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This Week in Flagler and Tallahassee: Budget Hearing Galore, Saturday at the Galleries

| September 6, 2011

Emerging markets: from left, Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, Flagler Beach Manager-in-Waiting Bruce Campbell, Flagler Beach City Commission Chairman John Feind, and possibly outgoing Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez. They were chatting after an hour with Gov. Rick Scott at the chamber of commerce last week. (© FlaglerLive)

Emerging markets: from left, Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, Flagler Beach Manager-in-Waiting Bruce Campbell, Flagler Beach City Commission Chairman John Feind, and possibly outgoing Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez. They were chatting after an hour with Gov. Rick Scott at the chamber of commerce last week. (© FlaglerLive)

Note: all meetings are open to the public. You’re welcome to send tips or suggestions to

The Week’s Quick Links

Culture and the Arts This Week: Galleries, Theater, Performing Arts

miro garden arts performing arts palm coast flagler county this weekSecond Saturday free receptions at the galleries, Saturday, 6-9 p.m. at the Flagler County Art League and at Hollingsworth Gallery, City Market Place, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, (Second Floor).

The Art league has a new show, “Blue on Blue.” As the title suggests, it’s a blue-themed show, exhibiting all media (painting, sculpture, multimedia, photography). “This theme may be interpreted in a range of unique ways,” the Art league wrote prospective participants in its invite. “You may see it as shades of blue alongside other shades of blue. It may be realistic, cubist or any other abstraction. You may see it as blue jazz on a blue background. You may see it as blue sky over blue water. You may see as something blue reflected in a person’s blue eyes. You may also evoke sadness. We want each artist, photographer and sculptor to interpret this theme in your own special way. Have fun and show your individuality.” The show will run through early October.

The Hollingsworth Gallery has an encore with its “All Hands In” exhibit, showcasing the gallery’s several instructors, including Peter Cerreta, Weldon Ryan, Linda Solomon, Richard Schreiner, Tom Gargiulo, Audrey Rosen, Michael Toth, Carmine Giglio, Betty-Jo Sansbury, William Brandt, and of course Hollingsworth founder JJ Graham.

The Hollingsworth Gallery crew.

The Flagler Youth Orchestra holds its annual open house Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Indian Trails Middle School at 5 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The orchestra faculty will perform, as will orchestra students, to introduce parents and prospective new students to the strings program. Enrollment in the orchestra is free. The orchestra takes students from 3rd grade and up. Classes are held every Monday and Wednesday in one-hour increments, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Indian Trails. Students of all skill levels are welcome. For additional information, see a more detailed story here or call program director Cheryl Tristam at 386/263-2543.

The Flagler County Youth Singers are also holding auditions on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m., at the Flagler-Palm Coast High School Chorus Room. From Director Amy Fulmer: Does your child like to sing? Are they in 4th, 5th or 6th grade? Bring them to audition for the Flagler County Youth Singers ! The Flagler Palm Coast High School choral department is sponsoring a new youth choir directed by Amy Fulmer. Auditions will be held in the Flagler Auditorium on September 6th from 5:30 – 7:00pm. Students should pick up applications from their elementary school music teachers. Applications should be brought to the audition. Parents must attend the meeting so that the director can go over the audition process and expectations for singers. Rehearsals for the choir will be held on Tuesday night in the High School chorus room from 5:30 – 7:00. There is no cost, however parents will be asked to volunteer time for rehearsals and events. For more information, email”

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Flagler County Commission

flagler county commission government logo Three meetings of the county commission on Sept. 7, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Government Services Building. First, the commission meets at 9 a.m. for its regular meeting. The commission will barely be done with the ceremonial portion of the meeting, which includes a 9/11 anniversary recognition, before a 9:30 a.m. public hearing on the commission’s and school board’s proposed redistricting plan.

The county’s original presentation and explanation of those plans is below:

The Tourist Development Council‘s budget is up for discussion and approval, including a Expect a request by Peggy Heiser’ the TDC’s executive, for a 7.7 percent raise for herself and 6 percent raises for her two staffers. The TDC approved the raises in August, but the commission must ratify the decision before it’s official. There may be resistance on the commission to awarding raises that steep in light of the commission’s own inability, for the third year in a row, to offer raises to county employees. The background story here. The full meeting’s background material is here, and the meeting’s agenda is below:

Their regular meeting over, commissioners will then move to the meeting room at the Emergency Operations Center, behind the Government Services Building, for a workshop on economic development. The commission, reflecting the county as a whole, has been divided on this subject. In late August it killed Enterprise Flagler and decided, in a split vote, to take over the whole business of economic development itself and put $400,000 a year behind it. But that’s about all it agreed to so far. There’s still no agreement on a governing structure, on the so-called Economic Development Council’s specific aims (build a spec building? marketing Flagler County?) or on the role of cities. County Administrator Craig Coffey prepared a road map for the commissioners to clarify some of those issues. But commissioners have tended to put their own stamp on the matter. Here’s the agenda and background:

Finally this week for the county commission, on Sept. 8, at 6 p.m, the first of two scheduled public hearings on the 2011-12 budget will be held at the Government Services Building’s board chambers. The new property tax rate would be set at $6.7814 per $1,000 in taxable value, or the equivalent of $678 for a $150,000 house with a $50,000 exemption. That’s an increase from the current rate of $6.2232. But most property owners are more likely to see a decrease in their bills, because property values have fallen, on average, more steeply than the tax rate is going up, and the school board–the largest portion of anyone’s tax bill–is holding its tax rate flat. Background story here. The county administration’s background material on the hearing and the budget is here.

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Palm Coast City Council

palm coast city logo Palm Coast Community Center, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m. The council has a relatively light meeting except for the proposed adoption of a nuisance abatement final assessment resolution–in English, an ordinance enabling the council to bill 43 properties for charges ranging from $500 to $11,179 to take care of “nuisances,” from the removal of hazard trees to the demolition of certain structures to mowing. Once the resolution is passed, the council will hold a public hearing, giving property owners a chance to address the charges. The rest of the evening’s business is on the consent agenda–meaning that unless council members pull an item from the batch, the half dozen relatively routine items will be approved with one vote. The agenda is below.

Also: The Palm Coast Code Enforcement Board holds its monthly meeting at the Palm Coast Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m.

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Flagler County Schools

flagler county schools logoThree meetings scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Government Services Building, beginning at 4 p.m. The first meeting, at 4 p.m., is a workshop. Superintendent Janet Valentine will discuss her goals for the year. Board members will also get details of the district salary schedules for the year. The board will also discuss the Universal Free Breakfast program. Details about that here.

The school board will then hold the first of two scheduled public hearings to adopt its 2011-2012 property tax rate. See the background here.

The board’s 6 p.m. meeting will be interrupted at 6:15 p.m. for a hearing on redistricting (see the item above, under the Flagler County Commission, for more details, including the full presentation on redistricting plans.) The full school board agenda with links to relevant documents is below:

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Flagler Beach City Commission

flagler beach city commission logoFirst of two public hearings on the city’s 2011-12 budget, Wednesday Sept. 7, at 5:30 p.m., at the Flagler Beach City Hall. The city commission is preparing to adopt a property tax rate of $4.850 per $1,000 in taxable value, or the equivalent of $485 on a $150,000 house with a $50,000 exemption. That would be up from $4.2023 per $1,000, or $420 on that house. Detailed background on the budget here.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 5:30 p.m. at Flagler Beach City Hall. An unusually brief agenda for the commission, the commission having met just last week. But there could be unexpected twists: one of the items on the consent agenda (the portion of the agenda that commissioners don;t discuss, and approve routinely, unless one of them chooses to pull the item for discussion) is the approval of a job description for a “part-time building official.” While the item appears innocuous–and falls in live with the city’s aim to save money (it would “eliminate sending 90 percent of our building permit fees to Flagler County,” the administration writes–it has created havoc with the Flagler County administration, which used to provide those services. The commission was scheduled to discuss negotiations with the Police Benevolent Association on a pay raise for the city’s cops, but that item was removed from the agenda. That’s about it for this week in Flagler Beach.

Bunnell City Commission

bunnell logoNo meeting scheduled, but Mayor Catherine Robinson is hosting a check-presentation ceremony at the old Bunnell City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m., with Florida House Rep. Bill Proctor, the St. Augustine Republican who represents Flagler County, in attendance. The city is receiving a United States Department of Agriculture grant to pay 75 percent of the cost of two police cruisers. The city will pay the rest. (The USDA’s share is $68,900, Bunnell’s share is $22,976, for a total of $91,876.)

Hammock Conservation Coalition: Jay Gardner and Milissa Holland

The Hammock Conservation Coalition holds its monthly meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Hammock Community Center on Malacompra Road. Flagler County Property Appraiser Jay Gardner will explain the homeowner TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices , the current step in determining property taxes for 2012. Commissioner Milissa Holland will speak on Feed Flagler Thanksgiving and other Flagler County issues, and there will be a brief account of the Florida Cabinet’s August 2 Ginn/LA Hammock Beach decision in Tallahassee.

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Other Meetings and Happenings

[Many more items not listed here are in the community calendar.]

Free movie in Palm Coast’s Central Park, Friday, Sept. 9, at sundown. The movie will again be “Soul Surfer.”

Flagler Beach Drum Circle, Friday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m., just left of the Flagler Beach pier. Listen for the drums.

In Tallahassee:

florida state capitol tallahasseeWhile Labor Day starts the week, the doldrums of summer are coming to an end. Legislative committees start in earnest in just a couple of weeks, but the pace of agency and commission meetings picks up this week.

The highlight may be in the courts, when on Friday U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz Balart, R-Miami and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, go to a federal court in Miami to challenge the legality of the new redistricting standards put into place by voters in November.

Lawmakers are in town one day this week, with an LBC meeting on Wednesday.

MONDAY, SEPT. 5, 2011
No public events scheduled.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 6, 2011

HOSPITAL DISTRICT TALKS CONTINUE: The Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospital Districts will continue discussing whether changes should be made in Florida’s public hospitals. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Building 3, Tallahassee.)

ELECTIONS COMMISSION DELVES INTO LEGISLATIVE ISSUES: The Florida Elections Commission will hold a conference call to discuss a proposed legislative packet. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Dial-in number: 1-888-808-6959; Conference code: 3321010629)

SUPREME COURT JNC MEETING: The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission will hold its annual meeting for the purpose of electing new officers, a chair and vice-chair on Tuesday. The current members of the Supreme Court JNC are: Chair Martin Garcia, Tampa; Katherine W. Ezell, Miami; Kathleen Shanahan, Tampa; Cynthia G. Angelos, Port St. Lucie; Robert A. Butterworth, Jr., Fort Lauderdale; Alexander Murphee Clem, Orlando; Rutledge R. Liles, Jacksonville; Jeanne T. Tate, Tampa; and Jason Unger, Tallahassee. (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.)


FWC REGULAR MEETING: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet Sept. 7-9 in Naples to discuss a wide range of fish-and-wildlife issues. The full agenda is at september/ (Wednesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m., Naples Grande, 475 Seagate Drive, Naples.)

PSC LOOKS DOWN LINE AT UTILITY PLANS: The Public Service Commission will hold a workshop to discuss long-range plans by electric utilities to make additions or changes to their systems. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

PSC TO QUIZ DIRECTOR CANDIDATES: The Public Service Commission will interview the three finalists to become the agency’s executive director. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

CITRUS COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH: The Citrus Commission is in the middle of a search for a new executive director and the search committee meets Wednesday. The previous director, Ken Keck, left this summer. Orange juice sales have declined by more than 30 percent, despite an increase in the tax that growers pay to pay for marketing. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Florida Department of Citrus, 605 East Main Street, Bartow. To listen by phone: 1-888-808-6959, when prompted enter code 4992373#.)

LBC CONSIDERS RACE TO THE TOP, WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT BUDGETS: Approval of $700 million in cuts to the water management budgets and $3.4 million in a home visiting grant that is crucial to Florida’s application for Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge will be considered by the Legislative Budget Commission. The commission had earlier rejected a similar federal grant because it was seen as tied to the federal health care reform law. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol..)

DANA YOUNG FUNDRAISER: Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker Dean Cannon and several others are scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa. (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., 4121 N. 50 St., Tampa.)

EPA MEETING ON SAPP BATTERY SUPERFUND SITE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds a public meeting about the proposed plan for groundwater cleanup of the Sapp Battery Superfund Site in Cottondale, in the Panhandle. The EPA is proposing changes to the cleanup because the site conditions have changed since the EPA selected the original cleanup strategy in 1986. Natural Attenuation is underway and has resulted in significant improvements since the source of contamination was removed in earlier cleanups. The Sapp Battery Superfund Site operated from the early 1970s until 1980. The 45-acre Site is located about five miles south of Cottondale. The public comment period for the proposed plan began August 25, 2011 and will extend until midnight September 25, 2011. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Cottondale Community Center, 2666 Front Street, Cottondale.)


OIR DIGS INTO PROPERTY RATES: The Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a hearing to consider rate-increase proposals by Fidelity Fire & Casualty Co. and First Protective Insurance Co. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Larson Building, 200 E. Gaines St., Tallahassee.)

ADDING UP LOTTERY NUMBERS: The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet to discuss the Florida Lottery. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

PSC DIALS UP TELECOM, WATER ISSUES: The Public Service Commission will hold a regular meeting and consider four telecommunications issues and water cases from Manatee, Lake and Seminole counties. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

PSC GETS READY FOR LEGISLATIVE SESSION: The Public Service Commission will hold an internal affairs meeting and discuss its legislative budget request for 2012-13. (Thursday, after regular PSC meeting, Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases its regular opinions. (11 a.m.)

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA BOARD OF TRUSTEES ANNUAL RETREAT: At its annual retreat, the University of Florida board of trustees will hear from Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, as well as receive updates on its graduate and distance education and fundraising campaign. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. and Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Flagler College, 74 King Street, St. Augustine.)

CITIZENS PROPERTY BAD FAITH LAWSUIT: The state Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Citizens Property Insurance v. San Perdido Association, Inc. The San Perdido Association in Escambia County sued Citizens alleging it acted in bad faith over an insurance claim. Citizens argues that it has immunity from such suits. The trial court denied that motion, and the First District Court of Appeal held that it could not review Citizens’ challenge to the denial until after final judgment was entered. The 1st DCA certified conflict with a ruling by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in a separate case and asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue as one of great public importance. (Thursday, about 11:40 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING: Florida State University has a full plate for its September board of trustees meeting, touching on everything from a draft plan for possible 10 percent budget cuts for its legislative budget proposal, to higher education reforms and the status of construction projects. (Thursday, 1 – 5 p.m., Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Augustus B. Turnbull Florida State Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee.)

COUNCIL ON COLLEGE PRESIDENTS MEETING: Florida College System presidents gather in Pensacola for a meeting that will cover legislative priorities, PECO funding, and will hear from Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. (Thursday, 1:00-8:30 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. – adjournment, Pensacola Beach Hilton on Thursday at 12 Via de Lune Drive, Pensacola, Florida, and Pensacola State College on Friday at 1000 College Boulevard, Pensacola.)

TANF, KIDCARE IN THE CROSSHAIRS: The Social Services Estimating Conference will examine caseloads in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and KidCare programs. (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 9, 2011

ETHICS COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Commission on Ethics will consider several issues, including a complaint that former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner failed to properly file a financial report. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Room 37S, Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

BROWN, DIAZ-BALART CHALLENGE TO FAIR DISTRICTS AMENDMENTS: U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro holds a hearing in the lawsuit brought by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, a Democrat, and Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican, against the new standards by which state lawmakers must redraw districts. Those standards were put in place by the Fair Districts Amendments that were passed by voters in November, and spell out that lawmakers can’t draw districts to benefit a party or incumbent. (Friday, 10 a.m., Federal Court, 400 North Miami Avenue, Miami.)

TAKING THE PULSE OF FLORIDA ECONOMY: The Economic Estimating Conference will discuss the Florida economy and interest rates in the appropriations process. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

ATWATER V. KORTUM: The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a challenge filed by Frederick Kortum to the constitutionality of a 2008 state law that dictates how and when public insurance adjusters may contact property owners in the aftermath of a disaster. The trial court upheld the law, but the First District Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and held that the law was unconstitutional because it violated free speech rights. Chief Financial; Officer Jeff Atwater appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which takes it up Friday. (Friday, about 11:20 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

HOTEL-RESTAURANT GROUP TALKS ONLINE BOOKING: The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is holding its fall board meeting this week (Weds-Sat.) and on Friday it will host a panel discussion relating to online travel companies like Orbitz and Expedia, and the taxes that are, or aren’t collected on the transactions those companies make when they book rooms. Panelists include Sen. Thad Altman, R-Altman, Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, Orange County Comptroller Martha Haynie, FRLA Chairman-Elect and Legendary Inc. Chief Operating Officer Bruce Craul, and Amelia Island Plantation President Jack Healan. Immediately following the panel discussion, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Ken Lawson will address the board. (Friday, 1 p.m., Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, Hall B, Room 224EF, 9800 International Dr., Orlando.)

MEDICAID UPS AND DOWNS: The Social Services Estimating Conference will put Medicaid caseloads under the microscope. (Friday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 10, 2011

STEARNS TOWN HALLS: U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns of Ocala holds four town hall meetings with constituents in the district on Saturday.
9 a.m., Bradford County School District Building, 501 W. Washington St., Starke.
10:45 a.m., Cecil Commerce Center, 13561 Lake Newman Street, Jacksonville.
12:45 p.m., City Hall, 321 Walnut St., Green Cove Springs.

–Tallahassee calendar Compiled by the News Service of Florida.

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