PBG Legislative Agenda Discussed at January Council Meeting

The January meeting of the Gardens City Council got started with courtesy visits from newly elected district 1 School Board member Mike Murgio and district 25 Senator Joe Abruzzo, who gave a brief overview of his priorities, one of which is to stop texting while driving.

As part of the City Manager’s report, Ron Ferris recognized the award winning Fire Scouts, and showed an excellent video for employees and others in public buildings threatened by a mass shooter. Entitled “Run, Hide, Fight”, it illustrates the recommended tactics in a believable way.

During Comments from the Public, Iris Scheibl asked the Council to again consider dropping out of the IG lawsuit and removing the restrictive “waste, fraud and abuse” definitions section from the code of ordinances as the county has recently done in response to the latest grand jury report. Councilman Russo replied that WPB is leading the lawsuit and we should wait and see what happens – he has been pursuing a proposal by former county commissioner Karen Marcus to strip the IG office of their auditing function – a non-starter in the IG world. Vice Mayor Premoroso wants to better understand what the city’s cost will be. He still believes that “people didn’t know what they were voting for.” It is clear that a lot of misunderstanding about the office continues.

In other comments, Larry Casey pointed out that the “Welcome to Palm Beach Gardens” sign on the turnpike appears just as you first notice the smell of the landfill, and Kevin Easton discussed traffic problems at Sunset Drive and Northlake

In the consent agenda, approved were Resolutions 1 (authorize SOE to conduct March election), 3 (accomodate extra turning lane on Military Trail to Burns Road), 5 (accepting CPR devices through an EMS grant), and 6 (participation and sponsorship in FEMA task force on urban search and rescue).

In the public hearings, the Council approved Ordinance 1 (adjusting the 2013 budget), 3 (amending the code enforcement section of the Code of Ordinances in conformance to Florida statutes), Resolution 2 (amend signage for Tunie’s in the LA Fitness plaza), 8 (modify setbacks at Old Palm PCD) and 10 (approve phasing plan for Gorden and Doner PUD).

The planned presentation on Tri-Rail extensions to Jupiter was omitted as Kim Delaney of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council was a no-show.

Toward the end of the meeting, registered lobbyist for the city, Mat Forrest of Ballard Partners gave his perspective on the city’s legislative agenda for 2013, cautioning that actual session time is short and only about 10-13% of bills filed actually get passed. City Manager Ron Ferris touched on some of the desired items (change to city annexation, FRS for city public safety employees), but the full list is contained in the meeting agenda (see: 2013 Legislative Priorities).

They list includes:

  • City initiated annexation amendment – expand the size (above 10 acres) that a city can annex “by ordinance”.
  • Pensions plans and FRS – ease 175/185 requirements for entry of city employees into the Florida Retirement System (FRS).
  • State funding for elevation of PGA Boulevard between the C-18 canal and Beeline Highway to eliminate flooding issues.
  • Protect local business tax receipts – oppose any efforts to “repeal, restrict or place moratorium on FS Chapter 205” which would affect how the city taxes and regulates businesses in the city.
  • Effective public notice / electronic advertising – eliminate the need to post public notices in print media
  • Support FL recreation development assistance program (FRDAP) – provides state grants for park and trail development
  • Support FL Police Chiefs Association priorities – these include regulation of internet cafes, stop texting while driving, truth in sentencing, oppose the “Innocence Project” interference with police policies, oppose “open carry”, ban bath salts / synthetic drugs, oppose restriction on local conduct of employee relations – particularly imposition of collective bargaining, and maintain funding for public safety entities

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...