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It’s Back: Gang of Six Ex-Council Members Want Palm Coast to Build a New City Hall

| July 3, 2013

Even the smallest towns in France have majestic city halls (called 'Hotel de ville'), all built with similar architectural designs, but also paid for with national funds. (© FlaglerLive)

Even the smallest towns in France have majestic city halls (called ‘Hotel de ville’), all built with similar architectural designs, but also paid for with national funds. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s back.

The matter of a new city hall for Palm Coast. Again.

Click On:

And it’s back under a surprising guise this time: six former members of the Palm Coast City Council, including ex-Mayor Jim Canfield, are calling themselves “Citizens for a Real City Hall,” and asking the city to appoint a blue-ribbon commission to study how a new city hall could be financed and built. Five of the six appeared before the council Tuesday evening to make their case.

The council will take up the proposal next Tuesday, despite a warning from current council member Bill McGuire: “It never hurts to talk about it, but if you think that the red-light cameras are a volatile issue with the public, the city hall will make people’s blood boil like you can’t believe.”

The council had recognized that liability when it took a new city hall off its five-year plan.

The boiling began as soon as the ex-council members were done talking Tuesday, in much the same way as it had the last time—in 2010 and 2011—Palm Coast tried to build new digs for itself: “What I will ask is that somewhere along the line you listen to we the people, not a few old members of the old city council and the old mayor,” one Palm Coast resident told the council. “What we have here is if the people want that taj mahal or want those increases, go to the people and ask them.”

Dennis McDonald, a frequent critic of the council, had recently offered the city a framed, certified copy of the 2005 referendum result that sent a Palm Coast City Hall to defeat, with 82 percent of voters opposed. (The city declined the gift, saying it was now a paperless city and so could not accept it. The frame went to McGuire.) McDonald suggested to the council that it buy City Market Place, its present city hall location, for $4.5 million, which would end the uncertainty and the rent receipts, and enable the city to make money from other tenants in the shopping center.

Listen to the full discussion (edited to exclude non-city hall matters)
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The six ex-council members had their supporters, too, among them a Realtor and a permanent member of the council’s spectator gallery, who echoed much of what the council members had said: the city must project a better image and have its own city hall, and it must stop renting what it should own.

In a rare appearance before the council, Canfield said of the group that has apparently been meeting on various issues previously:  “Some of us are Democrats, some of us are Republicans, and some of us could be considered liberals, and some of us are conservatives. We participated in many of our city’s accomplishments since 1999 and are proud of the legacy we left this city.”

Now, he said, the group is intent on serving as a “catalyst” for a discussion on a new city hall, which could be located in Town Center or elsewhere.

In 2010, City Manager Jim Landon had proposed building a new city hall for $10 million, using existing funds that turned out to be less than existing, and without a referendum. Canfield addressed the matter of a referendum, but only to evade it: he said the city charter requires a referendum when a lease-purchase or lease agreement exceeds 36 months, or the cost of a project exceeds $15 million. The city could avoid that referendum by keeping its cost below that. But by making such a suggestion, he was essentially giving the opposition the same fuel it used to great effect in 2010 and 2011, finally leading Jon Netts, the mayor then and now, to concede the point.

Netts was facing re-election at the time. He no longer does.

Canfield said his group represented council members with some 35 years of combined service between them. (The Gang of Six, the youngest of whom was born when Franklin Roosevelt was still in his third term and the United States hadn’t yet entered World War II, also compounds more than four centuries of life between them.) He was followed by Mary DiStefano, a council member until 2011.

mary distefano palm coast city council

Mary DiStefano. (© FlaglerLive)

“The current city hall in my mind is a disgrace,” she said. “We are not treating our employees the way any private company would treat their employees. The building has many, many, many issues. The air conditioning, the heating capacity, the plumbing, the elevators that jam, the inefficiency for work is totally unacceptable. I do not understand how the taxpayers in this city can continue to support that building. I know if I was renting a house, and you all know if a renter came to you and complained about these inefficiencies, you all would take action.”

But DiStefano was giving opponents fuel, too: in 2010 and 2011, much of the opposition ridiculed claims by the city that it needed a new city hall for its employees.

DiStefano blamed the 82 percent failure of the 2005 referendum on its coupling with another proposal—to build two new community centers. In fact, the two were separate measures on the ballot. (The community center proposal failed by the somewhat smaller margin of 60 percent.)

alan peterson flagler county commission

Alan Peterson (© FlaglerLive)

Alan Peterson, who left the council in 2008 and became a one-term county commissioner (he was defeated last November by Charlie Ericksen in a razor-thin primary) asked the council to put the city hall prospect back on the city’s five-ear plan. “I personally don’t care where the location is. But I think that the property must be convenient, it must be visible, it must be accessible, and it must, most importantly, be expandable for future needs,” Peterson said, suggesting that the tax revenue the city rakes in from the Town Center redevelopment zone—which includes some $800,000 it would have otherwise had to turn over to the county last year—be used to finance the new building there. But the zone has not been healthy enough to generate the sort of revenue that could fund a project of that scope on its own.

Peterson, too, then gave opponents a bit of fuel: “The city has failed abysmally in my opinion,” Peterson said, “trying to convince the public twice for the need of a new city hall. I would hope that this time, you would encourage resident input into this particular decision and design, and perhaps location, in that you would have continuous public meetings to keep the public informed. The city has spent considerable amounts of money over the years to create a very favorable image all around the city so that we take pride in the city. It’s very hard to take pride in the present location of rental property which we call city hall.”

Peterson was followed by ex-councilman Paul Venne, who proposed using revenue from a sales tax supplement the county just approved (though that money cannot be bonded), then by ex-councilman Holsey Moorman, who claimed the city may have lost new business by not having a city hall. “If a corporation is looking at moving to Palm Coast I am sure that they are not impressed when you bring them to the facility we call city hall with the scattering of our different functions around the area,” Moorman said.

Canfield spoke on behalf of the six member of the group, Tom Lawrence, who had been appointed to the council in 2002 and chose not to run in 2003. He could not be there in person Tuesday—his mother-in-law had died—but Canfield conveyed Lawrence’s proposal of a blue-ribbon commission that would operate in the sunshine—meaning its meetings and records would be open to the public—and submit a proposal within 60 to 90 days of its appointment.

Lawrence currently chairs the local tea party group. Lawrence’s proposal was yet another radical shift from a position he’d taken previously on a city hall: in 2011, he’d made his position clear on the matter: “We think the right thing to do is to send it out to referendum, because this is kind of an optional expense. If a road needs to be repaved, it needs to be repaved. A lot of things they have to do because they have no option. But this is one they have an option.” Lawrence even had the mini-referendum of his own tea party group to back him up.

None of the Gang of Six noted that the city is without a city hall of its own today because it gave up a 70,000 square foot building in 2008, for $3 million, when it sold that building to Palm Coast Data as part of an economic development deal that quickly soured: Palm Coast Data had promised to add 700 jobs to its then-1,000-employee payroll. It never did, and in fact shrunk its business considerably since while trying to keep it viable.

Palm Coast’s three-year lease for its 20,000 square foot space at City Market Place expires in November 2014.

Though Peterson claimed that “if you rent a piece of property you are held hostage by the landlord,” the city’s rental costs have actually gone down at City Market Place, thanks in large part to Landon’s negotiating with the landlord. The city had initially paid $20,000 a month when it moved in there in 2008. When it signed its new three-year lease in 2012, it was for $17,000 a month for the first year, $19,000 a month the second year, and $20,000 a month the third year. The landlord would be loath to lose such a lucrative and certain tenant in an economically difficult climate.

“It certainly can’t hurt to solicit citizen’s input,” Netts said Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s anybody sitting up here that wants a city hall with a gymnasium and a cafeteria and so on and so forth.”

“No,” McGuire said, “but your honor the last time that poor Mr. Landon got up in front of a group of people and presented a scaled down version of that without those extra-curricular things he was lucky to escape with his life. I was there.”

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64 Responses for “It’s Back: Gang of Six Ex-Council Members Want Palm Coast to Build a New City Hall”

  1. deb says:

    there’s a reason they are former members of the council and county commission. I think it’s quite obvious.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      deb, in fairness to that group, Canfield, DiStefano and Venne were term-limited. Peterson chose to run for a county commission seat and won it. Lawrence was appointed to fill the term of Jim Holland, who had died, and Lawrence chose not to run when his city council term was up. Only Moorman lost an election bid, to Bill McGuire in November 2011, by 55 votes out of 5,693 cast. So while they may be fair game on the merits of their proposal, or on their record while council members, to criticize them for no longer being on the council would be an unjust representation of that part of the record.

    • Ben Dover says:

      We have so many empty buildings littering this town , then you have the ridiculously over sized courthouse and what ever the Taj Mahal building is next to it , surely Palm Coast can share a lot of the empty spaces in those two buildings , I know they have friends that are contractors that will kick them back a piece of the pie if they get the contract to build it, but cmon , this city counsel already has raised our emormously high already water bills due to mis spending of money they borrowed for up grades , the last thing we need is to have anything else raised or taxed just so they can add to their already bulging bank accounts, you have the old hospital sitting there , the old court house sitting there , ITT head quarters 3/4`s empty , numerous empty office buildings scattered through out town, and again ,two Enormous Buildings more then half empty on 100 , pick a spot and shut up about building a new one sheese!!!!!

  2. Pat says:

    Of course it’s back!!! Construction/real estate has always been the biggest source of political corruption, money laundering/embezzlement and tax fraud.

  3. Robert says:

    You mean six former council members who had their hand in making those poor decisions that put this city in its dreadful financial state.

    Or those people who voted to incorporate into a city, a decision that was not the wisest move.

    Or those people who voted for the town manager form or government. One that pays a town manager more than the Governor of the state.

    Will someone please cut the head off of this snake that continues to raise up.

  4. suewho1010 says:

    Yeah lets build the Taj for these .. wipes. When the unemployment rate is so high in Flagler county. The employees of the old city hall should be happy they have employment. I’ve been out of work for a year , the big box stores hire you as seasonal employees, they work you for min wage treat u like crap and when they no longer need you they let you go. They avoid having to hire you with benefits or a decent wage. Or if they do hire you its for Pt only that way they can avoid having to offer any benefits and theres no way to support your family on 15 hours a week?
    Why don’t they fill the empty office just sitting down at town center in the building they all ready built. And then they can have the pleasure of looking at the waste of money they already spent everyday

  5. Magicone says:

    Isn’t this the same “hit and run” Mary DiStepano who hit a car in the Publix parking lot; got out to observe the damage. Then piled back in her car to move it without reporting it and then continued to do her shopping? What a joke listening to this past council talking about what a fine job they did with our taxpayer $., and how we should now let them build a city hall. This whole sitting city council needs to be recalled, and the gang of six need to get on a train or bus and go somewhere where they have a city hall that they so badly need. I can’t believe that the citizens of Palm Coast let this council violate the “sunshine Law” and get away with it.

  6. Nancy N. says:

    There is at least one valid point buried in all of this – that the current state of the city offices makes the city look like it is being run by a bunch of hopeless amateurs to businesses thinking of moving here.

  7. tulip says:

    I watched the council meeting last night and read this article also. What they are asking for is for the City Council to give permission to get together a committee of REGULAR citizens to meet and discuss the feasibility, costs and location of a new city hall.

    Perhaps some of you might want to apply to be on the committee should it come about.. I do believe the Council when they say it will be a modest city hall—-It was when King Kelton was city manager that the project was waaay out of line for what a city hall needed be.

    If it does get to the point of having a citizen’s committee, i would like to see residents on that committee who will be sensible, frugal and would not be in favor of unnecessary or extravagant spending.

    I’m not all that excited about having a new city hall but, looking at it realistically, at least PC will own the building and not pay out rent month after month with no return.

  8. Geezer says:

    In 2009 (or ’08), our past Vice Mayor, Mary DiStefano, struck a car in a Publix parking lot, got out of her auto and saw the damage to said parked car, then promptly drove her car to a different parking spot. She then went into the store, shopped and drove home. Needless to say: she never left a note to identify herself as the errant driver who damaged the other shopper’s car.

    The owner of the damaged car, secured a video tape surveilling the Publix parking lot,
    where Miss Mary was identified as the hit and run driver. A deputy was dispatched to her
    residence where he interviewed her. She was never subsequently charged with anything.
    Although she was made to pay the damages from what I understand.

    Mary doesn’t give two craps about Palm Coast and its residents.
    Mary cares about (you guessed) Mary.

    That’s one of the gang of six spending away your city’s future!
    Google it.

  9. Clint says:

    I’ve been waiting 20 years to get my swale cleaned out. I guess death will come before that happens !

  10. DisgustedinPC says:

    What? These people are insane.What about all the money for the work on Old Kings Road when Walmart was going to build there> Water rates have gone up to fix some asinine mistake. Red light cameras that are a joke. Please, this is just insane. And the Town Center? Come on, no one wants to keep paying out and paying out in Palm Coast. Many people are leaving here. Too many rules and too many insane people that run things. WAKE UP!! If I do not like my house or have issues I have to take care of it. I have no “taxpayers” to pay for it.

  11. Joe Joe says:

    Give any money that would be used to fund this to the schools instead….

  12. Joe says:

    Nancy N, Its not the offices that make the city look like it is being run by a bunch of hopeless amateurs, they are a bunch of think they know it all amateurs!!!!

  13. kmedley says:

    Let me make sure I understand this. The City of Palm Coast recently increased utility costs, they added red-light cameras which are designed to do nothing more than raise revenues through what many believe is an unconstitutional method, and now they are going to consider this gaggle of six and their request to assemble a citizen’s advisory committee for a “real city hall” during these economic times?! Really?! Is the Council collectively tone-deaf and did they not learn anything from the recent failed School Board Referendum?

  14. A.S.F. says:

    At a time when some of these same people were pontificating and puffing out their chests about the NERVE of some people asking for a tax increase for (optional, I guess) education for our children, they think they have a legitimate reason to ask for more money for a new City Hall…Really??? It boggles the mind! And makes you wonder who would be the ones cashing in on such a prospect in the long run. Some of us really do live in an entitled universe, I guess, and they think they convince all the rest of us poor slobs to follow along with their thinking.

  15. Marissa says:

    No, no, no!

    ‘We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in [Palm Coast], we shall fight on the [streets and canals], we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Palm Coast], whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the Town Center], we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender….”

    We shall defeat these politicians at the polls and fight to take back our City from these unscrupulous politicians and City Manager. We shall fight them to burden us with further taxes like the School Board and Superintendent tried.

  16. Magnolia says:

    I think this is a sad legacy coming from a council who are no longer in office, for various reasons. It is quite obvious that you have no respect for the people who thought you might be deserving of public office. We have made it perfectly clear that we do NOT think you need new offices.

    Why don’t you use some of that $8 million you stole from the taxpayers or did you give it all to developers?

    Maybe it’s time for a serious recall, of ALL of you.

  17. confidential says:

    I can’t believe that in the current real Flagler and City of Palm Coast bad economy, still high unemployment, more businesses closing than opening, budget shortfalls, high inflation and services fees (PC Utility, FPL and gouging at the pump) these six former councilmen and woman are so detached of the undermining financial reality of most city wide residents, while trying to revive a dead issue.

    Mr.Canfield was the Mayor of the same council then, that approved the bulldozing of our Palm Coast Resort former Sheraton where our community gather for fun with friends, weddings, business events and pool relaxing all under the luscious canopy of towering Oaks and tropical blooming hammocks while providing 300 jobs for local residents…all gone for the sake of forsaken promises and worst than bad planning approved by city council and administrators. Now we enjoy the view of that barren parcel with an outstanding box garage and still unsold condos for the wealthy. Meanwhile Palm Coasters lost its resort along with our free launching ramp and gazebo use….all off limits now for us in the intracoastal.

    What part of the last city hall referendum result; NO, the six don’t understand? When are they going to take the majority of the residents wishes serious? Did they already forget what we asked the School Board and what they got from us after they decided to confront the taxpayers anyway with their costly referendum?

    No, we are not irresponsible, ignorant or confused Mrs DiStefano, we just not make as easy and as much income as you and the other five make and also most people in this city, that vote, is not wealthy.

    City gave up to Palm Coast Data the Withman building for mere 3 million plus another bunch of broken promises and should have not! I think you were still in the Council then, correct?
    Now maybe the best they could do is make a 4 or 4.5 million offer to the bank that owns their current location and that will pay for itself with the rent income from the other stores. Once the building is paid up few years from now, they can sell it at a gain maybe for 10, 15 million when fully rented in better economic times, then they can build their PC Taj Mahal, as would have paid itself. Not before. Many investors like the ones that own the old Bunnell hospital, do that and try to sell it to the BOCC now.

    I can’t believe Mrs DiStefano that you allege the non working items in the current location as one big excuse for your C.H. push and as a supposedly professional, should know better that repairs should be demanded from the landlord. As for the lack of respect to our city employees, I bet they are just content to have a job in nowadays economy and do not endure the financial tragedy that many of the taxpayers that fund their pay check, are going thru now! Our six former councilmen need to step down from their lalaland pedestal and instead maybe, try a non profit private fund raising foundation

  18. Jack Howell says:

    No way……It isn’t going to fly. The gang of 6 don’t get it!

  19. Diane Parisi says:

    I just finished reading your article on the former city council members you derogatorily referred to as the “Gang of Six” and I am personally appalled at the tone of your article and the nasty, mud-slinging comments that followed. First of all, each of these people gave of themselves in time, effort and true love for their city while they served as council members. Certainly, they did NOT do it for the money or power or prestige— there was none!! Each person really “served” and their expertise and experience is certainly worthy of listening and considering without “knee-jerk” criticism and defaming comment.
    Whether the city hall issue be a reality or a dream, the news should be reported to the citizens of Palm Coast without sarcasm or bias. Having the pleasure of knowing some of these people personally, and truly KNOWING their character and ethics, makes the underlying theme of the above written critique absolutely infuriating! What fine individuals these six people are, and the derogatory references makes me really upset.
    Since when does suggesting a committee of citizens be formed to EXAMINE an issue be open to such blatant personal assault. Even the reference to their ages and “old” former council members is prejudicial and close-minded.
    To the people of Palm Coast, I hope you feel as strongly outraged as I when “older” experienced, educated citizens are defamed based on what I call prejudice and thoughtless remarks.

  20. Dave says:

    Why not turn the FAA abandoned management center on Palm Coast
    Parkway into City Hall. Might get FAA to donate the site. Maybe some of
    the management teaching techniques still in the air there will rub off on
    our City leadership and save some money.

    • Magnolia says:

      Dave, NOTHING rubs off on these guys but dollars from developers. Seriously, time to recall the lot of them?

  21. Anonymous says:

    OMG! What is wrong with these people?
    The offices they are in are brand new….they were the first to occupy them and there is plenty of parking
    and easy access…lets not start this issue again and waste a lot of time…come back when every budget
    is balanced and there is a big surplus….

  22. tom jack says:

    here we go again. a bunch of ex councilmen who were failures while in office are now trying to back door in a project the people have turned down repeatedly in the past. when will it stop? my guess, not until that sorry excuse of a city manager is ran out on a rail like he deserves. all of these past councilmen were worthless, especially hit and run destefano. best thing that happened to her was term limits. lets get rid of landon next.

  23. Marissa says:

    Embry Riddle owns the defunct FAA buildings and land. Leased to the Feds.

  24. Nikia says:

    I really think that if there would be rioting in the streets if 10 mill was approved for their Taj Mahal. Buy marketplace and move on already. The old government is not working here anymore.

  25. Brian says:

    Why not use that building over by Central Park in Town Center for this new City Hall? I mean, after all, it is located right in TOWN CENTER, next to the movie theater and the park. Access is pretty easy for everyone, and it really seems to be a nice building.

    But then I understand why they won’t use it for that purpose. Their “developer friends” would not benefit in any way financially from that idea. This City Commission has no clue as to what they are doing, alot like the previous commission…….the GROUP OF SIX/ It seems as though they are going to follow the same path the county commissioners did…….and bail out their political friends in the development and real estate business. If a politician or the friends of politicians have no financial gain at the expense of the tax payers…….they want no part of it, PERIOD.

    If you morons want a Taj Mahal to look pretty……then why don’t the lot of you do us all a huge favor and move to Mubai! Trust me, nobody here will miss any of you!

    • Magnolia says:

      @Brian: I think you know exactly who owns that building in Town Center. He is the same developer trying to sell us the dilapidated hospital for the jail, the one who is losing his shirt. He is also behind the effort for a new City Hall.

      We don’t need a new City Hall, we need a new Council. We are in the RED, people. Just a few years ago, before this Mayor, the Manager and this Council, we were not.

  26. Realty Check says:

    This is nothing more than a group of retired politicians trying to feel important again, this will never pass and if it did all sitting politicians know it would be political suicide. I for one am not opposed to regular tax increases for the right reasons adding of services and improvements. Palm Coast will fall apart sooner or later with out taxes going up; people cannot live on the same rate of pay year over year and neither can a city budget. I know I will be bashed for even considering a tax hike, but be realistic about it, not for a new city hall at this point. My five year plan is to leave Flagler County, it is a dyeing community with no future under its current leadership, The problem is you do not have people with the skill set to say we need a tax increase to be able to offer our residents these options, but no these jokers want to build a City Hall, not the smartest political move. Let’s say they could offer community centers and a real YMCA, along with better roads and upgraded fire and medical (EMT) services, to me that would be worth a tax hike. Let’s look at a modest tax hike of say $60 per year per home @ 35,000 homes = 2.1 million dollars, I am sure we could use that to finance a bond to improve our city while costing the tax payer $5 a month

    • Magnolia says:

      Reality Check: Our taxes and fees have NOT STOPPED going up. Do you not pay taxes? They are not low here.

      We just got a 20% increase on our storm water fees with more expected. This is why the school tax was voted down.

      This city is still in the red because our elected officials have been funneling money ILLEGALLY to developers. Why are they still in office???

      • Realty Check says:

        @ Magnolia, no I don’t pay taxes, that is an irrelevant question, of course I pay taxes, I am just tired of all you people thinking taxes will never go up. If we could get actual amenities that would be useful then I am okay with a modest tax increase, as long as it’s not for wants but for needs. The school tax was voted down because the 5 incompetents do not know how to balance a budget and tried to use a sneak tactic to get it passed. Five dollars a month is a minimal increase that could lead to great things in this city, but the leaders must have that vision and not just buy what they want, rather what the people need and want.

    • Magnolia says:

      That nice building you refer to over in Town Center is owned by one of our local developers and he is losing his shirt on it. He is also losing his shirt on that old, dilapidated hospital…..see a pattern emerging here?

      That Super Walmart we will never see on at 100 and Old Kings Rd? Your storm water fees illegally funded that developer and it doesn’t look like we’re getting it back anytime soon. In some communities that would be enough to send you to jail.

      We are spending millions we don’t have and every bit of the real estate we are spending it on is owned by the same people. NOW is a picture emerging for you??

  27. Can you hear me now? says:

    No, no, no! These 6 former office holders have no authority and should be ashamed to think collectively they can make something happen. There is a reason the voters didn’t vote some of them back in office, and why some others didn’t get the voters approval on the erection of a new city hall when they held their seats. There comes a time when it’s time to retire, and one doesn’t have what they used to and sadly others have to make the call to take over for them and make decisions for them. That time has come for these 5. Now, please go find your rocking chairs. How embarrassing of these 5 individuals.

  28. What do u think says:

    Hmmm. So this group has been meeting for a while.. with whom? Sitting politicians? Property owners in Town Center who would benefit from a City Hall in that location? Too much coincidence that the red light camera support on Council is wanibg – trade off is for new City Hall. Bet the Observer comes out in support. Oh, and professional sire selectors will tell us that what city hall looks like does not factor into their decision.

  29. Judge Bailiff says:

    Hey guys,

    First timer and bugged. We cannt (don’t want to) afford their palace. What for? For once, I agree with Peterson in that we are making a landlord rich. Hell, even one of the guys who spoke against it was for the City paying itself. First, if we could be putting $20k/mo toward our own building rather than pay the landlord, that is smart. Second, use the damn money from Town Center CRA. Thats our money and its being paid by the businesses (Target, RedLobster, Publix, etc) in Town Center…not the citizens. Last, don’t let those council people get off from doing their job. You watch, they will say “give it to the voters” in an effort to avoid making the right decision. Really what they are saying is that I don’t want to make hard decisions so that I can get elected. Grow a pair!

    DisgustedinPC has it right! Elect him/her.

  30. DMD Liberty says:

    Wow. I cant believe these people still want their palace. For once I agree with Peterson in that our tax dollars are lining the pockets of the building owners when we could be paying ourselves.

    First, why are we paying $20k to some investor making money of the back of the Palm Coast Citizens. They are poor stewards (wasting) of our money. If they are gonna do it, do it right

    Second, lets use the Town Center money Peterson pointed to. Its our money being paid by Target, Publix, Red Lobster and not the citizens. At least this way, we could get more businesses paying the freight rather than the people.

    Third, don’t let the Mayor put it to a vote. Make him make a decision. That’s why we elected him and those others. He avoids hard decisions and has proven to make wrong ones in the past. If he does it again, hes gone.

    Last, Palm Coast needs some real leaders. Can you say 2016.

  31. Edith Campins says:

    It is proof of how little these current and former politicians care about the citizens they are supposed to represent. How many times do we have to say no?

    We don’t have the money.

    We don’t need it. The current facilities meet our needs just fine.

    We don’t want it.

    I wonder who is behind this now?

    I thought the Tea Party was supposed to represent fiscal conservatives.

    Let’s mobilize and stop this before it goes any further,

  32. Elle says:

    How about building a splash park for the kids or maybe sun awnings over the playgrounds to protect the kids? Bet that’s less expensive then a10 million dollar building and would make a lot of families and children happy!

  33. Bob says:

    @ Reality Check

    Where do you get your figures. The School Board asked me to give up one cup of coffee and we said no!
    Now you are asking us to give up 2 cups of coffee a month? No Again!

    • Realty Check says:

      @Bob, if you cannot afford coffee than I feel sorry for you. Do you really believe saying no to every tax increase is the answer? At some point there will not be a vote and the tax increase will be large and all at once. I would rather see a modest increase of $5 a month every few years than get hit with a major increase to defer the city from bankruptcy and have such services as Fire, Police and EMT service cut back, please step out of your blind box and open your eyes to the real world, bread is not a nickel a loaf any longer

  34. flagal says:

    hummm…being a landlord myself, I can tell you that this statement is absurd…..
    ” Though Peterson claimed that “if you rent a piece of property you are held hostage by the landlord,”.
    Tenants rights far out-weigh the landlords rights. Who is he trying to fool?!?!?!?

    Pay the lease payment into the court registry if the landlord fails to fix problems with the rental. Stay where you are and stop wasting taxpayer money!!!!! There are so many empty properties in Palm Coast. Who in their right mind would waste millions on a building that is absolutely not needed. You people think you’re royalty and are entitled to sparkling offices loaded with new furnishing, at tax-payer expense. And now you have EX council members helping your cause. I wonder who set up that meeting!

    I can tell you that if you DID work for a company, most of you would be fired for being rude and arrogant to customers, and for sitting around doing nothing most of the day.

    This reminds me of the many times I walk into the county buildings in Bunnell and see employees sitting around doing nothing and when approached, give that attitude that so strongly says ‘why are you bothering me today?’ True story, I actually went to pay a speeding ticket for my daughter, with a check written out by my husband. I walked into the office, three women were working…no other customers in the office but me. I told one employee why I was there. She said ‘oh, I cannot take this check because it’s not from you’. I explained that it was my husbands check but it was for our daughters ticket. ‘Oh”, she said, ‘I can’t take the check because I need to see his identification. BUT, you can mail it in to our office. Here is an envelope for you to use.’ SAY WHAT?!?!?! I cannot hand over a check without my husbands ID but I can mail it in without his ID and they will accept it. What the hell is that?!?? I just wasted my lunch break for them to give me a runaround! I wanted so badly to slap a stamp on that envelope and throw it at her. These people are supposed to be working for us!!!

    Tax dollars are wasted, wasted, wasted, on things that benefit few. Very little is actually put to good use to benefit those hardworking people that are suffering to survive in this low-wage area. So stop whining, do you jobs, stop wasting money, pay the lease payment into the court registry if the landlord is not fixing the property according to the lease, and forget a fancy new city hall….IT’S NOT IN THE BUDGET!!!!!

  35. PJ says:

    AGAIN this is why the City is in such a bad way. These folks were in in charge. It was their bad planning that put us here. Struggling to improve services.

    They were voted out so they should just stay out.
    Buy what you can afford. Live within your budget.


    HAPPY 4TH ………….PJ

  36. confidential says:

    City and Council should buy out their current location that was foreclosed by the bank…make a low offer 4 to 4.5 million and then for 4 to 6 years pay off the loan with the current rent funds and also the income of all the other rental businesses on site. Once the economy recovers and business real state value goes up and the place is fully rented out, can be sold for 3-4 times the paid price maybe 15 million plus…then the citizens will not oppose the selling of the property to build a CH in Town Center. Simply because the CH would have paid itself. NOT before. This Town Center lobby needs to stop and with the 5 million invested in their CRA that is owed to us, we have plenty to buy the current location City Marketplace and avoid throwing monthly rent of 17,000 out the window. Who runs our City Council and the Six, our elected officials or the local developers?

    • Raul Troche says:

      It appears to be a corporatocracy where the developers and politicians get rich at the EXPENSE of the citizens.

  37. PC Mom says:

    Proud of the legacy you have left this city?????
    You have left us in debt, unemployed and covered in food stamps.
    Keep patting yourselves on the back, while the rest of us wait for food at local food banks, or beg to keep our utilities on….
    Helluva legacy….good job.

  38. tulip says:

    TO: Diane Parisi It’s nice to see that someone else has actually paid attention and READ what the article said regarding the fact that the group asked the Council go consider FORMING A COMMITTEE of regular citizens to DISCUSS buiding a city hall and the best way to finance it, one of the suggestions being using CRA money.

    Their has been no decision made about anything yet. It’s all preliminary. The artichect hasn’t been hired, the buldozers and construction workers aren’t waiting around the corner, and this time the plans for a new city hall will not be the grandiose building that Kelton wanted.

    I know the words City Hall upsets a lot of people, but folks need to read the sentences BEFORE and AFTER those words and not just go off on a tantrum without reading everything. That’s what makes the difference between informed and intelligent people, whether they agree with an issue or not, and those who just complain and make noise.

    • HELL NO says:

      We don’t need a committee after the voters have already said NO! Some will try to be creative and try to silent the voters choice…..I say NO, HELL NO and don’t even think of creating a committee to overrule my vote and make building this city hall happen after we the people have said NO!

  39. PJ says:

    I read the article.

    That’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is they (old board members) need not to waste the current boards time. The current members of the board have their hands full just try to fix the previous folks mistakes.

    Palm Coast don’t need to discuss this until were out of the budget crunch. That’s what I’m screaming about……………………..PJ

  40. Edith Campins says:

    Yes, Tulip, we did read the whole article. These people obviously haven’t read what people have written, over and over again, in this site, in The Observer or paid any attention to the clear message the people sent when they voted.

    Just who who do you think will be named to that committee? Why do we need a committee when the voters have said no?

    And what is so difficult to understand about the fact that we don’t have the money for it?

    I was there at the presentations when Mr. Landon showed his charts and said we had the money. Then I read his statement when he admitted we didn’t have the money. Have we had a miraculous windfall I haven’t heard about?

  41. shark says:

    Roma Court is for sale. Put all of those clowns in it!!!!

  42. Mike says:

    Does everyone really think taxes will never go up? do you think your saying no is the answer to every tax issue? at some point people taxes need to increase just to keep up with the use of public services, if you worked for a company and they never gave you a raise would you stay, things go up and taxes with them. We have some of the lowest taxes in the nation right here in PC, I left NJ 20 years ago and my taxes were 4 x as high then, I am not saying build a new town hall but at least get ready at some point to stop throwing money away on rent that could easily pay for a city hall in less than 20 years at todays low rates. No new taxes, okay here we go stop increasing social security and flat line it now, no taxes no cost of living increase on SSI, wow now that will spark a huge “I paid into it for”‘ does not matter SSI is not nor was never meant to be a retirement plan, its a form of welfare, that’s right welfare look it up. so no new taxes and we cut off SSI now to help the government make ends meet, let the bashing begin LOL

  43. BW says:

    A new City Hall is something we need in my opinion. I’m for it. Where our City Government is operating from now is inadequate and inefficient. It’s not welcoming to outside companies and business. If construction can be reasonable then I definitely think it’s something the City should pursue and soon.

    • A.S.F. says:

      You must be kidding me.. I am sure that the reason that outside companies and businesses are not flocking to Palm Coast is because our City Hall is not an imposing enough structure. Yep, those fancy government buildings–they really reel them in! Enjoy that Kool-aid you’re you’re drinking. It must be quite refreshing.

  44. Decided says:

    I finally sold my house in this county and I’m now free to move back to St Augustine. Yes I will continue to work at the hospital but I’m taking my $80,000.00 salary and I’m going to spend every penny of it outside of Flagler. Between the Newyorkers, New Jersey people, red light cameras, and skyrocketing crime this place has become a dump!

  45. Solo says:

    i believe this looming city hall issue is one of the reasons why the then Sheriff Fleming put off moving the sheriffs office substation to city marketplace when it was offered to him sometime last year. Just think what will happen when the city moves out if that place. All those employees help the businesses/eateries in there.

  46. BW Repellent says:

    City Hall should have stayed in the Palm Coast Data building. Moving out of it was the plan to make the people think we now have to have a new City Hall because they have no place to go. When Palm Coast Data goes out of business, the city needs to get their City Hall back.

  47. confidential says:

    How many more business attracted the luscious Taj Mahal , Kings Hammond Justice Place and EMS built by Flagler County BOCC..ZERO! …as we proudly display the highest unemployment rate in Florida!

  48. Raul Troche says:

    We can cover the entire rent by simply eliminating the city manager. This council should not be ordering Champaign on our beer pocket books. There is a time and place for everything under the sun. This is not the time.

  49. Robert says:

    Even the smallest towns in France have majestic city halls (called ‘Hotel de ville’), all built with similar architectural designs, but also paid for with national funds. (© FlaglerLive)

    France also wants tax people 75% of there income to help pay for all their other bad ideas.

  50. Robert says:

    Don’t forget, some of these members who think this is a great idea brought us our wonderful city tennis courts and our city golf course. Both turning money hand over fist (sarcasm).

  51. confidential says:

    Now that Robert mentions it…when is Kemper Sports going to stop needing yearly Palmcosters tax payers bailouts in its Palm Harbor Golf and tennis operation? I see that Golf Course parking pretty over full all the time…they get a free installation with all the perks and all the revenue still is not enough that they break in the read year after year and we keep bailing them out? Does Landon and city are allowed to get a glimpse of their books? Or we are still being fleeced by one more entity in this city? They are over 5 years in business in the Golf Course and still broke? What about we, the taxpayers, get an answer from council on this one? Will be very positive and reassuring as belt tightening times are here.

  52. DMD Liberty says:

    @ Confidential: What do you like? I have read many of your post and you are against everything. If we follow your (il)logic, we should shut down all the parks, we should close the community center, we should never have a fourth of july event because those dont make money either.

    It reminds me of that show my kids watch at Xmas when the little green guy comes down the mountain at night to take the presents…Grinch. I hope for your sake that you have the opportunity to experience the happy ending when the light goes off and you appreciate all the good that is in our community.

    Doesnt Palm Coast have one of the lowest tax rates in Florida….yes…read below,

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