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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 6 years ago

Commission sets beach, U.S. 1 as top priorities for 2014

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City Commissioners set new goals for 2014 in a workshop preceding its Tuesday night meeting.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

The Ormond Beach City Commission set goals for the current fiscal year in a Tuesday workshop preceding its regular meeting in City Hall. Each commissioner presented his own list of desired goals, and then the entire group voted on them, setting the agenda for city staff in the coming months.

The top item in the fiscal policy category will be to maintain the same level of property tax by keeping an eye on expenditures.

The commissioners also voted to continue efforts at reducing the unfunded liability of employee pensions. City Manager Joyce Shanahan said the liability eased a little in the past year because investments did better, but negotiations with employee unions are ongoing.

In the planning and community development area, the commissioners agreed that top on the list should be finalizing an agreement with Volusia County for a Joint Planning Agreement for North U.S. 1. The city has been in talks with the county since 2010 on developing codes and regulations to improve the unincorporated areas along that stretch. Several officials expressed frustration in that process at the meeting.

“We’re not getting cooperation from the county,” said Mayor Ed Kelley.

Under economic development, commissioners voted to concentrate on developing a strategic plan, reviewing regulations and increasing jobs. Several commissioners expressed dismay at the now-vacant Food Lion on East Granada Boulevard.

“I’d like to see another food store in there,” said Commissioner Troy Kent.

Shanahan said all the city can do is offer help to the Food Lion building owner. “We’re working with them,” she said.

In quality of life, the No. 1 priority was adding beach access, an initiative Kent has championed.

In community programs, the commissioners put “community garden” on the list. There is currently a garden near Central Park, and there are plans for another, but the commissioners aim to establish three. People would be able to grow vegetables in the gardens, they said.

In the infrastructure category, the board liked Commissioner Rick Boehm’s suggestion to add lighting to the Halifax River Bridge.

“Jacksonville has (a lighted bridge), and Tampa has several,” Boehm said. “It’s not like the FDOT has never heard about it.”

He said lighting on the bridge could be changed for the seasons. Ormond MainStreet is also in favor of the idea, he added.

Constructing a welcome sign for the city on the western boundary also remains on the city’s “to do” list.

“It’s been frustrating,” Shanahan said of the process to add new signage. She said problems arose in the first location on the side of the road because it was part of an easement for Ormond Town Square.

“We’re looking at redesigning it so it can be put in the median,” she said.

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