As Hurricane Ian makes landfall at Fort Myers as a Category 4 storm, and moves up the Florida peninsula, the mega-storm’s outer bands are already battering Volusia County.
Just days after he was retired early as acting city manager of Deltona, John Peters, a professional engineer, said some parts of the county’s biggest city are especially vulnerable to the storm’s potential to bring flooding and high-velocity winds.
Asked what parts of Deltona are at highest risk, Peters replied, “The entire northeast area.”
“If you look at the USGS [United States Geological Survey] soil maps, you see mucky areas,” he said. “Deltona is a series of sand dunes, like Dewey Boster Park, and mucky areas.”
Those mucky areas are generally low-lying and with slow drainage.
“The soil is already saturated. The groundwater table is already at the surface,” Peters said.
The Deltona City Commission rejected Peters’ desire to continue in the city manager role until Nov. 17, and also rejected his request to return to his former job as director of Public Works.
Asked if anyone from the City Commission or the city administration — now headed by Acting City Manager Marcia Segal-George, who is also the city attorney — had reached out to him for advice or expertise on how Deltona should deal with Hurricane Ian, Peters said no.
Now, he added, is the time that he feels he could be of help to communities in need.
“I feel my knowledge is wasted,” he told The Beacon, as he waited out the storm at his home in DeBary. “It seems strange not to be preparing to go into the EOC [Emergency Operations Center].”
Peters earlier this month submitted his resignation as acting city manager of Deltona, having served at the post since November 2020. His letter of resignation gave Nov. 17 as his intended last day.
Peters had indicated his desire to return to his former work as public-works director and city engineer. Instead, the City Commission voted 4-3 on Sept. 19 to dismiss him immediately and ruled out letting him move back to his old job.
The City Commission quickly followed up by naming Segal-George as acting manager. For her part, Segal-George told Mayor Heidi Herzberg and the other commissioners she would be willing to serve for “no longer than two weeks.”
The Deltona City Commission must now decide who will become city manager on an acting or interim basis.
Retired Daytona Beach City Manager James Chisholm has submitted a letter of interest in the temporary position, along with his resume. City Commissioner Dana McCool, meanwhile, said she has contacted former Deltona City Manager Dave Denny about coming back, pending the selection of a permanent administrator.