The House Commerce Committee today approved a bill on a 10-4 vote pre-empting most vacation-rental authorities to the state. The bill heads to the House floor for a vote and reconciliation with the Senate’s version. It is the closest a pre-emption proposal has come to enactment in the dozen years that the vacation rental industry has pushed them.
Flagler County School Board members and parents spoke of surprise, concern and “blindsiding,” in the words of the board’s chair, in reaction to a Feb. 13 letter from County Administrator Heidi Petito to the superintendent saying the county had reached “an important decision” to “gradually transfer the financial responsibility” for $1.4 million in “these legacy expenditures to the school district,” including the county’s more than $1 million commitment to school resource deputies.
As feral hogs continue to trample all over private property in what residents say are increasing numbers spurred by development and a diminishing habitat, the Flagler County Commission is proposing to increase traps, encourage more volunteer to join a corps of hog-hunters, repair fencing along county roads, and work with homeowner associations on their own hog-management plans. But a solution remains elusive.
When the the County Commission first raised the possibility of ending its contribution to the Flagler County school district’s school resource deputy program a year ago, Sheriff Rick Staly wrote the commission chairman a four-page letter sharply criticizing the possibility and explaining why. Now that the County Commission is pushing that possibility further, Staly’s letter is relevant again, and presented here in full.
Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord and St. Johns County Emergency Management Deputy Director Kelly Wilson spent part of “Emergency Management Day at the Capitol” (February 7) presenting House Speaker Paul Renner with the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association (FEPA) Legislative Achievement Award.
Flagler Beach on Thursday formally rejected an inquiry by Flagler County government about the possibility of merging the Flagler Beach Public Library with the county’s system. But that does not necessarily close the book on a collaborative partnership. City Commissioner Jane Mealy, the fiercest defender of the Flagler Beach library’s independence, is intrigued by the possibility of a cooperative that would preserve that independence but expand Flagler Beach residents’ access to county library resources, likely at no additional cost.
It was not the strongest evaluation year for Flagler County Administrator Heidi Petito, who scored a C-plus from the five combined reviews by her county commissioner bosses, despite perfect scores from two of the five. But the commissioners’ written comments to Petito generally painted a more complimentary picture than their numbers.
The Flagler County Commission on Monday voted to give its constitutional officers an extra month–until June 1–to turn in their proposed budgets for the fiscal year beginning Oct.1, ahead of what County Administrator Heidi Petito described as a year of “uncertainty.” The commission also appeared to agree, without a formal vote, to reduce the tax rate next year, though that may end up being more of a symbolic than an substantial reduction.
The Flagler County Commission approved spending roughly $2.5 million to build a roundabout on Old Kings Road, at the intersection with the entrance to Bulow Plantation and what will be the entrance to the Radiance development–what used to be known as Eagle Lakes.
While one bill passed the Senate on a 27-13 vote, the House version may depend on House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, on whose authority the bill may–or may not–eventually come to a vote on the floor. Sen. Travis Hutson, who represents Flagler County, voted against Flagler County priorities opposing deregulation, and in favor of the Senate bill last month.