County considers industrial park to diversify tax base

The industrial park is one of three multi-million dollar projects being considered for state funding requests.

County Administrator Heidi Petito speaks during a Sept. 7 County Commission meeting. Image from meeting livestream
County Administrator Heidi Petito speaks during a Sept. 7 County Commission meeting. Image from meeting livestream
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Funding to add a new industrial park in Flagler County could be on the county government's lists of requests to state legislators this year.

The Flagler Board of County Commissioners met in a workshop Sept. 7 to review a list of priority items the county would like to send to the state for support. The list includes asking the state to continue supporting programs the county uses – like its Transportation Disadvantaged Program – and funding requests.

Among the meeting’s agenda items is a $6 million funding request to purchase about 250 acres of land for a “light industrial park.” The park is meant to hopefully diversify the tax base by adding new ad valorem taxes, removing some of that tax burden off of residents, according to Library Director Holly Albanese, who presented the lists to the board.

“There’s a good possibility that the land we purchase could potentially be in Palm Coast,” Albanese said to the board. “Because they’re the ones that have the utilities, the infrastructure to potentially support it.”

Commissioner Andy Dance had concerns about a lack of information, saying that the item might not be "ready for prime-time.”

Commissioner Donald O’Brien said he’d want more research on it before adding it to the list. But he said he had concerns that it wasn’t in line with the current Legislature.

“Personally,” O’Brien said, “I think it’s a non-starter from a political standpoint.”

Greg Blosé, president and CEO of Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce, came up during public comment to urge the commissioners to consider the industrial park. Blosé said he thinks this is an important step forward.

“The reality is we’ve got to start somewhere with this diversification of the economy,” he said. “It’s only going to get worse.”

Also listed is a policy request for the state to continue supporting the Public Library Construction Grant Program.

For seven years in a row, Flagler County has ranked first under in the program — meaning the county’s need is greatest for public library construction.

But for the past six years, the state opted not to fund the program, or the county withdrew for its own funding reasons.

Albanese said that once the county moves forward with the construction contract it was considering last April, the county would not be able to apply for this grant again next year.

According to the documentation provided at the workshop, the existing Bunnell branch of the Flagler County Public Library is more than 100% below the Standards for Florida Public Libraries' recommended square footage for a population the size of Flagler's. 

“This," Albanese said, "is our last bite at the apple.”




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