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Sneak Preview of Enterprise Flagler’s Economic Tax “Game Plan”: More Details, More Questions

| August 26, 2010

enterprise flagler new game plan economic development tax

Enterprise Flagler thought of it first. (© FlaglerLive)

Long on sports analogies and no longer quite as short on details, Enterprise Flagler unveiled its tax-referendum marketing campaign strategy to the Enterprise board Wednesday afternoon, a week ahead of the public unveiling.

The plan seeks to convince voters to approve a referendum on the November ballot that would raise the property tax by 25 cents per $1,000 (or $25 a year for a house valued at $150,000, with a $50,000 homestead exemption) for 10 years. It would do so now not just despite, but because of the poor economy. The revenue, less than $2 million a year at today’s valuations, would finance the kind of infrastructure—large industrial buildings, for example—that would make Flagler more attractive for new, relocating or expanding companies. The county’s largest such building is about 20,000 square feet. According to Enterprise Flagler, a partnership between government agencies and private firms, several companies interested in relocating here bailed when a building of at least 50,000 square feet couldn’t be part of their incentive package.

Themed around a few catch phrases that portray Flagler as an economic development laggard that needs a Mike Ditka moment—“Flagler’s New Game Plan,” “Flagler Has Been Sitting On the Bench Long Enough,” “Get Flagler Back In the Game”—the plan begins to fill in the blanks that have bedeviled the proposal since Enterprise Flagler, with the Chamber of Commerce’s backing, announced it in mid-May. While the County Commission agreed to place the proposal on the November ballot, most elected officials, when queried about it privately (and, increasingly, publicly and caustically) have been displeased with the plan’s vagueness.

The plan is still unclear on many counts (though what political campaign isn’t?), but less so. It says nothing, for example, about how a significant new source of government revenue will be administered and by whom (the county commission will be responsible for building that unspoken infrastructure). “Somebody’s going to be doing the leg work and getting the packages out there and meeting with site selectors and all this stuff,” Barbara Revels, a county commissioner and a member of Enterprise Flagler, said. “I just think that we need to be very careful that we’re not telling the public that there’s no administration money in this, in the event government partners fail to fund administration.”

The plan does not define “economic development,” leaving open to interpretation many uses of public money; it does not say where new buildings would be located—a potentially thorny question that raises issues of ownership between, say, Palm Coast and the county. It promises to pay attention to existing businesses too, but doesn’t say how, or whether local, struggling businesses—which abound—would benefit.

But the plan is still, despite the late date (just over two months from the election) a work in progress. “We are 99 percent done,” Michael Chiumento III, an attorney and Enterprise Flagler’s point man on the initiative, told the board.

Here’s what the plan does say that hasn’t been said before:

  • The goal is to create 1,000 new jobs by 2015 and 2,500 new jobs by 2021, at wages higher than the county’s median wage. The plan doesn’t specify whether these would be straight or net job gains in the county or jobs resulting directly from the initiative.
  • Residential tax revenue accounts for 86 percent of all county and city tax revenue at the moment. The initiative’s goal, even more ambitious than its jobs goal, is to reduce that burden to 75 percent by 2016, with industrial and commercial development picking up the difference, and by 70 percent by 2020. The plan doesn’t explain how that would be achieved in light of the relatively modest amount of money it will have at its disposal, and in light of Palm Coast’s approval this month and next of two giant developments to the west of the city that would add more than 10,000 homes over the next two decades. Those developments also include large tracts of industrial and commercial space.
  • A “commerce park” would begin construction by April 2011, even though the money generated by the tax wouldn’t start accumulating until 2012. The commerce park’s priority would be a 50,000 square foot building with 25-foot ceilings. The leading candidate for that commerce park is the county airport, though Palm Coast, which has aspirations for a commerce park of its own, will have something to say about that. Both parks might be used as examples of eventual development in the campaign.
  • Targeted industries would include technology and research-related businesses in aviation, medicine, new energy and other “growth fields.”
  • Enterprise Flagler would partner with the local school district, Daytona State College and the state’s workforce initiatives to develop job-training programs that would meet needs of locakl employers. That implies spending some of the initiative’s money on education programs, though that’s not specified in the way the money would be allocated.

“Just like a company would do it against goals,” said Prosperity Bank’s Garry Lubi, an Enterprise Flagler member who, with attorney Michael Chiumento III, had a leading hand in developing the initiative. “And if you’re on target, great, you celebrate and you recognize it. If you’re not on target, you state why, and what are you going to do to close that gap or correct that issue for the future.”

Beyond the plan’s goals and parameters, the Enterprise Flagler board got a preview of the mechanics of the tax-referendum campaign. Enterprise Flagler is unveiling a web site ( to go along with its already-unveiled Facebook page. The site won’t be live until Sept. 2, but previewed pages include a list of Enterprise Flagler’s “wins and losses,” a “game plan” page, “why vote ‘yes,’” and a “join the team” page which will enable readers to add their name to the support list, where Chiumento wants to see 5,000 to 6,000 names there.

There’ll also be brochures, fliers, yard signs—the usual campaign-inducing paraphernalia. The web site will include a long list of “Frequently Asked Questions” that aim to diffuse criticism of the plan.

Example: “I’m retired and on fixed income, why would I vote for this?” Answer: “The economic downturn affects everyone. Retirees are no exception. All residents feel the effects in a downturn when abandoned homes and uncut lawns lower home values.” The answer goes on to mix the pragmatic with the patronizing: a tax burden disproportionately affecting residents “dramatically” affects those on fixed income, and “most importantly, our retirees are stewards of our community. They have the wisdom and life experience to see the value of investing both near-term and in the future.” (The answer is an unconvincing attempt to soften the tea party movement, a principal obstacle to the referendum, whose members show little desire to invest in anything but themselves.)

The plan still needs tweaking before it’s publicized in earnest next week, then officially “rolled out” at the Flagler Auditorium on Sept. 9. For example, brochures and web pages include the logos of the county commission and the Flagler Home Builders Association, neither of which have endorsed the plan. The commission merely put the referendum on the ballot. The home builders’ association heard the plans pitch at one of its board meetings, but refrained from endorsing it and asked for more information. That information—presumably, the plan presented Wednesday—will be submitted to the home builders at their next board meeting on Sept. 21, though by then the campaign literature will have long been printed. Enterprise Flagler has won the endorsement of the county’s Realtors association, and will hold periodic community meetings about the plan there.

“Basically,” Lubi said, “this was really speaking to the feedback we were getting throughout the community about making sure that we were holding ourselves accountable, transparency, as well as building in solid metrics that would measure our successes against as well as strategically plan to close gaps as we go along.”

Transparency hasn’t been Enterprise Flagler’s strength. The one-hour meeting of Enterprise Flagler was called at the behest of members to parse through the referendum plan, as most members said they didn’t have something to go on if questioned about it.

Just before the meeting, Chiumento attempted to exclude this FlaglerLive reporter from the meeting, terming it an “executive session.”

As a private-public economic development agency, Enterprise Flagler may close its meetings when discussing private companies prospecting in the county. It may not do so otherwise, since it’s bankrolled mostly by public money (the agency gets just $60,000 of its $300,000 from its private members; the rest is contributed by Palm Coast and the county, with Bunnell and Flagler Beach pitching in a few dollars to have a place at the table). Chiumento disagrees, saying the agency has authority to close its meetings because its dues are driven by private membership.

The reporter would not leave absent clearly stated legal authority by Enterprise Flagler to close the meeting. After a brief stand-off, Netts, the Palm Coast mayor, intervened, terming himself “uncomfortable” at the notion of a closed meeting—a meeting called to discuss a public issue. “I didn’t hear a vote,” Netts said about closing the meeting. Flagler Beach Commissioner Jane Mealy agreed. And with that, the meeting was left open.

County Commissioner Milissa Holland, who had been in attendance as an observer at the beginning of the meeting and was asked to leave, ostensibly to make it possible for the reporter to be asked to leave as well, was invited back in once the issue was resolved a few minutes later. Holland had obviously not gone far.

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29 Responses for “Sneak Preview of Enterprise Flagler’s Economic Tax “Game Plan”: More Details, More Questions”

  1. JoeMM says:

    I don’t like the sound of this, closed meetings are very shady business!!!

  2. Edwards says:

    Just got my tax notice today. My taxes are up, home is worth less. No way I am going to vote for any tax increase. Just BS.

  3. Chris says:

    Sounds like a great plan to use our money to make others rich. Geez, I should have stayed in Orange County. I will never ever suggest to anyone to move to Palm Coast. Lets just hope our general public vote NO in November

  4. Gary D says:

    Okay guys lets just say no to everything and wait for the real estate market to come back. That sounds like a great plan! But wait maybe you are one of the baby boomers or tea partiers that already has their retirement and doesn’t care about anyone else.

    Chris, yeah tell your friends to stay in Orange County where there taxes are 34% higher and they can spend their afternoons in gridlock. Some friend you are.

  5. Romero says:

    You scare them (govt. folk and business leaders), that means you’re doing a good job Pierre, I would assume this wasn’t the first meeting they tried to exclude you from and certainly not the last. Keeping being the thorn in their sides!

  6. Jim says:

    Do any of you realize that Enterprise Flagler’s board of directors is comprised of tax hating conservative and Republicans, it seems pretty damn hypocritical to me, but Republicans love corporate welfare, steal from the poor and give to the rich. Conservatives can suck it!

  7. Lisa G says:

    I’m okay with corporate welfare it’s the Republican way, the middle class burden acts as a great stair step when getting in my gas guzzling SUV.

  8. Bob K says:

    I can’t blame people for being a little skeptical; what has Enterprise Flagler accomplished in the last ten years? Oh, I almost forgot about the Pasavia Group that they brought down from New York. They actually offered to take the airport from the county, FOR FREE, and then rent it back to them. They gave the county 24 hours to accept their “generous” offer. I’m not against the idea, but I want to see some concrete plans that will ensure we’re not just paying executives with taxroll money.

  9. David says:

    I’m surprised that Tom Lawrence and his Tea Party aren’t protesting this referendum. Oh that’s right he serves on the Chamber’s board of directors who happens to support Enterprise Flagler. This good ole boy network has got to go!

  10. Charlie says:

    Why don’t you all wait till all the information comes out to make a decision..I haven’t heard one suggestion from anyone of you, on how to get the County back to work! Most companies, when they are looking for a new or additional location, want to keep it quiet for the sake of existing employees. Just what would you do, if your employer announced, they were looking for a new location. ? Would that keep you working? No new jobs here means new increased taxes every year. New jobs, would sell some of the foreclosures out there. 5,400 Flagler residents out of work now. I agree with a few of you. We need to define, just how the flow is, from prospective employers, to County administration approval/denial. This needs to be non-political, and a community effort, or we will be left out. Right now, Flagler County, is immediately disqualified , from 80% of the referrals from The State of Florida Economic Development leads, due to no buildings to house prospective new employers. If you like how it is now, don’t do anything. and we all suffer.. Now, Let’s use a political solution, and “Let’s Get to Work” and solve our unemployment and Tax problems.

  11. PC Dad says:

    So it’s $20 million for 2,500 new jobs?

    Chralie, you want a plan? How about this: Why not offer tax credits for each new job created and have the company invest it’s own money in the brick and mortar. That way the company creates it’s own incentives to create more jobs and entice other companies to come to Flagler.

    Instead we the Flagler citizen taxpayers are being asked to subsidize these companies to move here with no incentive to stay, create any long term jobs or create a long term business. What happens when these companies come here and go belly-up after six months or a year? We get an empty shell of a building.

    This tax increase is WRONG for the Flagler citizen taxpayer.

  12. Chris says:

    The goal is to create 1,000 new jobs by 2015. So what are the unemployed to do now? Cemex just closed their Bunnell plant…that’s about another 17 people unemployed. Many people from Palm Coast are having to drive to Orlando or Daytona Beach for work now. Lets face it Palm Coast originally wanted this area to be a “Bed & Breakfast” area, retirement people only. Now their scrambling . So, we give more money to Enterprise Flagler, who in the past has NEVER been held accountable on how they spend our money. As far as people even buying forclosed homes, forget it, why would they if they can buy or build a new home? As for me, I was born & raised in Orange County 40+ years until I moved here. Yes, Orange County has they’re fair share of problems, but this county is a whole different barrel of monkeys! I would go back in a heart beat, but my home is worthless.

  13. John says:

    Here’s the catch phrase: “more bad business decisions from the governmental authorties who have been bringing you bad business decisions.” Here’s a simple idea to improve the climate of the county’s business environment: waive impact fees, fund infrastructure for new facilities and provide free job training to the community suited to prospective employers. Let private business build their own buildings. Flagler County is not even LISTED on the website for the State of Florida Economic Development ( and that’s got nothing a lack of buildings. Maybe we should start there. Raising taxes is the first place that bad politicians run for a solution, as if more government money would bring about a miracle – it will not. Build your small business community. And my biggest suggestion to improve the business climate in Flagler: stop running to the same people who have failed to provide answers to the old problems, and start including the local talent that is available but effectively squelched in this small system of ours.

  14. silent says:

    Say no to this tax.

    This is one of those “trust me” requests – if this was such a good idea why are they waiting until now to develope a plan.


  15. NOT OUT OF THE WOODS says:

    let’s really look at their track record over the years…..taxpayers dollars vs value……why on earth should we spent more money when in all of the years of their operations we really haven’t rec’d much of a real payback…lets stop kinding ourselves……….go back to the drawing board……there has to be a gazillion companies up north that would love to get away from the cold and high taxes and move to PALM COAST….THEIR SINGLE EFFORT & JOB IS TO GO FIND THEM AND GET THEM TO RELOCATE HERE !!!!

  16. Palm Coast Boomtown 1987 says:

    Welcome to the BOOMTOWN
    We continue now at a relaxing pace through the middle of a boomtown. One sure sign of a solid future is the arrival of new businesses today. And signs of these progressive times are everywhere Wal Mart, Kentucky Fried chicken and Lil’ Champ stores, all coming soon; Shell Food Mart and Sun medical services ; a new shopping center, west of I -95 now under construction; new companies at three industrial parks. With all this activity come jobs, a more diverse and balanced economy, more services close to home, a strong foundation for future growth, and perhaps nicest of all…the advantages of a boomtown minus the headaches. Namely, long lines of traffic; huge trucks on neighborhood streets; split-session schools. You won’t find these in Palm Coast. As the community grows, gaining momentum with each passing year, the wisdom and foresight of long-range planning become apparent. Local residents and business leaders are committed to wise growth management and high community standards. The future holds promise instead of problems. Not every boomtown can say that.
    NEW INDUSTRY: Di-Bar Electronic Products, Inc. manufacture of cellular phones
    Climatrol, Inc. manufacture/installation of pool/patio enclosures
    Lightning Performance Products, Inc. design and manufacture of high performance racing boat engines
    Transformation Electronics Corp. manufacture of calculator components
    CEAG Electric Corp. manufacture of power supply equipment.
    The Palm Coaster Spring 1987 p. 10.

  17. Palm Coast 1984 says:

    Palm Coast Industrial Sites:

    Pine Lakes Industrial Park: a 70 acre prestige part bordered by U.S. Highway 1, Berke Parkway and St. Joe Road. Current Tenants: The Wittemann Company, Inc. ( 61,000 sq ft. headquarters and plant); Cardiac Control Systems, Inc., ( 30,000 sq foot facility) and Racal Decca Marine ( 33,000 sq foot facility) Still available are sites ranging from 3,65 acres to 5 acres or combinations thereof.

    Palm Coast Industrial Park: A 90 acre park bordering U.S. 1 and served by the main line of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Current tenants: Classic Lighting Corporation, Culbertson Plastics, Inc. ( opening summer, 1984), Mike Morello, Inc. Tradex Electronics, Inc. Still available are sites ranging from under an acre to 50 acres, or combinations thereof. Also industrial space in a multi-tenant building.

    Both Industrial parks are two miles from I-95 which is served by nine major motor carrier lines.

    Lehigh Industrial Site: A prime location on State Highway 100 offering existing space for administrative, manufacturing and warehouse distribution needs. Current tenants: Semor, Inc. and Bear Paw Mining, Inc. Offers shipping access to the Intracoastal Waterway. ITT-CDC will work with the company on renovation of existing facilities. Site is approximately four miles from Interstate 95/S.R. 1000 interchange.

    Flagler County Airport Site: Located on State Highway 100 adjacent to the Flagler County Airport, a non-commercial facility with a 5,000 foot runway and company place storage facilities. No tenants, ideal for aviation-related industry. Site is approximately 3 miles from Interstate 95.

    The Palm Coaster, Spring 1984, p. 17.

  18. Meanwhile on the links... says:

    The Designer Dedicates Matanzas
    Arnold Palmer came to town Wednesday, November 12, and as usual, attracted an army. He cracked the traditional club against the side of the Matanzas Woods Golf Clubs’ new clubhouse just as he had done to dedicate Pink Lakes Country Club five years earlier. Then he teed off with 120 fellow golfers – among them local leaders, state legislators, business people and co-desidner Ed Seay – in an invitational tourney. The day ended with a reception for members and golfers on the driving range, and then Arnie was off by helicopter, flying low over the crowd.

    “Florida’s next great golf course,” in the words of Golfweek magazine, is now officially christened by the golf legend who designed it.

    The Palm Coaster, Spring 1987 p. 14.

  19. The State of Palm Coast 1987 says:

    The State of Palm Coast
    On February 4, 1987, ITT Community Development Corporation President Jim Gardner delivered his State of Palm Coast address to the Palm Coast Civic Association. He reported ‘nothing but good news,’ and included in that category were challenges ahead for ITT CDC and local citizens. Here are excerpts:
    ‘The taxable value of the Palm Coast Service District has increased almost 600 percent since 1980, from 102 million to 566 million at the end of 1986. During that time the population increased from about 4,500 to almost 10,000 today. In other words, while the population has doubled, the assessed value for tax purposes has increased almost six times. Economic growth is the primary reason…bringing in more tax revenues without additional burden on residents…
    Palm Coast emerging personality is a combination of our company activity and the strong, ongoing commitment of residents and local government…Palm Coast has matured to the stage where responsibilities for public services are being picked up by the public- a sign of a healthy, progressive community…
    For years, CDC was the only game in town. That isn’t true anymore. We have a good balance here now…industry, recreation, outside businesses coming in, healthy competition in the marketplace, government facilities, public services, schools, activities and residents who are making a difference. We remain the major catalyst, but our involvement in the running of this community is demising , as Palm Coast residents move toward self-government and self-reliance…
    Palm Coast citizens are moving ahead on many fronts…
    The quality of our school system, the physical plant, the instructional staff, are all expanding because of the citizens perceived the need and were willing to meet it:
    A group of citizens bucked the many obstacles and went doggedly ahead to create from their own pockets and sweat a new rifle and archery range available to the public;
    The Service District Advisory council, the fire department and county staff are engaged with us in a program to establish a new central fire station west of I 95.
    the Civic Association is completing work on a major expansion of the RV storage compound – a place that allows the community to enforce rules against parking of vehicles in residential areas;
    The Humane Society is pushing for expansion of its center;
    The Chamber of Commerce has started work on its new headquarters building;A group of citizens is involved in an intensive study of our local governments with a full public review planned….so we can mutually decide on what our government should be in the future;
    The Civic Association has joined in seeking tougher enforcement to the covenants and restrictions that help to assure our high quality of life;
    and the civic Association is getting primed to initiate a community wide cleanup effort so that the junkers, refuse dumpers and garden-variety litterbugs will, where possible, be prosecuted, and citizens will be enlisted to help clean up their own neighborhood.
    The list could go on and on, for with every new project completion, another gets started.
    I’d also like to take a look into the crystal ball for 1987 with these predictions:
    1,300 new residents are expected to arrive;
    FAA classes will begin in the fall;
    Construction on the bridge will be well underway;You’ll be shopping and dining out at St. Joe Plaza, eating chicken from The Colonel, seeing Wal Mart nearing completion, stopping by two lil’ Champ stores, taking pets to a new vet clinic, visiting doctors, dentists and professional at new office buildings on Old Kings Road;
    Preliminary work on our fourth golf Course in Cypress Knoll, the Cypress Knoll Golf Course;
    Wadsworth Elementary School will open its doors this fall.

    There will be many others, but suffice to say Palm Coast is booming, and tomorrow looks to be even better that today”

  20. over it says:

    Niiiiice find. So funny to read those now……….. Built quite a legend in everyone’s MINDS. Hindsight is 20/20 and isn’t it revealing? With all that build up and hype, there was no where to go but down and under………… It WAS a boomtown on paper but someone forgot about the people that would be needed to keep it “booming”. Obviously, there weren’t any that were up to the job.

  21. Palm Coast Pioneer 1971 says:

    ‘The State of Palm Coast’ was from our personal copy of ‘The Palm Coaster’ , Spring 1987, p. 16.

  22. Rudy Smith says:

    Get you hand out of my pocket…. this referendum is not for the people, by the people, but for those that live off the people. Parasites always want more.

  23. Cindy says:

    No wonder Palm Coast hasn’t moved forward. I was taught to wait until I get all the facts to make a decision….the web site’s not even launched that will have the details of their plan and this page is full of naysayers. I’d rather ‘get in the game’ than sit on the sidelines any day. Palm Coast needs help and I don’t think we should sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Let’s get people working, get the shops and restaurants busy, and try to get rid of the double-digit unemployment!

  24. Kell says:

    I’ve lived in this county less than a year so I can’t speak about what Flagler Enterprise has done in the past, but in this short time here I have seen some many businesses close, some of my favorite restuarants that are all locally owned. We don’t have many “chains” here, most of the businesses are family and local owned. If we don’t do something to bring in more people to the community and increase jobs then all of your the locally owned companies will be put out of business and all of your favorite little beachside joints will be closed. Where will you go? What will you do for fun? Where will you take your family when they vacation?

    All I know is I’m a struggling business owner and more jobs means more people spending money at the local businesses that our struggling to make ends meet. Something needs to happen, we need companies that can bring in more jobs for our county and more people so that the money goes around. I was just at the Chamber block party and another store is closing, “everything must go”. The owner has lived in Palm Coast and had her doors open for over 4 years and can’t make the rent anymore… how is that fair to her and her family?

    If the “plan” doesn’t work, yes we lost money but I’m willing to take that chance and help our family owned businesses. I don’t want to see another store close it’s doors.

  25. Kell says:

    “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

  26. Robert says:

    I’m a member of the shrinking middle class and I work hard to support my family of 4. People talk about fixed income and seniors like its peanut butter and jelly. My young family is no different than the majority of families, and we live on a FIXED INCOME. I support Enterprise Flagler and their initiative to better attract possible employers to Flagler County. I’ve lived here for 5 years and I’ve heard the same rhetoric regarding growing Flagler, but nothing has been done. The current team at Enterprise Flagler is doing something about it. My reasons for supporting them are as followed:

    1. It gives them the opportunity to function without having to hold their breathe and hope they receive their limited, and shrinking funding from the county, and cities.
    2. Our residents shoulder about 90% of the current tax burden. This is not sustainable and our taxes will continue to climb to support all of our local governments spending. Affecting all of us that live on a FIXED INCOME.
    3. They offer a solution to a problem that I’ve been listening to for 5 years.
    4. Potential impact on lowering unemployment.

    I don’t support big government, nor do I support raising taxes. However give them a chance to make a positive difference for all tax paying residents, and for the future of our community.

  27. Federally ordered Business Building says:

    It is further ordered, That, not later than six (6) years after the service upon respondents of this order, respondents shall cause the corporate headquarters of ICDC to be transferred to and located at respondents’ property at Palm Coast, Florida.
    (1) shopping center building or buildings located upon respondents’ land at Palm Coast,with a total floor space of at least 40,000 square feet;
    (2) an office and reserach park area locateed upon respondents’ land at Palm Coast, to consist of at least 40 acres, which shall include appropiriate roads, water lines, sewers and landscaping suitable for possible future construction of office buildings or research facilities;

    (3) a multi-purpose office structure located within the office and reserach park area referred to in (2) herein which shall have a total floor space of at least 5,000 square feet;

    Page 952-953 Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Decision and Order 88 F.T.C.

  28. jingels says:

    The Economic development plan and tax sounds like a local government “Stimulus Plan” to me. Let’s consider the Fed Stimulus Plan that has been a smoke and mirrors game as well as a series of band-aids. People with annual incomes under $250,000 are/will continue paying more for less. The cost of medical insurance has increased significantly and the doctors are cutting their services and persons they will accept as patients.
    The “jobs” created by the Stimulus Plan were short term like the hiring of the temporary Census workers. Cash for Clunkers was a band aid and large corporations, like General Motors, received a major bailout (funded by taxpayers). Successful carmaker Ford did not ask for/get a bailout and sales have risen substantially. TARP has increased the cost of doing business and uncertainty. In the meantime many workers have lost jobs, businesses will not hire because they look at the uncertainty of what the spendthrift government will do in the future to their profit line. Housing prices continue to spiral downward and foreclosures seem endless.
    Why hasn’t the Fed plan benefitted us and reversed the recession? Because the Fed government really had no plan and rushed through (as well as sneaked through initiatives when Congress was adjourned) legislation that no one could possibly read in its entirety. Ultimately, taxpayers with incomes less than $250,000 are paying the cost of these fancy ideological plans.
    Now, the County and Palm Coast along with development lawyers and developers as well as lenders (who have a vested financial interest) are scrambling to boost the economy here. They have really suffered financially over the past 3-4 years.
    We absolutely need an economic boost. We have the highest unemployment rate in the State (to which the County and the City have contributed with layoffs and forced retirements). As a long time professional, now retired, I appreciate the need for an economic development plan for the entire County that is based on solid research and analysis and not crafted by the foxes trying to get into the chicken house. We need a real plan based on real incentives and solid financial investment and hiring commitments from the potential recipients of the economic development taxes generated if this tax is passed.
    Our problems, rooted in the initial IT&T development plan, are1) Palm Coast’s physical development is already set and hard to reinvent into a large city; 2) Palm Coast was more or less intended to be a retirement community and bedroom community for workers; 3) and, this is the biggest one which has continued to deter business relocation and expansion, the labor pool business and industry must draw from has continued to be unskilled and minimally educated.
    My take on this is that: 1) an economic development plan must be developed by a wide, inclusive range of people representing more than the development community and Enterprise Flagler and the Chamber. 2) The development of the plan should involve the local governments in the County. 3) The economic development plan should be incorporated into the local governments’ State-mandated Comprehensive Plans. No tax should be passed until we have a solid plan that has been scrutinized by the people who are going to pay for it. 4) Any taxes collected should be deposited into a trust account which protects it from being raided for non-related costs to pay for funding administrative and local government employee’s salaries. 5) The plan must include reporting standards for annual reports demonstrating accountability for actions taken.

  29. Kip Durocher says:

    @Robert, Kell and Cindy – your posts appear to be cut and pasted from Enterprise Flagler’s new website.
    Do you 3 work for them?
    I have lived in Flagler County 20 years and in Florida all my life. Many boom and busts. I have seen several “development park” plans in communities that had been abandoned by their 1st corporate developer. I have seen them all fail. Build it and they will come and fill it – this idea fails on so many levels it is pathetic.
    “According to Enterprise Flagler, a partnership between government agencies and private firms, several companies interested in relocating here bailed when a building of at least 50,000 square feet couldn’t be part of their incentive package.” Please name the several. Since they moved elsewhere there can be no need for MI6 secrets anymore.
    “Transparency hasn’t been Enterprise Flagler’s strength.” How much are the paid employees of Enterprise Flagler paid? My taxes pay them, I have a right to know.
    Finally, I am very comforted to know that “Enterprise Flagler has won the endorsement of the county’s Realtors association.”

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