast Parkway. Access to homesites will be over hard – surfaced streets.

    7. Recreation – A golf course and club house have been constructed at Palm Coast and nine holes are presently ready for play. The Company proposes to construct a Yacht Club and Marina, which shall include tennis courts and swimming facilities. Tennis courts have already been constructed. All of these facilities are within five miles of the property and will be completed by December 31, 1972. Membership costs and use fees will be established. Fishing , both fresh and salt water, is available within ten miles.
    Page 2 of 4.

  39. Joe A. says:


    Your comments are very long winded and irrelevant. If you want to capture your audience I suggest making your statement brief and to the point. Honestly, I have no idea what you are saying. From what I can gather, it looks like you are part of the problem. No offense but a lot of you folks who have been here from day 1 are clutching power any way you can because you fear growth. You stand in the way and argue over every little detail of Palm Coast. If you had your way everyone would move out and we would turn Palm Coast Parkway back into Saint Joes Walkway. Your comments just frustrate me very much.

  40. Dorothea says:

    Ol’Sarge, in response to your comment, many comments ago. Sorry I did not specify that I have no problem with county employees, especially EMS. I do have a prolem with the way the county is run. Since the Board of County Commissioners has the purse strings and the Clerk of Court is supposed to be monitoring these purse strings, county employees are at the mercy of those in control. Just look at the cost overruns and unaccounted for funds in the new county buildings as only one example.

  41. Dorothea says:

    Palm coast concerned citizen: Thanks for you excellent and informed comment. I have only one correction and a minor one at that. State law mandates that only counties can provide ambulance service without some sort of state blessing allowing otherwise.

  42. palmcoaster says:

    I appreciate “concerned” for his clarification of some of the Joey Mazz over inflated list of county services.
    Do not duplicate lines Joey: Law enforcement that by the way we are the only city in the county that has to contribute way over 2 million last I recall, to the the Sheriff budget on a separate bill additional to what we all pay on the county tax line.
    1. Law enforcement includes the 911, jail, juvenile detention, and sheriff, as is all within the sheriff
    budget so, only 1 line, not 4. How the many traffic violations fines are accounted for and where those
    hefty penalties funds are spent?
    2. Seniors services and meals (on wheels by volunteers) 1 line too.
    3. Public Transportation ( are you joking?) the one reserved for the few only that needs the word Public
    out of it, as is not such. And further more I am forced to fund and can’t use? Would say even illegal.
    4. Library too big, like all the other ostentatious structures, for the small county we are and now want us
    to fund it’s on Starbucks along with other “make nice” projects totaling $131,000. Meanwhile County
    looks to layoff employees over budget shortfalls? Holland and Hanns need to land on reality.
    5. Community centers to serve county, as we have our own.
    6. Judges Court and Clerk under one line as is one budget only…partially sustained by the State.
    7. Firefighting we have our own and we lend each others help with County.
    8. EMS we have our own and we get county ambulance only when not busy making money on long
    distance paid services.
    9. EMS information and alerts system is a joke with 3 days old news and censored too.
    10. County wide ambulance available only if not busy while in long distance deliveries for profit. By the
    way where goes all the money made by the ambulance fees because at $500 or more a trip even
    around the block should have a very juice revenue. Where these funds go?
    11. the 800MGH radio….well you got “concerned’s” reply helping me on that one.
    Finally all the other services like Adult Day Care, Housing Assistance probably were reduced to the core by now. Just like your over inflated county services list Joey.
    Please do not even mention the Princess Place Reserve…would be like disturbing an africanized bees nest.

  43. palmcoaster says:

    To Joe A;
    You sound to me like just a new comer to Palm Coast and as such totally unaware of the amenities we enjoyed and were stripped of in 1995 or so. You don’t have any idea and don’t care either! Then let us the one’s that care to try and at least attempt to recover what was probably taken away illegally.
    Do not undermine the hard work of Pioneer trying to inform us of the historical implications of an ITT, Lowe’s, Centex developers and newly incorporated in 1999 City of Palm Coast inaction, involvement on taking away and selling what was by right already the Palmcoasters property, as we believe unless maybe a higher court of law will deem incorrect.
    Maybe you should just concentrate in your issues, Joe.

  44. john stewart says:

    When My wife and I visited friends in Palm Coast we were impressed in how nice it was kept. All the public areas were always mowed and streets were clean and well maintaned,That is the reason we bought a house here and moved to Palm Coast….How do we exspect others to move here and raise the tax rolls..if the town starts to look shabby…we need our full force…I for one would not mind paying a small tax keep Palm Coast a beautiful and safe place to live.Its the little things..that shape a town..dont let Palm COast fall the way so many other towns in the USA have.. Thank You

  45. palmcoaster says:

    Just like I warned you! In this harsh economic times when County Manager Coffey proposes to yet still lay off more county employees, wants to go ahead and ram his Princess Place capital project costing just $204,000 to replace a barn….plus a total another $50,000 to $75,000 on other improvements in the same location. What about the revenue there as they charge for groups gatherings weddings etc. I like Princess Place but we should wait for better economic times to improve its installations, or if so necessary…have the county employees do the work and only pay for materials. That will make a big difference in the cost and will help to keep workers in the payroll. Also invite volunteers to collaborate in the work.

  46. palmcoaster says:

    Icing the cake, in Washington DC and right now they are considering our SS, Medicare and Medicaid on te bad deals table, for cuts. Call your Florida Senators an leave them your message if you want to safeguard your retirement and due it now to oppose it, before too late! Instead they need to properly tax the millionaires, billonaires and corporations at the same rate they tax us middle class and the small businesses and generate more revenue.
    Sen. Bill Nelson FL Democrat
    Phone:(202) 224-5274 Fax:(202) 228-2183
    Sen. Marco Rubio FL Republican
    Phone:(202) 224-3041 Fax:(202) 228-0285

  47. Fire says:

    Why don’t we just ask the fine people of grandhaven what they think of a 10 min response time instead of 4. Six minutes is a long time to not be breathing.

  48. Wrong says:

    It is a requirement that any firefighter hired by the city of palm coast fire department be a paramedic. EMS services are not defined by an ambulance. EMS services are provided when that ambulance is 10 minutes away and its just the fire engine. Consolidation costs money as well, and all though sounds like it would be a good idea it is not.

  49. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you Fire and Wrong for your realistic input here. We the taxpayers in the city need now to take a stand and defend the jobs of our Palm Coast Fire Fighters, EMS crews as well as any other.. city worker already on the Mayor, Council or Manager chop block! Are they crazy? More unemployed in this county. Just cut the real fat on frivolous spending and not our services. Just start working on getting back our 5 million Town Center CRA $$, as well to see what can be done regarding the incompliant Walmart to set shop, after city spend 6.5 million plus on infrastructure. What about that? Also $213,000 to be cut off the desalt plant useless meetings will pay a lot of salaries other than the pricey consultants. Jeez, what are them city officials thinking?

  50. Dorothea says:

    Fire, Wrong, and all government employees:

    In past elections, when the sheriff’s department deputies were unhappy with local government decisions they showed up at meet the candidate meetings in large numbers to express their support for those candidates whom they believed supported them. Take a cue from this playbook. Candidates need to know that public employees vote too. If you have a union, interview the candidates for Palm Coast city council and get their written statements as to where they stand on your issues. Most of us citizens stand behind you, but aren’t involved enough to know what is going on. Let the voters know why they need to vote in the coming city council elections. Help get out the vote, or we are going to end up with a bunch of tea bagging. public employee firing council members whose only objective is not to pay taxes, but avail themselves of your services only when THEY need them..

  51. Linda says:

    When I wrote letters to the Council opposing using the $10 million for a New City Hall and saving it for an emergency like this, do you know what happened?

    Mr. Meeker and the City Manager sent a city employee out to my house to take pictures. When my husband inquired as to why the gentleman was doing this, he stated that he had been instructed to come to my street and photograph “blight”.

    There are 3 employees on the payroll this town could do without.

  52. The Department's should consolidate! says:

    Consolidation makes the best sense in these types of situations. You currently have up to 10 employees on one emergency duplicating services rendered (instead of two different departments responding to an emergency, you have one unified department and staff. Examples would be Station 91 responds a rescue/ ambulance (2 responders) and engine (3 responders) to a car accident around the area of Target in the City Limits, St. 24 will respond an engine (3 responders) and quick response ALS vehicle (2 responders). Consolidate, and you have one engine (3 responders) and one rescue (2 responders) a total of 5 or 6 (with NFPA 4 man engines) personnel responding to said emergency instead of 10).

    The IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) and IAFC (International Association of Fire Chiefs) have done the studies over the course of the past 20 years with the integration of Fire based EMS(emergency medical services). In all of the studies conducted in the US and Canada, the recommendations have been to integrate the Fire based EMS as a major cost saving measure. Furthermore, you get higher quality EMS when you consolidate with the already employed firefighters. The citizens DO NOT want a low end private ambulance service trying to make profit like AMR here. Yes, on paper they may seem cheaper, but it is a “you get what you pay for” type system. These men and women for both departments are highly capable and qualified; they should be brought together

    Paramedics who transport patients to the emergency room in a mobile intensive care unit or MICU/Ambulance are with the patients longer and adapt better skills in treatment modalities through on the job patient contact, than a paramedic who does an initial assessment and then hands off the patient to a transport crew. Your skills are kept up to date. The same goes for a paramedic who works on a high volume transport MICU versus one that is low volume. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” saying is real. Crews that work sudden cardiac arrests every several shifts will ultimately perform at a higher level than someone who has not worked a cardiac arrest in prolonged periods of time. Another reason consolidation should occur. All the paramedics would then be in the position to transport in an MICU or ambulance.

    Decreasing the duplicate jobs and consolidating the departments is probably in the best interest of all parties involved. Tax payers, citizens, visitors, and whomever will benefit from the consolidation. I would venture to say, it does not matter what name gets put on the department (City of Palm Coast vs Flagler County Fire Rescue). Although for the employees of these entities, Flagler County would be better suited fit. Numerous reasons jump to mind, but I would venture to leave this up to the majority of the employees of the departments to make this decision.

    Having been in the Fire based EMS profession over a decade now, egos of administration should not hinder change, and the change is for the better. The betterment of the County and the City citizens and tax payers alike in this matter.

  53. palmcoaster says:

    @ The Department.
    I do not agree at all. If anything should consolidate is to be county under City Of Palm Coast Fire and EMS. County did a great disservice to Palmcoasters after ITT left us and that is why we decided and voted to incorporate as the City of Palm Coast in 1999 and the only reason was to receive the services we were paying for and we DID NOT RECEIVED! All latest arrivals here sure, have not experience that! Do not allowe you to be sold in the “saving taxes banner” unless our Palm Coast Fire Department firefighters/EMS and our fire chief will explain and agree.

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