Paul Anderson, Flagler County Commissioner Candidate, Talks Flagler County Issues

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Paul Anderson sat down with us to discuss his latest bid for the County Commission District. You will find the interview below with our questions in bold followed by Paul Anderson’s answers. Paul Anderson has previously run for Flagler School Board twice and this will be his second bid for County Commission.

Why run again? That’s a good question. Why run a fourth time when you’ve already lost three times before? Because I couldn’t possibly sit by and try to get somebody to run; I couldn’t sit by and watch as Ed Danko and Pam Richardson fight it out by themselves. They needed some additional angle and I provide angst for most people who were trying to hide behind their plethora of information that people know of them.

What would you say are some things that qualify you to hold the seat that you’re running for? Same thing I said four years ago, and six years ago. I’m just a regular guy, the only qualifier that really matters is whether or not you’ve lived here long enough, you can read fairly well, and you can speak fairly well. All the other nonsense is nonsense because we’ve seen from the past candidates that we’ve had doesn’t matter if they have a lot of experience or no experience. They do a bad job just as well as somebody that doesn’t have any experience. I could bore you with the different boards that I’ve served on, and let people know, let the public know all the boards that I served on way before any of these other guys that have run and won. But I’m doing this half because I think I can help.

What would you say are some of the bigger issues that Flagler county and government is facing? Biggest ones, money; we’ve managed in the last eight to twelve years to put ourselves into a fiscal bind. I mean, anybody that says that we’re not in a fiscal bind should be reminded by the fact that we have the former courthouse who used to have the leaseholder no longer has the leaseholder. And we apparently don’t have any money to put towards occupying that building or doing anything. They want to do a sub lease for that building. That to me, when we’re spending money ad nauseam, for the last twelve years; and we don’t have anything to show for it except for lawyer bills, I think we’re doing something wrong.

So how do you plan to balance the budget with keeping the taxes down and getting us out of that bind? We could start by getting rid of some services. Perfect example is the latest controversy that they had about the SRO’s. It started at, I believe, two and a quarter or a half a million dollars when it first started, and now it’s ballooned up to $1.4 million. I don’t think that it was wrong for the county to ask the school district if they’ve exhausted all opportunities to assist in that. I think they botched it completely; I think, Ms. Petito has an idea that she wants it to happen. So that’s why it came off the way it did. Because if you read it, it sounded to me like it was a done deal. And they say that they’ve been telling the school district that it’s been a done deal. They need to think about that burden.

So do you feel that the county should still be supporting Flagler Schools with that bill? As much as they can, but we have a budget just like everybody else does. And I might get hammered for it by saying that we need to be fiscally responsible, but we need to be fiscally responsible. One of the reasons why we’re in the mess that we’re in is because we haven’t been fiscally responsible. I know people are tired of hearing about it, but the 21 point whatever million dollar Sheriff’s Operations Center. Where did that money come from? Did that come from a pot or are we on the hook for all of that, and they didn’t find a way to finance that anywhere else. They just got the loan, put the loan out, and they never had a pot in which to pull it from. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not saying that he didn’t need it. They didn’t do their due diligence to make sure that we had the funds, that we could afford it and where those funds were going to come from.

What are some ways that if you’re elected, you’re going to try to help balance that booming need for infrastructure without raising the budget and still trying to keep up with the necessary development that’s going on? Well, we have to go through the budget and see what can be cut first. I was part of a very small part of the construction boom, back in 05, 06, 07 and 08. And the reason why that worked is because the powers that be at the time, already had the infrastructure fixed or it was in process. A lot of people say to me, oh, well, we had to wait so long for Old Kings to get done and have the construction on that road get done. Yeah, it did take a long time, but it did get done and it got done prior to Hidden Lake and Toscana.

Do you feel that there is a good, solid working relationship between the city and the county? The conversation between Flager County and Palm Coast has been difficult for a very long time; and it’s because there’s too many personalities involved. You’re not going to tell me what to do, and I’m not going to tell you what to do. And people don’t, they don’t want to really fix it. They haven’t seemed to fix want to fix this, I think that with who we have on the commission now with a couple of good candidates, then perhaps the relationship could be better because quite honestly, if you’ve been here for any length of time. The relationship between Palm coast and the County has been way worse. It’s been horrible but we still get the same people that were running back then running now. So until we start getting some different types of people, who don’t have a chip on their shoulder don’t have to be right all the time, it’s not really going to change.

To learn more about Paul Anderson, or to get in touch with him, you can find all that information here.

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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