By Cecil G. Brumley
1. Billing errors create headaches for Port Orange, lead to finance director's resignation.
The city's administration was thrown into an uproar after it was discovered the water department had undercharged customers in Daytona Beach Shores by $825,000 over a 43-month period. City leaders blamed faulty water meters, which also led to overcharging the County of Volusia $500,000 for wholesale water-and-sewer service for Spruce Creek Fly-In over an eight-year period. An auditor concluded finance director John Shelley and customer service director Betty Barnhart were responsible. Both were suspended with pay, but Mr. Shelley announced his retirement and Ms. Barnhart was reassigned to the parks and recreation department.
2. Elections create big changes in area governing boards; voters were in a no mood.
In the biggest surprise of the election, relatively unknown Jason Davis won the Volusia County Chair's position. Sheriff Ben Johnson easily won re-election as did Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall and Clerk of Court Diane Matousek. County voters rejected a new school tax, though. Port Orange got a new city councilman with Drew J. Bastian winning while Daytona Beach Shores got two new council representatives with Henry Fehrmann and Jennie Celona. South Daytona voters shot down a controversial attempt by the city to take over the electric power service.
3. Big apartment complexes proposed for Port Orange and South Daytona.
A developer is nearing construction on a $21 million, 248-unit apartment complex at 3230 S. Ridgewood Ave. in South Daytona. Meanwhile, CBL & Associates is seeking permission to build a 300-unit apartment complex on Williamson Boulevard across from The Pavilion at Port Orange.
4. Port Orange city manager job attracts 67 applicants
By the end of the year, the city of Port Orange had whittled down to three candidates out of 67 applicants to replace City Manager Ken Parker, who is retiring after nearly three decades on the job.
5. Concept plans approved for Riverwalk project
Developer Buddy LaCour got City Council approval on his plans for a riverwalk marina and restaurant. His plans include a 38-slip marina, 80-seat cafe and 150-seat, permanently docked riverboat.
6. Scrub rehab in Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve puts city, county at odds
The loss of trails to scrub habitat had city officials going after the county for taking away important recreational attractions. An agreement was eventually worked out with Mayor Allen Green's proposal to build a new trail, before continuing scrub rehab, getting the go ahead.
7. Town of Ponce Inlet seeks settlement with developer after judge's ruling
A judge ruled the Ponce Inlet Town Council violated state and federal law by denying a developer's project for his property and a trial is scheduled for next year to determine damages. Lyder and Simone Johnson, who wanted to build townhouses, a dry-dock storage facility and other commercial space, have offered to settle for $35 million. The current Town Council was still debating whether to appeal the judge's ruling or accept the settlement. It has warned citizens that big tax increases are probably in their future.
8. Spruce Creek Hawks win state baseball championship
Spruce Creek High School's baseball team won the state 8A championship, the first one in the school's 37-year history. The team went 28-4 and defeated Miami Christopher Columbus, which was playing in the school's four state championship game.
9. Human remains found in man's backyard
James Lee Maxwell of Port Orange was accused of killing two prostitutes after the body of one was found buried in his backyard. Maxwell also has been accused by other prostitutes of attacking them. He also accused of raping a 9-year-old neighbor.
10. Port Orange Olympian Ryan Lochte wins 5 medals
Ryan Lochte, a graduate of Spruce Creek High School, won five medals, including two gold, in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Also, Christian Taylor, who lived in Port Orange while training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, won a gold medal in the triple jump.