Volusia County Council Reviews 5-Year Capital Projects Plan

Volusia County officials have a big list of capital projects to pursue that come with a big price tag. All told the projects with funding not identified total nearly $1 billion.

The County Council discussed the 5-year plan during a presentation by Aaron van Kleeck, deputy finance director, at a meeting earlier this month.

“This plan is reviewed and updated annually each year,” van Kleeck said, adding that items on the list for years two through five are for financial planning purposes, “until it is included in the annual budget or appropriated in a budget resolution.”

The majority of the projects in the 5-year plan are for roads.

County Manager George Recktenwald said the idea behind the 5-year presentation was to align with the annual budget process.

“The idea really is we are now in the budget,” he said. “These are the capital parts that we’ve grouped together. It was important we pulled these out to talk about them separately.”

Recktenwald said the next step is a 5-year forecast, “putting the presumptive budget along with what we think is going to happen in the next five years because we don’t budget in a vacuum.”

One of the items discussed at length was plans for a motocross park with potential funding coming from the general fund and the county’s ECHO program which provides grant funds to finance acquisition, restoration, construction or improvement of projects to be used for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational purposes.

County Council Chairman Jeff Brower addressed the motocross project, which has generated concerns among residents.

“I know I’m getting emails about the funding for the motocross,” he said. “We didn’t vote for it; we will vote for it when we get all the information.”

Council member Danny Robins said he did not believe it was appropriate for the motocross project to be paid for with general fund dollars and asked that only ECHO funds be appropriated for the plan, offering a motion to that effect. In the end he retracted the motion after the County Council came to a consensus on using only ECHO funds for the motocross project.

Council members also reviewed several large projects in the 5-year plan, including $30 million for an administrative complex for the Sheriff’s Department, $31.6 million for the South East Area Landfill construction, $25 million for PFC Emory Bennett Park expansion and $255 million for the Daytona Judicial Court complex.

Discussion in the last item included a presentation from 7th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Leah Case, who explained the need for more space in the Daytona Beach facility. Asked by Council member Don Dempsey if the use of virtual meeting technology could alleviate some of the space issues, Case said no.

“Zoom is never going to get my cases resolved,” she said. “I have to have the defendant there; I have to have the defense attorney and I have to have the prosecutor. I need those people in front of me to resolve cases.”

The County Council unanimously approved a motion to accept the capital projects plan and to conduct a study for the court system issues.