The Ocean Center in Daytona Beach hosted the annual Who’s Who in Volusia County Feb. 28, as an estimated 500 or so people from all socioeconomic strata came to see and be seen at the 2023 State of the County address.
The combination of political theater, pep rally and social hour — along with a full-course catered meal, provided free of charge — has become a highlight of the first quarter of a new year, eagerly anticipated and well attended. With a measure of pomp and pageantry befitting the occasion, County Chair Jeff Brower delivered a look at the present, past and future, focusing on the need to unite.
“Volusia County is providing the best labor force and entrepreneurs,” Brower said. “We must come together to meet the challenges we all face.”
Those challenges include the need to recover from the still-visible damage and flooding caused by hurricanes Ian and Nicole last fall. The recovery, as well as working to prevent such devastation in the years ahead, Brower added, involves learning from what happened in the storms.
“Where and how should we build, going forward?” he asked. “These hurricanes were a wake-up call. … They revealed our vulnerabilities.”
Now is the time, Brower said, to revise and improve local growth policies.
“This is our opportunity to make responsible changes,” he told the audience. “We will only be successful if we work together.”
Brower further noted the people of the county cannot succeed in their endeavors “without the grace of God.”
The State of the County is a mandate contained in Volusia County’s home-rule charter. In 2004, a majority of the county’s voters approved charter amendments requiring the countywide election of the county chair and the delivery of an annual State of the County address.
The State of the County address is a free event for those who register. Private sponsorships cover the costs of the occasion, rather than using tax dollars. Sponsors included AdventHealth, Halifax Health, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jon Hall Chevrolet, Space Coast Credit Union, Ford Properties, the Ocean Deck and others.
This years State of the County presentation was top notch. The County’s staff did a wonderful job and I was pleased with Chair Brower’s and the other members of the councils presentations. Just would prefer the event was held at night and the sponsorships and meals be removed. The working class should have the ability to attend.