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Word on the Street: Palm Coast Data Adding 100+ Jobs

| August 6, 2010

The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce is telling some of its members that Palm Coast Data, the city’s largest private employer, is adding some 100 jobs over the next few weeks. The jobs are mostly low-wage, customer-service type positions rather than jobs in $30,000 range the company projected when, in exchange for jobs in that pay range, it worked out a deal worth $400,000 in tax breaks with Palm Coast in late 2008.

Some of the jobs would make-up for lay-offs at the company over the past year. Palm Coast Data’s parent companies, Kable Media Services and Amrep Corp., have been bleeding revenue and subscription-fulfillment customers since 2009 and borrowing money.

The Flagler chamber plans to make a splashier announcement of the job gains as a way to buttress its arguments in support of an “economic development” tax it is lobbying for through Enterprise Flagler, the private-public economic development partnership. Despite being bankrolled by tax dollars and private companies, Enterprise Flagler’s achievements have been slim, and frequently inflated.

The connection between Palm Coast Data jobs and either the chamber or Enterprise Flagler, for example, is more nominal than substantial.

In 2008, Palm Coast Data consolidated its operations in Palm Coast, closing similar operations in Ohio, Illinois and Colorado. Evidence that Palm Coast Data was considering consolidation in any other state was never presented, and none of the communities with Kable operations outside of Florida reported any activity, prior to Kable plants there shutting down, that suggested they were in contention for attracting Kable’s consolidated operations.

Palm Coast’s city government, the county government and Enterprise Flagler all took credit for convincing the company to stay in town. In so far as local seductions affected the deal, the city government, however, and particularly Ira Corliss, the city’s economic development coordinator at the time (he has since left), City Manager Jim Landon and the material incentives they put in play clearly played the larger role. The city immediately ceded Palm Coast’s former city hall, a 70,000-square-foot facility on Commerce Boulevard, to the company in exchange for a $240,000-a-year lease. The company bought the building for $3 million in April 2009.

The “economic development” tax is gaining little support, even among the business community. The connection with Enterprise Flagler isn’t helping, as respondents in chamber focus groups have wondered aloud about what Enterprise Flagler is, or–as even elected officials wonder more privately than publicly–what it does. By tying new jobs at Palm Coast Data to an Enterprise Flagler success, the chamber–which pulls most strings at the economic development agency and signs off on its strategy–hopes to counter criticism that the agency is either ineffective or poorly positioned to champion the “economic development” tax.

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10 Responses for “Word on the Street: Palm Coast Data Adding 100+ Jobs”

  1. Jan says:

    Enterprise Flagler’s achievements are slim because they were never properly utilized way back when government had a few bucks to do deals. EF brought projects to the table and government declined.
    The Palm Coast Data deal was as much to keep the jobs already here as to add new ones.

  2. Neko says:

    This all stinks. There loosing publications, yet their hiring? Air & Space is gone, Smithsonian is next & some smaller ones have just shut down. Their most probably hiring part time for the holiday season


    IT’S all smoke and mirrors…they are still downsizing…no new jobs…less jobs!

  4. Sal Pilchard says:

    It is hard to believe The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, they have lost all creditability with the public. There true concerns are always self serving and they toot their own horn loudly for much about anything. What has they done for Flagler County?

    Time for a new president at the Chamber and time to return Flagler County to the people and remove it from the benefit of corporate interest. We still have a ” to have and to have not” mentality in the Chamber. They are wrecking our community with sprawl and cheap faux construction.

    The Chamber thinks not what is best for this community.

  5. Dixie says:

    I agree with Sal. Time for a new chamber president. The current one has charmed his way along with his aussie accent and has not done too much at all. He’s so full of it, going on about how FC is such a great place to move to. I suppose it is if you retired well. We have the highest unemployment rate in the whole state & forclosures are through the roof. Ya better be rich or very comfortable if ya want to move here.

  6. The truth is: says:

    to Mr. Pilchard, first of all, it was difficult to understand what you are trying to say as your writing is that of a 10 year old. Secondly, I moved into this community years ago and didn’t know anything about the Chamber. In the past few years I have seen the Chamber, it’s staff and President bring the Chamber from a good ole boys club to a thriving, caring, exciting organization in this community. Not only are they constantly working hard for the business community but also for the people of Flagler County, helping students, underprivileged families and more.

    to Dixie, the President of the Chamber is not only charming, he is also passionate about what he is doing and cares about the business community and the people of Flagler County. It’s good that people like you with your negative attitudes aren’t in charge or it really would be a lousy place to live. Yes, unemployment is up as are forclosures, what are you doing Dixie to try and help? I would imaginge a lot of complaining and nothing else…..

  7. Anonymous says:

    this is a joke. they have been laying off people and rehiring people at lower salaries and moving more of the c/s jobs over to India. yet this joke of a company can always find a way to hire more executives or executives family at the higher salaries. whoever was responsible for striking this deal with the company and not keeping tabs on them should be fired for total incompetence.

  8. Sal Pilchard says:

    Well “The Truth Is”, I am 10 years old and at lease I have a name. And I really don’t care how long you have lived here. So, “Truth” , the facts speak for themselves – The Chamber is a failure, you are in love in with the thought that something has changed.

  9. whyowhy says:

    Each year all fulfillment companies hire temporary staff to accomodate the influx of holiday order their clients receive. These 100 plus jobs are the result of that standard practice and not the jobs promised in the Flagler County agreement. The article above states that Amrep and its Company Kable were bleeding revenue since 2009. Amrep is a realestate company primarily and has suffered in the economic downturn like other real estate companies. Kable Company has lost a great deal of its clients (rumored to be almost 50%) due to the anouncement that their business would be moved to FL. Unfortunately, some of Palm Coasts long time clients have also left the company. If a count of publications that this company is handling were counted it would reveal that Palm Coast is no larger now than it was before this proposed merger. If the company itself is no larger or insignifigantly larger why and how can it add the 700 jobs it agreed to?

  10. audrapcd says:

    what i hear is that after jan 1st they are going to be laying off full time employees, when the doors close sometime soon, that means no severence pay and/ or your vacation pay if you have any.

    so for some that is many years of service. they do not let us know what is going on other than the colorado people coming in and making more than anyone here.

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