The eight applicants for appointment to the District 2 seat of the Palm Coast City Council are Tony Amaral Jr., Bob Coffman, John Fanelli, Larry Gross, Hung Hilton, Carl Jones Sr., Perry Mitrano and William Schreiber. The council meets in special session on March 22 to consider making the appointment, which must be final by the end of the month.
Long-time Commissioner Jane Mealy, one of the city’s more popular elected officials for over a decade and a half, again won handily, with James Sherman second, while in Bunnell incumbents Bob Barnes and Tina-Marie Schultz won, surprising recently retired FHP Cpl. Pete Young, a distant third.
The Flagler Woman’s Club on Tuesday hosted a forum for the three candidates running for Flagler Beach City Commission–incumbents Jane Mealy and Rick Belhumeur, and newcomer James Sherman. Here’s a complete report and analysis of the evening.
Flagler Beach City Commissioner Ken Bryan described fellow-Commissioner Rick Belhumeur’s claims on the campaign trail of extravagant spending by the commission as “offensive” and “wrong” in statement unusually critical of a fellow commissioner–at a commission meeting. Bryan isn’t running in the March 8 election. Belhumeur is, and Bryan is backing a challenger.
In a nearly six-hour meeting rich in surprises and reversals, add Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa’s decision to drop out of his run for the Flagler County Commission and seek to keep his seat on the council instead.
Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, in office for all but two of the last 26 years, won another three-year term as mayor, and Pete Young, a former Bunnell commissioner and police chief, will run for a city commission seat, with two incumbents. Two Beverly Beach commissioners were reelected without opposition, but two Flagler Beach incumbents face one challenger in the March 8 municipal elections.
For an off-year, 2022 will not be short of elections in Flagler County, starting with elections in Flagler Beach, Bunnell and Beverly Beach on March 8. A combined seven incumbents in the three municipalities are making a play to keep their seats, and absent additional candidates filing to run, Bunnell and Beverly Beach could end up with uncontested elections.
They are among the most controversial elected Republicans in a county not lacking for them: Palm Coast City Council member Victor Barbosa and County Commissioner Joe Mullins. Now Barbosa, in a surprise, will challenge Mullins in the Republican primary for District 4 on the County Commission. Barbosa had originally filed to run against County Commissioner Greg Hansen in District 2.
Palm Coast City Council member Eddie Branquinho’s decision not to run means that with Victor Barbosa and Nick Klufas both opting for a run for County Commission, the council is assured of a new majority. Branquinho says he is leaving the door open for a re-election run in case his seat attracts “extremists.”
The actual cost to the city–and to taxpayers–of the July 27 special election that brought Mayor David Alfin to power cost $127,983.15, compared to an initial estimate of $187,764. A low turnout of 26 percent, compared to the 79 percent that voted in last November’s election, drove the cost down.