So candidates are always asked to state their positions. Well a position suggests a static place or thought. My positions are more fluid. I like to think of them as Ideas I would like to pursue. Courses I would like to chart. But mostly I want to present the ideas and see if the input of others allows the collaboration to make strong plans that can be implemented and beneficial for everyone.
Big Business: We need to stop chasing after the next ‘big’ economic engine or large business that will transform this economy and lessen the taxes on the local citizens. We, as politicians and council members, have been chasing this unicorn since the city’s inception 21 years ago. Let’s face it, it is a nice slogan, real catchy. But the reality is we are a small fish in a big pond when it comes to attracting large companies. Let’s look outside our blinders to communities like Bentonville Arkansas. If nothing else the pandemic did, it proved remote working, well works. This community and many others sought out remote workers. The result real ‘brain gain’, a plethora of new businesses catering to younger professionals and a boost to local businesses as well. We are a bedroom community, but why fight it. That is why most of us moved here. OK, we don’t have to stop working for the next ‘big thing’. The MedNex is a great idea and generates plenty of new taxes. But maybe we should embrace more of who we are than remake ourselves into something we feel is what we should be.
Neighborhoods: We need to invest more into our neighborhoods than into large projects that affect only a few. The splash pad and new tennis courts are cool. But I wonder what kind of local parks and amenities we could have if we spent the same funds on local neighborhood parks where we could actually (gasp) meet our neighbors. A basic basketball court, a volleyball court, a gazebo and some play equipment for the youngsters. I just can’t help but think this would be much less expensive and provide more amenities to all the citizens. Might even get us to bond together more as a city.
City Amenities: Why only one pool? Why only one community center? We are a city of 100,000. We are platted to be a city of 400,000. Shouldn’t our services be more diversified? Even Advent is putting another hospital in our city for current needs and in anticipation of future growth. If we must invest in infrastructure, and we must, lets look at where we need to invest to give the greatest benefits to the citizens of our city.
Senior Citizens: Speaking of diversification, when are we going to actually acknowledge that we have the majority of the senior citizens in our county and begin to provide the services they need? The old Council on Aging in Flagler County dissolved decades ago and the county took over their services. But you would be hard pressed to find those services unless you knew where to look. We need to acknowledge the requirements of our elderly. Housing, food, support, adult day care, free home maintenance services and a dedicated staff to help them. Its time Palm Coast stepped up instead of laying its responsibilities off on the County.
Safety: We need to invest more into our policing efforts. Didn’t think you would hear me say that did you? But let’s look at things. After 9/11 hit we basically militarized our police departments. I mean why wouldn’t we. But 20 years have passed. That threat of a personal terrorist threat from the Middle East in Palm Coast has diminished. We need to gear up for the new realities. I would like to work with the Sheriff’s office to explore professional civilians in response efforts such as domestic abuse or mental illness. We also need to be more supportive of our Sheriff’s department. Why are they bearing the cost for precinct buildings? If we invest in such things we can determine, with the help of the Sheriff, were it would be most beneficial. We can also add stability to our neighborhoods and have more input on our citizens safety. Its time for Palm Coast to step up when it comes to citizen safety.
Affordable Housing: And I mean housing. I’m not against apartments, but they can proliferate. What I would like to see is more houses that the younger generation and the senior generation can afford. Yes, I mean senior generation. Recent studies have found Flagler County and in particular Palm Coast have a number of seniors that can no longer afford their monthly payments. A spouse dies, pensions are lost, any number of incidences and that once nice house is now a burden. They don’t want to leave. What they need is relief. Same applies in many ways to the new home owners. It is tough to get that down payment, especially when you have a couple of nice young ones or maybe that teenager. Affordable housing or if you like workforce housing needs to be explored. Programs developed. Maybe its time to for Palm Coast to create its own fund to build these houses. Then we can ensure the homes are built and built to Palm Coast standards. It is time for action, not continued discourse.