FNW: There has been significant conversation about the franchise fee lately and Councilwoman Pontieri did a great job of explaining it during her town hall. With the lack of support for the additional fee, how will Palm Coast’s existing roadway maintenance needs be met? 

Mayor Alfin: Our City Council’s priority to build and manage a sustainable infrastructure that provides safe streets in Palm Coast is one of the key points of urgency in our Strategic Action Plan.   Shortfalls in budget revenue may delay other priorities and program expense, in favor of public safety and roads.  Council has already commenced addressing budget priorities at our meetings.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 1st City Council meeting, we will discuss options for how to tackle rejuvenating our streets and thoroughfares.  For example, rather than the more expensive micro-surfacing remedy, we might be looking at the Global Solutions alternative.  This is a process that puts an extra layer of material on the pavements and would cost less. It is one option that can be considered and compared to other proposals.

FNW: Is there a chance the City of Palm Coast will move forward on their own without a referendum and implement the franchise fee? 

Mayor Alfin: The Franchise Fee program is an agreement between Florida Power & Light and the City of Palm Coast. FPL has informed the city that it will not partner an agreement that includes a referendum. There is no agreement without the participation of both parties.

FPL continues to offer the franchise fee program to municipalities within its marketplace. Most of the cities and counties served by FPL, including our neighboring cities of Bunnell and Flagler Beach, take advantage of the program. Palm Coast City Council may continue to consider and debate the merits of the program if real estate values and financial markets should surrender to economic downturn. Good governance mandates the prioritization of financial sustainability insured by a variety of revenue streams necessary to finance the ongoing needs of our city and its precious lifestyle.

FNW: The following was posted to NextDoor on July 27th. Can you share any information about the highlighted portion and if this is in the future plans? 

“Ok. Council member Danko told me this morning and it was in the observer that the FPL franchise fee was removed. However the mayor is going to try to add a tax to the water bills which includes water, meter(s) rent, swales, solid waste and garbage. He is bent on adding more taxes to us. You still need to be at this coming Tuesday night meeting at 8 pm to kill this new idea of his. He is bent on taxing us out of our houses. He is giving away the farm to the builders. I said in the very beginning we don’t need anyone on the council that is in the real estate business or a lawyer.” – Gary Kunnas

Mayor Alfin: I am not aware of any plans, programs, or initiatives to add more taxes. I find it increasingly difficult to understand the motivations of social media authors who mis-inform readers with the volatile vagaries and untrue rant. Misdirection, innuendo, half-truths, and blatant falsehoods are employed by those who pander for self-purpose campaign attention.

Our 2023-24 Strategic Action Plan was approved unanimously by members of City Council. The SAP has tasked City staff with identifying alternate future revenue streams necessary to fortify financial sustainability for the future. The goal is to become less reliant on ad valorem property tax as insurance against a future downturn in real estate or financial markets. I believe that capable leaders are best prepared with a variety of financial tools that remain available to them if they are called on to build a balanced budget.

My ‘Share with the Mayor’ program offers all residents an opportunity to meet and discuss topics of their choosing at a time and place convenient to their schedules. I look forward to sharing my views and confirming the facts, face to face, throughout our community.  If anyone wishes to join me in a ‘Share with the Mayor,’ please contact our Communications Department at City Hall.

FNW: Please explain the greatest needs for the City of Palm Coast from a budget and operations perspective, and how it is being addressed. 

Mayor Alfin: I believe our greatest need right now is to understand and accept the responsibility for a structured budget that balances the prioritization of infrastructure maintenance with the growing demand for quality-of-life amenities.

Creating financial sustainability is essential to the long-term survival of the Palm Coast we cherish and its quality-of-life amenities. The original plan developed by ITT provided a beautiful community catering to the original residents over the last decades. Unfortunately, this plan has not accounted for the care, service, and maintenance of a maturing ‘young city with aging bones.’ Financial resources were not reserved to replace or repair maturing infrastructure that is now suffering failure at an accelerating rate. The very foundation of Palm Coast was installed more than 50 years ago. Frankly, we have taken for granted the very foundation that supports our exceptional city over the past half century. The city can no longer ‘kick the can’ of maintenance and service down the road in the hopes that a future Council will discover a magical solution that is free from any tax or fee burden.

FNW: You have made some difficult decisions, ones that most politicians would not make to ensure re-election or election to higher office. Why?

Mayor Alfin: First and foremost, I do not consider myself a politician.  If others do, then they need to know that I will always follow the hearts of all the people and not bow to any louder mouth minority of residents.

Those who have worked with me have described me as a proven problem solver. I have made a pledge to Palm Coast that my focus will always be strictly on its CITIZENS – how our city government can solve problems to best serve you, your family, your neighborhoods and our future generations.

Serving as your Mayor is never about me – it’s about all of you. It’s not about politics and elections.

City Council and I want our upcoming generations to enjoy a Palm Coast that enables them to experience everything their families and dreams desire now and in the future. This is about supporting unstoppable and smartly planned growth for residents and businesses; it’s about reliable safety across our community so that everyone experiences our exceptional quality-of-life amenities; it’s about civil, honest dialogue across Palm Coast; it’s about building and managing sustainable infrastructure that promotes clean water, safe roads, and a green environment; it’s about creating financial sustainability and stability. These are the life-changing and life-strengthening experiences all of us want to create here. Palm Coast residents expect and deserve this lifestyle and I am doing all I can to achieve this standard of living for every one of my community neighbors.