Palm Coast City Manager Hears ”No New City Hall” at Packed Town Hall Meeting

Over 100 attended last night’s meeting. They did not like hearing that the proposed $10M building did not require voter approval.

Palm Coast, FL – November 5, 2010 – Twice this week, Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon heard that a new $10 million city hall to be built in Town Center using "existing" funds faced strong resistance from city residents. Landon received a negative response from most of the 35 residents Monday evening at Indian Trails Middle School where he first pitched his plan and answered questions. The over 100 residents who packed the Palm Coast Community Center last night for the second of four scheduled town hall meetings supplied an even stronger rebuke. They particularly did not like the message that the money was in the budget and a voter referendum would not be required to move forward.
Five years ago, Palm Coast voters resoundingly turned down a proposal for a new city hall in Town Center. That 75,000 square foot edifice would have cost $22,000,000 funded by revenue bonds. The bonds would have been paid over a 30-year period through a 40 cent per thousand property tax increase.
The New Plan
Landon believes that the voters in 2005 turned down the tax increase, not the concept of a new city hall. The proposed city hall, like the 2005 model, would be built in Town Center on land the city already owns but with three major differences this time around.
  • Smaller – The proposed city hall will be only 40,000 square feet
  • Less Costly – The estimated cost of construction, landscaping, and furniture for the proposed building is $10,000,000.
  • No tax increase – The new city hall would be built using "existing money" rather than tax funded bonds.
Landon’s fundamental argument was that it’s better to own than rent. Last night, he had updated the "break even" slide that had tripped him up on Monday but otherwise it was a repeat performance. As on Monday, he was repeatedly unable to satisfactorily answer financial questions, saying that he had financial professionals on his staff that understood the details. This answer prompted one audience member to suggest that the financial experts should have been at the meeting too.
The audience did not buy the funding flimflam. It may be existing money, but it is still the taxpayers’ money; money that many think could be put to better use during these trying times.
"Take it to the voters. Let them decide." That message was signaled loudly and clearly by a vocal show of hands as the meeting wound down.

What do you think?’s news story announcing the four scheduled meetings contains an unscientific poll. It asks the question: If Palm Coast could construct a new city hall for $10 million using "existing" funds, would you support the project? With 345 total votes to date, the results are:
  • YES – 18.55%
  • PROBABLY – 8.41%
  • PROBABLY NOT – 13.62%
  • NO – 59.42%
The poll is ongoing. I’d like your response. To participate, go to: Town Hall Meetings Scheduled to Explain Plans for New Palm Coast City Hall. The poll is at the bottom of the page.
Landon’s next scheduled meeting is 6 P.M. Monday, November 15 at the Buddy Taylor Middle School cafeteria, located between Buddy Taylor and Wadsworth Schools on Belle Terre Pkwy.
9 replies
  1. Cyd Weeks
    Cyd Weeks says:

    no vote needed

    Are they surprised? Don’t the read the paper? He’s said for some time now he doesn’t need a vote, that he’s ‘found a way around it’.
    Only way to handle this is to let the commissioners know we don’t want it and if they support it and let it move forward that their position is on the line…we do get to vote for or against THEM if we can’t vote for or against the new City hall. 🙂

  2. Tammy Sharpe
    Tammy Sharpe says:

    No New City Hall

    Mr. Landon does not get it. He wants to see in a new building without regards of the current economic situation. He should be conducting meeting to tell the residents ideas to improve the city with the money.

  3. Diana
    Diana says:

    Meeting on November 15th Re: New City Hall

    Dear Toby,
    What is the exact time of the meeting on November 15th regarding the proposed "New City Hall" which will use 10 million of our taxpayers’ollars?
    Thank you!

  4. Nick
    Nick says:

    Someone needs a talking to…

    The City Council members need to have a talk with in our city manager and understand that if they don’t… we will do the talking with our votes come election time.

  5. David Royall
    David Royall says:

    Build it, already ….

    Snap out of your trance Palm Coast. People in this town need to understand the the city government cannot forever operate under a rented tent. If you want a modern town, some money will have to be spent. If you want a dysfunctional town, listen to those 50 people who make the most noise but have the least progressive ideas. Build the darn building. The naysayers will move on to something else to worry and complain about.

  6. B Kegley
    B Kegley says:

    City of Palm Coast

    Think it now time to reconsider why we need to be a city. The original county commissioners which the "original settlers" did not like are no longer around. Likewise, you cannot find anyone NOW who voted in 1999 to become a city. Returning the charter back to the State and becoming a part of Flagler County once again would eliminate 4 council persons and one mayor plus lots of high paying jobs at city hall. NO NEW city hall would be required as there is already the Government Services Building.

  7. George Meegan
    George Meegan says:

    Tea party alive in Palm Coast

    It’s about time they woke up, and smelt the rotten politicians right here in Palm Coast. What they have to realize is Palm Coast was set up as a charter for the "boys" to be able to run it with a few egotistical council people, and a powerless mayor. The problem is the boys were only in it for the graft, being sent to them in the form of fees for services, representing business people who wanted things done for the profit. That all works if there is a thriving economy, but the hault in construction, and huge unemployment dried up all the "oportunities" to cut deals at the tax payers expense. Now the eyes of the taxpayers are open, and the boys a quaking in there boots, as there is no more money left to be made. LOOK AT ALL THE PLACES THEY SPENT TAX PAYER MONEY: PALM HARBOR GOLF "CLUB", BULL DOG DRIVE, TENNIS COURTS FOR THE MAYOR, PALM COAST DATA, OVERCHARGING FOR THE UTILITY OPERATION,REALIGNING OLD KINGS ROAD FOR WALMART, TRYING TO CREATE A NEW INTERCHANGE FOR GINN THAT DOT SAID NO TO BUT SPENDING MILLIONS ON THE CONCEPTUAL DESIGN STUDY. BAILING OUT LANDMAR BY ANNEXING LAND AND PAYING WAY OVER MARKET VALUE, AS THEY DID ON BULL DOG DRIVE.
    The state is probably going to indict many of them soon, as the crooks they are.So they hide behind the one person that they can blame it on Jim Landon, who might as well put his house up for sale and hit the road before it hits the fan.
    Combine Palm Coast with Flagler County and elect a strong mayor perhaps Malisa Holland, a true patriot.

  8. Jeff S.
    Jeff S. says:

    Is he blinded by the Blight?

    If the City leaves City Market Place (formally CityWalk) who is going to want the approximate 20,000 sq/ft "custom" build out by the City? That mall is already dying! Now we will have one of the area’s largest retail spaces in the entire city – empty. What kind of message does that say to future investors and/or residence we need? BLIGHT! This does not even address the point that the City currently occupies 20,000 sq/ft and now Jim wants 40,000! Are they busting out at the seams all of a sudden that they need twice the amount of space that they "just" settled into? Oh yeah, that’s about half the amount they wanted in the first proposal (75,000); why am I complaining. Finally, I bet the City would be able to buy (City Market Place) for pennies on the dollar – that would address Jim’s rent vs. ownership argument

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