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Flagler County discusses increasing taxes to fund beach nourishment

Beach nourishment plan in Flagler County

Posted on June 12, 2024

Flagler County beaches need maintenance now and for the years to come, but commissioners must find a way to pay for them. One proposal is to have county residents foot the bill through a county-wide tax.

Flagler County commissioners gathered Monday to workshop ideas on how to pay to fix their damaged beaches.

The 18-mile coastline of Flagler County has been ravaged by hurricanes like Matthew, Ian, and Nicole in recent years. The county must fund part of the bill to receive funding from state and federal levels for cost-sharing. That cost would likely fall between $7 and $10 million annually.

Dr. Ansley Wren-Key, a coastal engineer for the county, says the beaches are in dire need.

“It is needed. There is a long-term erosion rate,” said Dr. Wren-Key. “Since Hurricane Matthew, the beach has undergone a lot of erosion and hasn’t recovered.”

A consultant group surveyed over 3,000 residents and found that three-quarters of those who responded would be willing to pay something to support the project. However, the residents we spoke with were not as thrilled.

“How come there just isn’t even money to put some sand on the beach from what’s already there?” said Donna B. of Flagler Beach.

“I understand that we have got to be planning for the future,” said Jan Hamill of Flagler Beach. “We’ve got to make sure that it’s spread in some way that is fair and equitable.”

In a meeting earlier this month, commissioners saw a few examples of numbers where county property owners could pay anywhere from $36 a year to over $570.

The amount would depend on how close the property is to the beach and if it’s a home or business.

Dr. Wren-Key says they all have the same goal; it’s just coming to the same solution. If all goes through, this plan could be enacted later this year.

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