After eight hours of meetings on difficult topics such as funding for the beach dunes and how to reduce emergency room visits, County Commissioner Greg Hansen brought up yet another difficult topic on June 5.
“Our relationship with the city of Palm Coast sucks,” Hansen said. “They ask us for a lot of help, and we always give it to them. And yet when we want something, they stick it in our eye, and they make it hard. I just don’t understand that.”
He looked to County Administrator Craig Coffey for a response, but Coffey didn’t have one. He looked to County Commission Chairman Nate McLaughlin for a reaction, but he kept quiet.
Hansen suggested holding a future workshop about the relationship with the city.
“Is that something we can take on as a commission?” Hansen asked.
Still no response, but Hansen continued.
“It’s very one way,” he said. “We always bend over backward to help them, and they continually stick it in our eye.”
In a later phone interview with the Palm Coast Observer, Hansen said he’d like to have a joint meeting with the City Council.
He said one issue that illustrates his frustration is the Interstate 95 interchange at Matanzas Woods Parkway. The county gave the city 190 acres, and the city still didn’t cooperate like he had expected, as disagreements arose about who should maintain the road. For some time, the medians at the intersection of Matanzas Woods and Old Kings Road were overgrown and unkempt as a result; residents complained about the appearance. In the June 5 regular meeting of the County Commission, the county gave all maintenance responsibilities of Matanzas Woods Parkway to the city, finally resolving the dispute.
In a June 1 interview, Deputy County Administrator Sally Sherman said there had been some disagreement about the wording of the maintenance agreement, but she also defended the city of Palm Coast, saying that it made sense for the city to want control, considering that any development around that road would be funneled through the city, not the county.
“The county is very excited that the construction of the project was completed and the road is now open to serve the citizens,” Sherman said. “This is a win-win and shows how both Flagler County and Palm Coast can work collaboratively to serve its citizens.”
“Greg, any county that has a big city in it has this problem. It’s statewide. You can try, but it’s just kind of the nature of the beast.”
Rick Scott, governor of Florida, as recalled by Greg Hansen
Still, the issue of city-county strife was a much-discussed topic in the 2016 election. Hansen, who was not elected but was appointed to the commission by Gov. Rick Scott in January, said he brought up the strife during his interview with Scott.
“He laughed,” Hansen recalled. “He said, ‘Greg, any county that has a big city in it has this problem. It’s statewide. You can try, but it’s just kind of the nature of the beast.’”
Hansen said he would like to try.
This will be among the topics of discussion when Hansen is a guest on “Free For All Friday,” 9-10 a.m. June 9, on WNZF 106.3 FM.