Flagler County continues its collaborative approach in presenting its 2024 legislative priorities to state delegation

state capital

Flagler County for the second year is continuing its collaborative approach with the five municipalities in presenting its 2024 legislative priorities to the state delegation – Senator Travis Hutson and House Speaker Paul Renner – to ensure a unified approach that represents all county residents. Flagler created a single 48-page document that provides countywide appropriations and funding requests, as well as policy priorities.

“Speaker Renner and I are looking forward to a productive legislative session serving the residents of Flagler County,” Hutson said. “Each year, there are many exciting priorities our offices work on that will benefit both Flagler County and the rest of the state.”

Renner and Hutson use the backup data provided for each request to advocate for critical infrastructure needs, as well as for the health, safety, and well-being of the community throughout the upcoming legislative session.

“Historically, Flagler County has enjoyed a good working relationship with our Legislative Delegation,” said Chief of Special Projects and Library Director Holly Albanese, who is also the legislative liaison. “They have provided us with continual support for the needs and interests of our residents and businesses and we are extremely appreciative.”

Flagler County focuses on issues that will have the highest impact for citizens while fostering collaborative relationships with local municipalities as well as private partners in lobbying for legislative support. A chief concern for Flagler County is maintaining home rule by which, constitutionally, local government can exercise powers to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.

“The ability to maintain home rule and avoid unfunded mandates are central to Flagler County’s federal and state legislative priorities and advocacy needs,” said County Administrator Heidi Petito. “Collaboration on legislative priorities to address the community needs, with a strong focus on home rule, is essential for effective governance. Each year Flagler County works alongside Florida Association of Counties (FAC) and the Small County Coalition of Florida during the Legislative Session to help support all legislative policy statements.”

While the Board of County Commissioners sets the priorities for Flagler County, Albanese tracks the progress of them during the legislative session and works with lobbyists to ensure the county’s voice is heard. The 2024 regular session convenes on January 9, and the final day of the session – day 60 – is March 8. The last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings is February 27.

“As members of the Flagler County Legislative Delegation, Senator Hutson and I remain committed to representing the county’s interests in Tallahassee,” Renner said. “We look forward to a productive legislative session and working closely with local leaders and constituents on identifying and addressing our community’s top priorities.”

Funding Priorities

  1. Public Health & SafetyPublic Health and Social Service Project – Provide funding assistance to construct a true one-stop-shop solution for health and social service care in Flagler County that will increase and enhance wrap-around and expanded services for residents through public-private partnerships. (Flagler County)
  2. Public Health & SafetyMultipurpose Emergency Preparedness Project – Provide funding for the county Fairgrounds to create a special needs shelter for future emergency preparedness needs. This project will create a dedicated special needs shelter and allow the county to reduce this deficit as defined by the state. It will also act as a disaster resources site for the county that can be used to support neighboring counties. (Flagler County)
  3. Historic Preservation, Culture & RecreationPreserve Historic Fire Station 22 – Support funding to preserve historic Station 22 for future generations to enjoy as a cultural center. (Palm Coast)
  4. Historic Preservation, Culture & RecreationConstruction of a YMCA – Support funding for construction of a YMCA providing health and wellness opportunities to seniors and families. (Palm Coast)
  5. Historic Preservation, Culture & RecreationRestoration of the Historic Bunnell City Hall also known as the Bunnell Coquina City Hall – Provide local levels of funding in the amount of $1 million to reconstruct the National Registered Historic Bunnell City Hall, also known as the Bunnell Coquina City Hall. (Bunnell)
  6. InfrastructureCR 304 Resurfacing and Multiple Bridge Replacement Project – Provide funding to resurface County Road 304 and replace the four bridges located on this public right-of-way. (Flagler County)
  7. InfrastructureGeneral Aviation Terminal Project – Provide funding assistance to help construct a new general aviation terminal at the Flagler Executive Airport. (Flagler County)
  8. InfrastructureContinue to Support Transportation Access to the West – Provide funding or legislative support for transportation projects that will improve access to large tracts of land on the western boundary of Palm Coast. (Palm Coast)
  9. InfrastructureRequest FDOT Fund Old Kings Road Construction Phase 3 – Provide funding or legislative support for District 5 FDOT to include Old Kings Road Phase 3 in the 5-year work plan. (Palm Coast)
  10. InfrastructureRequest FDOT Fund I-95 Parallel Facility Widening of Old Kings Road – Provide funding to add capacity to Old Kings Road south of State Road 100, an Interstate 95 parallel facility and vital evacuation route. (Palm Coast)
  11. InfrastructurePalm Coast Maintenance Operations Center Construction – Support funding to construct Phase 1 of the Maintenance Operations Complex to provide a safe workspace for city staff directly related to citizen service delivery. (Palm Coast)
  12. InfrastructureParking within the Town – Support an innovative solution for the Town of Beverly Beach to increase public parking capacity. (Beverly Beach)
  13. InfrastructureStudy the Feasibility of Acquiring Private Land within the Town Boundaries – Provide funding assistance for a feasibility study on the acquisition of private land to preserve this unique location and provide resilience, housing opportunities, educational opportunities, and infrastructure for the surrounding communities and tourists. (Marineland)
  14. Community ResiliencySeptic-to-Sewer Conversion and Water Treatment Expansion for Commercial Opportunities – Provide funding to upgrade the FGUA Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and provide connections along U.S. 1 for the underserved area of the county. (Flagler County)
  15. Community ResiliencyBeach Restoration/Coastal Stabilization Project – Provide the portion of funding needed to replace the current sand loss and restore the northern 11.6 miles of coastline to create a resilient coastline, protect life and property, including State Road A1A, from future impacts and give Flagler County the time needed to implement a six-year interval management and maintenance plan. (Flagler County)
  16. Community ResiliencyStormwater Infrastructure Improvements and Resiliency Project – Provide funding for stormwater infrastructure improvements and resiliency to include planning/design, permitting, easements, and property acquisition. (Flagler County)
  17. Community ResiliencyReduce the Risk of Flooding – Support Funding Blare Drive and Colbert Lane Flood Mitigation and Flood Map Study and Revision – Provide funding to construct three culvert pipes to eliminate home flooding in the low-lying Woodlands neighborhood. (Palm Coast)
  18. Community ResiliencyProtection of Water Supply – Indian Trails Reclaimed Watermain Extension and Sports Complex Irrigation Conversion – Provide funding to extend a reclaimed water line to Indian Trails Sports Complex as Maintaining a dependable irrigation system and an irrigation pump system will preserve the quality of the playing surfaces and ensure a more sustainable water supply. (Palm Coast)
  19. Community ResiliencyProtection of Water Supply – Citation Boulevard Reclaimed Watermain Extension – Support funding to extend the soon to be developer constructed reclaimed water line to Belle Terre Boulevard, which will allow Palm Coast to continue the reclaimed main west to Belle Terre Boulevard and provide service to both Seminole Palms, Flagler Village and Citation Estates. (Palm Coast)
  20. Community ResiliencyProtection of Water Supply – Land Acquisition for Rapid Infiltration Basins – Provide funding for land acquisition for a regional Rapid Infiltration Basin site providing advanced aquifer recharge to help replenish the surficial aquifer. (Palm Coast)
  21. Community ResiliencyProtection of Water Quality – Wastewater Treatment Facility No. 1 Capacity Expansion – Support funding to expand Palm Coast Wastewater Treatment Plant 1 to keep pace with economic growth. (Palm Coast)
  22. Community ResiliencyProtection of Water Quality – Construct Regional Rapid Infiltration Basin (RIB) Site – Support funding to convert existing spray fields to rapid infiltration for increased aquifer recharge volume. (Palm Coast)
  23. Community ResiliencyLambert Avenue Water Main Extension – Provide funding to extend the water main north on Lambert Avenue across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and loop the system for the resolution of a critical shortcoming of the current system with a lack of redundancy and ineffectively looped. (Flagler Beach)
  24. Community ResiliencyFlood Mitigation Measures for City Facilities – Provide funding to support flood mitigation measures, such as the purchase of flood planks that will protect vulnerable city facilities from storm surge and flooding. (Flagler Beach)
  25. Community ResiliencyWastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System Projects – Provide local levels of funding in the amount of $4.5 million to complete wastewater treatment and collection upgrades as identified in adopted Master Utility Plans. (Bunnell)
  26. Community ResiliencyWater Treatment Plant and Distribution System Projects – Provide local levels of funding in the amount of $4.6 million to complete water treatment and distribution upgrades as identified in adopted Master Utility Plans. (Bunnell)
  27. Community ResiliencyResiliency and Vulnerability Study – Resiliency and Vulnerability Study through FDEP grant. (Flagler Beach | Beverly Beach)
  28. Community ResiliencyFragmented Stormwater System – Provide support for stormwater infrastructure. (Beverly Beach)
  29. Community ResiliencyComplete Design and Construction of Water and Sewer Connection from Flagler County – Provide funding assistance to complete the design and construction of water and sewage connection from Flagler County to support the growing Town of Marineland community needs. (Marineland)
  30. Conservation and Open SpaceRegional Conservation & Eco-Tourism Educational Center Project – Provide funding assistance to construct the Flagler County Regional Conservation & Eco-Tourism Educational Center to support the goals, objectives, and priorities of Flagler County, Northeast Florida Regional Council, and the Scenic A1A Byways. (Flagler County)
  31. Conservation and Open SpaceAcquisition of Conservation Lands – Provide local levels of funding to acquire tracts of land to create a floodplain on the west side of Flagler County. (Flagler County)
  32. Conservation and Open SpaceProtect Environmentally Sensitive Areas – Protect Palm Coast Parkway’s Unique Hardwood Tree Canopy – Support inclusion of Palm Coast Parkway’s unique hardwood tree canopy in the Flagler County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program and Florida Forever funding. (Palm Coast)
  33. Conservation and Open SpaceProtect Environmentally Sensitive Areas – Acquire Bulow Creek Relic Dune and Burial Mound – Support inclusion of the relic dune or sand ridge that serves as a protective barrier for Bulow Creek in the Flagler County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program and Florida Forever funding. (Palm Coast)

Policy Priorities

  1. Amend Florida Statute 288.0656 (2) (e) Florida Statute 288.0656 (2) (e) to Increase the Population Levels of a Defined Rural Community.
  2. Protect and increase funding for the State of Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Program.
  3. Support and protect Florida’s Housing Trust Funds.
  4. Support affordable and reliable high-speed Internet throughout Florida.
  5. Continue Financial Support dedicating state resources for the development and enhancement of county and municipal cybersecurity by providing funding for technical assistance, threat assessments, employee training, infrastructure improvements, and data protection.
  6. Continue financial support of the SCRAP (Small County Road Assistance Program) and SCOP (Small County Outreach Programs) grant programs to assist small counties in paving Farm-to-Market roads.
  7. Support community resiliency grant programs for wastewater, water quality, beach renourishment, flood and sea level rise mitigation and septic-to-sewer conversion projects.
  8. Support funding intended for any legislative appropriation projects for land acquisition within Flagler County.
  9. Provide timely reimbursements and upon approval of grants over $1 million assist with cash flow by fronting at least 25% of the project.
  10. Maintain short term vacation rental legislation status quo.
  11. Support and continue to advocate for home rule authority.
  12. Request an audit of how the Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund (EMPA) surcharge is applied to all residential and commercial properties for compliance with s. 252.372, F.S.
  13. Follow Flagler County Government on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FlaglerCountyGovernment.
By Julie Murphy

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