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Tuesday Briefing: Belle Terre Swim Club’s Fate, Palm Coast Attorney’s Raise, Flagler Beach Interviews

| October 20, 2015

florida forest service wildfires

The Florida Forest Service sent a crew of 16 to fight wildfires in California. See below. (Forest Service)

Today: high in upper-70s, low in upper-60s. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is low. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 305.
Today’s tides: at the beaches, at the Intracoastal Waterway.
Today’s document from the National Archives.
The OED’s Word of the Day: maril, n..
The Live Community Calendar
Today’s jail bookings.

Today’s Briefing: Quick Links

In Flagler and Palm Coast:

Note: all government meetings noticed below are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. Many can be heard or seen live through each agency’s website.

palm coast city logoThe Palm Coast City Council meets at 9 a.m. at the Palm Coast Community Center on Palm Coast Parkway. Among the items slated for likely approval: a resolution opposing utilities’ attempt to shift the cost of moving utility lines to local governments in many circumstances, the purchase of two fire trucks, approval of eight cultural arts grants for the coming year, and a significant raise for city attorney services: a 15 percent raise in the retainer, and a 16.7 percent raise in the hourly billing fee. The full agenda is here.

flagler county schoolsThe Flagler County School Board meets in workshop at 5 p.m. and for a business meeting at 6 p.m. in board chambers at the Government Services Building. The 5 p.m. workshop consists of one item: the fate of the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club, with two organizations vying to take it over. The item will also be voted on during the 6 p.m. meeting, whatever the board decides. Other items include a presentation and approval on an independent audit of the Flagler Auditorium and on individual schools’ internal accounts.

See Also:

flagler beach city commission logoThe Flagler Beach City Commission meets in special session this evening at 5:15 p.m. to interview one of the candidates for the city manager’s job: Andrew DeCandis, currently the executive director of Clay County Transit and Clay County Council on Aging. See his application here and his previous application, when he was seeking the Bunnell city manager’s job, here.

The Bunnell Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board meets at 7 p.m. at Bunnell City Hall, 201 West Moody Blvd., to review two items. The agenda is here.

Local News Recap:

Conflict Concerns Raised Over Tourism’s Matt Dunn Moonlighting at His Own Agency: The Flagler County Commission Monday evening voted unanimously to formalize the take-over of the $2 million tourism operations from the Flagler Chamber of Commerce, which were paid for with public dollars channeled through the county anyway. But commissioners raised concerns about a private sports management company tourism chief Matt Dunn continues to own and operate, and that parallels—and could potentially intersect—many of his responsibilities as a county employee.

County Administrator’s and Attorney’s Contracts May Renew Through 2019 Without Discussion: Commissioner Charlie Ericksen at the end of Monday evening’s meeting brought up the contract issue and made a motion to delay its extension until the administrator’s evaluations were completed in November. But each commissioner in turn then spoke in defense of Coffey and against delaying the renewal.

cops body cams

A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy’s body cam. (c FlaglerLive)

Flagler County sheriff extols use of body cameras as use-of-force complaints plummet in Flagler in first full year of use: Complaints are down about 40 percent so far this year. “Records show the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office received 38 use-of-force complaints through the first nine months of this year. Last year, there were 85 such complaints; 70 were filed in 2013,” the News Journal’s Matt Bruce reports. “The numbers are based on data compiled by Chief Deputy Jeff Hoffman, who tracks and reviews complaints to the agency. The stats have not been confirmed by any state or federal agencies, officials noted.”

Regulators Again Approve Billing FPL Customers For Unbuilt, Unlicensed Nuke Plants: Monday’s approval by the Florida Public Service Commission, made with little comment, is expected to amount to about 34 cents on a typical residential customer’s monthly bill next year.

Citing Abuse, Cigna Pulls Out of Florida Health Marketplace, Affecting 30,000 Clients: Those who receive coverage from Cigna through Medicare or a group plan through an employer or union are not affected. The decision applies to 2016 plans for individuals and families that would have been available through the federal exchange at beginning Nov. 1.

In State Government:

Note: Most proceedings below can be followed live on the Florida Channel.

Fruit flies and oil spills: The Senate Agriculture Committee will hear presentations on a series of issues, including efforts to eradicate Oriental fruit flies in South Florida and an update about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (9 a.m.)

Open carry: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will take up a bill (SB 300), filed by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms. (9 a.m.)

Tax cuts: The Senate Finance and Tax Committee will consider three proposals, filed by Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, to cut taxes. They are a proposal (SB 76) to increase a corporate-income tax exemption; a proposal (SB 116) to reduce a tax on commercial real-estate leases; and a proposal (SB 198) to hold a back-to-school “sales tax holiday” next year. (9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Guns on campus: The Senate Higher Education Committee will take up a proposal (SB 68), filed by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms on college and university campuses. (9 a.m.)

Needle exchange: The House Health Quality Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 81), filed by Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, that would create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County to try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. (9 a.m.)

The Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, which was created this year by Gov. Rick Scott to look at issues in the health-care industry, will continue a series of meetings. (9 a.m.)

–Compiled by the News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

In Coming Days in Palm Coast and Flagler:

Click on the links for more details:

  • Starting Oct. 16: 14th Annual October Scare Haunted House to benefit Flagler Habitat, October 16, 17, 18 October 23, 24, 25 and 29, 30 – Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday & Friday, Saturday evenings, 6 to 9 p.m., Atlantis Industrial and Business Park, UNIT 80, 2323 N. State Street, Bunnell.
  • Oct. 21: Sea Turtle Hospital Grand Opening at Whitney Laboratory 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd, St. Augustine, 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 27: NAACP meeting, Jim Troiano of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will make a presentation on body cameras. Health Chairman Orjanette Bryant shared that Director Terri Belletto will discuss matters concerning the Flagler County Free Clinic. A question and answer session will follow each presentation. For further details, contact the NAACP at 386-446-7822. 6 p.m., at the African American Cultural Society, 4422 U.S. 1 North, Palm Coast.
  • Oct. 30: Come join the Halloween fun at the Friday, October 30, Candlelight Trail Walk at Bulow Plantation Ruins, 3501 Old King’s Road, Flagler Beach. The event is sponsored by the Bulow Parks Historic Alliance. It begins at 5 p.m. and features children’s games, a costume contest, living history re-enactors and lots of family fun. $5 donation per vehicle. For information call 386-437-5338.


PR Releases:

Click on the link for more details.

Palm Coast Utility Billing Switches to Paymentus

Florida Forest Service Sends Crews to Battle Texas Wildfire: Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that the Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is sending 16 wildland firefighters to assist wildfire suppression efforts on the Hidden Pines Fire in Bastrop County, Texas. The fire has burned more than 4,300 acres, destroying nine homes and threatening hundreds more. “Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters are an elite group of selfless public servants committed to the protection of life, property and natural resources. This commitment extends beyond Florida’s borders as we work to provide support to our partners across the country,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. Today, 16 Florida Forest Service wildland firefighters from North Florida will join other firefighters in Texas, where they will use a range of firefighting equipment, including bulldozers, to contain the wildfire by creating a fire break or fire line around the fire perimeter. The Hidden Pines Fire is currently only 25-percent contained. “Thanks to sustained low to moderate wildfire danger levels in Florida, we have been able to continue to assist our partners in other states,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “In doing so, our wildland firefighters build upon their skills and expertise in preparation for when Florida’s wildfire activity hits its peak in the spring.” So far this year, the Florida Forest Service has sent nearly 550 firefighters and personnel to assist wildfire suppression and management efforts in 11 other states. The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. Learn more about Florida Forest Service programs.

In the Press, In the News:

Fact-Checking the Knaves:

Palm Coast Construction and Development Progress Reports

The following is an update of ongoing construction and development projects in Palm Coast, through Oct. 14:

Palm Coast Parkway Six-Laning is 95 percent done: Work in median continues and landscape along project continues. Traffic Signal loop installation continues.

Holland Park, 35 percent done: Dewatering of wetland area continues. 92% of roadway thru wetland has been excavated and is being backfilled. Installation of storm structures and piping continues under roadway thru former wetland. Electrical trenching and conduit installation continues.

Palm Coast City Hall at Town Center, 99 percent done: Project is substantially completed.

Old Kings Road Force Main, 40 percent done: Connections of the directional and direct bury pipe continues.

County’s I-95 Interchange Matanzas Woods Reclaim Water, 76 percent done: 16″ direct bury pipe has been staged for installation on the west side of the northwest ramp.

Palm Harbor Parkway Roadway Extension, 26 percent done: De-mucking continues thru wet areas for new roadway.

North Old Kings Road Extension to Matanzas Woods Parkway: City did not update.

Island Walk Shopping Center Phase 1, 95 percent done: Last 1500 gallon Grease Interceptor was installed. The Utility Final was completed for Publix 10-13-15.

Road and Interstate Construction:


Cultural Coda:

Beethoven String Quartet Op.59 No.1, “Razumovsky,” with Matthew Vera (violin), Michael Rau (violin), David Mason (viola) and Marza Wilks (cello)


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