The Palm Coast City Council is set to meet for the first time since the mayoral election this coming Tuesday. The meeting will be one of the most important in the 2021 year, even though the agenda is relatively ordinary outside a few items.
When the meeting starts at 6:00 pm, opening proceedings will happen as usual. The Pledge of Allegiance will be recited, the Council will take roll, and public comments will be heard. It’s easy to imagine at least a few of these comments will be about the election, given how passionate many residents felt about it. After comments close, the Council will vote to certify the results of the July 27th election. This final certification and filing is required of the Council by law.
Once the certification is complete, Mayor-elect Alfin will then take his oath of office. He will take the Mayor’s seat at the dais immediately thereafter. Starting then, the era of Palm Coast having a four-man Council is going to officially be over.
The first agenda item in David Alfin’s mayorship will be an update on the COVID-19 crisis in Palm Coast. The Council voted to rescind the citywide mask mandate back on May 4th, an item that while contentious, went under the radar because of the chaotic deliberation leading up to the racquet court vote. It’s entirely possible this presentation will spark newfound discussion about Covid procedures, with the Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy leading to a resurgence in local hospitalizations.
Following the COVID-19 presentation will be Alfin’s first set of ordinances and resolutions will be heard, giving him the opportunity to exercise his new vote on the Council. The matters will be, in order of scheduling:
- 5. Ordinance 2021-xx Approving a revision to the land development code Chapter 10.02 floodplain management-continued to time certain date to September 14, 2021 City Council workshop with first read on September 21, 2021 business meeting.
- 6. Ordinance 2021-xx Approving the amendment of the City of Palm Coast 2035 comprehensive plan, as previously amended, pursuant to chapter 163, Florida Statutes; creating Chapter 10 – property rights element.
- 7. Ordinance 2021-xx Approving rezoning of 10.85 +/- acres from High Intensity Commercial (COM-3) to Multi-Family Residential-2 (MFR-2) for property known as the tribute – application # 4738.
- 8. Ordinance 2021-xx Voluntary annexation of 141.5 acre area 3,000’ north of State Road 100 on the east side of Roberts Road.
- 9. Resolution 2021-xx Setting a proposed maximum millage (trim) rate and setting the first (tentative) budget hearing date, time, and location for the fiscal year 2022 budget.
- 10. Resolution 2021-xx Amending the CDBG FFY 2019 Annual Action Plan to add $340,392 from the Cares Act for a public service subrecipient assistance program.
- 11. Resolution 2021-xx Approving piggybacking the Osceola County contract with Miller Electric Company for video surveillance and access control repair & maintenance city wide usage.
- 12. Resolution 2021-xx Approving a contract with Miller Pipeline, LLC, for the construction of the 2021 sanitary sewer lining project.
- 13. Resolution 2021-xx Approving use of state of Minnesota sourcewell contract RFP 032521 with Genuine Parts Company DBA Napa Auto Parts for the purchasing of auto parts and supplies for the city’s fleet.
Perhaps the most significant of these items is item 9, setting the proposed maximum millage rate. This issue came up at the most recent City Council meeting, in which three councilmen made motions to set the maximum rate, but none reached a third vote to pass. Councilmen Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa each proposed different decreases of the maximum rate, and interim Mayor Eddie Branquinho floated keeping the rate the same. Councilman Nick Klufas expressed openness to lowering the rate, but debated with Danko about the idea, insisting that specific budget cuts be outlined first to compensate for decrease. He did ultimately provide a second to Branquinho’s unsuccessful motion.
Asked if he had plans for how he would vote when the millage rate issue came up, Alfin told AskFlagler at the July 20th meeting: “I would thoroughly review every line item in the budget to ensure that staff is prepared the most valuable budget for the residents of the City of Palm Coast.” On whether he was glad the vote was delayed, potentially giving him the chance to be part of the decision: “I think the residents of the City of Palm Coast deserve a well-functioning, effective City Council that is able to make decisions on a timely basis always in their best interests.”
The Council will have no choice but to approve some rate or another at Tuesday’s meeting; they’re legally bound to do so by August 4th, the day after. Alfin was endorsed by Klufas and Branquinho and so some have suggested he’d be a lock to vote for the 4.6989 rate, but Alfin himself has stopped short of naming any particular rate that he’d support.
Following the set of ordinances and resolutions, final comments will be made by the Council, City Attorney, and City Manager, and the meeting will adjourn, launching Palm Coast officially into the Alfin era.