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Flager County, Fl. Leaning Towards Special Tax Assessment to Fund Beach Renourishment Program

Posted on June 6, 2024

The annual tax would raise around $7 million each year for the program. The proposed assessment is also tiered, with residents paying more the closer they live to the shoreline.

The Flagler County Commission is looking to implement a county-wide special assessment tax to fund a beach management program.

The cost of several major beach renourishment projects plus the costs to then maintain the beaches shows the county would need around $7-$10 million annually to fund the program. The proposed special assessment tax is based on the lower end of that scale and is tiered, with residents along the shoreline paying more than residents in west Flagler County.

“In order to fully implement the beach management plan, we have to develop a local funding source,” PFM Consultant Stan Geberer said.

The County Commission heard a presentation outlining the county’s future beach management plans and the prospective costs to residents at its June 3 workshop meeting. Geberer said the beach management plan would cost, on average, $9-10 million per year to maintain.

But, factoring in financial aid from state or federal sources, the county needs to raise $7 million annually to cover the costs, Geberer said.


The special assessment, if approved, would be implemented by September and pay for the county’s portion of the U.S. Army Corps beach renourishment. That program requires Flagler County pay 50% of each renourishment after the initial project, unless a storm occurs, in which case the Corps would fix it at no cost to the county 

But Flagler County has also begun steps to implement a four-phased beach management plan for the county’s entire shoreline, which would be funded by the special assessment tax.

Phase 1 includes a secant wall that is currently under construction by the Florida Department of Transportation and extends from South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach to the Volusia-Flagler County line.

It also includes the 4.3 miles of the Army Corps dredging project. The Army Corps project itself accounts for 2.6 miles of beach that surrounds the pier. The Corps has agreed to do more on either side of its project, but at the cost of the county. The north end of this project ends at 7th Street North in Flagler Beach.

Phase 2 is a 5.8-mile stretch from 7th Street North to Varn Park. The county is slated to have the permits ready by early 2025, according to Flagler County’s coastal engineering administrator Ansley Wren-Key.

Similar to the Army Corps project, she said, the county will be dredging sand to restore this stretch, with a similar end result.

“We want to get started on construction as soon as possible,” Wren-Key said. “…We hope to have over nine miles or half of Flagler County’s coastline renourished with the dredge project by next summer.”

We hope to have over nine miles or half of Flagler County’s coastline renourished with the dredge project by next summer.”

— ANSLEY WREN-KEY, Flagler County Coast Engineering administrator

Phase 3 stretches from Varn Park to Washington Oaks State Park. That area, Wren-Key said, needs more studies conducted on how best to approach the shoreline, but the county hopes to begin a project there in 2026.

Washington Oaks State Park is Phase 4, which will have truck-hauled sand deposited as needed. The goal of these projects, she said, is not dune restoration.

 “We won’t be talking about dune restoration for most of the county, this is beach restoration,” she said.


In 2021, the county hired PFM Group Consulting, LLC, to conduct a survey on what residents thought about funding a beach management program and to outline a possible funding source. Geberer said the survey sent out showed that, on the whole, the county residents did value the beach and think the county should maintain it.

But, he said, how much importance residents placed on the beach declined the further a respondent lived from the shoreline.

“The people on the beach were generally willing to pay more than the people further west.”

— STAN GEBERER, PFM consulstant

“The people on the beach were generally willing to pay more than the people further west,” Geberer said.

Based on the survey data, he said, PFM broke the county into four zones for a tiered pay scale for the special assessment tax.

Zone 1 stretches from the barrier island to the Intracoastal Waterway. Zone 2 is from the Intracoastal to Interstate 95. Zone 3 extends from I-95 to Highway U.S. 1, while zone 4 is the remainder of the county.

Geberer further broke Zone 1 into 1A and 1B: 1A are the properties that are oceanfront while 1B properties are not.

The special assessment also would not only apply to residences, but businesses, too.

“There’s a lot of ways you can make an assessment,” Geberer said. “It needs to be fairly apportioned, fair and reasonable, and it needs to reflect the benefit received.”

Geberer presented two options based on these tiers. The first would charge Zone 1A $578 per household based on the needed $7 million special assessment revenue. All the other zones would pay less on the tiered scale.

The second option takes into account private property owner associations along the beachfront, like Hammock Dunes. This assessment would charge the private property owner associations per linear feet of dune and beach property.


To get this off the ground without delaying it another year, the county will need to move quickly. County Administrator Heidi Petito told the commissioners that not only do the zones and costs for the zones need to be finalized, but each municipality will have to approve the change as well.

There’s a lot of people who are just barely making it over there, and I don’t think we need to tax them that amount.”

— GREG HANSEN, Flagler County Commissioner

But first, commissioners said, some of the details on the assessment need to be worked out more clearly. Commissioner Greg Hansen noted that, particularly in Zone 1B, the assessment would not be fair to people who own homes valued at over $500,000 versus residents who live in mobile homes.

“There’s trailers, there’s tents,” Hansen said. “You know, there’s a lot of people who are just barely making it over there, and I don’t think we need to tax them that amount.”

Delaying the tax revenue past this year, Petito said, would mean not only delaying the future renourishment projects but could also end up costing tax payers more.

Greg Davis, president Hammock Dunes Homeowners Association, said their association would need more information about the potential cost to the property owner associations. In Hammock Dunes, he said, it may require a vote to the HOA’s charter to implement. But regardless of what needs to be done to get the program funded, he said: “Our beaches are in such a condition today that we cannot afford a delay.’


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