FLAGLER PERSPECTIVE: Sometimes politics can be a good thing

Originally Published March 21, 2018


What a difference a year makes.

After seeing $450,000 for Flagler Beach’s wastewater plant erased from the state budget by Gov. Rick Scott’s veto pen last year, city officials have something to celebrate. Part of the budget signed by Scott on Friday includes $500,000 for Flagler Beach’s project.

A lot of the credit for the turnaround should go to City Manager Larry Newsom, who made the long trip to Tallahassee three times during the recent legislative session to meet with legislators and push for the city’s request.

It also helps that this is an election year and Scott is widely thought to be eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate against Bill Nelson. While the governer vetoed $410 million in expenditures in last year’s budget, he favored a much lighter touch this year, canceling only $64 million in proposed spending.

Whatever the reason, the funds will provide a significant lift to Flagler Beach residents and keep the process of improving the wastewater system in the beachside town moving forward.

It is also an important lesson for other local jurisdictions in dealing with state legislators and funding requests. While the squeaky wheel doesn’t always get oiled when it comes to politics, it is always better to be in the game then on the sidelines.

It was also an opportunity for Flagler County’s representatives in Tallahassee, Rep. Paul Renner and Sen. Travis Hutson, to carry some water for their constituents after supporting some other legislative issues that most Flagler County residents oppose, especially when it comes to regulation of short-term rentals.

If part of politics is the allocation of scarce resources, then everybody played their part in this instance.