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Commissioner Frank Meeker: Why I Voted to Buy the Old Hospital Despite Reservations

| August 2, 2013

Four flashlights, four votes: the flashlights were left at the entrance to the old Memorial hospital in late May when Flagler County commissioners toured the facility. (© FlaglerLive)

Four flashlights, four votes: the flashlights were left at the entrance to the old Memorial hospital in late May when Flagler County commissioners toured the facility. (© FlaglerLive)

By Frank Meeker

The Flagler County Commission’s 4-1 vote to buy the old hospital in Bunnell continues to blow up with all sides wading in, even though not all attended the workshop and subsequent meeting. I felt I’d provide my notes for consideration as to how I as one commissioner came to my conclusions. After all, I’m one of two votes that started us down this long trek of looking at other options.

My initial no vote on the hospital came about for two reasons:

1) I did not feel there was a proper vetting of other alternatives for construction on property already owned by Flagler County, and

2) A simple request by me and fellow-County Commissioner Charlie Erickson to consider other options, specifically the expansion of the existing Emergency Operations Center, was denied.

Frank Meeker (© FlaglerLive)

Frank Meeker (© FlaglerLive)

Now, after considerable lobbying from all sides (none of which came from any of the current owners, I might add), and after much hand-wringing by the staff in reviewing options looking for a consensus that the whole commission could support, here we are with a number of studies that reviewed architectural, engineering, environmental, and appraised values for purchase, plus a staff document summary of all information designed to help lead us to the right conclusion.

Honestly, I can’t help but feel I’m being led, at times by the nose, to a conclusion to support the hospital purchase. But fortunately for me, I don’t mind researching issues on my own. I came to my own conclusions on some of the key issues prior to, and just after, reading the volumes of supporting information provided. Here is what I found out.

1) When the subject of the old hospital came up, the first thing I told County Administrator Craig Coffee was that I wouldn’t support the option without more detailed information from a number of sources or studies. Those were to include a Phase I audit, a proper appraisal, microbiological assessment, and an architectural and engineering report. I specifically mentioned my concerns on the following issues:

The 2013 Files:

The Documents:

a. Asbestos in the building. Asbestos abatement was discussed on page 24 of the AR report and on pages 1-29 of the mold study (also appendix C under other documents of the mold study and Appendix III). Section 9 of the report under Facility findings (a previous study done by Hartman and Associates, maybe back in 2000: the date was unclear) says there was some vinyl flooring, thermal insulation wrap non friable asbestos in the boiler room and duct mastic throughout. If you know anything about asbestos cleanup, this is no big deal, and is easily handled by experts prior to the full demolition within the building.

b. Potential Microbiological Contamination – I have asked from day one for a complete biological assessment for hazardous bacterial and viral pathogens. As expected, I got a mold study. The mold study provided doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure staff will pooh pooh the concepts, but this is a big issue in my book.

However, prior to receiving the infectious disease opinion from Dr. Mark Wallace, I went back to my school books to research the types of pathogens I should be concerned about which, based on past courses in microbiology, I felt would be or could be present in the building. I already knew that most hazardous diseases are very short lived in an open environment. I didn’t go after the Richard Preston favorites of Ebola, but rather focused on the ones of concern to me for a hospital that previously treated sick patients–Hepatitis B and C, and HIV.

Based on my research, I concluded the likelihood of their presence ten years later was beyond negligible. I ruled that out as a concern. The same conclusion was reached by Dr. Wallace. I even received emails from the public discussing potential hazardous waste generation issues from sources common to hospital operations. Those emails were based on information compiled from basic web searches. I concluded the information was interesting, but not relevant to this hospital as the wastes discussed assume the building was currently a functioning hospital. That is clearly not the case here.

c. The 140 mph wind speed loading. This also was a question to me from day one as the Operations Center has similar functions as the EOC during times of crisis, such as hurricane emergencies. Discussions on wind loading all over the architect’s report (AR) have plenty of notations such as “we assumed this or we assumed that”. For more detail, see pages 5 (section 3.1) and other sections (see 10, 11, 23–with four options for replacement/repair, all around ½ million–pages 26, 27) and costs were discussed on page 30. They even made comments about how to bring it up to current standards, and of course, with that kind of redesign comes the engineers’ certification of compliance with current requirements. In short, it doesn’t meet the standards now, but under the reconstruction program, measures can be taken at considerable costs, to make the structure meet this need.

d. LUSTs or Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. As expected for a site this old, at one time, there was an oil-leaking underground storage tank. I’ve handled cleanups of this nature myself so I’m familiar with the issue, and with how the State of Florida handles these cleanups. The 23 monitoring wells were abandoned and sealed with neat grout cement (see page 8 of the Phase I report and Appendix J of the same report).

This is a requirement of the closing down phase of the compliance action with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (read the Phase I report on historic recognized environmental conditions). Some suggested we needed to collect samples from these wells. But they have been abandoned, and filled with neat cement grout. You can’t collect samples from something that doesn’t exist and I do not believe there is any need. The DEP must have agreed because the owners at that time were allowed “natural attenuation” which in English means “sit around, monitor, and watch the pollution dissipate or dilute itself because there really isn’t very much of it there in the first place and everything will be ok.”

In short, it wasn’t a very big deal to DEP in the first place. If pollutant levels were showing an increase from these wells during the monitoring period, they never would have gotten a “no further action” report from the DEP, which closed this one out in 2004 (I assume starting in 1989 when the discharge happened). That means there was probably 15 years of groundwater monitoring data collected, long enough to see any trends.

2) Other issues I didn’t know about that came up during county administration and consultant review:

a. The lack of bottom flange bracing on some of the steel beams. This is an issue to me because it reduces the steel beams’ ability or capacity to support the compressive stresses due to roof wind uplift during storms, and may cause the steel beams to buckle if overstressed. Obviously, this needs to be corrected if we’re to rehab the building. Detailed information and costs were provided on the issue as part of the corrective actions.

b. The masonry walls. These are the walls which form the outside of the building perimeter and are not reinforced with steel rebar which limits the maximum wind speed protection (see page 10 of the AR). Trying to install support to meet current standards may be problematic but apparently doable and well within the overall cost scope of the project.

c. ASTs or Aboveground storage tanks. There is one on such site, but it’s a 2000 Convault tank. I’m very familiar with these tanks. They are as tough as they can be so there shouldn’t be any problems except for the pump and dispenser, which will need to be replaced. According to the Phase I study, no evidence of discharge from this tank was noted. See Appendix J of the Phase I for more detail.

d. Lead based paint. No big deal in the mold study.

e. Useful remaining life of structural components. From day one, I’ve had issues with this. I assumed a concrete based structure of this type would have a useful life of, say, 100 years. I was concerned that almost a third of the useful life was gone, the building being 30 years old. I was shocked to see the Cooksey appraisal list the useful remaining life as 15 years. Why an appraiser feels they are expert enough to render an opinion on this is beyond me. Rehabilitation kind of turns the clock back on this subject and extends the life of the building.
i. Further, this appraisal says any hazardous conditions usually diminish the market value.

1. The appraisal came in at $1.5 million. We’re proposing to purchase it for $1.23 million, so I feel we’re at least being consistent.

f. The Phase I study. The Phase I study did not indicate a need to proceed to Phase II. That in itself is odd. Consultants always want to study something further so there really must not be any significant environmental issue remaining. However:

i. They found one historically recognized environmental condition, the previous petroleum discharge discussed above. Some 24 other sites with contamination problems, located in the nearby area or in proximity to the hospital property were also mentioned. The potential for migration of hazardous waste from these other off site sources was considered low.

Closing comments and other considerations:

I have been hearing some comments that I just flatly disagree with or need further elaboration.

a. First, let me make this clear: I’m not proposing or trying to move or relocate the county seat out of Bunnell and move it to Palm Coast. Read that again. I’m not proposing or trying to move or relocate the county seat out of Bunnell and move it to Palm Coast. But this building, a sheriff’s operation center, by itself does not have to be located in the county seat. The sheriff’s office must be in the county seat, but the operations center can be anywhere. To say it any other way and imply that both have to be linked together is trying to peddle influence that just isn’t supported by state law. I can cite examples where this is the case. It may be a preference for the current sheriff’s management style to have everybody in one location, and that’s OK. But suggesting that the two components of the sheriff’s office must be in the same place, in my view, is a complete misrepresentation. And it took other viable options off the table for consideration.

b. Staff Trust. I am inherently distrustful of staff if I believe there is a propensity to move me in a specific direction. That is why I have always done my own research. If it coincides with the staff’s position, then I support staff and vote in support of something.

In this case, potential negatives were noticeably lacking to me regarding the old hospital. For example, the lack of discussion regarding the building’s useful life: A full rehab of the building with structural modification can overcome that deficiency. But the fact that the issue didn’t warrant a checkmark in the negative column made me suspect of staff’s intent because it is my nature to be suspect of staff intent. Ronald Reagan’s quoting of an old Russian proverb–trust but verify–still works for me.

And if I had to point to one area I do not feel fully confident in the staff’s analysis, it would be in the cost of certain options for using other sites. As one example, I offer the Government Services Building campus option 3 as one I favor (building a wing onto the existing courthouse), but there doesn’t seem to be support for.

I believe the cost numbers for GSB option 3 are artificially high. It assumes the interior would be built to the same finished levels as the rest of the Hammond Justice Center. In my mind, that assumption is flawed. If in coming up with the cost, the staff was using, say, a per square foot construction cost of $250, we’ve artificially placed this option out of reach. If I assume a more reasonable $150 per square foot, that changes the game plan and doesn’t try to sway my decision without a fair and clear comparison. Others may disagree, but that is the way I see it.

Future expansion for needed parking was excluded by saying not enough area was available. But staff didn’t discuss the option of going up instead of out, yet parking lots are built vertically all the time. We don’t have a problem asking developers to go up to protect important natural areas. So what’s the problem here? On the other hand, this is a very expensive additional cost to construct.

There has been no discussion on permitting. The water management districts require permits to construct, alter, operate, abandon and maintain stormwater management systems. The proposal for the hospital clearly is altering an existing system, and a stormwater permit may (but with strong argument to the contrary, maybe not) require a new stormwater management system. If so, there goes maybe 20 percent of the current site. Now, how does it stack up for available parking and other needs?

We say “multiple criteria deficiencies for sheriff’s function and operation” is an issue without elaborating what those deficiencies are. Usually, that means they are kind of weak arguments. Does it have to do with it being a multistory building? If so, why wasn’t that an issue with the old courthouse annex–what had been the top option for the sheriff’s move until this year–all along, years ago? The answer seems to be in a choice of management style, which again is OK, but should be clearly stated.

The alternatives presented for expanding operations at the existing GSB site seemed to be presented in the most advantageous way as to lead us away from the GSB campus. Again, my opinion. You don’t have to share it. That being said, if we go with the old hospital and if this project comes in at or under the estimated costs we’re discussing here, staff will have gone a long way to rebuilding my confidence in local or regional government’s ability to fairly present facts to a governing board or in this case, a commission. I’m willing to give them that opportunity. It’s important because I’m one of five people that have to make the call that the people’s money is being wisely spent this time.

Community Benefit. Probably the most difficult issue to grasp or is the most wildly speculated about so far is the potential to influence local neighborhoods with a reputation for drug issues by the mere presence of the sheriff’s operations center. When you talk to high school students (sometimes, while I was yelling and screaming at soccer players in that age group over fourteen years of coaching I did take the time to actually talk to them) you find out there is a drug problem in Flagler County, and further, that you can find most of what you want in certain areas of the county. South Bunnell is one. At least that’s the perception.

Placing a stronger policing presence at the old hospital may, and I say may, have a deterrent effect in reducing the availability of drugs harmful to our children, and force these people to go elsewhere. If that is the case, there is a possible side benefit of lowering crime in Palm Coast and the Hammock, which in the end, is a prime concern for me and tips the balance of this project in favor of the old hospital.

Frank Meeker represents District 2 on the Flagler County Commission. here.


Cost Comparisons: The Seven Options As Presented By The County in 2013

Courthouse AnnexOld JailOld HospitalOld Hospital if Demolished and RebuiltGSB South of the EOC BuildingGSB South of Circular RoadGSB East Courthouse Wing
Property Purchase Cost (*)NoneNone$1,230,000$1,230,000NoneNoneNone
Building Construction$4,000,0004,555,0003,535,0004,555,0004,555,0004,555,0005,980,000
Site Work$400,000$500,000$300,000$300,000$500,000$500,000$100,000
Architect, Permits etc.$250,000$400,000$400,000$400,000$400,000$400,000$400,000
Demolition CostsNone$350,000None$700,000$25,000NoneNone
Brick Facade Work$100,000NoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Structural Upgrades (**)$300,000None$450,000NoneNoneNoneNone
Transportation Impact Fees (***)None$15,000NoneNone$25,000$25,000$25,000
Water and Sewer Impact FeesNone$10,000NoneNone$25,000$25,000$25,000
Wetland and Floodplain MitigationNone$50,000NoneNone$100,000$300,000None
(*) The county administration in its calculations had put old hospital purchase costs in the non-demolition column at $750,000, rather than $1.23 million, by "prorating" the purchase cost according to the percentage of the space the sheriff would use (35,000 square feet out of 56,800 square feet). But that's a misleading calculation, as the county would have to buy the building for its agreed-upon price regardless of the space the sheriff uses. By going with the smaller figure, the administration was able to make the purchase of the old hospital look like the second-lowest choice. In fact, it's the third-most expensive option.
(**)Bringing structures to 141 mph windload.
(***) Scheduled to be back in effect in Oct. 2014.
Source: Flagler County Administration.


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60 Responses for “Commissioner Frank Meeker: Why I Voted to Buy the Old Hospital Despite Reservations”

  1. Jan Reeger says:

    BRAVO !!!

  2. Diego Miller says:

    Dear Mr. Meeker, pushing down crime in one area only makes it pop up in others. This building is obsolete and the ground under it is polluted from the abandoned tanks, yet another find. The Sheriff and officers deserve a modern green building. This place was designed to be a hospital not the Sheriffs operations center.

    • A.S.F. says:

      I think Mr. Diego Miller brings up a valid point, in stating that pushing down the crime in Bunnell would only make it seem more likely to relocate to other areas close by, such as Palm Coast proper. As long as criminals have a trade to cater to, they will continue to service that area. Putting up an administrative building doesn’r address the social ills of the area. Watch out, people!

  3. Shocked, I tell you... says:

    Bad decision, in my view, Mr. Meeker. I think most residents felt this choice was a foregone conclusion. Wasn’t the property worth about $300,000 last year? Then why are we paying millions?

  4. Truth Seeker says:

    I feel the location of the hospital is it’s BEST selling point!! It’s backyard is where the majority of DAILY CRIME is. Crime is so rampant in that area that it is almost accepted as “the norm” for the neighborhood. Hardly anyone raises an eyebrow while crimes are being committed there. I feel that having the Sheriff’s Department there would be a great determent to crime itself. Just because the housing around that area is low income doesn’t mean we need to let the “thugs” run the streets!! Every citizen regardless of income levels deserves a clean and safe neighborhood to live and raise their families in. GREAT BUY!!!

    • rthomp11 says:

      Your statement only goes to show that you do NOT know Bunnell as well as you think you do. Yes there is low income housing behind the “BOCC Money Pit” old hospital but it’s not the only place you can buy drugs in Bunnell. And there are more drugs and thugs in Palm Coast than in Bunnell.

  5. Blind but I can see says:

    Foreclosures in this county are the highest in the state. People are leaving, school enrollment is down. Now is NOT the time to plan for growth. Now is the time to simply maintain!

    Frank, for you to be skeptical of trusting your staff, and feel lead around by the SOE ought to be a sure sign that you need to clean house and surround yourself with those that work for you, that you can trust. Every commissioner should do their homework, but they too should trust those that have the ability to spend or waste soooooo much of our tax dollars. I challenge you to bring Coffey,s contract up for reconsideration and review; the one that he snuck thru before you took office.

    Secondly I challenge you to stop wasting our tax dollars to maintain the old courthouse as we have been doing for 6 years; either sell it or occupy it! Craig Coffey should have had a plan for this building BEFORE it was ever vacated. Shame on you leaders for this mismanagement!

  6. Rick Stevens says:

    I am genuinely shocked at this unsolicited, well written, transparent, proactive, and comprehensive offering by a publicly elected servant. He should be the president of this country. This is exactly and exclusively what this country desperately needs so that people, the voting public, 1) have enough information about whatever issues of consequence to develop (and to deserve to have) an opinion so that they can vote and voice their ideas with intelligence and direction, 2) regain confidence and TRUST in the members of government who make decisions daily that shape our and our children’s day to day lives and future, 3) regain the pride in a country where patriotism and pride are evaporating simply because we all feel victimized and powerless against an electorate at every level of government, because virtually every American believes in their heart that our representatives are serving their own financial and egotistical agendas, without any real interest in the long term consequence of the decisions they make toward the public good. Thank you, sir.

  7. A Pioneer says:

    Frank, make up your mind. You cannot be on both sides of the issue. This make you a mug-wump. If this goes through, prepare for a life out of politics, just like Milissa Holland and the gang of six. Put it on the ballot. Who is the real estate agent selling the old hospital?

  8. happening now says:

    We keep the jail on Justice Lane?? Tax payer money there. Buy hosp, (OK with that) has anyone come up with the EXPENSE of all the hardware that law enforcement has today? ITs going to be beyond the pale> Watch.

  9. anonymous says:

    I thought we needed a bigger jail not bigger police batons??? What is it with these people in power believing “lightening the load” means tossing stacks of money from a sinking ship to stay afloat when in fact their “King Fish” in a crowded pond mentality is one of the reasons holes are in the boat in the first place. These guys need their pockets sewn shut and their eyelids stretched back to get a real glimpse at the future of this town. What the heck does conserve mean to them???

  10. ogrethetop says:

    Tis a shame and a waste, no reason for this. it could have and should have been done cheaper, All 4 of you have lost my vote. throwing money at something is no way to fix it.

  11. Kendakk says:

    None of this explains or justifies the spend which is significantly higher than the assessed value of this distressed property.

  12. Joe says:

    I think what bothers people is the price paid for it Frank! We feel like we have been flim-flamed once again, when everyone else’s property value has plummeted over the past 5 years, the hospital property has doubled in value? I don’t get it!

    • rthomp11 says:

      The just market value listed on the Flagler County’s Property Appraiser’s website is $661,453. Not the $1.23 million paid for by the BOCC for their MONEY PIT. So based on that what would you expect to pay? I would think at the most $20-40,000 more depending on location but not $500,000+ more.

      I’m sorry but for this kind of deal someone, somewhere got a really nice bonus.

  13. I am very impressed wth Mr. Meeker’s extensive homework.. Sitting through the meeting I too , coming from the Big Apple, “why can’t parking be built up and wondered about many of the issues his article raises. It is comforting and very refreshing to know that we have a commissioner who is apparently an excellent ‘devil’s advocate’ and affords me as a citizen, taxpayer and voter two sides of this major issue.
    All of my doubts about contamination have been answered by Comm. Meeker. My only lingering anger is why did the current owners neglect this property having bought it purely for investment to begin with.?
    That question still remains. Thanks FlaglerLive for letting me vent.

  14. A.S.F. says:

    If the presence of police department buildings close to drug dealing and drug infested areas automatically reduces such activities in those areas, that would come as a shock to those of us who originated from places like New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, et al.. How stupid do you think your constituancy is, that we would automatocally swallow that as a viable argument for this deal? What you are doing appears to be expressly against the wishes of most of the voters in Flagler County. To ignore that, and forge ahead anyway, is incredibly arrogant and would seem to be political suicide. THAT is what most of us can’t understand. How are you not seeing that? If you are so sure that your arguments for this plan are sound, print it up as many times as you want but do NOT go ahead with it until, and unless, it is approved by a special referendum of the voters in Flagler County.

  15. Dennis McDonald says:

    What were seeing here better be reality ! Frank Meeker 8/1/2013

    Really Frank, YOU are the backer of so many realistic programs that cost US money everyday. Just to list a few, Bounty for Business even big spender Netts would NOT sign on, the attempt to whack us with a 30 year 6.5% Electric Tax, the Old Kings Rd SAD that cost us in excess of $8,000,000 and then led to a 18% Utility hike with more coming every 6 months, the Town Center CRA where you allowed Millions to be poured into buying property at four times it’s value. We the Taxpayers lost $1.2 Million in revenue last year because of it. Then yesterday at the workshop you were clueless to the shell game being played by the Criteria Comparison Handout. Frank was a mere $500,000 SHORT, but it’s not on his tab. This is Frank’s world of “Reality”.
    Frank claims to be a “scientist” at every meeting as he cruises and ponders the internet for the “facts” and we all know if it’s on the internet it’s TRUE.. Here is a FACT, you sat in public session yesterday Voting on a property @ $1.23 Million and did NOT see that the purchase price was listed on the cost comparison for $750,000 ?? What you had before you were estimates and estimates are assumptions which are statements NOT backed up by FACTS. Again I state this project will OVER RUN because Four Commissioners acted without facts with OUR Wallets. When the Cooksey report said this building had 15 years of life left you should have slammed on the brakes. ” This property is a $700,000 lot with a LIABILITY ! ‘
    You make statements on this property location’s shortcomings I must ask are you saying the Bunnell Police are NOT doing their jobs ? I think they would disagree but speak with them if you have concerns do not put it on the County’s plate.
    If this property is worth the $1.23 M then why is it still on the market when our local radio, Observer and News Journal “claim” real estate is in a UP swing ? Mr Gardner has the value correct and he is being kind at that. Add this to your list of costly Errors while pretending to represent the TAXpayer.
    If we get lucky we might get Hollywood to film the sequel to the Money Pit and bring millions in on tourist development.
    We all suffer due to your ignorance everyday in Flagler County.

    Dennis McDonald

  16. Marc says:

    I am glad the County Commission could help out a poor, struggling attorney.Can you revalue my home too? Let’s dig a little deeper and see how the “Sheriff” benefits from this as well. What a scam.

  17. Ben Dover says:

    These counsel members do as they please with no reguard to what the people want, Meeker is the worst of them, he`ll shake your hand while his other one picks your pocket, and smile that rat faced beady eyed smile the whole time he`s doing it , we have corrupt politicians here, and they all need to go next election, don t let them fool you like Scott just tried to do pretending to care weather we had health insurance or not and acting like a teachers salary matters, we didn t get health care did we? nope it was all a bold faced lie , he said he was for it , but had his friends vote it out, they are all thieving, lying , greedy slime balls looking to line their own pockets while emptying ours don t you dare trust them!!

  18. confidential says:

    A per a large sign with photo I saw the listing realtor at the old hospital entrance not long ago, being Parkside Realty Group listing agent Sheehan Jones. Also same list the other Chiumento properties as advertised in the local media.

  19. Will says:

    Lets suppose YOU bought an abandoned building with property 8-10 years ago. Then a recession hit. You paid the taxes on the property over time and any emergency costs, dreaming of the day when a buyer might appear. The property deteriorated, and taxes went down with valuation. No buyer appeared. The building became a drain against your other assets.

    Then, years later, a buyer appears and a purchase price is discussed. You want to recoup your own costs and use of money over time. You want to make a profit, if you can. Whatever the price, if the buyer and seller can agree with an “arms-length” transaction, with all factors considered, isn’t that the free market at work, regardless of who the buyer is?

    • Shocked, I tell you... says:

      @ Will: Not when it is taxpayer money! And this is not arm’s length. Due diligence contracts do not go down at full price, EVER.

      Once again, the public have been fleeced by our commissioners.

      I think we ALL need to show up on Monday at 9am and be heard on this. Get every neighbor you know to come, the green domed building, County Commission room. It’s time you represent US, not the special interests here in Palm Coast.

    • rthomp11 says:

      “WE” would be glad to get what we could for it and be glad that we could finally get rid of the great “MONEY PIT”. It’s not the taxpayers of Flagler County’s fault that the sellers bought a property as an investment then the economy tanked and now they want to rob us blind and pretend that it never happened. It did happen and they, just like everyone else, have to live with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      If this were to happen in the private sector, hooray to the seller for finding some sucker to take this heap off their hands!

      HOWEVER, this is not a private sector scenario. It is the COUNTY COMMISSION (elected officials) using taxpayer dollars to purchase a property from a political ally.

      If it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk……it probably is a skunk. Or in this case, corruption to the highest levels of county government! Maybe the county will waste more of our tax dollars and purchase Grand Reserve…….or that other development on Seminole Woods Pkwy that seems broke! Why should they care? It really isn’t their money that they are spending is it?

    • Diego Miller says:

      Oh, what a miracle when the buyer just appears. We suppose this is good for you, but it is not so value wise for the citizenry. Do the math Copernicus.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      When the buyer is spending his/her OWN money they can agree to any price they wish.

  20. rthomp11 says:

    The only good thing about this purchase is that a vacant building is being recycled, reused, will no longer sit empty and more land will not cleared and trees will not be destroyed to make a new building.

    With that being said….this is now the “BOCC Money Pit”. There is no way those reports showed anything near the truth of the real condition of the building, the site and the cost of repairing of both. The cost of the land is too inflated. Look at what the Just Market price is on the Property Appraisers website is! Good Lord people! You have brains don’t you? Use them for once!!

    Frankly, IMO, it’s all highly suspicious of the 4 commissioners to have agreed to such a purchase. It makes you wonder if they have ever bought a house or a car. Did they look at the purchase price and say, “oh that’s not enough” and pay double or triple for it? They sure don’t seem to have a problem doing it with taxpayer money even though taxpayers have said they do not approve of it.

    I don’t know….maybe this Board of County Commissioners are just trying to make their own Taj Mahal mark on Flagler County? Maybe we are just doomed to follow Detroit into bankruptcy.

  21. DoubleGator says:

    I think your vote represents a wise decision. Godbless your turning over all the rocks. A lot of great questions. I would have voted as you did without the road you took, BUT I guess that represents a difference in the big picture versus the devilish details. Bottom line, I agree with your vote. I think it is the right decision. So a tip of the hat to you and those who also voted to approve.

  22. John Adams says:

    Wait till the REAL costs to renovate, remove asbestos, redesign, rehabilitate, build changes, put in HVAC, electrical, plumbing, roofing, insulation, exterior refinishing, flooring, new windows, security systems, furniture, paving, start adding up. These political crooks’ heads will spin and then they will start CRYING for you taxpayers to pony up the tens of millions of dollars to pay for this FIASCO.

    Mark my words!

  23. George says:

    This county and this country have put US so far in debt, we WILL NEVER recover. You might as well just go out and run all your credit cards to the max, take out huge loans ( if you can find a bank), milk the government taxpayer for all you can get out of them because the ROAD is ENDING in another 300 YDS !!!

  24. Frank J. Meeker says:

    Oh my, all I can do is try. Ok, I’m back from spending the day with my son who came down from Langley AFB, Virginia and with the three year old down for the night, now is a good time to respond to a number of comments.

    Jan Reeger – Short and to the point. Thanks.

    Diego Miller – You must have missed my discussion on the underground tanks. There is no pollution remaining except that which exists on other sites in the local area and due to the direction of groundwater flow (which is basically flat around this area) there is little chance that contamination could migrate to this site. Even if it did, the owner of that pollution plume would be responsible for cleaning up not only their own site, but any contamination caused by them on this site as well. This building will have some green elements to it, for example, the insulation will be substantially beefed up. I would have liked it to become our first LEADS certified building but I don’t think the money will be there to go that far. As for being designed to be a hospital and not a sheriff’s operations center, while true in one respect, being totally gutted of everything, leaving the stuff remaining (outer walls, steel beams, roof and the interior fire walls), with a little vision it can be anything including a sheriff’s operation center.

    A.S.F. – Well, all I can tell you is a number of residents from Bunnell feel differently as do a number of law enforcement professionals.

    Shocked, I tell you – You are confusing just market value with appraised value. The just market value back in 2010 was over 1/2 million for the property and building. Same note in 2011. Just Market value is what it’s taxed at, not what it would sell for. For 2012, this is what I get:

    Land Value 353,951
    Ag Land Value 0
    Building Value 1
    Misc Value 0
    Just Value 353,952
    Assessed Value 353,952
    Exempt Value 0
    Taxable Value 353,952

    The “Just Market Value” is not related to what a piece of property is worth (and that point is made very clear on the property appraiser’s website). As I mentioned above, it is a value used by the Property Appraiser for the purposes of levying the ad valorum tax. Nothing more. If you look at your own piece of property on the same website, tell me you would be willing to sell it for what the Just Market Value says. I know I wouldn’t sell mine for that kind of money.

    Truth Seeker – Thank you.

    Rthomp11 – your opinion is contrary to a number of credible people I talked to in law enforcement as well as community leaders from within Bunnell. Of course you can buy drugs other places than Bunnell, I can only take one bite of the apple at a time. Are you saying Bunnell isn’t worth the effort?

    Blind but I can see – This isn’t an issue of the courthouse, this is an issue about a sheriff’s operation center. During the election, I stated my plan for the courthouse, the annex and the old post office. Give me a call (I’m in the book, or leave your number with county staff and I’ll call you) and we can discuss. This issue will be discussed as part of our strategic planning process and believe me when I say I have plans similar to yours, but bigger. As for wasting our tax dollars, I’d appreciate it if you would tell me how you would provide for the needs of the Sheriff’s office. If you would like a tour of the current multiple sites spread all over the county to house the operations folks, just let me know, I’ll get with the sheriff, and will arrange a time. Then after that, I have a very limited time remaining to take your advice into account and try to get additional consideration.

    Rick Stevens – can I buy you a cup of coffee? Thank you.

    A Pioneer – What do you mean make up your mind? The opening statement said why I voted against this originally. Basically, it was because all credible options were not being vetted for consideration. I pushed some buttons on people, and we got four more options which ended in what I consider to be a fairly thorough review of most of them (with a few exceptions as I noted in my presentation). So I waded through all of the studies, did my own research, and came to a conclusion based on my efforts. What is possibly wrong with that? If you believe I made errors in my technical analysis, please just let me know. The agent? That information was shown on the sign out front during the time she had it listed and I’m not sure this has any bearing on the discussion but the agent was Margret Sheehan Jones.

    Happening now – Yes, we keep the jail out on Justice Lane. This too needs expansion. We all discussed it during the forums and in writing during the campaign. Basically, that jail was built back when our population was less than 30,000, maybe even 25,000. It is undersized for our current needs and hold on to your horses everybody, but we’ll be looking at that problem (overcrowding and the need to expand the jail) real soon too or some federal judge will look into if for us. Would you trust what a federal judge would conclude regarding your tax money, or what you’re elected representatives decide on that one?

    Anonymous – if you’d like to be part of the same tour of the various operation centers strewn throughout Flagler County, please give me a call and I’ll add you to the list.

    Ogrethetop – Please take a moment to get back with me on what you would have decided for a new location, what should it cost, and how would we pay for it.

    Kendakk – If you’re talking about the purchase price, my comments above explain that. If you’re talking the total cost to construct, I would request that if you have any analysis which contradicts the information provided on this website in past Flagler Live discussions, or anything which I should have considered in my analysis, please get it to me.

    Joe – It hasn’t doubled in value. It has stayed relatively the same. Please see my comments above regarding using Just Value as an assumption as to the value of the property from a purchase stand point. We now have a total of three independent appraisals, one private which I think had the value for purchase at around 1.4 million something. Then we have two recent appraisals, one at 1.49 and the other at 1.5, paid for by the county (well, paid for by you really). We offered 1.23 million which of course is less than the appraised value of all three. The Just Value (and go read the disclaimers on the Property Appraisers website if you don’t want to believe me on this) has no bearing on the value of property from a purchasing standpoint. It is only applicable for the levying of your ad valorum taxation, and I didn’t set things up that way, the State of Florida did many years ago.

    Wishful Thinking – Thank you for your confidence. As to why let the building rot? My guess is they just didn’t want to spend any money on it hoping to flip it and make a killing. See Will’s comments below. I’ve heard all kinds of numbers about what they paid for it, I haven’t researched that myself, but if I have to guess,…OK everybody…this is only a guess….I’d expect that if they made any money at all it wouldn’t be much, and if they make any money at all, I’d be very surprised.

    A.S.F. – Of the numerous people who bothered to show up to comment, only two were adamantly against this deal, and one was kind of against it. The vast majority were for it.

    Dennis McDonald – Dennis, we argued some of this during the election and I don’t see why go over it again, but I will. Bounty for Business was an opportunity for the little guy to make some money by encouraging relatives or acquaintances living out of Flagler County or out of State to relocate here. If they were the one who helped make that happen, they could make a bit of cash. Here is what you have always missed on this. If no person ever in the history of Flagler County took advantage of the program from the day it was started, it wouldn’t cost the tax payers a dime. Next, the 30 year 6.5% Electric Tax I voted against so I don’t know why you’re mentioning that. The Old Kings Road Special Assessment District happened before I even got on Palm Coast City Council so I don’t know why you’re mentioning that. The Town Center CRA also happened before I got on City Council so I don’t know why you’re mentioning that. In fact, I’ve written discussions on my desire to close it down and get the loan back from the CRA. Ask Mr. McGuire on that one. I tried to get the council to go along but couldn’t get any support. Of even more interest, after I’ve been gone for almost a year, that very point is now finally being talked about. And we didn’t lose 1.2 million on the Town Center CRA, we lost around 800-900 thousand. You’re adding up all the money the county has lost from CRAs I suspect but even 1.2 million seems high. I’ll have to look at the budget again (the numbers are in there) and I’ll provide you with a better one. 500K short? I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I readjusted one up 500K and took another down 500K. I did some recalculations of the staff’s numbers and dropping the cost per square foot down on GSB option 3 from 250/sf to 150 and putting the full price of purchase on the Old Hospital had four projects under consideration, all around 6.5 million. By the way, as you have read my discussions above, I did read your emails on this subject. We were in agreement on the need to investigate viral contamination, and I believe I covered it well and yes, with my own research, not just the internet. But you also said they couldn’t meet the 140 mile per hour wind loading but as I’ve said, the 140 MPH wind speed discussion is all over the architect’s report (AR). See pages 5 (section 3.1) and other sections (see 10, 11, 23 (with four options for replacement all around ½ million), 26, 27 ) and costs were discussed on page 30. They even made comments about how to bring it up to current standards, and of course, with that kind of redesign comes the engineer’s certification of compliance with current requirements. The 23 monitoring wells were abandoned and sealed with neat grout cement (see page 8 of the Phase I report and Appendix J of the same report) as part of the closing down of the compliance action with the FDEP on the contamination issue (please read the Phase I report on historic recognized environmental conditions). You wanted us to collect additional samples. You can’t collect samples from something that doesn’t exist. Further, they were allowed “natural attenuation” which is just “sit around, monitor, and watch the pollution dissipate” so it wasn’t a very big deal to the FDEP. If pollutant levels were showing an increase from these wells during the monitoring period, they never would have gotten a “no further action” report from the FDEP which closed this one out in 2004. As for Mr. Gardner’s value, please read his website, and my discussion above.

    Marc – I don’t know how to help you on this one.

    Ben Dover – If you have one shred of evidence on anything you claim on any politician in Flagler County, please bring it forward.

    Confidential – thank you, I noticed the same thing.

    Will – Well said.

    Frank J. Meeker, C.E.P.
    Flagler County Commission, District 2

    • rthomp11 says:

      “Rthomp11 – your opinion is contrary to a number of credible people I talked to in law enforcement as well as community leaders from within Bunnell. Of course you can buy drugs other places than Bunnell, I can only take one bite of the apple at a time. Are you saying Bunnell isn’t worth the effort?”

      Not at all—-but by putting the sheriff’s office in the old hospital will not stop it, it will just move it somewhere else. You want to stop the drugs in that area? Drug test all those who are on welfare. Limit welfare to a certain amount of time and to job training and placement.

    • A.S.F. says:

      Mr. Meeker–If you really believe, as you stated above, that the majority of voters are not against this purchase, then you should have no problem with the idea of a special referendum to vote “yay” or “nay” on the purchase. Do you think it can be arranged and, if so, when? Since the Commission seems so eager to forge ahead with the purchase, I suggest it be done as soon as possible. By the way, I hope the citizens of Bunnell get some relief from the problems that plague their area. I simply suggest that a shiny new building isn’t the answer to the deeper problems of crime and deterioration that plague the area. I wish some politicians would spend a little more time and effort thinking about that and come up with other solutions besides this one. I am glad to hear that law enforcement is so confident that their mere presence in a new building will have such a profound effect. If this sale goes through, let’s hope so. The confidence of the public is not something they, or you, would want to lose.

  25. Common Sense says:

    Mr. Meeker is doing what he always does, pretending to have listened to all sides, studied the facts and then made a good decision. In reality he has once again bowed to special interest and ignored the citizens’ wishes. He thinks this will help him during the next election.

    He has voted to buy a run down property for more than twice what it is worth. He has voted to spend millionsof taxpayers’ dollars to partially rehab a building that has already outlived its usefulness once.

    Of course the appraisals came in high. Didn’t anybody read the part where the appraisers were not given the engineering assessments? Had they had those they would have probably valued the building at $0.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Meeker will take this county to its knees what a shame , I can’t wait till Election Day !

  27. Common Sense says:

    Does this pass the smell test?

    “Those appraisals were conducted without the information provided by the engineering reports, which would most likely lower the value of the building.
    Craig Coffey, the county administrator, said deadlines made it impracticable to turn the engineering analysis over to appraisers and ask for renewed appraisals, which cost around $5,000 each. “They put caveats in the appraisals to accommodate for that,” he said Friday.”

    You are going yo spend millions trying to make part of the building usable but it cost too much for proper appraisals?

  28. Sherry Epley says:

    Negotiating a “deal” using “tax payers” hard earned money is NOT the same as using your own. When a person is honored to be put in such a position of trust, it is their responsibility to be even more prudent than if the funds were personally theirs.

    While I appreciate the home work laid out in this article, the question of why an inflated price was paid still goes unanswered.

    In addition, it appears a new building (tailored to the specific needs) could be built for much the same cost. Why would anyone want an older, unmaintained building. . . surely with undetected/disclosed problems?

  29. Joe says:

    Here is a news flash for you Will, WE ARE THE BUYER AND WE ARE NOT HAPPY!!!

  30. kmedley says:

    Simple question. What happens if the numbers presented are not reality and this project does become the money pit feared by many? What’s then?

  31. BW says:

    It’s understandable that from a political standpoint you need to justify your vote, but it still doesn’t make it one many of us agree with. The biggest reason is that it’s very bad negotiation and leaves everyone with a lot of distrust over who is really benefiting and for good reason. The property was pruchased for around $750k and there is no need to buy it for $1.23M. You have a Sheriff and his wife both expereinced in negotiating in the commercial real estate world and they would never advise a client to make this purchase for this amount I guarantee you. Yet he is recommending County tax dollars get spent this way?

    Let the owner site on it and walk away, you know as well as anyone their acceptance level will come way way down. Where’s the demand on that property? Who else is looking at it? What other offers have come in?

    Bad decision all the way around. Boy, I made some bad voting decisions this past November.

  32. Boom in your face says:

    Meeker at leasts comes out and explains what brought him to this point. And he did his research as well and backed up his findings with facts. Unlike Dennis McDonald who is out of touch with reality and backs his statements without facts. And Meeker is bringing all the data forward for others to see and look at it themselves. There are plenty of other government officials who do not come out with anything for the public to see. Where are the others at where’s the one who voted against and why where’s his facts his reasons. Did he vote no just to make it interesting or is he afraid of something else. At least Mr. Meeker is not afraid to discuss the issues and others are for fear of loading votes. At least we know where he stands.

  33. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    What’s the whole fixation with the Bunnell Courthouse and now the Old Hospital? Okay the government services building is in that area I see that. Is the bigger picture really that the bigwigs behind the curtain of OZ are trying their hardest to figure out a way to carve little old Bunnell up into the next Palm Coast??? All that land and lake and waterfront property? Something bigger is hatching, slowly but it’s hatching.

  34. retired says:

    The value of any property is what any buyer is willing to pay.

  35. Anonymous says:

    BW, I totally agree with you, there were other options, smart business would have been to use the other options as leverage to negotiate the price down, it looks like they didn’t even bartered, give me a break already!!! BW, you weren’t the only one who voted for Frank, I did too and i’m still hoping he is the man he said he was and not some BS artist! Charlie is the only one with a set of balls on that commission, the rest may need to go!

  36. Dennis McDonald says:

    Frank you are the consummate politician with memory loss.

    1. Electric Tax 5/15/2012 Ord.# 12-603 YOU voted YES slam the residents.

    2.Old Kings Rd SAD.Jan. 2012 Resolution 08516 and 08560 YOU voted YES This was the action that took $8.1 from OUR Enterprise Utility Fund. Of that $ we will only see $2.56 M return in todays dollars. Nice one Frank
    3. CRA $ George Hanns said $1.2 million in your workshop a month back and he even said we should investigate closing it. YOU said Nothing ?

    4. The $500,000 missing from the hospital comparison sheet was in the purchase price that had $750 listed. Coffey apologized don’t you remember ? Frank stay on point here you Voted to spend OUR $$ to buy the hospital for $1.230,000 !

    5. This is a FDEP spill sight you did not sample retest before buying. Failing to do this is irresponsible ask any lawyer. Try Mr Hadeed he is your resource.

    6.Here is what I said about the AIA report @ workshop ” these assumptions are statements WITHOUT facts” News Flash Frank this AIA will never sign off on this building for wind. Why because there are NO PLANS and no true knowledge of what exits.

    7. Gardner uses mass appraisal which is very different from the two opinions of value we received. But the real discussion of value is $265K was paid for a clean frontage LOT with one acre by Dollar Stores.
    What we are buying is a Dirty frontage LOT with six acres mostly to the rear like a “flag lot”. Factoring in the added size is not a direct multiplier and the LIABILITY of this building and past FDEP problems is a huge MINUS. Any common sense person knows that the difference in value is not PLUS $1,000,000 !
    There are two points of contention One was is this the right place when we had a FREE 5Acre lot across from the county building. Two the price was just STUPID and a give away of TAXpayer $$. For ten years no one bought this property then the County goes to contract verifies the building in blighted disrepair and then NEVER argues the price ?
    This will be the first sale of a building in Flagler that is NOT Habitable that sold for the asking contract price. Why did you bother with due diligence ?
    Add to that TWO Commissioners that are local real estate Professionals who know better and WE the Taxpayers are Outraged.

  37. rthomp11 says:

    This is the way it’s done!!!

    “After purchasing the Boston Globe in 1993 for a then-record $1.1 billion, the financially troubled New York Times just announced that it sold the 141-year-old paper to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for a mere $70 million. That’s a straight 93% loss.”

    People take losses in business investments every day. Just because this transaction is being bought with taxpayer money doesn’t mean we need to pay for the seller loses that he would have made if the economy would have been better.

    This is a pay off for someone. The BOCC members that voted for this need to be voted out when their term is up. The County Administrator who pushed for this sale, Coffey needs to be replaced also. Unfortunately, the BOCC extended his contract until 2016!

    • Shocked, I tell you... says:

      rthomp11: The BOCC didn’t extend Coffey’s contract. Coffey did. He put it on the agenda under items that don’t have to be voted on. It was automatically renewed, a vote was never taken.

      We have two real estate professionals on the Commission and we have a Building Industry lobbyist on the City Council. The real estate professionals did a lousy job of due diligence on this deal. If it had been private, do doubt they would have been fired. This is not the first time Meeker has been involved in a deal of this sort, nor is it a first for McLaughlin.

      They don’t seem to understand who it is they work for.

      The lobbyist on the Council represents every builder in this county. He is in favor of a new City Hall. Chiumento just happens to have an empty building for sale in Town Center. See anything wrong with this, people?

      Why are those with conflicts not excusing themselves from these votes due to conflicts of interest? How are they getting on the Commission and the Council in the first place?

      Those with conflicts need to be voted off both legislative bodies.

  38. Ron says:

    I cannot wait to vote Frank Meeker OUT of office. He is guilty of incompetence.

  39. confidential says:

    Frank why did you agree to pay 1.23 million for that hospital when we have the Old Court House vacant and not being maintained? Why instead we didn’t fix the old court house? What is the reason to buy another contaminated, structural failing building? Why, because is bought with “other peoples money?”
    I think the 2 independent appraisals are bluffed, as we all know that our properties are half the value they were appraised since 2003 thru 2008, so are commercial properties specially decaying, neglected one’s like the old hospital. It is despicable the costly favoritism that takes place in this county and city that only generates increase in taxes and utilities fees to the residents and in favor of the local developers, /lawyer and bank elite and their lobbyist.
    If we were not enduring the current disastrous economy/high rate unemployment and government budget shortcuts demanding higher taxes on us…then most people won’t oppose these deals….BUT NOT NOW!

  40. Initialjoe says:

    I’m sad they aren’t doing something for the courthouse/Annex. It is a building that is part of Flagler County’s history and it should be preserved. What’s going on with it now?

  41. Frank J. Meeker says:

    I’m not actually sure why practically every communication from you that has my name associated with it either ends or starts with a personal attack. I don’t mind having to correct things now and then, but when all I’m doing is trying to give the public open and transparent information about how one commissioner goes about reaching decisions, I spend more of my time correcting you. On the last day my son and family are here to visit, I can think of better things to be doing. Being military, his visits are few and far between.
    As for your last series of comments. I don’t have bad memory loss. You have bad facts with a Chubby Checkers knack for doing the twist and spin with them.
    1) The way government works is for some issues, you take a onetime up or down vote. For others such as the electric tax, by state law you have to provide two readings of the proposal. The first reading is done to get the issue out there and on the table for the public to see what’s being contemplated by their elected officials. In order open up the discussion with the public, since you’re sitting there at a business meeting, you take a vote. Yes,…you’ve got me,….I voted to get the issue out there and on the table so the public could see what was being proposed. Then two weeks go by, the public contacts their elected officials and tells them what they think about it, and then you hold a second reading to make any needed changes, vote the issue through, or kill it. I lead the charge to kill it. I brought three other council members with me. The issue died 4-1. I’d think you should have given me a medal.
    2) The Old Kings Road Special Assessment District – Sorry, but as I said, that came before the Palm Coast City Council back in,… I want to say October of 2005. I didn’t come on council until 2007 to finish Jon Nett’s term as the District 2 representative. I served that term till 2009. In 2009, I ran unopposed until stepping down to complete the remaining two years of Milissa Holland’s term while she ran for the newly created Florida House Seat. The Old Kings Road SAD was a proposal negotiated by Oel Wingo, the assistant city manager, working with at that time Mr. Dick Kelton and the property owners who were expected to benefit from the four laning of the road. I believe the council would have been Canfield, Netts, Peterson, DeStefano and Carter. Meeker was on the Planning and Land Development Review Board back then. So it was probably workshopped (due to the complexity of the agreement, I would assume many times) and voted on well before I got there. The concept of the 2005 agreement was find a way to fund the 4 laning of Old Kings Road while having those that benefit pay for the improvements and it is common to create a special assessment district for that purpose. It has been done with the East Flagler County Mosquito District, the St. Johns River Water Management District, a number of 298 Drainage Districts and I believe there are other special districts throughout Flagler County. I don’t remember any of the particulars of that agreement because,….again, I wasn’t there. I was there however for a subsequent amendment in 2008 to the original agreement, but remember, by then this deal was already done without me voting on anything. That amendment, which I did vote on, did a couple of things:
    a. It changed the rural type cross section of the road to a hybrid urban cross section mainly using transportation impact fees, and
    b. Because the city didn’t have staff with the kind of expertise needed, we allowed the Town Center CDD to manage the construction of improvements, and
    c. We made some changes to the assessment methodology based on developable acres.
    There was another amendment in 2009 and I would have voted on that too. I’m pretty sure the Old Kings Road SAD was (is) responsible to pay back something under 7 million under that amendment which includes a utility interfund loan of I’m guessing around 5 million? Transportation impact fees paid the rest. The city was to be responsible for around 3 million but developer paid transportation impact fees made up the bulk of that. So the citizens basically got a ten million dollar project that in the end will have developers pay around 85% instead of the tax paying citizens of Palm Coast paying 100%. If you just ask the city staff for justification of those statements, I’m sure they can get if for you.
    3) When I ran for election to the County Commission, my platform was one of “knowledge and experience”, did my own research and stated the facts as best I knew them with no spin or “twist”. You specifically said on August 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm “we the taxpayers lost $1.2 million in revenue last year because of it” referring to the Town Center CRA. When I read your first response, I didn’t think the number was right and said on August 3, 2013 at 9:47 pm “And we didn’t lose 1.2 million on the Town Center CRA, we lost around 800-900 thousand. You’re adding up all the money the county has lost from CRAs I suspect but even 1.2 million seems high. I’ll have to look at the budget again (the numbers are in there) and I’ll provide you with a better one.” Now on August 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm you’re blaming Mr. Hanns for your number “CRA$ -George Hanns said $1.2 million in your workshop a month back and he even said we should investigate closing it. You said nothing?”.

    Look, if you’re going to quote something as fact, it’s not fair to try to blame Mr. Hanns for a number that he was just pulling off the top of his head. Do the homework first. I said I’d get you a better number so here are the facts:
    In the section of the 12/13 budget which summarizes all of the CRAs and their impacts (See the section on Tax Increment Financing) it shows the impact of the Flagler Beach CRA, the City of Palm Coast CRA, the Town of Marineland CRA and the City of Bunnell CRA. Their impact, referred to as a TIF Payment is Flagler Beach, $50,801, Palm Coast (which is the Town Center CRA) $856, 519, Town of Marineland, -$11,558, and Bunnell, -$171,968. Obviously Marineland and Bunnell are struggling with their CRAs.
    4) Yes, I know about the 500K$. That is how I concluded that when we start comparing apples to apples, the cost of four of the options all hovered around 6.5 million and started to consider other variable in deciding which way to vote. Now I could have done the smart thing. I could have voted as a savvy politician, the kind you accuse me of. I could have ducked down providing a political smoke and mirrors deal voting no because my read was there were three votes to say yes. That way, I wouldn’t give you anything to come after me on. Instead, I did a bunch of research, talked to many people, listened to advice from all, read from top to bottom all of the documents provided by staff and then voted based on my efforts. And then,…to let the public understand how I reached a conclusion on a very controversial issue, had the balls to place in writing everything I considered so the public could understand what kind of guy was sitting in that seat. I don’t recall seeing any other political figure having the guts to do the same thing either the one no or the three yes. That’s their choice but that’s not my way, so it’s time to back off and acknowledge that at least I’m trying to do something based on my view of conservatism that leads to making better decisions for all of Flagler County, not just pandering to special interest groups for their future vote.
    5) Your tense is wrong on number 5. There was a spill at the site, it had 23 wells tested for a number of years and was finally released from further monitoring and given a clean bill of health via a notice of no further action from the FDEP. This was all in the phase I study. If you have further concerns, the best guy I know to contact is Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., Secretary of the FDEP.
    6) I would think it would be the structural engineer that would sign off on this wind loading issue, not the AIA, but if you say the AIA won’t sign off, that’s good enough for me.
    7) Dollar store Schmaller Store who cares? The real issue is did staff negotiate the price down (you heard testimony from the staff this morning that they did negotiate down from the asking price of,…what was it 1.9 million?) and there were two appraisals done for the county analysis. The appraisals came in within 0.01 (1.49 million and 1.5 million) of each other and a third independent review of both appraisals concluded they were appropriately conducted using acceptable methods of review. I can’t help it their opinion differs from yours. I don’t care what Gardner’s site says as it has nothing to do with purchase price. You pay for something what you feel it is worth. The property appraiser’s information is interesting, but that’s about it.
    Now, we’re members of the same party, we share similar views of government and I think it’s time the past election is put behind us, and we join together to do positive things for Flagler County. I’m willing to give it a go if you are.
    And with that, I’m done explaining and will go back out and spoil my granddaughter with some ice cream before bed.
    Frank J. Meeker, C.E.P.
    Flagler Board of County Commissioners, District 2

    • Shocked, I tell you... says:

      I can’t speak to your dialogue with Dennis McDonald because it’s a level above my pay grade, but I would like to say that it is becoming apparent that every time a big developer is mentioned, your name is always in there somewhere. Just for once, I’d like to see it read, “fighting for his constituents”.

      You are the recipient of some big dollars from developers here and that’s a matter of public record.

      I don’t care what party hat you wear as neither is doing much to crow about, so let’s just put that one away, shall we? Let’s stick to the issues alone.

      In the next election you will be judged on your record. If I were you, I’d plan on cleaning it up a bit before then.

  42. Joe says:

    So more of the truth trickles out, at 1.9 million a common sense type of person would probably never even considered it an option in the first place. Wow, do these people amaze you or what? ” You pay for something what you feel it is worth.” if you are a private buyer using your own money this statement would be true, when using the hard working taxpayers money it is NOT! Maybe you can use this as your next campaign slogan, ” You pay for something what you feel it is worth.” When the seller invested in that property, just like every property buyer in Flagler county they assume some risk. It sat for years deteriorating with no maintenance or up keep of any kind except for an occasional mowing. MY name is Joe and I made a mistake in November!

  43. RNYPD says:

    I can’t help but think that a new building in Town Center would cost less. The developer would certainly be willing to “give up” the land in trade for some other impact fees.

  44. Dennis McDonald says:

    Frank we are direct opposites and your comment to me at the end of the CC meeting is one of the few items we will ever agree on … ” Mr McDonald just does not understand how Government works ” that’s right Frank I do not understand how Your government works !
    When I look back at your posts they always lack mention and understanding of $$ Money $$. Again I say this is Stupid Money for a $700,000 lot with a LIABILITY. Couple that with the fact that we have a 5 Ac county owned property [ FREE ] right across the street from the Court House, and it makes it Outrageous ! That is why I have been on your case You Voted 5/15/12 for the Electric Tax it failed round two when the ” Voters ” came out , You Voted for the first resolution of 2009 [yes Frank you were there] that approved the $8.1 Million removed from our “closed ” Utility Enterprise Fund, You have no more fiscal sense than Netts or Landon your former partners in ‘your” form of government.. Yes I go after you because there is no difference between the three of you and you prove it mostly every meeting.
    Now as for being of the same party yes we both registered the same but I can tell you that most Republicans do not agree with your positions and none of us agree with your Wasting of our tax dollars. You Flushed $1.23 million last Thursday and Nate read the room and followed Your lead.
    Another difference Frank , I like being short…..on paper that is.

  45. Flaglerresident says:

    Mr. Meeker,

    I have one question? With this being a hospital, is there any issue with radiation from the x-ray machines in the building? Do you know this answer by any chance, and has this been looked into? If there is radiation present, what type, how much, and what is the cost for mitigating this?

    By the way, I strongly commend you writing an editorial with full explanation of why you voted the way you voted. You must be commended for this as this is very taxing on an individual’s time. It took me over an hour to weed through all the comments (relevant or otherwise) and then for you to respond to each person on this blog, again is commendable.

    You and I have met in the past under very unfavorable circumstances, however, I commend you for doing this. I cannot say I have an opinion, educated or otherwise, on this as of yet, but regardless of my decision on this topic, I believe you took the time to educate yourself on this specific topic and make an educated decision.

    To the respondents on this blog: I have to ask, what other elected official is going to respond to your questions, comments, or obscenities as he has done over the course of several days? And even be kind enough to respond to topics of his past?

    Thank you Frank for your time on this matter and all for that matter.

  46. John Galt says says:

    This sounds like what Washington is doing to We The People. Transparancy. Do any of them know what that word means? PEOPLE you all voted got these commissioners. The only Honest one that is working for us is Charlie Erickson.

  47. Boom in your face says:

    Commissioner Meeker thank you for taking the time to respond and explain the I for Atkins in detail as well as respond to those on here. Beware the trolls.

  48. Frank J. Meeker says:

    Flagler Resident

    Thanks for the comments. I’m going from memory on this one, but I believe the consultant said the lead linings, along with any copper, aluminum or other metals of value that may have been left behind, have been stripped by thieves.

    Frank J. Meeker, C.E.P.
    Flagler County BOCC, District 2

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