Palm Coast Council Votes on Utility Rate Ordinance to Raise Utility Impact Fees; Ordinance Passes 4-1

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Tuesday March 5th, 2024 – The City of Palm Coast held their evening business meeting at 6pm at City Hall. Public comment lasted over 30 minutes with residents coming to the podium to share their distress over a wide variety of issues including flooding, speeding, and the utility rates in Palm Coast.

During the meeting, Council heard a brief presentation on a new feature of the City’s website, which was an interactive detailed description of the City’s budget, which is updated weekly. This new feature will allow users to look over the city’s budget, including past years, with far more ease than previous methods have allowed.

The Council heard an update on the number of firms which applied to fill the position of City attorney; there were four candidates, however one pulled their proposal, leaving only three choices. Of the three proposals, one, the Douglas firm, was on par with what the City previously paid for legal counsel. The other two proposals were vastly higher according to Pontieri. The Council unanimously agreed their choice was the Douglas Firm. City Staff was instructed to move forward with drawing up a contract for the hiring of the Douglas Firm. The contract will be reviewed by the City Council at the next business meeting, before the firm is officially hired.

The Council then moved on to the Utility Rate ordinance which was based on the recommendations of the utility rate study done previously. Klufas, Danko and Pontieri all stated that this ordinance being voted on, would not be impacting residential users, but was a vote on raising the impact fees for utilities. Mayor Alfin stated his vote would be no, on raising the impact fees on utilities. Pontieri stated that while she appreciated waiting to find if the City would receive appropriations from Tallahassee, she still believes that this is the right time to raise impact fees on utilities. The public was invited to speak on the subject of raising the impact fees for utilities; an executive officer from the Home Builders Association came up to explain that normally the HBA opposes increased fees in all directions however, after reviewing the full study and utility rate study, the Flagler HBA will not oppose the increased rates for impact fees, they also stated their hope that utilities would become more affordable. Mayoral Candidate Mike Norris also spoke up stating that council should be maxing out the impact fees, since they will not be able to increase them again for four more years. Many residents spoke asking council to max out the utility impact fees. Pontieri made a motion to approve the ordinance raising utility impact fees, seconded by Danko. The motion passed four to one, with Alfin being the only no vote.

 

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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