Also in City Watch: School Board delays decision in Osceola-Ortona merger.
Ormond Beach will still hold an Independence Day Celebration — just not on July 4.
Because the governor’s state of emergency order was extended for another 60 days and will now expire on July 7 due to COVID-19, the city had to decide whether to cancel the celebration altogether, or move it to a different date.
The Ormond Beach City Commission was reluctant to cancel the event. City Commissioner Troy Kent said he “hated” the idea.
“Our residents deserve the party and show that Ormond Beach puts on every year,” he said.
City staff presented them with two other options: Conduct the fireworks as usual without any live music, children’s activities or vendors; or postpone it.
"Those who are the most vulnerable can’t really enjoy the celebration when there’s a big crowd of people. I think we owe it to them to postpone.”
Dwight Selby, Ormond Beach City Commissioner for Zone 1
Mayor Bill Partington favored the latter, agreeing with staff’s recommendation to hold it the Saturday before Labor Day.
“It is one of the greatest things that we do,” he said. “I’d hate to cancel it outright, but I want to have it at a time when people are thoroughly comfortable coming out and we know that we’ll have good, safe participation.”
The commission also approved extending the fireworks grand finale for five more minutes, adding an additional cost of $7,000 to the $58,000 that were already budgeted for the event.
Osceola-Ortona decision delayed
The Volusia County School Board pushed back the discussion regarding a merger between Osceola and Ortona Elementary to May 26.
The board was scheduled to pick one of the school sites for the construction of a new elementary or K-8 school at its May 12 meeting, but Board Chair Ida Wright asked that the item be postponed to give her and seven parents the chance to visit Audubon Park K-8 in Orange County. That school could be a model for what a K-8 could look like on either beachside school site.
Annexation policy clarified
The City Commission unanimously passed three ordinances on second reading that clarify Ormond-by-the-Sea residents who wish to connect to city utilities will not need to annex into the city.
This comes months after residents raised concerns over a forced annexation, should a septic to sewer conversion occur in the future.
COVID-19 testing at the PAC
The Department of Health will offer coronavirus testing at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center starting Monday, May 18, and running through Wednesday, May 20.
The test is of the nasal swab kind. The PAC is located at 399 N. U.S. 1.
This story was updated at 3:03 p.m. on Thursday, May 14, to correct the dates of testing.