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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Recap of Town Hall Meeting in Daytona North, October 28, 2016

FEMA director Steve Garten talked about the shelters and all the work FEMA has done to try to help people. They discussed the fact that the debris removal is a process--that Flagler is competing with much bigger counties for trucks but that they are working to come pick up the debris from the right of ways. On a side note, for anyone who needs to talk to FEMA officials about storm related losses, they can go to the Flagler County Library all week (or until it ends), and Flagler County Public Transport is offering FREE rides to anyone needing to go to the library for disaster assistance. He also mentioned that losses of any kind, including food loss, could be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Emergency Management Technician Bob Pickering discussed the meteorological dynamics of Hurricane Matthew. He discussed the models showing a much stronger, more westerly trajectory of the storm which would have been catastrophic for our county, even here in the Mondex. The storm did weaken. He mentioned the fact that storm surge is the most serious effect of hurricanes and that evacuations are generally planned with regard to storm surge over the winds (with the exception of homes which are often, especially if older, not built to withstand hurricane force winds). He alluded to a program which will help site-built homes older than seven or so years get reinforcement to be safer during storms. He handed out disaster pamphlets with important information and told us that we aren't likely to see something like Matthew again; however, he urged everyone to always prepare for disaster--even fires, which are more common and could elicit immediate responses. 

Garten interjected an important point that evacuation zones are off-limits to emergency vehicles during certain wind speeds, so if you are ordered to evacuate, do it. The EOC was fielding calls from people standing on their counters saying, "The water is swallowing my home, please help!" 
Pickering mentioned radio station WNZF--tune into that one during disasters for Flagler relevant info.

McLaughlin thanked the volunteers who served as points of contacts for getting assistance out to the Mondex.

Jacob Oliva and Andy Dance discussed the shelter turnouts and discussed the fact that shelters had AC, power, and meals. School staff operates the shelters, thus school closings. They served over 10,000 meals to residents.  I asked them about K-8 and they mentioned that all the studies they've seen supported the fact that fewer transitions are good for students, that the sixth graders are doing better than they were when they transitioned to middle school; however, funding challenges have prevented them from being able to convert schools to k-8.

Commissioner Nate McLaughlin discussed the fact that road work is being done, still, through the Florida Department of Transportation. We should see Mahogany re-paved, optimally, in a year or so. They have a relation with the FDOT to secure funding when they can, though county revenue pays for maintenance. We'll see the rest of Water Oak Paved, too, but not so soon. (I heard 2020 at the last Town Hall).

Next Town Hall: February 23rd 2017 at Hidden Trails Community Center at 5:30 pm.

Turnout:  I would love it if more families could come out so we can have a larger diversity of people coming in to get information and to communicate with our county leaders.  They are working hard to get information to us and to hear from us, but it's been a challenge to get the word out and to get a good way to reach out to everyone.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween at Hidden Trails in Daytona North

Every Halloween we attempt to get to the city of Bunnell to give the kids some Halloween fun, but it's a bit of a mess.  There's no doubt that the little town of Bunnell is a Halloween hot-spot, but it feels a little wrong for us to drag our kids from the outer corners of the county to a town to beg for their candy--especially if we aren't doling out the sweets there ourselves.  I thought that maybe we could bring a card table and offer trick or treating ourselves, something I do think a few people do, but why do that?  Daytona North has an estimated population which is higher than that of the city of Bunnell.  Surely we can gather our resources and put on an event in our town.

Why Halloween Mondex Doesn't Happen

Halloween Mondex isn't a thing because houses are fairly spread apart.  Street lighting is poor, and many of the roads are dirt.  We don't have sidewalks either.  It's not efficient to do trick-or-treating here.  We aren't an incorporated municipality with our own city taxes (thank goodness, though, right?) which buffer our recreational coffers.

Why Halloween Mondex Should Totally Be a Thing

Dirt roads, trees, community vibe, creatures all about--that's what makes Halloween in Mondex a thing that should totally be a thing.  And we can really do this at the park.  To the tune of trunk-or-treat, we can just invite the community to bring chairs and candy.  The candy-givers come out to the park instead of staying home.  They chill, listen to some music, enjoy some snacks.  If we can make this a thing, it can get better and better each year.  I know there are creative folks out this way who might bring something spectacular to an impromptu event.

What I'm Going For

So I'm not an event planner.  I'm probably one of THE most unorganized beings in the human race.  I do manage to get stuff done, but I'm trying to rally the talent and formulations of our cool community.  I'm just puttng it out there.  We'll bring some hot dogs, buns, punch, paper plates, and charcoal.  We'll bring candy for treaters and we'll maybe make some goody bags for a costume contest--an impromptu, just let's do this kind of thing.  I'm hoping some experienced eventers out there will jump in and give some guidance as we get it started.  I'm head-first--let's do it.  Maybe next time we can get some businesses and the county involved--even minimally, to make it a grand deal for our community.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review of Ruthie's in Daytona North

Daytona North, also known as the Mondex in Flagler County is up and coming.  It's a rural community with a lot of dirt roads and the main roads leading to it are about eight miles from the nearest incorporated municipality, the city of Bunnell.  Folks out yonder usually have to travel into town for groceries, governmental affairs, banking, medical needs, jobs, dining out (with the exception of the beautifully located Bull Creek Fish Camp) and schooling.  The area recently got a Dollar General and a pizza place, but the pizza place just switched owners, and this blog is the review of the new place called Ruthie's.

About Ruthie's

Pit Stop Pizza announced on its Facebook page that it was turning over ownership and that the new restaurant would open on Saturday, October 15th, 2016 under a new name of Ruthie's.  The new place would continue to deliver food and make pizza, but it would offer some new items such as hamburgers, hotdogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, potato salad, and coleslaw.  I asked the owners on Facebook who Ruthie was, and the owner said that Ruthie was her grandmother who had owned a diner in the 1950's.  She suggested that she had retained her grandmother's original recipes from her diner and that everything would be made homemade.


The menu is a bit all over the place.  I'm not sure if the theme is 1950's diner or Italian pizza place, but with burgers, hot dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches mixed in with quintessential Italian restaurant items such as pizza, calzones, subs and pasta, it's difficult to get an idea of just what kind of food joint this is.

Prices:  The menu will need to be refined.  The menu doesn't specify the price of pizza toppings nor does it offer pricing details on the different pizza sizes.  For the record, their 24" pizza is $17.99, but we didn't ask them how much the 24" specialty pizzas cost.

Ordering Experience

We live on the south end of Water Oak Road and called them at 4:59 pm and got our food delivered by 5:50 pm.  The person taking the order quoted us about 45 minutes, so the timing was great.  The person on the phone was very cordial and she repeated our order on the phone to make sure she got it right. 

We ordered:

12" turkey sub, 16" cheese pizza, two hamburgers with cheese, one side-order of coleslaw and one cheese calzone.  The total cost came to $37 and change.

Within a few minutes of placing our order, someone called us back to tell us that they were out of turkey.  So, we ordered the Italian sub with lettuce, tomato, olives, pepperoncini, mayonnaise, and Italian dressing instead.

Food Quality

Hamburgers:  The hamburgers are nothing special.  The buns are the same kind of buns one can buy at the Dollar General, and the cheese they add is regular processed cheese.  They were standard size burgers and didn't have that juicy burger taste.  For comparison, Hijacker's super scrumptious burgers (with special additions) cost close to $10.  You can get a cheeseburger and three other things at Wendy's for four bucks.  The hamburgers here were fairly on par with Wendy's.  They cost $4.75 at Ruthie's, and they come with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle.

Pizza:  The cheese pizza was standard and appears to be the same in quality as it was when the place was known as Pit Stop Pizza.  The crust is fairly flexible, there was a modest amount of cheese, but it did seem a little sparse on pizza sauce (as usual).  Its quality ranks somewhere between frozen pizza and Terranova's, though it really doesn't come close to Terranova's if you like that bendy crust and thick melty cheese.

As you can see, this pizza is okay, but it's not professional pizza.  The dough is bubbling which shows it wasn't properly docked.  I promise, I'm not a full-on pizza snob, but I do appreciate a well made pizza, and this isn't really it.  It will work, though.  Terranova's doesn't deliver out here...

Calzone:  The calzone was more crescent shaped and thinner than the calzone I am used to ordering. It was quite bread-y at the tips, but it oozed cheese in the center and the family really thought it was quite tasty.  The marinara sauce was fine.  The marinara appears similar to what Pit Stop Pizza was serving.


Italian Sub:  The 12" sub was only $7.99.  I prefer thinly sliced meats, but this sub came with thick cuts of ham and capicola.  It came with pepperoni.  You have to specify what you want on it, so I ordered lettuce, tomato, onion, pepperoncinis, and olives.  I ordered Italian dressing and mayonnaise. The sub was good but not Publix subs good.  The bread was soft and not overly flaky.  It had ample meat to be satisfying, and it was worth the price, though it's fairly unremarkable.

Coleslaw:  The coleslaw costs $1.25 and it comes in a condiment container.  It's standard coleslaw.  It tasted fresh with a subtle sweetness.  


The place has low-cost options if you're hungry enough for them and the customer service is excellent so far.  The place does meet a desire for the community of Daytona North to have a delivery food option as no other restaurant in Flagler County would be able to efficiently deliver out to us (I don't even think it would be efficient for Bull Creek Fish Camp to attempt that, and they are right here).

Room for Improvement:

Ruthie's is brand-spanking new and we're offering this review in hopes that the new owners will be responsive to us as a community so they can continue to improve and be successful.  We certainly wish for them to be successful, and we're hoping the community will give them a chance to prove they care about us as a unique community who deserve to have good service, good food, and a great community presence.

  • Pick a specialty and make it great.  If this is a burger joint, make spectacular juicy burgers. There are no specialty burgers on the menu and the burgers are what any of us can make at home.  They aren't juicy, big, supple or expertly grilled.  They're just general burger patties on cheap burger buns.  
  • Add fries to the menu if this is to be a diner-type place
  • Stick to pizza if this is a pizza joint, but fine-tune the dough making and seek ways to make the pizza be a little competitive with pizza places in Bunnell.  We're used to driving, so we don't mind going into town when we crave pizza.  
  • If Ruthie's is aiming to be a one-stop-shop for dining tastes, that's kind of okay, but they'll need to figure out what they're good at (pizza, subs, burgers) and make it stand out so they have that competitive edge.  They can adjust their prices to reflect the superior quality, and people will pay for it.
  • Scrap the hot dogs and grilled cheeses from the menu unless it's under "Kids Menu."  If adults want to order it for themselves, they can, but that stuff doesn't draw people out unless they are foot-long specialty hot dogs on special buns and the grilled cheese sandwiches are thick home-baked gourmet breads with oozing Asiago or something special.
The owner mentioned her grandmother's recipes and that everything at Ruthie's would be homemade. I had high expectations for Ruthie's in that I was expecting something different.  I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt as brand new restaurant owners and that they'll improve the food and how they price it according to the improved quality.  Right now, they don't appear to be experienced restauranteurs, but everyone has a learning curve.  Let's see how professionally they respond to criticism, complaints, and to the consumer demands of our community here in Daytona North and surrounding areas.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Getting on the Map: Hidden Trails of Daytona North

There is a place on the west side of Flagler County that defies definition.  You can find it on Google maps if you know where to look, but you won't find it by searching for its name.  Those of us who live there know where it is, how far it takes to drive to Target, to the middle school, to a doctors office. We live "in town" to do much of our shopping and errands, and many people "in town" seem oblivious to the fact that there is a hidden community west of U.S. 1 in Flagler County.  There are other little communities west of U.S. 1, like the town of Espanola, which is small, distant, and often forgotten itself, but at least when one zooms in on a map of Flagler County, he can see a town moniker, "Espanola."  Espanola has a few hundred people living there.  The people have fought for a street light at their main bus stop and for some other community needs.  But the hidden place where I live, Daytona North--It's sort of a governmental mystery.

...and I'm writing about it in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, because I find it incredibly important to put us on the map.  I don't want to change our town.  I'm not aching for urbanization, more paved roads, a town center or stuff that would inflate the relatively low property taxes of our area.  Just put us on the map so that when weather forecasters describe tornadoes moving toward our nearest incorporated municipality, the city of Bunnell, they know to specifically mention our town or whatever it is--that the storm is passing over a populated community.  Put us on the map so that when Red Cross comes to the area to deliver water and food in the wake of an emergency, they know there's more than one road and that some people are older or do not have transportation and could use those roving vehicles.

According to Census Data maps, the area (town, location?) of Daytona North has at least 2500 people living there, not to mention all the people spread out around the concentrated area of Daytona North. That number is, by no means, insignificant.  This place exists.  The population is growing and is becoming more diverse.  But what is it?  People call it "The Mondex," or "Daytona North."  At one point in history, folks considered calling it "Hidden Trails," which is the name of the one park in the area (a park I pined for as a kid and am thankful my kids have access to now).  Daytona North is hidden.  It's literally not on the map.  It is not a Census Designated Place.  It's just there.  West of U.S. 1.

The Mondex is not an official name, though many of us call it that.  Many years ago a subsidiary of Mondex Corporation attempted to develop the area for industrial purposes.  When the developer began selling deeds for residential purposes, Flagler County officials attempted to stop the development, because the original agreement was that the area had poor drainage, little to no infrastructure and therefore should not be developed for residential purposes.  The county stopped recording residential deeds and the subsidiary sued the county and won.  The county knew then that developing this area for residential purposes would be problematic, that it would be costly and inefficient to pay for all the the services a growing community would need in this area.  But alas, the community is continuing to grow.

It's unincorporated and folded into a large geographic and demographic landscape of western Flagler County.  But it's not a vague community.  It's a real community of thousands of people.  It is a geographically defined area west of U.S. 1 and to the south of Highway 100.  At work, we were working on the social assistance aspect of helping our county residents recover from the aftermath of the power outages and damages of Hurricane Matthew.  A few people came in to the office from the Mondex, Daytona North or whatever we call it, asking about assistance.  I told them about the help available at the county library on the other side of the county, and one woman I met later on through the day lamented, "Why don't we ever know anything?  I feel like we're in this black hole of information."

The people that do know about the Mondex have formed opinions as outsiders.  I'll admit,  It's an interesting place, and given the number of old mobile homes, the distance from town, and the lower property taxes, the place attracts some unsavory behavior, but our crime rate isn't off the charts.  A lot of the residents keep to themselves.  Many are helpful neighbors in times of needs.  Some are police officers, teachers, county workers, and hard-working blue collar individuals.  I met a man who lamented his friend's "trashy" daughter and how she moved out to the Mondex, where, as he asserted, was known to be a trashy place.  I didn't mean to be blunt, or insulting, or off-putting when I interjecting, "I live in the Mondex."  The man standing with him, chuckled and let out a pointed, "Oooooooh."  If you happen a drive through the Mondex, you'll see old mobile homes, old houses, and cluttered yards.  You'll see big beautiful ranch homes too, though, and simple homes, and Habitat for Humanity homes, and well-kept mobile and manufactured homes.  I can see how it would be easy to make a rash assessment based on the sight of intermittent poverty and the knowledge of a few trouble makers, but the place is bigger, more complicated than that.

That complication needs to be seen.  We all are here: the hard-workers, the homemakers, the elderly, the single parents, the forlorn addicts.  We are living in a place of beauty and tragedy.  We are a community of people who share the hardships of a power outage which not only puts our power out but turns our running water off (it would have been optimal if relief agencies recognized the fact that the power outage affected our water too, for the record).  Give us a blip on the map.  Give us our name, our standing in the county, and offer us little acknowledgement. We are in an information gap precisely because of the nature of our community and because we are not well understood.  You can't just set something up at the park where only a small handful of people pass and wonder why there is such little participation.  We can't assume the people there don't need help when they don't even know that there's help available.  We need to sound a bull horn.  We need a way to say, "Hey, we're here, on Walnut Avenue or Nutwood Avenue or Water Oak Rd and we don't all live a block from Mahogany Boulevard."  We need to say, "We are the Mondex."  ...

or Daytona North, or West Bunnell, or Hidden Trails or whatever we call it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Bureaucracy of Social Service: Social Security

I got a new job working for my county's social services department in the human services division.  We pay a little toward rent or utilities for our county citizens if they've experienced a temporary upset, and we also, as mandated by bigger powers than our county government, pay for indigent health care for people who are uninsured and who are not eligible for health insurance programs like Medicaid or Medicare.  What I did not expect coming into this position, was the diversity of need that would float through our office, nor the number of people experiencing or hoping to avoid homelessness that come to us for assistance.  What makes their visits particularly challenging for me is that they see us as a last-resort.  They believe we must be it.  We're the ones who can help them, and I am coming to terms as I grow in this position with the stark realities that I must relay to these people.  I have to come to grips with the fact that I don't have all the answers.

Celia Sue Hecht penned an article for Vox entitled "A third of the homeless people in America are over 50.  I'm one of them."    She unfolds her experience of having been a middle class woman now in her sixties who is struggling to find privacy, security, and safety.  I've met her in my job.  Not her, of course, but seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes who are living in volatile roommate situations, living in low-cost hotels and motels, living in cars.  I've met intelligent people who have been out-priced;  mentally unstable people without the capability to navigate the nuances of coordinating deals and exploring new housing options; mentally impaired people who have been metaphorically orphaned by their senior parents through life's unforgiving insistence on ending; and young people just trying to figure out how to make it all work.

Everyone in the office laments the rising costs of housing.  As of the middle of 2016, we all recognize a common number:  733.  That number, $733, is the common amount people with disabilities and seniors with very low social securities checks live on.  That's all they get.  Fixed.  Each month.  We hurdle people through a budget workshop, a common element of social service bureaucracy, and any good budget design would allow for 30 to 40 percent of one's income to go to housing.  How else can one pay for utilities, food, unexpected emergencies, basic home repair, and sanitary needs if housing cost more than that percentage?  So, with so many people living on a budget of $733 a month, where will they find housing which costs less than $293 a month?  Even rooms cost at least $100 a week.

They could just get a job.

Finding a job past 55 years of age seems harder than becoming a millionaire.  I've met highly educated folks with new disabilities who have become deflated.  "I'm in debt," they've said.  "No one seems to want to hire me," many say.  I get it.  I was looking for a job for years.  I was lucky, though, because my husband worked, I had income from the G.I. Bill and some online gigs I got through a friend of mine.  We weren't in dire need.  We could pay the bills.  We had a very low mortgage, but I felt that squeeze.  I applied for jobs all over, as a younger woman with a college degree and a technical Naval background, only to be told ever so often, "Thank you for your interest in our position, but..."  I've watched experienced people past their 50's be turned down for positions which they were currently working through federal internship programs.  I've seen people with graduate degrees in their 60's get turned to the curb.  I've seen the hardship, and given the difficulty for even younger people to land the positions, I know that people in that age range truly struggle, especially if they've experienced a period of time out of work before needing to hit the byways of Job Market Avenue.

I'm not terribly naive, though.  People do make excuses, but I also understand that filtering the "Just give it to me," from the, "I've been sucked of my hope and patience from years of trying earnestly with every ounce of effort I have left in these bones" proves challenging.  People do and can give up. They've been to all the places the rest of us so easily offer.  "Have you tried Experience Works?  It's a place that hires people 55 and older and places them in nonprofits and governmental agencies and pays minimum wage."  "Have you registered with the state employment website?"  "Have you volunteered?"  "Have you, have you, have you?"  Sometimes the answer is a resounding "Yes, been there, done that, and I'm no longer eligible."  Social service agency folks don't always have any other answer than what the people coming to them for help already know or have already tried.

Housing Costs or Income?

With housing costs rising, we can suggest increasing income or finding lower cost housing.  Those options are oftentimes off the table.  The difficulty in finding a job for an older, displaced person or a person with a disability proves challenging at best.  People have the option of applying for subsidized rent, but that can take years.  In our county, the local Housing Authority is not even accepting applications for Secion-8.  They will, at some juncture in the future, open up the application process.  Yay, right?  No, Once a person applies for Section-8, that person is placed on a waiting list which then may take up to several years.  I have found that the general public believes anyone can apply at any time.  I see the Facebook memes suggesting the lazies just quit working and jump on Section-8, but the reality is that Section-8 is overwhelmed.  Seniors and people with disabilities have the most challenging time finding affordable housing.  Section-8 also places vouchers with people based on a priority system.  People with disabilities and seniors get priority.  People with full-time jobs and children get the next priority and so-on.  If you think you can quit a job and go on Section-8, don't say I didn't warn you; you'll likely end up homeless.  I haven't seen anyone do that, though.

Social Security Payments

Listen, economically speaking, it would be more effective to care for our aging population than to solely subsidize able bodied adults.  Grandparents who have decent income can comfortably provide childcare for their grandkids.  They would bring that money back into the economy by taking the grands out to eat and by shopping for them.  They would lessen the burden of their adult kids who are making the decision to stay home or work based on child care and work-related expenses.  There is a societal economic benefit to spending more in social security benefits for seniors.

Disability payments could increase too.  Supplemental Security Income is so low that no one really knows how to help people living on it get into stable housing when they've been displaced through foreclosure or an upset in finances.  It's a huge challenge to them and to social service agencies trying to help.

Without the backdrop of a system that makes sense for our vulnerable population, the bureaucracy of social service agencies will continue to be exhausting for people.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Economic Analysis of Sustainable Development of Rural Daytona North in Flagler County

Economic Analysis of Sustainable Development of Rural Daytona North in Flagler County
Devrie Paradowski
Environmental Economics
Dr. Daniel Reed
July 31, 2016

Flagler County is a developing county in the state of Florida of just over 100,000 residents with some rural, unincorporated tracts of land which are also growing.  The county itself, before the economic crash of 2008, had been considered one of the fastest growing counties in the nation with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, and as the national economy began to recover, Flagler County began to see new growth, putting its overall population above that which would define the county as a rural county in general.  A rural, unincorporated community in western Flagler County called Daytona North is surrounded by farmland, timberland, and natural habitats which include marshes, swamps and a tributary of the St. Johns River.  Daytona North, as of the 2010 Census, had a little over 2400 residents, and in 2016, the area which had very little commerce gained new businesses, including the area’s first general store, a General Dollar Store.  Because the population is generally lower-income and because county plans generally exclude major consideration of Daytona North, the focus of this paper is to analyze the effect of the growth of Daytona North on economic and environmental sustainability. 

     The central tenant of this paper is to analyze the feasibility of Flagler County re-allocating and developing resources closer to the small community of Daytona North, which exists nearly 10 miles to the west of the county’s incorporated communities and well-established infrastructure (See Figure 1).  Daytona North is not a Census Designated Place, so demographic information about the fairly-well defined community must be gleaned manually from Census information and other data collected by entities such as the United States Department of Agriculture.  The community is unincorporated and so it is governed under the auspices of the general Flagler County government, and town hall meetings by the county commissioner representing the area, informal as they are, generally reveal that the attending citizens are concerned with services such as road improvement and paving, access to emergency services, mosquito regulation, and increased access to commercial goods and services (McLaughlin, 2016). 
     The location of Daytona North, with respect to the growing and more developed sections of the county creates a challenge for future growth considerations.  The City of Palm Coast (See Figure 1) has become a growing focal point of the county with its central location within transportation routes such as U.S. 1 and Interstate 95, but as the rest of Palm Coast continues to grow, growth in Daytona North depends on market behaviors of residents and local industries in relation to surrounding county needs and growth patterns.  The location of Daytona North is in the center of the western, rural agrarian region of the county, and because of that, infrastructure and zoning designations limit the type of commercial industry which avails itself to the location to offer jobs, resources, and services to a potentially growing population.  Considering Daytona North in the context of the environmental economics of Flagler County hinges on analyzing the anticipated growth patterns of the county and Daytona North as well as how market variables respond to those growth patterns; how the growth patterns affect the local resources and how the availability of those resources could affect economic drivers from that area on the county; and how policy mechanisms effect the potential market behaviors of residential and commercial variables of Daytona North and surrounding areas.  
Growth Patterns of Daytona North in Relation to Flagler County
     The community of Daytona North is located in western Flagler County, separated from the St. John’s River tributary system on its west by timberland.  To the north, the community is bordered by sod, potato and cattle farms; to its east it is bordered by varying crop farms such as corn, cabbage and potatoes, and to the south, it is bordered by a variety of small farms and forests leading to a state preserve (See Figure 1).  Flagler County, Putnam County and St. Johns County comprise the Tri-County Agricultural Area (TCAA), a historically rural and natural landscape with families of farmers who have worked in the agricultural industry for generations (Millstein, 2009). Daytona North is located in the center of the southern-most portion of the TCAA, which environmental scientists are observing for water usage and pollutants due to the large number of farms which use fertilizers and which rely on water for their crops (2009).  The residents of Daytona North do not have access to a municipal water supply, and therefore, the effect of the agrarian influence on their water supply could be a future concern to county planners.   The balance between the economic benefits of agrarian commerce and the potential for population growth in a resource stressed region poses a considerable concern for Flagler County planners.  The Flagler County Department of Economic Development cites agriculture as a targeted industry for economic growth (2016), and in the state of Florida, agriculture has be one of three main economic sectors contributing to the development of the state (Bloetscher, 2012). 
     Because the county has relied on the agrarian industry as an economic driver, the county has had little economic incentive to develop the growth of the population for Daytona North, but new development in the area could indicate that population is growing more rapidly than anticipated.  A growing rural population could stress the resources required by the primary economic drivers and could require new county considerations for economic growth to accommodate the growing cost of a largely invisible population.  Growth in the larger, more developed region of Flagler County may contribute to population growth in Daytona North, because despite the relatively long commutes to work and to shopping, new residents may be willing to pay for the cost to access to those services in exchange for lower property taxes and property rents.  While cities have garnered recognition as “economic engines,” geographical spatial arrangements in which people commute 20 to 30 minutes to work and commute 15 to 20 minutes to shopping areas have proven successful in allowing for economic growth by allowing access to economic supply chains (Gordon, 2013).  Such growth may not require policy initiatives to develop the rural economy; however, there will be a need to address the resource demand of the growing population. 
     The United States Census Viewer map shows that the concentric area of Daytona North had a population of 2,713, and by enlarging the area to encompass a much larger swath of the unincorporated region on western Flagler County, the population only increases to 3,120 (See Figure 2), which indicates that the specific, non-Census designated community of Daytona North has a relatively densely growing population.  Population estimates from the U.S. Census show Flagler County experiencing a 10 percent increase in population from 2010 to 2015 (U.S. Census, 2015), and an interesting figure from the 2000 Census projections showed that the population in zip code 32110, which includes the incorporated city of Bunnell as well as the unincorporated western portion of Flagler County was 6,696 and projected to increase to 9,910 by the year 2015 (Flagler County Health Department, 2012).  The indication is that a significant population increase is expected in the unincorporated region of Flagler County, presumably where there is some infrastructure and development, such as there is in Daytona North.  The Economic Profile System-Human Dimensions Toolkit (EPS-HDT) measures the change in economic industries to relay potential competitive strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths in economic trends, and according to its profile of Flagler County, the most prominent industry sectors in Flagler County have historically been farming, agricultural services, forestry and fishing; services, and government services to include public education (EPS-HDT, 2014). The EPS-HDT profile also indicates that one of the declining industries of the county is farming and agricultural services, with a 26.5 percent decline in employment in that industry from 2001 to 2011 (2014).  The largest gain in industry employment has been in services related fields, especially with regard to entertainment and recreation, health care and social assistance, transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance, retail and wholesale trade (2014).  The implication with this data is that there is a changing dynamic in the local economy which may influence a growing population’s wants and needs if not reflect those wants and needs.  Considering the agrarian focus of the Flagler County economy for the past few decades, population growth may warrant a particular interest in commercial industry over intensifying agricultural industrial growth; however, farm products continue to be the second biggest export for the county, with annual truck tonnage of 120,137 (Florida Department of Transportation, 2013).
Resource Conflict:  Rural Utility of Natural Resources and Demand for Water
     The Flagler County official emblem is a potato.  The potato crop has benefitted the local economy within the Tri-County Agricultural Area (TCAA) with a $100 million annual yield (Munoz-Arboleda, Mylavarapu, Hutchinson, and Portier, 2008), but a challenge ensues when a community which is enveloped by agrarian industry expands.  Furthermore, while there is still room for expansion in the eastern portion of Flagler County, that growth could eventually spill west of the rout U.S. 1 which divides the county between a suburban and rural development.  Population growth in all of Florida has changed the scenery of farmland and its neighboring rural community framework, stressing the conflict over water and property rights between more densely populated rural communities and the surrounding farms (Bechtold and Monroe, 2013).   In 2010, freezing temperatures prompted farmers throughout Florida to spray their crops with water to reduce freeze damage, a technique Florida farmers have used for several decades to save millions of dollars of export, but their constant spraying to preserve their crops resulted in dry wells, damaged wells and sinkholes (2013). A resident whose home was consumed by a sinkhole near Plant City, Florida summarized the problem by lamenting to a reporter that, “You can talk about the weather, the aquifer, the farmers, wells, and people's homes, but it all comes down to a need to restrict water usage"  (Bechtold and Monroe, 2013).   While the farmers admitted that their pumping of water from the aquifer may have been excessive (2013), a compounding factor to their plight was the increased usage of water from the growing populations of people in the once sparsely populated rural communities within their shared watersheds.   For policy makers in local governments and in the water management districts, the economic problem involves weighing the costs of lost agricultural damage to the costs of residential damage caused by excessive water usage.  Bechtold and Monroe explore alternative farming practices which would abate the use of water as well as pollution leeching in an effort to enable the economic growth of the agrarian industry without adding to the disruption of natural resources; however, much of the literature attempting to address the growing demand for resources places the ownership of abatement and mitigation on the farmers.  Economic development and population growth of rural communities taxes those shared resources as well, and policymakers must continue to consider creative measures for sustainable development practices which enable population and industrial growth in those areas in order to maximize the net benefits of both consumer and residential economic variables as well as their agricultural economic variables. 
Policy Measures Affecting Economic Variables of Growth
     The resident whose home was destroyed by a sinkhole called for a policy measure which would restrict water usage (Bechtold and Monroe, 2013), but a blanket policy restricting water usage could be costly from an economic perspective.  If the problem is that there is an increasing need for water and that need is usurping the resource, then the challenge is finding a sustainable measure to use that resource for economic and population growth.  Flagler County still has considerable geographic real estate with which to foster population and economic growth; however, with a relatively quickly growing population in its more commercially and residentially developed municipalities, and with indications that the population continues to grow in Daytona North, planners and policymakers will need to consider why the population is growing in the area and how to manage that growth based on the expected utility of the potentially stressed resources of the area which include water as well as natural resources. Some of the considerations for the economic and population growth of the area are:

The Demographics:  Daytona North is not a Census Designated Place, and without that designation,
demographic analysis of the area is difficult to achieve when the data is aggregated into the sum of a larger unincorporated geographical region in Flagler County.  Information from the Census Viewer Map shows that a significant percentage of the population is older than 45 years old, and Census data for zip code 32110, which does include the incorporated city of Bunnell which has just over 2,500 residents, shows that 20 percent of the population under the age of 65 years old has no health insurance, 17 percent of the population is in poverty, and the average per capita income is $22, 335 a year. offers a Heat Map of sales prices for homes by zip code, and the median sale price for homes in zip code 32110 is $65,000 whereas it is $150,000 on the eastern side of the county in the more developed zip codes of incorporated Palm Coast and $160,000 closer toward the coast (2016), indicating a lower income demographic for the area.  The growing cost of life “in the city” may steer lower income households toward a low-cost area with low property taxes and no water bills.
Utility of Land:  The rural zoning of Daytona North allows homeowners to raise livestock and horses, grow large gardens, and participate in activities which would generally be not allowed in more regulated incorporated municipalities.  The community has experienced polarized citizen involvement in town hall meetings regarding the paving of roads, with one advocate for paving having been attacked by a dissenter during growing concern for increased taxes and a concern for a changing way of life for rural residents who felt that the dirt roads defined the rural “country” life they bought into and wanted to maintain (De Marco, 1992). 
Economic Indicators of the Rest of Flagler County:  Gordon (2013) explores the perception that underdeveloped localities experience market failures under the assumption that self-containing cities inspire a plethora of networks for creative economic growth, but Gordon finds that economic growth is viable through adjacent networking when the markets expand outside of the city arena.  Two scenarios may exist for the growth of Daytona North when the economy prospers for the incorporated regions in Flagler County.  If higher paying jobs and consumer services avail themselves in town, the population in Daytona North may stabilize if not decline as economic opportunities avail themselves for families who wish to have shorter commutes for services and for employment.  Mishlovsky, Dalbey, Bertaina, Read and McGalliard of the International City/County Management Association (2010) describe rural communities which depend on nearby metropolitan areas through commutes as “edge communities,” which may struggle to accommodate the housing and service needs of new residents. 
     The low-income demographic of Daytona North, the declining job rate of the agricultural industry and the growth of the social service industry in Flagler County indicates that bridging the community to increasing needs and services will serve the sustainability of the area as well as the county.  The challenge in this respect is in preserving the utility of the environmental services which attract and maintain the residential community as well as sustain the economic community such as nearby farmers.  If the economy narrows, as in, nearby job sources decline, rural communities are especially vulnerable to unemployment, poverty and demand for social services which demand revenue which is not fully received by this population due to their low property tax revenues (Mishlovsky et al, 2010).  Another challenge for rural communities is that access to employment, shops, education, health services, and financial services for low-income rural residents proves challenging (2010).  While Gordon’s assertion that adjacent opportunities bridge market failures, the market failures could become complete if the population is unable to access the economic opportunities which exist within that 20 to 30 minute commute.  The distance to town and the economic revenue of low-value homes in Daytona North will create an economic cost of additional infrastructure maintenance, social service needs, and increased services as the population increases without adequate access to services in town.  As of 2016, Flagler County does not have an open public transportation system.  It operates a “demand-response” system which focuses on the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities (Flagler County, n.d.), but the county engaged in a transit study with the input of county residents to initiate a public transportation plan which will make use of funding from the Federal Transit Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation, but the transportation route will not include access to or from the western, rural region of Flagler County (Flagler County, 2014) (See Figure 3).  Because transportation options are limited given the development of Daytona North and its distance to commerce in Flagler County, building on existing infrastructure could ease the potential for a growing market failure in the growing community with a prosperous economy in the western side of Flagler County.  The new transportation fixed-route plan could incorporate the demand-response structure of the county’s current transportation system to enable a bridge to economic opportunity (Mishlovsky et al, 2010) without adding increased demand on local resources by bringing the commerce to Daytona North. 
     New commerce has come to Daytona North, though.  In 2016, a population which exists 15 to 17 miles from the nearest full grocery store got its first retail store, a Dollar General (London, 2015).  Mishlovsky et al suggests economic policy initiatives which could reduce the impact of strain on the resources by incentivizing low-impact development which incorporates compact development design, natural landscaping, rain barrels, permeable pavement, and green roofs.  The cost of future population growth could impact the economy if the local agricultural stress on water impacts the wells and surface ground structure of the local community, but some development initiatives could create local jobs and bring services to the local community, especially if those initiatives incorporate designated growth areas best suited for economic development and use of natural resources (Mishlovsky et al, 2010).   
Conclusion and Discussion
     The feasibility of developing the Daytona North area for the potentially increased population depends on the way in which the resources of the area will be used in the future.  The local economy has seen a decline in jobs supplied by its long-standing industry of farm and agricultural services; however, that industry still creates the second largest export for the area.  The economic opportunities of the population will enhance the revenue sources of the county from that population as it grows by increasing their ability to add value to their homes and to consume the products and services available to them either through adjacent municipalities or through new commerce in the area.  Targeting industry for the area could prove tempting as some farm land becomes vacant due to changes in the economy; however, a thriving agricultural industry still exists, and it will require the use of land and water just as a growing rural population will exert a growing demand on that resource.  A blanket policy which restricts water usage could stifle growth as well as threaten vulnerable crops during cold freezes and droughts.  Rather than issue policy which apparently solves the problem, employing smart development policy initiates to accommodate a growing population while sustaining a primary economic influencer should be a primary goal of addressing population growth for Daytona North.  The community of Daytona North is not a closed market community, but in the system of Flagler County which exists in its bigger system of the state, connective access to economic opportunity could foster economic growth for the area as well as for the county.  Because the population appears to be growing, the utility of the land should be considered when considering economic incentives and initiatives.  The people enjoy a rural way of life which allows them some freedom to use their properties for food production and for rural recreation which would not be allowed in municipalities.  Some commercial development would require infrastructure improvements which would detract from some of the natural amenities the residents enjoy.  Furthermore, excessive commercial development in the area could increase the resource stress on the area. The population will need to access employment opportunities and services in order for the economic growth to be advantageous for the county, and policy initiatives which favor resource conservation and public transportation access to adjacent municipalities could benefit Daytona North as well as Flagler County as a whole. 


Bechtold, D. J., & Monroe, A. (2013). When it froze in Florida: The challenges that occur when
     farmers and local residents collide. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 14(3), 27-34.
     Retrieved from
Bloetscher, F. (2012). Protecting people, infrastructure, economies, and ecosystem assets: Water
     management in the face of climate change. Water, 4(2), 367-388.
Dalbey, M., Bertaina, S., Read, A., & McGalliard, T. (2010).  Putting smart growth to work in
     rural communities.  Cooperative Publication of the International City/County Management
     Association and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from: 
De Marco, J. M. (1992).  Street-paving activist punched near home.  Daytona Beach Sunday
     News-Journal.  Retrieved from Google Archives January 31, 2016 from:
Economic Profile System-Human Dimensions Toolkit (EPS-HDT). (2014).  Selected
     Geographies:  Flagler County, FL.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Flagler County. (n.d). Public transportation.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Flagler County. (2014).  Flagler County transit development program briefing.  Flagler County
     Board of County Commissioners.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Flagler County Department of Economic Development. (2016). Targeted Industries: 
     Agriculture.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Flagler County Health Department. (2012).  Flagler community health assessment:  final report
     2012.  Flagler County.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Florida Department of Transportation. (2013). Flagler County freight and logistics overview. 
     Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Gordon, P. (2013). Thinking about economic growth: Cities, networks, creativity and supply
     chains for ideas. The Annals of Regional Science, 50(3), 667-684.
McLaughlin, N. (2016).  Town hall meeting in Daytona North with County Commissioner Nate
     McLaughlin.  Attended May 26, 2016 at Hidden Trails Community Center in Daytona North.
Millstein, M. J. (2009).  Assessment of academic and stakeholder perceptions of growth
     management and environmental issues in northeastern Florida.  University of Florida.  
     Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:
Munoz-Arboleda, F., Mylavarapu, R., Hutchinson, C., & Portier, K. (2008). Nitrate-nitrogen
     concentrations in the perched ground water under seepage-irrigated potato cropping systems.
     Journal of Environmental Quality, 37(2), 387-94. Retrieved from (2016).  National home prices page.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:

United States Census. (2016). Quick facts:  Flagler County, FL.  Retrieved July 31, 2016 from:


Figure 1.  Map of Flagler County with emphasis on the location of Daytona North.  Image derived from Google Maps (2016). 

Figure 2.  The Census Viewer map showing the population density of the western unincorporated area of Flagler County, including that of the non-designated community of Daytona North. 

Figure 3.  Planned public transportation routes for Flagler County.  Image derived from  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Funding Challenges for Public Service of Rural Unincorporated Daytona North in Flagler County

     Daytona North is an unincorporated area of Flagler County with a postal address served by the incorporated city of Bunnell, Florida.  Daytona North is not on a map, nor is it a Census Designated Place.  Most of the roads in Daytona North are unpaved, and until 2015, the area did not have its own fire station.  The residents do not have a municipal water supply, and so the residents must drill wells and install septic systems on their properties for their water source and waste water needs.  The area is surrounded by timberland and farms which extend miles down a stretch of road that leads from Daytona North to the incorporated city of Bunnell, Florida in Flagler County.  Bunnell, Florida is a geographically expansive municipality with a concentration of population and businesses 
approximately 10 miles to the east of Daytona North, but the population of Bunnell itself, as reported by the U.S. Census is only about 2,778 with a median household income of $26,182 (U.S. Census, 2014).  

     The city of Bunnell is the nearest municipality for Daytona North residents who, because of their unincorporated status and low contribution toward public revenues, have minimal access to public services and common businesses such as grocery stores and banks.  As is common for local governments, Flagler County uses property taxes to gain most of its revenues along with a one percent local option sales tax above the state’s six percent sales tax (Flagler County Tax Collector, 2015).  Because the city of Bunnell itself has a limited revenue stream, public services in the city of Bunnell are also limited, furthering the travel needs and economic challenges of the Daytona North residents.  

     The hospital, for example, is approximately five miles to the east of Bunnell.  There are only two public middle schools and two public high schools in all of Flagler County located in the city of Palm Coast, and there is one very small library in Bunnell which operates only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.  While the city of Bunnell contains a small individually owned grocery store with convenient-store prices on most items save for meat products, the nearest grocery store is in the incorporated city of Palm Coast, Florida.  Economic development of rural Daytona North without adequate revenue poses a challenge for county officials, because the officials must balance increased revenues for development with the unique challenges of a relatively low-income demographic.  The primary question, then, is how important is economic development of this area, and how could the county foster the type of development needed without out-pricing the residents who may not be able to afford increased property taxes.

Historical Backdrop for Budgetary Concerns
     The history of Daytona North illuminates the funding challenges that current county officials face when considering the needs of this demographic.  Local residents sometimes refer to the area as “The Mondex.” Before the area was developed, a company named Dimension Corp, a subsidiary of Mondex Corp, purchased the land in 1971 under the county stipulation that the developer pave the roads and implement proper water and drainage provisions (O’Reilly, 1979).  In 1976, the developer alerted the Division of Land Sales that it would not comply with the county stipulations, and Dimension Corp declared that it would not pave roads nor implement central water or sewer provisions (1979).  The county officials were concerned about the potential future cost burden on the county for developing a potentially non-viable area outside of the central population growth of the county, and so the Flagler County Clerk at the time refused to record warranty deeds submitted by Dimension Corp (1979).  The county clerk’s actions sparked a suit by Dimension Corp in the Circuit Court in which the judge ordered the Clerk of Court to record the deeds (1979).  Daytona North became a residential area with a small population, dirt roads, wells and septic systems, and the county was not prepared to develop this area. 

     By 1992, the county had paved one mile of a three mile main road called Mahogany Boulevard.  The advisory board for the district, in 1991, expressed that the residents in the area were concerned with “bad roads, poor drainage, hordes of mosquitoes and a lack of street lighting” (Laundrie, 1991).  In August of 1992, an activist in favor of paving the roads in the area, Jane Hailey, who was the chairmen of the then active advisory council for the Daytona North Service District, was walking her dogs when another resident punched her in the face, and the general consensus was whoever the assailant was was likely upset over her proposal to the county to progress with paving the roads (De Marco, 1992).  Residents had been submitting petitions to halt any paving projects in the area, especially since property taxes would increase by 28 cents per assessed front-foot above what was already levied for mowing and grading dirt roads.  The increase would become average annual property tax increase of $93 (1992).  The county officials understood that much of their operating budget for the area was already usurped by mowing and dirt-road maintenance expenses, and even Hailey conceded the challenge by saying, “We don’t have enough money to do all the things they are talking about…start on the roads, decide what we are going to do on the roads” (Laundrie, 1991).

     Since the 1990’s, property taxes have increased, and the county has paved all of Mahogany Boulevard, two other main roads, and portions of other main roads in Daytona North.  The county has built a park and community center, Hidden Trails Community Center, and in 2012, the county commission approved a $61,000 well house at Hidden Trails Community Center for local residents to get free, filtered water, with the $6,000 annual operating cost being paid for through a slight increase in property taxes for Daytona North residents (Cavaliere, 2012).  The primary challenges facing the county with improvements to the area have been generating enough revenue to support enhanced community services, especially with a lower income population staunchly concerned about increased property taxes and decreased rural conveniences.  The increase in population in the area mitigates some of the revenue burden, but potential future concerns may arise as the area continues to grow without adequate development to keep pace with population demand. 

County Responsibility and Budget Strategies for Daytona North
     The Flagler County Commission releases a five year strategic plan with necessary annual updates, and in the plan, the county addresses its responsibility to the county and to the municipalities in the area.  In the county’s 2013 update of the 2010 to 2015 strategic plan, the county asserts its role as a leader, coordinator and implementer of services with local municipalities (2013).  The county lists goals in its strategic plan, and the first goal is to enable “a diversified economy that provides a range of job opportunities that raise median county income, a high level of employment, and increased tax base” (Flagler County BOCC, 2013).  

     One of the potential considerations for this goal is the fostering of economic development for Daytona North residents who are potentially increasing their community capacity.  Many community resources have increasingly become more decentralized in the nation, widening the burden on local governments to foster economic development in small rural communities (Dewees, Lobao, and Swanson, 2003); however, Flagler County has used federal assistance from the Department of Transportation to pave portions of roads in the area which would enhance the ease emergency entrances and exits to the area with the final paving projects being completed by 2020 (Murphy, 2014).  The roads may not just serve the residents, though, because as the community expands, the potential for industrial growth in neighboring unincorporated land plots could increase revenue, job growth, and community development, and the infrastructure to support that growth should be a primary concern to Flagler County officials in terms of long-term projections. 

     While much of the land surrounding the specific area of Daytona North is zoned agricultural or timberland, the county can approve incentives for industrial or retail development, or it can re-consider zoning for vacant land should there be commercial interest.  For example, in 2015, Flagler County did that to enable a Dollar General to be built on County Road 305, a road that borders the eastern most section of Daytona North (London, 2015).  The only challenge to the re-zoning for the Dollar General plot of land for Daytona North is that the county annexed the land into the city of Bunnell to accomplish this task (2015), because the revenue received from this new development will be included in the city of Bunnell revenue rather than contributing toward the Daytona North Service District revenue.  

     Already, the largest hurdle for rural development is the relatively sparse population and other common demographic factors which widely contribute to revenue challenges for the county in community development for these areas (Dewees, Lobao, and Swanson, 2003).  Beyond re-zoning, county officials governing rural unincorporated areas may have unique opportunities with regard to economic development of those areas, because the county itself can side-step the type of bidding wars between municipalities when new industry is interested in locating in or near the rural areas under the unincorporated label (2003), which is why the county should carefully consider the annexation of surrounding land to the incorporated city of Bunnell.  Abatement of taxes to incentivize industry may be enticing when the incorporated taxes are higher; however, the bargaining power the county has in an unincorporated area could be fiscally advantageous as well. 

The Daytona North Budget
     As an unincorporated area of Flagler County, Daytona North does not have a general budget for itself outside of a special service tax levied for road maintenance, mosquito control, and the maintenance of the community center and its filtered well water house.  In general, Daytona North is somewhat of a free entity under the direction of the county.  Flagler County, as reported in the Approved 2015-16 Budget (2016), has an estimated population of just under 100,000 residents.  The exact number of people living in Daytona North, as defined by the concentrated area of population proves challenging to ascertain due to the fact that Daytona North is not a municipality and it is not a defined Census Designated Place.  As a taxing district, people living in the almost rectangular perimeter of four roads, Water Oak Road, Tangerine Ave, County Road 305, and Canal Avenue, pay a service district fee on their property taxes; however, since Water Oak Road, Canal Avenue, and County Road 305 are county roads, the people living on those roads do not pay the service district fee, even though they benefit from some of the services provided by that fee.  So the revenues generated by the Daytona North Service District Fund represent some feasible way to account for population and economic growth in the area, but using such a tool to discern information about the area is flawed.
     The County has broken down its taxing entities with their assigned budgets for the fiscal year 2015-16 as follows:
Taxing Entity
Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget $
County Wide Budget
Transportation Impact Fee Funds
Parks Impact Fee Funds
Municipal Services Fund
Building Department Fund
Daytona North Service District Fund
Rima Ridge Mosquito Control District Fund
Espanola Mosquito Control District Fund
Bimini Gardens Road Mainenance Fund
Totals-All Taxing Entities
$ 189,277,298
 (Flagler County BOCC, 2015)
     The 2015-15 adopted budget reports a revenue of $2,300,788 in the Local Government Half Cent Sales Tax; $2,171,598 for Local Option Small County Half Cent Sales Surtax, and $200,000 Local Communications Services Tax (2015).  The adopted budget explains that the local government Half Cent Sales Tax is used in a Capital Projects Fund which includes expenditures for projects such as the Island House Bridge Replacement and Eco-Cottages at Prince Place Preserve and River-to-Sea Project.  The county used The Local Communications Services Tax revenues in the Debt Service Fund for Capital Improvement and Refunding Revenue Bond to assist with the financing of several capital projects such as the Sheriff’s Operation Center and the Flagler County Jail Expansion (2015).  The budget also discussed a Motor Fuel Tax, with total revenues of $2,449,641 which can only be used for a specified purpose, such as building and reconstructing roads (2015).  Flagler County distributes the revenue for these specific projects by municipality, with Palm Coast, the city with the highest population and largest road network, receiving 73.35 percent of the revenue distribution from this levy.  The distribution does not include any specific distribution for Daytona North as it is not a municipality; however, 19.3 percent of the Motor Fuel Tax distribution is allotted for “Flagler County” (2015), which should include unincorporated areas such as Daytona North.

     The Daytona North Service District accounts for $832,428 of the Flagler County taxing entity (Flagler County Adopted Budget, 2015).  The Flagler County Property Appraiser’s website offers an estimated tax calculator on its webpage based on the market value or assessed value and the tax district.  The county allows for both a homestead and a senior extension.  In Daytona North, for example, an assessed value of a home of $100,000 with the standard homestead exemption would result in approximately $987.80 in annual taxes.  With a senior exemption, the annual taxes would be $560.85.  Considering the area is a relatively low-income area with vacant lots, mobile homes, and very few homes with an assessed value under $100,000 (Flagler Property County Appraiser, 2015), forecasting the budget without precise demographic data will be even more challenging as the area demographics change. 

Conclusions and Future Considerations
     Flagler County commissioners and county officials state their official role as leading economic development and aiding municipalities in implementing needed public services.  The unincorporated areas of Flagler County have no advocates outside of the county commissioners, and that poses a threat and an opportunity, simultaneously, for economic development in and near rural Daytona North. The lack of specific data on the area makes it difficult for forecast revenues and expenditures for the area, as a demographic shift in a few years could mean increased revenue but an even higher increase in demand for public services such as emergency services, road services, and potential drainage or access services.  To illustrate this point, Edberg, Cleary, Simmons, Cubilla-Batista, and Andrade (2015) studied ethnographic methods for health interventions for immigrant Latinos, and found that one of the most important aspects of understanding important health intervention methods was to accurately define a community to get the most potent demographic and population data required to administer solutions to the most pressing health problems.  

     Flagler County officials might consider more accurately assessing the area of Daytona North or applying for a Census Designated Place status from the Census Bureau to get a better idea of how to project funding forecasts for long-term projects.  Furthermore, the Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, published by the county in 2016 described, specifically, the Daytona North Service District Fund which excludes some members of the actual community from the tax base, and the general distributions of revenues to municipalities do not describe any specific community within the unincorporated areas of the county.  Because the population of Daytona North is relatively competitive with the population of the incorporated municipality, Bunnell, county officials may consider the potential need to delineate a specific budget description of the special service district of Daytona North to accurately assess growing needs and potential revenue sources from that area.  

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