Ray Stevens, Local Resident, Running for Palm Coast City Council District 3

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Ray Stevens is a 20 year Palm Coast resident. Formerly an administrative lieutenant with the New York Police Department, and a deputy sheriff in Pinellas County. During his time as a deputy sheriff he was in administration, overseeing traffic facilitations, intersection assessments, press relations, and special event planning. Stevens is currently running for City Council District seat 3, against ‘Dana’ Mark Stancil, and Andrew Werner.

Stevens explained that, “City Council is an administrative body, whether acting alone or in conjunction with each other. It’s an administrative body, and I feel as though my experience prepares me to a great extent, to deal with that.” We asked Stevens what he felt were the biggest  issues facing the City right now and he explained that some of the main concerns are uncontrolled development, the adverse reaction it has on infrastructure, a lack of care for citizens input, debris burning, flooding, taxes, and the size of the city workforce.

We asked Stevens to go into a little more detail about many of the issues he listed, starting off with the issue of developments. Stevens explained, “There’s going to be progress and development is going to take place. But it can’t be willy nilly; it’s got to be planned out. You have to take into consideration that there may be unintended consequences. Too much building puts a strain on our water system and sewage system, it causes flooding, and traffic issues. I think if they continue at the rate they are going at, there won’t be much green space in the whole city.” Stevens continued on explaining his stance on rezoning as well, “If you buy a piece of property that is zoned low density single family, you bought it. There’s an understanding here, by developers, that you buy the property, you see the right people, and in all probability they will up zone it to high density residential. There are provisions in the law for hardships, and those are understandable, but as a rule of thumb, it is what it is.”

Stevens had also brought up the flooding issues that some residents are seeing in Palm Coast when infill lots are being developed. These lots being built on have brought a large spotlight on the city, its building and inspection department as well as the stormwater department. Stevens had this to say about the issue, “It’s just kicking the can down the road, it’s not really dealing with the problem, and that’s what they do. Not only the city council, but the county commission, that’s what they do. I would have voted with Pontieri, I would have seconded that motion for the moratorium. Because if it isn’t working, why keep doing it? Why wait till after the house is built? Be proactive; go out there before they pour the slab, and put up the frame. Put a laser on it and see what the grade is, how high it is, and fix it now while it is still dirt.”

Taxes are a big conversation piece here in Palm Coast, with many residents seeing a huge hike in their tax bills. Although the City Council passed a full millage rollback, the county saw an increase in their taxes. We asked how Stevens would help lower the tax burden beyond what the city has already done. He told us, “Outsourcing, to a lot of people, that’s a bad word. But to consider, as I said, do a financial analysis to see if we could save money by outsourcing without laying people off. I have to be on the council to really be able to get into the nitty gritty, but that’s an idea off the top of my head.”

Stevens continued on, answering our question on the working relationship with the county, Stevens stated, “They seem to be acting independently. I think there could be more of a spirit of cooperation than there is or appears to be.”

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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