Headed by Helga van Eckert since 2012, Flagler County’s $500,000-a-year economic development department had been more successful with PR and taking credit for others’ work than producing much of its own.
helga van eckert
Since Flagler County government created the $450,000-a-year economic development department, the county has added 10,000 jobs, but only a few dozen as a result of the department’s involvement.
The collapse of a deal between a furniture-assembling company and Flagler County government is the latest setback for an economic development department with a checkered eight-year history and signal failures.
The unanimous vote capped a brief presentation followed by a nearly hour-long stream of public support and commissioners’ applause, though most elements of the package remain hidden, and, enthusiasm aside, many of the statements were speculative, exaggerated or inaccurate.
The stories told by Mullins’s hyper-optimism and the county administration’s more cautious and deliberate approach illustrate a recurring gulf between the politician’s wishes and promises and what the government administration is in fact delivering (or not).
A furniture distribution company would build the largest structure in Flagler, a 250,000 square foot building, off U.S. 1 and provide 50 jobs in exchange for the $680,000 in direct subsidies over the next 10 years, an amount extrapolated from a largely speculative guess of how much the company would be taxed.
Kimble’s Aviation Logistical Services pledged to create 40 jobs over the next seven years, basing its disaster-recovery operation at the Flagler County Airport.
Kamara Stone USA is based in Georgia, the nation in Southwest Asia, and plans to create 30 jobs over the next four years, distributing granite, marble and mosaics from its Hargrove Grade location.
Though County Commissioners approved the $90,000, the government is not disclosing the name of the company benefiting from it, saying it doesn’t want to undermine the company’s real estate transaction.
The County Commission appointed Ex-County Commissioner Barbara Revels to the Economic Opportunity Advisory Board on a 4-1 vote, with her opponent, Dave Sullivan, casting a vote for Jason DeLorenzo.