We all know that DeLand was voted America’s Favorite Mainstreet in 2017, and city leaders put together this video to recap what happened in 2017 and layout plans for 2018.
Also, during the recent State of the Region Address, the Mayors of DeLand, Orange City, Lake Helen, Pierson, Deltona, and Debary provided updates on where our cities are headed regarding economic development, quality of life, and addressing issues and concerns. Check out the synopsis, below!
- Number one issue of concern: The panelists agreed that the State threat to Home Rule authority is their number one issue of concern. What is home rule, you ask? Home rule basically gives local authorities control over their respective jurisdictions, compared to the State (in our case, Florida) controlling what happens at the local level. All six Mayors agreed that home rule is a necessary but threatening way to govern. The panelists cited as prime examples recent efforts by the State to limit local authority over tree ordinances, as well as the upcoming Florida Amendment 1, the Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment, which voters will see on the November ballot. It was the consensus of the panelists that home rule helps with community identity, and no one can govern communities better than the people who are closest to them.
- Additional Issue of Importance: Funding for Infrastructure repair and maintenance. It was noted that, while the half-cent sales tax does help fund infrastructure planning, it is typical that monies are more often spent on new roads compared to infrastructure repair and maintenance, including items such as pipes and sidewalks. It was also noted that a project consisting of the widening and reconstruction of US 17 from two to four lanes, between DeLeon Springs to State Road 40, has been approved. In addition to the widening, a roundabout will be added at the intersection of US 17 and Spring Garden Ranch Road, drainage improvements will be made, and a shared use path on the right side of the roadway will be added. The expected completion date is July 2020.
- How to Balance Business vs. Residential Priorities: The panelists noted that city leaders are responsible to residents first but can’t survive without the businesses that provide revenue and services. One example that was given was balancing impact fees to both incentivize the construction industry without negatively impacting residential homeowners. It was again noted that much of a city’s revenue is derived from property taxes, so issues like Amendment 1 could negatively impact funding for services such as parks, libraries, community health centers, and transportation projects.
- What Keeps You Up at Night? DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar noted that the proposed Auto Mall is what keeps him up at night. Other panelists noted that infrastructure maintenance, drug use, the inordinate amount of time city leaders spend correcting social media inaccuracies, and school safety are issues that also need to be addressed.
One of the last comments made by the panel was that residents’ quality of life exceeds the value of revenue received by the city. Kemp Realty Group couldn’t agree more, and we’d encourage all DeLand’s residents to step out and enjoy something about our great city. If you need some ideas, check out our related post, Five Reasons to Live Love DeLand.
The Mayors all stated what keeps them up at night, but we want to hear from you! What local issues keep YOU up at night?