City of Palm Coast Budget Workshop: Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Stormwater and Engineering, and Utilities Present their Overview

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The City’s Special budget workshop started with an overview of the Parks and Recreation department. Parks and Rec staff presented the overview from the Plan Our Parks, their collaborations with Flagler County Gov, and projects/maintenance that the City Parks and Rec department is currently involved in. Parks and Recreation for the City of Palm Coast organized 41 events in 2023, supporting different causes like scholarships and breast cancer awareness. Palm Coast Parks and Recreation Department oversees 13 public parks and over 130 miles of trails in addition to the events they organize.

The Aquatics Center’s aging infrastructure was also brought up, as staff presented the needs that the location will need to keep going in addition to an overview of the center and where it stands financially. Staff also presented the overview of Palm Harbor Golf Course and the Southern Recreation Center that opened in February.

Public Works presented their overview next, explaining the increases in the Public Works workloads. Currently, staff stated their work crews are at capacity for the current amount of work to maintain the City. Staff explained their need for additional employees for the maintenance crews. In 2023, City staff estimated that 4 major projects completed by the Public Works department saved residents $61,000, due to city staff doing the work instead of outsourcing to an outside contracting company. Some of those projects mentioned were the Water Treatment Plant #2’s concrete slab repairs, Fleet Ship Concrete Slab repairs, the Public Works Storage Shed, and the handrails on Colbert Lane.

Public Works also oversees the “it’s a litter-all effort” program, to keep Palm Coast Clean. Public Works also handles the adopt a roadway program in the City.  Pontieri brought up the idea of creating a partnership campaign on littering, including enforcing more tickets for those caught littering. Danko agreed with the sentiments Pontieri brought up, Danko even mentioned the City should have a theme like Texas does, where a campaign can educate the community on littering, as well as cracking down on enforcement.

Stormwater and Engineering also presented their overview to the City Council Members. Stormwater and Engineering oversees 1222 miles of swales, 58 miles of canals, and 14 control structures, along with other stormwater infrastructure throughout the city. Stormwater and Engineering also oversees the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the focus of which is to improve the aging infrastructure in Palm Coast, expand roadways, and incorporate new parks, wells, and pump stations as the city continues to grow.

In 2023, Stormwater and Engineering partnered with IT, to install real-time monitoring of multiple Weir locations. Stormwater also cleaned 74,594 feet of driveway culverts and maintained 1,906,816 linear feet of ditches to ensure and improve functionality, to name of few. As of June 1st, 2024, a new canal crew will start working, in charge of 58 miles of canals, 14 weirs, 1 pumping station, and 96 canal access points.

The last presentation of the day was from the Utility department, who gave a department overview and their challenges. The Utility department oversees 800 miles of water lines, 650 miles of sewer lines, and have resolved over 60,000 cases. The Utility department services roughly 103,500 residents in the City of Palm Coast. Staff explained to council that some of their challenges involve the aging infrastructure, specifically the older water plant, and pipes, pumps, and other necessary equipment and infrastructure that has been in place since the 1970’s when Palm Coast was first being laid out. Another challenge that staff brought up was the hardness of the water in the aquafir. Staff explained that because of the minerals in the water, it requires far more treatment and time to bring it to a tolerable and drinkable level, which increases the cost of the water.

This was a special budget workshop, with four departments presenting their overviews. This process is the first step in the budgeting process for the City, which will last until the new budget is adopted towards the end of the year.

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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