Campaign vehicles and trailers take up space when candidates and volunteers park them on county property — sometimes, quite a lot of space.
“You start knocking out 20 or 30 spots with campaign stuff,” County Administrator Craig Coffey told county commissioners during a commission workshop the morning of July 2.
The county has also been contending with campaign volunteers staking signs on county property and on county buildings. Staff have removed the signs.
Now, the county is planning to pass a resolution announcing the rules about signs on county property — the county will remove them, and keep them three days for pickup before destroying them — and about campaign vehicles parking for extended periods on county property at the Flagler County Library, Government Services Building and other spots.
“The vehicle one, we felt we actually had to erect signs for those to be a writable, towable offense,” Coffey said. “Obviously we aren’t regulating T-shirts or signs on the side of a car coming and going, all those things are fine. We aren’t trying to impede anyone’s free speech, we’re just trying to really protect our property and protect our citizens.”
The county hasn’t towed vehicles in the past: It's just asked people to move them. But that doesn’t always work, Coffey said. Sometimes campaign vehicles are parked parked on county property overnight.
County to move forward on Graham Swamp trail design
In a County Commission meeting preceding the July 2 workshop, the commission voted to move forward on the $1.5 million design phase of a project to create a Graham Swamp multi-use trail and pedestrian bridge from Lehigh Trail to State Road 100.
The $1.5 million is federal money. The county has already allocated about $6 million in state and federal grant money for the project, County Engineer Faith Alkhatib said during the meeting.
The proposal passed 4-1, with Commissioner Charlie Ericksen dissenting: He said he wanted more details on the path and the bridge over S.R. 100 than had been provided at the meeting.
"If I'm buying a new car, I can go kick the tires, I can see what's on the inside, etcetera; I wish we had a drawing or just a brief sketch," he said.
Ericksen also had concerns about the possibility of cost overruns.
"The land north of (S.R.) 100 is a swamp," he said. "I can tell you right now the water is probably 5-6 feet deep in certain places, and I’m just concerned about the cost of building a trail from the existing Lehigh down to 100."
If the construction is more expensive than predicted, Alkhatib replied, the county could seek more money from FDOT, it could divide the project into phases spanning a number of years, or it could use a gas tax to raise the money.