Let’s be VERY Clear About the Importance of Project Continental

Those who oppose Project Continental simply do not understand the issues.

Palm Coast, Florida – September 12, 2008 – For nearly two years, I’ve tried to educate Palm Coast area residents of the critical need for economic development. The responses I’ve received from yesterday’s story about Project Continental (story and responses) show that I have much work left to do. Clearly those who oppose Project Continental do so through lack of understanding of the issues at hand. More bluntly, they cannot see the forest for the trees. This is a "no brainer" folks.
We must do something about the gross imbalance of the residential and industrial components of our property tax rolls. If not, we will surely experience large increases in property taxes in the near future. This is not an opinion, it is a fact.
Here is what will happen if Project Continental’s incentives are approved by the city, county, and state AND if the company chooses to consolidate in Palm Coast rather than in Colorado:
  • Palm Coast will get 700 new primary jobs which will be filled largely by current residents presently unemployed or under-employed. Flagler County has a double digit unemployment rate, the second highest in the state.
  • The area will experience a $29.4 million increase in economic activity.
  • The area will benefit from an additional $9.8 million in wages.
  • An estimated 362 indirect jobs will be created by the addition of 700 primary jobs. Examples of secondary jobs are found in the service, retail, government, and education sectors.
  • The construction phase of the company’s expansion would create $21 million in economic activity, additional earnings of $7.4 million, and the employment of 253 construction workers.
  • The success of Project Continental will send a strong signal to other companies thinking of relocating here. It will tell them we are willing to work with them, that we are receptive to economic development.
  • Your future property taxes will be lower than if the status quo remained.
  • Our graduating students will have local job opportunities. Educated children are one of our most valuable products. They should not all be exported.
Here is what will happen if the company decides to consolidate in Colorado:
  • The area will immediately lose 1,000 primary jobs along with hundreds of associated secondary jobs.
  • The area will suffer the loss of $29.9 million in local wages and the $72.9 million in economic activity which these jobs currently create.
  • Flagler’s already high unemployment rate will swell to nearly 20%.
  • The number of foreclosures and distressed properties will swell.
  • Your neighborhood will deteriorate. The value of your home will drop, but your property taxes will rise.
  • Stores and restaurants will close.
  • Crime will increase. You will be less safe.
  • Some services you take for granted now will be reduced or eliminated.
  • State education funding will drop as students’ families move away.
  • Other companies considering a Flagler County location will take a clue from how we react to this opportunity, with potentially dire consequences in the future.
  • Our children will leave after graduation because there will be no opportunities for them here.
  • If you are over 65, you will probably not see the local economy recovery in your lifetime.
On the other hand, you might have a point. There would be fewer cars on the road and stores would be less crowded. But do you really think the trade off is worth it? I smell coffee. Wake up and you can smell it too.
17 replies
  1. VS
    VS says:


    Often times the observers are way too close to the subject that they completely missed to see the whole picture.

    It will be wiser if we step back a little to enable us appreciate better and enjoy the whole scenery.

  2. Gail Neufeld
    Gail Neufeld says:


    I’ve been seeing more and more of it….people are hesitant to change the status quo. They want things to remain as they are and are not willing to open their minds to new and fresh ideas even though in the long run they will benefit from them.

    Note: please use only my first name or initials, please.

  3. Dan Ignatuk
    Dan Ignatuk says:

    Project Continental

    Project Continental is huge to the future of Palm Coast assuming that Toby is correct on the bidder:

    > PC doesn’t close the deal and we lose 700 direct jobs and several hundred support jobs

    > PC closes the deal and we have a net increase of many jobs and all of the outside support jobs that follow.

    PC is not in any position to let this company go. You don’t get many opportunities in a community of this size to secure a company like this which will have significant contributions to our tax base.

    I hope that they do what they have to do (within reason) to close this deal.

  4. George Meegan
    George Meegan says:

    Confilct of interest?

    How can the new jobs in a tax free building provide more to the property tax base? They will demand more services and no revenue will be coming until the properties go on the tax roll. As Ricky said to Lucy, "you got some splain to do". Open forums would already resovled this question, but the big "Shultz" (you must remember he said "I know Nothing")is on again. By the way I know where you can buy a nice golf course that Shultz owns, and bring the city budget down.

  5. dennis hurlie
    dennis hurlie says:

    you have to give to get

    being in munical govt. for 33 years I understand that to intice certain big busineesses – something that will EVENTUALLY be good for the community you have to look past the initial negotiated tax incentives.
    what is the harm?-you will pay the same taxes now and more in the future but in the near future you will pay less by signing on corporations that give us a sound commercial base
    they will get these "deals" elsewhere sooooo why should we lose these opportunities when they are presented let’s refrain from being so nearsighted!

  6. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    then we can…

    Look into getting the Y back to the ITT ICDC donated ‘Community Activities Building’. This would give very affordable Day Care to the families needing it; job training, bring back a wealth of programs like we once had, some jobs, and Funding from Corporate
    Look into the other donated building in the Palm Harbor Publix Shopping Center, donated by ITT ICDC to be used for the first branch of the now Daytona State College. Perhaps a Museum can be started there like Flagler Beach has. It would bring some jobs and State Funding,
    if not that, perhaps inquiring into ‘Branches’ of other Universities to be put there as it was initially designated and intended,
    Look into the Ag Center who I think lost their funding/position, perhaps trying to start up something like the Aqua Safari like Daytona has, or something similiar, we have the Princess Place and other areas that can be better capitalized and improved on –
    then –
    create an on-line store – like Cafe Express like other Forida Cities already have –
    then perhaps look into becoming a C.L.G., certified local government like other florida cities are – especially with what has arisen with ‘Longs Landing’ ‘…That it assists them with grant funding (limiting the pool of applicants) and it gives them a say in National Register applications. It provides more control over HP efforts in their community…’ Wes Singletary, Supervisor of the Program has told us that he will even HELP for free to become a C.L.G.
    All the above is small, we concur, but it would be a start. We are just Original Palm Coast Pioneers thinking of others in need and for the Future like Toby says above –

    Oh..BTW..for some levity –

    What is the difference between a Palm Coast Pioneer and a Pit Bull?

    Answer: No Difference – we just become more vicious especially when our Swim Club, Tennis Club, Sheratons’, Boat Ramp, Putting Green, Driving Range, ‘Contemporary’ Clubhouse, Rolling Golf Course, and first Neighborhood Park in Palm Coast get taken away…
    We hope you understand our ‘special interest’ in the above, we and so many others paid hundreds and thousands above DOUBLE the cost of a plain standard P.C. lot for a Golf Course Lot. Palm Coast was promoted and advertised to include the above and Canal Lots, and FOUR Golf Courses. Remember the ‘Guided Tours’ by ‘The Fleet’ that the Company offered? ..even a London Bus !
    Now, we have only 2 7/18 Golf Courses left from the Original Plan…and guess what…Hi Rise, Hi Density Puds coming –

  7. G N
    G N says:


    I’ve been seeing more and more of it….people are hesitant to change the status quo. They want things to remain as they are and are not willing to open their minds to new and fresh ideas even though in the long run they will benefit from them.

  8. D W Ferguson
    D W Ferguson says:


    It seems clear to me that more industrial/manufacturing/commercial activity would help balance the disproportionate,onerous tax base here in Flagler county. Yes, the retirement haven that palm coast has built its reputation on should be preserved, however, no man can stop the clock of progress. As more younger people (baby boomers and younger)seek refuge from the less civilized cities across America, Palm Coast must partly accomodate their needs. Jobs, Good education fot their kids and grandkids, and quality healthcare.Safety from criminals is also a "Given’ This costs money and can be better funded with a richer economic base of industry. Get behind wise development of new businesses here , even if we must induce their location here with temporal tax incentives.It’s clearly in all of our collective best interests. This would be healthy PROGRESS !!!!

  9. CD
    CD says:


    Toby…Your piece on Project Continental is right on the money, and then some!!! All one has to do is look at the growth in Jacksonville (albeit..a much larger market) to understand that without some industrial or corporate presence a community will NOT "thrive" economically. My wife and I almost brought our business down to Palm coast but the demographics prevented us from pulling the trigger. The bulk of the money in Palm Coast is retirement money!!! This has got to even out…Palm Coast has much too much to offer.I reiterate Toby, keep up the great work!!! At the end of the day, I check out your site first!!!

  10. Brian Dickson
    Brian Dickson says:

    Desperately needed

    Toby, once again you are right on the mark with your comments, diversifying our Palm Coast economy is vital to the future growth and prosperity of our community. Project Continental is desperately needed for all of the reasons you outlined.

    I am thinking, anyone who can’t understand how vital economic growth and diversity is for us all…..may have gone to school on a small bus.

  11. GMJ
    GMJ says:

    Your downside is a bit over the top!

    Toby, I like your site and believe you provide a nice service to folks wanting to know about Palm Coast. I agree that it’s better to attract jobs, than not attract jobs. I agree that communities must (unfortunately) offer tax reduction incentives to entice employers to locate in a given community or they will go to another community that gives them "breaks". Of course, the question of concern to this community is "how much of a break are we giving?". The other concern, @ least that I have, is what I consider to be "scare" tactics in your "downside". How is it a given that the loss of this corporation and the existing jobs will create crime, foreclosures, decreased city services, etc.? What is the current income to PC being provided by the company and it’s employees by way of tax payments? How much of existing City services does it/they use? If leaving provides a decrease in revenue, doesn’t it also provide a corresponding decrease in the use of/need for services? Facts would be a better discussion than scare tactics, in my opinion anyway. Thanks again for your positive contributions!

  12. Frank Meeker
    Frank Meeker says:

    One other thing on Project Continental

    Toby, I just love coming on here during free moments and read over the articles and comments. The articles are well written and informative, and I’m at a loss to pick one I disagreed with enough that I’d really want to argue about it. However it is in reading comments from "the rest of us" you get a real feel for the issues. Thanks for providing the service.

    I’ve been doing my homework by reading the Fishkind Report done on Project Continental for Enterprise Flagler as the city council will vote on this project Tuesday morning. Your summary of the benefits was great, and helps place things into perspective for your readers. The Fiskind report had other interesting details regarding the indirect benefits of this project that surprised me when I read them. It was table 7 of the report that really hit me. This table discusses who benefits indirectly the most from this project (the 174 million dollars of estimated indirect benefit). Is it local government, Joe Citizen, or somebody else? Here are the top five, in order of least to greatest….?

    Indirect Benefit ranking

    5 – Finance and Insurance industry, estimated benefit 3.6 million
    4 – Health Care and Social Assistance, estimated benefit 4.3 million
    3 – Retail, (no Duh there), estimated benefit 7 million
    2 – Real Estate, rentals, leasing, estimated benefit 12.8 million

    and the number 1 beneficiary?

    1 – Administrative and Waste Management Services, estimated benefit 129 million?

    Huh? I don’t know how it gets there from the RIMS model, and wish there was a better discussion in the report of what "administrative and waste management services" are as a group. I’d also question only a 643 thousand dollar boost to construction since the estimated direct impact for the construction industry is exceeds 20 million.

    So, even if I question some of the numbers, this indirect benefit to Flagler County and our citizens just can’t be a "small dismissive" kind of thing, but is one of those intrinsic elements that’s hard to measure, but could be the proverbial shot in the arm our economic picture needs along side the additional 700 direct jobs.

    Frank Meeker

  13. Jason of FlaglerChat.com
    Jason of FlaglerChat.com says:

    Inviting industry

    There is no doubt Flagler County has been lacking the kind of industry needed to help keep residential taxes lower and propel the local economy with quality jobs.

    This has been a problem since the inception of Palm Coast. I would like to see more high tech offices and company HQs be located here, as those are where the quality jobs will be.

    I appreciate Toby reminding the residents how much we need new industry here to help support the local economy.

  14. Chuck Young
    Chuck Young says:

    In total agreement.

    I can’t understand how anyone could be against this project…this county and city needs to bring good paying jobs into the area…there are already too many people commuting outside the county…we need Project Continental…everybody can’t work for the city.

  15. Jake
    Jake says:

    The End is Coming?

    Although I do appreciate the need for buisness in the area, and fully agree that it will balance the tax revenue better; I think there is a bit of over-dramatization here.

    1. 700 jobs at what average rate? If these are $7.00/hour jobs, that is like saying thank goodness Wal-Mart came and people have jobs.

    2. Our kids will leave after graduation? That’s a little too much ‘work at the factory like my father and his father did’ type of thing.

    3. 1000 jobs leaving the area which means this is a local business moving. Great, but what is more important is other businesses coming in and not just shifting around the ones that are here.

    4. Housing? That one is a whole lot bigger than Project Continental. A WHOLE lot bigger.

    Toby, you are great but I’m not agreeing with the "sky will fall" angle.


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