LETTER: Saltwater canal proposal, forensic audit require more discussion

What are your neighbors talking about this week?

  • By
  • | 11:00 a.m. August 24, 2023
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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Saltwater canal proposal, forensic audit require more discussion

The Palm Coast City Council has had a busy time lately. Apartments and housing developments flooding in, budgetary issues, saltwater canals, and even accusations of criminal activity requiring what is called a "forensic audit" of city finances.

But I think residents are confused about the nature of a forensic audit. It will not reveal mistakes, poor choices, or incompetence by city staff. A forensic audit is looking for crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. This extremely expensive audit is conducted by a team of specially trained accounting professionals whose only purpose is to examine financial records in detail to determine if crimes have been committed. This audit wouldn’t even discover if bribes have been paid in cash "under the table." 

Palm Coast has a financial audit done every year by an outside accounting and auditing firm. Last year it was done by James Moore Associates in Daytona. which determined everything was in order. 

People are so negative about things. No evidence whatsoever was presented. There has to be something more than a resident having a “suspicion."

Another item of major concern, the condition of the saltwater canals, was on the agenda when a consulting firm presented the results of their investigation. The examination results showed good and bad for the city and canal residents. 

The firm determined the canals to not be in as bad a condition as believed, with only one-half (13 miles) in need of any attention, rather than the entire 26 miles. They determined the deteriorating condition of many residents’ bulkheads to not be a source of silting to any degree. However, only three samples were analyzed of the silt material for hazardous wastes; this is way too few to make a conclusion the dredged material is safe for a landfill. The bad news for saltwater canal homeowners was that since the canal system is utilized almost completely by them, public funding is going to be hard to get for the 10-to-20-million-dollar price tag.

Both of these issues are still very much up in the air, and both need very much more discussion by all of us.    

Jeffery C. Seib

Palm Coast

Editors’s note: The city has now analyzed silt from six locations and expects to analyze more if the canal project moves on to permitting, according to the city’s stormwater engineer.


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