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					                Flagler County Update
                               UpdateAn electronic window on your county government
            August
             2011
Rain Finally Starts And Fires Subside In Flagler
        Flagler County and                                                   from Volusia, Clay, St.Johns
                                        Beach and Bunnell and Division
Florida’s season of fire is slowly                                           and Duval that worked on the
                                        of Forestry’s local forces would
coming to an end.                                                            fires,” County Administrator
                                        meet each morning and plan the
        As the rainy season starts                                           Craig Coffey said. “All of us
                                        attack on fires.
and afternoon thunder showers                                                also owe a debt of thanks
                                                From December 27
are repeated in the July and                                                 to our local firefighters and
                                        when the county wide fire ban
August forecasts, the battle to                                              our public works division as
                                        was first issued, to June 28, a
keep Flagler County from burning                                             well. The local firefighters
                                        total of 122 wildfires were
subsides.                                                                    joined together as a team
                                        reported in Flagler County. That
        The Division of Forestry                                             and were very effective in
                                        is in addition to the normal
fire team members at one time                                                dousing new fires as they
                                        business of the day for local fire
topped 220 specialized fire                                                  started,” Coffey said.
                                        departments. During the height
fighters and an administrative                                                         The largest of the
                                        of the wildfires, March through
incident command structure. The                                              wildfires was the Espanola
                                        June, 3,816 regular calls were
troops took over two training                                                Fire at 5,136 acres. At one
                                        handled by Flagler Counthy Fire
rooms in the Emergency                                                       point the fire threatened a
                                        Rescue.
Operations Center and set up                                                 main power line that passes
                                            “Flagler County appreciates
shop.                                                                        through Flagler County. Air
                                        the assistance received from the
        The team along with over                                             tankers were called in to
                                        multiple state agencies and all
80 fire fighters from Flagler                                                drop fire retardant between
                                        of the nearby county neighbors
County, Palm Coast, Flagler                                                  the fire and the power lines.
                                                                                     The plowed lines, fire
                                                                             retardant and favorable
                                                                             winds averted damage to
                                                                             the powerlines and no
                                                                             homes were damaged in the
                                                                             fires.
                                                                                     Governor Rick Scott
                                                                             visited Flagler County on
                                                                             June 14. He also visited
                                                                             other areas of the State hit
                                                                             by wildfires. Scott declared
                                                                             a state of emergency as a
                                                                             result of the fires and the
                                                                             Army National Guard . . .
Flagler County Public works crew cut a line on a portion of the
                                                                                   continued on page 4
                       Espanola Fire.
District 1           District 2              District 3              District 4           District 5
Alan Peterson       Milissa Holland         Barbara Revels          Nate McLaughlin      George Hanns
 Chairman                                   Vice Chairman
County Budget Operates on $1.5 million Less For 2011-2012
        Flagler County is           Some were laid off, some positions     (The taxable value is based on
currently working on the 2011-      were frozen and others retired and     the value of a home as of January
2012 budget and is proposing        were not replaced. Flagler County      1 for taxes levied in the following
an additional $1.5 million          also privatized the landscaping,       November.)
reduction in property tax           security and some maintenance                  This year Flagler County
revenues from the current           activities. We also rebid hundreds     also opened a health clinic on the
2010-2011 budget.                   of product or services we utilize      campus of the Flagler County
        This is the fourth year     saving hundreds of thousands of        Government Center. While it may
in a row that Flagler County        dollars.                               seem like an added expense,
has reduced in real terms the               While some residents saw       the clinic saves employees and
burden on its taxpayers. The        an increase in the bottom line for     the county money on health fees
total for the four year period is   local taxes, Flagler County has not    and insurance. Flagler County is
over $9.5 million less in           raised taxes during the four year      self insured, meaning it’s
property tax revenues per year      period operating on millions less      insurance is funded by the county
than in the 2006-2007 and just      each year. The reason for these        and not an insurance company.
under $25 million less              increases is a constitutional          Therefore, a reduction in rates
cumulatively. This is on top of     amendment approved by the voters       for minor medical services such
other reductions in non-            in 1992.                               as tests and checkups saves the
property tax income the county               The “Save Our Homes           County with each visit.
has also been experiencing.         Amendment” limits the taxable value            “We are looking at every
        “We again managed to        of homesteaded property’s rise to      aspect of how we do business as
accomplish the reductions in        3 percent a year. While the            a county to see where we can
a variety of ways without           amendment          protects      the   save tax dollars,” Craig Coffey
substantially cutting needed        homeowner in growth years, when        said. “We are continually
services,”              County      the housing market is in a downward    attempting to create an efficient
Administrator Craig Coffey          spiral, homeowners still see a three   county government that still
said.                               percent increase in their home’s       delivers the services the
        Flagler County has          taxable value each until the market    residents expect. The County
many fewer employees in             value and the taxable value meet.      Commission has inspired and
2011 than it did in 2006.                                                  embraced these changes.”




2
                   Carver Center Up And Running that brings
           What does a large             governance board
    coquina rock, an airplane ride                                           citizens, contributors youth and
    around the county and the                                                other stakeholders together to
    services of a three piece rock                                           help support and further develop
    band have in common?                                                     the center.
             Those types of items                                                    To help with funding the
    and many more were donated                                               Center and enhancing activities
    and sold in an auction that took                                         the George Washington Carver
    place throughout the month of                                            Foundtation was established .
    May to raise funds for the Carver                                        For example the Foundation
    Center.                                                                  applied to the regional Bank of
           Flagler County’s website                                          America Foundation for
    was the center for the lively       the campus of the Flagler Palm       assistance. “We were in hopes
    auction that netted the Carver      Coast High School. At that           that this generous foundation
    Center $7,000 in donations and      facility, the county built it and    would see the potential of this
    bid proceeds. The auction along     contributes to its operation. The    Center and contribute annually,
    with a $5,000 donation by the       School Board provides the            Flagler County Commission Vice
    Flagler County Kiwanis Club         remainder and staffs the facility.   Chair Barbara Revels said. “We
    has      the      not-for-profit             Flagler County will         were told we will recieve $10,000
    Organization for the Carver         continue to own and maintain the     in funding and they look forward
    Center in Bunnell up and            Carver Center and provide            to      encouraging          other
    running.                            $50,000 in operational costs.        philanthropic organizations to join
           The Carver Center has        Other contributors include: The      with them in giving.
    always been a mecca for youths      City of Bunnell for $10,000; the      “The Center is our Flagler County
    in South Bunnell and is the only    School Board for $10,000 and         Community Project,” Revels said.
    remaining remnant of the            other grant dollars. The School      “It is one that all Flagler County
    George Washington Carver            Board will provide personnel to      citizens can adopt and make
    High School. Flagler County         run the Center, schedule and         successful. We are seeking more
    has been providing youth            provide educational and              volunteers and partners for this
    programs at the Center since        recreational programs all year       venture.”
    the early 1970’s.                   long.                                        The Foundation recently
           In 2010 due to financial              The School Board and        received its non-profit status as
    constraints, the cost of            the County will work with a          a 501C which allows donations
    operating the center at                                                  to the Center to used as Federal
    $120,000 a year had the County                                           Income Tax deductions.
    Commission considering
    closing the gym. After an
    outpouring of citizen opposition,
    the County Commission
    appointed Vice Chair Barbara
    Revels to work on solutions with
    private and public partners to
    continue programs at the
    Center.
           The outcome of those
    meetings           was       the
    establishment           of    an
    arrangement similar to the
    Flagler County Youth Center on
                                          A dedication ceremony for the Carver Center is planned for
3                                                          September 10 at 10 a.m.
         Flagler County Water Rescue Team Ready
             Flagler County’s Fire
    Rescue’s new Marine Rescue
    training team and equipment to
    perform ocean and surface water
    rescue was on duty over the
    Fourth of July holiday weekend.
             The County recently
    purchased a Jet Ski and a four
    wheel drive all terrain vehicle.
    Four members of the Fire
    Rescue Department have had
    intensive training provided to the
    County at no cost by the
    St.John’s County Marine Rescue
    Division.
             “The Marine Rescue
    Program began in June of this
    year with the purchase of a jet ski
    and an all wheel drive Polaris to
    pull the Jet Ski to the beach ,” Fire    Water rescue team members Aaron Price, Mike Pius, Richard
    Rescue Chief Don Petito said.           Bennett and Drew Hardesty stand ready next to the new rescue
    “The Polaris is outfitted with a                   equpment. (photo courtesy Flagler Live)
    long surf board, a medical
    backboard, life vests, helmets,                 Direction to organize          a water rescue training program
    torpedo buoys and medical               and train the team came from the       in 2011. The team on duty did not
    equipment to treat injuries and         Flagler County Commission at           have to perform a water rescue
    illnesses.”                             the request of concerned               over the holiday weekend, but
             Petio explained that there     citizens from Sea Colony. Last         Chief Petito said they responded
    are three levels of training:           year the County Commission             to several jellyfish stings and other
    awareness, operations and               directed County staff to activate      medical calls on the county
    technician. He said the county                                                 beaches .
    has several members of the
    department trained for the more               Fires continued from page 1
    difficult technician level.
             The plan is for the            brought in three Blackhawk helicopters stationed at the Flagler County
    individuals to train members of         Airport to assist in the effort to dump water on the fires.
    the County Fire/Rescue                          Flagler County provided live broadcast and webcasts of the
    Department, unfortunately the           daily media briefings, daily updated GPS maps of the fire
    wildfires this year have set us         boundaries, a list of the fires and daily updates on the fire situation.
    back about six months.                          Residents and businesses of Flagler County also pitched in
             “The type of rescue that       on the effort. Cases of water, granola bars and sport drinks filled two
    Flagler County Fire Rescue              bays of the garage next to the Flagler County Emergency Services
    could be called upon to perform         Center and city fire departments reported donations at each of the
    is as varied as the types of water      stations.
    that are located in and around                  “We can’t thank the public enough,” Fire Rescue Chief Don
    Flagler County,” Petito said.           Petitio said. “ Their support for our efforts was heartwarming.”



4
     New Online Library System Gets Rave Reviews
               A new automation
    computer system was installed
    at the Flagler County Library that
    brings the library into the homes
    of county residents.
             The system, called
    Polaris, is more user friendly
    and provides easier access to
    library material. Library Director
    Holly Albanese said the new
    system will allow patrons to view
    their library account, renew and
    reserve items from home, the
    office or even a cell phone.
             The system was installed
    in April and the reviews have
    been coming in ever since. “It is
    working out great,” County
                                         Library Trustees Chairman Jim Ulsamer, County Commssion
    Library Director Holly Albanese
                                         Chairman Alan Peterson and Library Director Holly Albanese
    said. “We have had a lot of
                                                    dedicate the new system to the public
    positive feedback on the system
    from our patrons.                    can send them courtesy            want, they can check out books
             “They can now go in their   notices three days before a       through the self check station.
    own records, check on when a         book is due.”                     Albanese said this feature is
    book is due, what items they                 The system has a lot of   particularly handy when a line forms
    have checked out before and          features that not only help the   at the checkout counter of the library
    put in a reservation for a new       patrons but also help the         which happens periodically on busy
    book, Albanese said. “If they        library staff. When the lines     afternoons.
    give us their email address we       back up or whenever they                  The system will also help the
                                                                           library keep track of the number and
                                                                           information on each book on the
                                                                           shelves with the ability to produce a
      There are several ways to access the
                                                                           report on the status at a given point in
      new library on line system:                                          time. That is something that could not
        · Go to www.flaglercounty.org and                                  be physically done before unless the
          move your mouse over library on                                  library was shut down for a week or
                                                                           more.
          the left side of the county’s home                                       The system also will allow the
          page and then click on library                                   library to detect items being stolen. It
          catalog.                                                         works much like the system stores use
                                                                           to circumvent shoplifting. The items,
                                                                           books, DVDs and other items are
          · You can also click on the library                              charged when they are in the library
            selection and on the library’s home                            and discharged with they check out.
                                                                           Items taken out without being checked
            page go to quick links on the right                            out will alert the library staff.
            side of the page and click on online                                   “People really love the new
                                                                           system,” Albanese said. “It gives them
            catalogue.                                                     more control over their own library
5                                                                          account.”
Guest speaker Col. Kevin Murphy of the Florida Army
       National Guard was the guest speaker.


            A Day To Remember
      A large crowd gathered         those who sacrificed
beneath the portico at the           their life for their country.
Government Service Building on                 The ceremony
Memorial Day to remember             was presented by the

                                                                         Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano
                                                                                   plays taps

                                                                         Flagler County Commission and
                                                                         the Veterans Advisory Council.
                                                                         Col. Kevin Murphy of the Florida
                                                                         Army National Guard was the key
                                                                         note      speaker.       County
                                                                         Commission Chairman Alan
                                                                         Peterson spoke about what
                                                                         Memorial Day meant to him and
                                                                         those in his family who served.
Flagler County Commission Chairman Alan Peterson addresses                      Most of the Veteran’s
                        the crowd                                        Organizations in the county
                                                                         participated in the event. The
              New Military Exemption                                     Flagler Palm Coast High School
                                                                         Formality Singers entertained
         A new voter approved property tax exemption is available for    with patriotic songs and the Girl
 this year for military personnel deployed outside the United States.    Scouts from the Golden Sands
         The new exemption will be for service members who currently     chapter of the Girl Scouts of
 receive a homestead exemption on their primary residence. The current   America placed a wreath at the
 qualifying deployments are Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New      memorial in front of the building.
 Dawn. The service member or approved designee will be required to       7th Judicial Circuit Judge Raul
 complete an application and provide proof of eligible deployment.       Zambrano added a poignant
         Please contact the Flagler County Property Appraiser’s office   note to the ceremony when he
 at 386-313-4150 for more information. There is a September deadline     played taps on the trumpet.
 for application.
Flagler County Paramedic Team Brings Home The Gold
         When someone calls for
an ambulance in Flagler County
there is a good chance that a
world class paramedic will
respond to the call and treat the
patient. That is not a boast, in
Flagler County, it is a fact.
         After winning several
national events in 2008 and
2009, a team of Flagler County
paramedics were invited the
Rallye Rejviz in the Czech
Republic. Competing against
teams from across Europe and
a team from New York City,
Flagler County took first place.
In 2010 they took second place
and this year once again proved
they are a notable team of            Paramedic Team members Dennis Kline, Jesse Hunter, Mike Pius
paramedics and took first place                                and Caryn Prather
in the yearly competition.             have been asked to judge the               The Flagler County
         The competition is            contests and bring a team of new    Commission and County
difficult. There were 31 teams         paramedics to enter the             Administrator Craig Coffey want
competing from 10 countries            competition.                        to recognize this talented team
and 15 of the teams had                       The competition team         of paramedics. “ We have proof
physicians as team members.            includes Dennis Kline, Mike Pius,   of the world class service Flagler
The team had 11 tasks to               Caryn Prather and Jesse Hunter.     County residents receive when
complete in 24 hours. During the       The team raises its own funds to    they need an ambulance,” Coffey
competition,        the      team      travel and compete through          said. “We are proud of the
performed skills ranging from a        donations and sponsorships.         Flagler County team and their
pediatric cardiac arrest, an                                               accomplishments.”
overdose, to the birth of a baby.
During the competition the team
repelled from the height of four
stories, traveled via zip line to a
scene and crossed a freezing
cold creek.
         The Paramedic team
was treated like royalty in
Prague. They were welcomed
with open arms upon their return
this year. TV crews followed the
team to create training films from
the methods used by Flagler
County Paramedics.
         Next year Flagler
County’s paramedic team has
been asked to come back, but
not t o compete. In 2012, they            Pius, Hunter and Kline with a “patient” during competiton.
7

				
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