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For a Full Millage Rollback, Ed Danko Faces an Uphill Battle

ⓒ AskFlagler

Last year the Palm Coast City Council threw a curveball to city management by passing a rollback millage rate, a provision that prevents homeowners from having to pay increased property taxes even as their home appreciates. The measure’s immediate effect on city business is a reduction in revenue from prior projections, as the city often budgets for a modest bump in property taxes as homes increase their worth. The longest-running champion of holding the line on these taxes, or even decreasing them, is Vice Mayor Ed Danko.

The City Council has entered preliminary discussions about where they’ll set the millage rate for the next fiscal year, and Danko is again advocating for a rollback rate. “People have been hurt so bad by this economy, especially our seniors,” Danko said in an interview this week. “We need to give our homeowners, our residents, a break.”

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Danko has tried in his other years on the City Council to enact a rollback rate (he was elected in 2020), and outside of last year has been unsuccessful. This will be his final year with a hand in the process; Danko has chosen to run for a seat on the County Commission instead of seeking a second term in Palm Coast. Certainly it would be a feather in his campaign’s cap to claim he spearheaded the successful death of a tax increase two years running. It will, as it appears now, be easier said than done.

“We still have to be able to find funds in order to enhance our stormwater and our swale system maintenance programs,” added Council member Nick Klufas. “Things have just gotten more expensive completely across the board, and we do our best job at the city with finances trying to find anything in the budget that we’re able to squeeze a little more juice out of.” Still, Danko feels the city can find further areas to cut the budget in order to allow for the rollback, something he sees as an absolute priority.

“I’m looking at tightening belts,” Danko added. “I’m looking at making cuts of those things that we do not absolutely [have to] have. We must have roads, we must have water, things of that nature. But there are things that we can live without, just like you do at home when you look at your budget. Maybe you want a swimming pool or tennis court this year and you realize you really need to put a roof over your head and pay your home insurance and put food on the table.”

The necessity of adopting a rollback rate is something Danko’s colleagues were more in agreement with him on last year. “We can’t afford a rollback, not a full rollback,” Council member Theresa Carli Pontieri said at last week’s meeting. “Not if we’re looking at the infrastructure needs of our city.” She also prodded Danko to name specific sources of funding to balance out a rollback rate. Danko didn’t have any to propose at that time, and he again shied away from specifics this week. “I’m not gonna go through any specific areas at the moment, because we’ve just begun this budget process,” he said. “But as we go through these items line-by-line, we are going to find a lot of places where we can live without certain things.”

“He’s remained steadfast, which I would give him credit for,” Klufas said of Danko’s persistence. “But I think at this point in the story of Palm Coast, we have to listen to our residents and realize that the quality of life is what brought them here and if we don’t continue to maintain a high level service, it’s going to kind of lose its allure. It’ll become just another city.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. TR

    May 1, 2024 at 7:40 pm

    So because of the lack of brain cells from the mayor and city council to do what they should have been doing all a long with the infrastructure because of all the new developments they allowed. They want to raise the milage which will raise our property taxes to pay for their mistake. yea these morons need to go.

    • Ed Danko

      May 3, 2024 at 11:56 pm

      I will never vote fora tax increase!

      • Crystal Lang

        May 4, 2024 at 11:15 am

        With all due respect Mr. Danko you are only one person so by you voting no will not change anything. I moved here from up north where my last year of paying taxes reached $13K no pool no bells and whistles. With that being said moving here 4 years ago reduced my tax bill by $11K I was doing a lot better, today I see myself getting closer real fast to not doing better anymore and why is that? Everything has gone up not only for me but for everyone else. Maybe some folks can afford all the increases but I’m on a fixed income that does not get increased every time my taxes get increased and now I’m sitting here thinking how much is my house insurance going to go up in a few months. Like everyone else it has tripled since I moved here. I’m not here long enough to know about the city’s budget etc…but I’m here long enough to understand that the city is spending the money they did have on crap that is not needed like: Rec Centers, splash pad, ROUNDABOUTS that don’t make sense here. Come on the amount of money and time it takes to put a roundabout in you can install 100 lights. What is the problem with not putting lights up. I will say it again and again the one on Matanzas Woods and Rt 1 is a mess. When I have to use that one I pray no one is coming from the other direction cause they just keep going without yielding and the same is going to happen with Old Kings and Rt 1. Why are they putting them in? Is it because of the communities on Rt 1 if that’s the case a light would have worked even better and if it has to do with lights running during the night they can be put on timers. Like I said earlier I cannot put one palm tree on my front lawn or my backyard because whatever money I have will now need to go to the city to pay for the work that needs to be done. And by the way I do not have children I never did and I have to pay school taxes. Enough is enough. And let me just say one more thing STOP THE FRIGGIN BUILDING ALREADY.

  2. Crystal Lang

    May 2, 2024 at 7:40 am

    I have an idea where they can start looking for the funds, their paychecks. I’m probably wrong in the figures but that should be about $300K per year it should pay for something. You know what Mr. Mayor this is how it goes. I live in Florida where there are Palm Trees, I want a Palm Tree on my front lawn which costs approx. 1K but I have to pay my Electric bill, Utility bill, I have to put gas in my car to get to the store to buy food, I have to maintain my car, Lord knows if I don’t I will be walking everywhere, I have to eat and I have to pay house insurance and taxes so since those items eat up most of my budget I can’t get a Palm Tree. What the Mayor has done was spent all the money they had or have for crap no one wants or needs. I for one cannot afford to pay anymore in taxes, I am at my LIMIT.

    • TR

      May 3, 2024 at 7:24 pm

      I agree with you 100%. Lower their salaries to a reasonable amount or do the job to justify the raises they gave themselves which IMO is illegal being they work for us. I also agree that the council wastes sooooo much money on things for certain groups of people and not for everyone. If the people want a splash park, let the people who use it pay for it. If the people want to play tennis or pickle ball, let those people pay for it. they do it for the people that play golf. Those people have to pay every time they want to play a round of golf, so the same should apply for anything else that doesn’t benefit EVERYONE in PC.

      Vote Alfin to the curb come November or this city will be getting a major tax hike come 2025.

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