Next City Council Meeting on May 1st at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be this Thursday, May 1st at 7pm at City Hall.

On the agenda: second reading of Ordinance 6, 2014, which reduces the number of petitions required to place a citizen-initiated referendum on the ballot; first reading of Ordinance 7 (amending certain sections of the Northlake Boulevard Overlay Zone); and first reading of Ordinance 9. 2014 (Amending the City of Palm Beach Gardens Police Officers’ Retirement Plan).

Also on the agenda is a presentation of the 2013 Annual Audit Report.

The short form of the agenda can be found here, and  the full agenda can be found here.

We get the government we deserve – and it’s up to us to watch what they do.  Hope you can make it.

40th Terrace & Sunset To Get Water and Roads; Petitioners get Relief

NOTE: Video of this meeting has been provided by Steve Tarr. Click HERE.

Most of ‘the action’ in the fairly long City Council Meeting on April 3rd took place at the beginning and end of the meeting.  Since most in the audience left by the end – we’ll start there.

Sunset Drive and 40th Terrace:  Anyone following city issues for a long time knows that this area of the city, annexed in 2002, has had complicated issues with water, roads and sewers.  Both the City and the County have to be involved with the resolution.  Significant progress was made Thursday via Resolution 26, 2014 – with the Council deciding to go with option 3 – providing ‘city’ water (via Seacoast utility) and taking ownership of the roads with the affected residents to pay via the Neighborhood Improvement Assessment Program (NIAP).  Option 3 will take 4-6 months before it can be started and in the interim both the County and the City will look for funding to provide additional relief for the property owners who must pay the assessment.   The plan will not include a sewer hookup.

Citizen Initiated Referendum:  Currently it takes petitions signed by 15% of registered Palm Beach Gardens voters in the last general election in order to place a citizen-initiated referendum on the ballot.  Florida Statutes only require 10%.  Last month, the group circulating petitions to place term limits on the ballot ( “Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits” ) filed a lawsuit challenging the 15% requirement and the Council requested that the ordinance be revised to change the number required to 10%.  The Council passed the first reading of the Ordinance unanimously.

Charter Review:  Council member  Russo asked that there be discussion on having a Charter Review committee – there was much debate on how such a committee should be named, how it should be moderated and when proposed changes should be on the ballot.   While discussion will continue, the Council generally liked the idea of having an ‘impartial’ professional moderator, qualified (and ‘apolitical’) committee members and aiming for November, 2016.  Trust was an issue and there was general agreement that the changes were not being proposed by the Council.   Several on the Council did seem preoccupied with the concept of Term Limits as it came up several times during the discussion of charter changes.  Council member Tinsley said that she supports term limits but ‘reasonable’ term limits and what is out there isn’t reasonable.  Council member Jablin echoed her sentiments as did others.  Watch for further actions on this topic!

Videotaping of Council Meetings:   While this topic has come up several times in the past, several months ago resident Steve Tarr requested that City Council Meetings be televised.  City Manager Ferris was directed to come back with options and costs but no decisions were made.  In the meanwhile, Mr. Tarr has been taping the meetings and posting them on youtube, and we have posted them on PBGWatch.  The Council discussed the topic once again and asked Mr. Ferris to implement Video on Demand – a day after posting of the Council Meetings.  That would be a first step and the city would be able to see how many people actually view the video prior to taking the more extensive and more expensive step of live video.

Back to the beginning of the Council Meeting….

  • The National Anthem was performed by Palm Beach Gardens Pizazz (please excuse if misspelled) – a member of which is Samara Tinsley.
  • Council members Tinsley and Jablin were officially declared the winners of their respective elections.  Mrs. Tinsley spoke of the experiences she had in meeting people has she campaigned – clearly getting the issues that concern them and the lack of trust that also exists.  She was very appreciative of her re-election.  Mr. Jablin also thanked those who supported him.   Russo, seconded by Jablin moved that Bert Premuroso be appointed Mayor; Levy seconded by Russo moved that Eric Jablin be appointed Vice-Mayor – so the council makeup remains unchanged.
  • The City’s CAFR received an award for the 19th consecutive year.
  • PGA Blvd and Beeline Highway – the Council received a presentation by FDOT on improvements planned on PGA Blvd. between SR 710 to the C18 Canal.  As the city manager explained later in the meeting, the city requested improvements due to severe flooding in the area – so FDOT fast-tracked the plans for raising the roads.  Option A would close the road for 6 months and divert affected traffic via Northlake and Military Trail.  Option B would involve single lane and controlled traffic and would take 18-24 months or longer.  The Council as well as residents who spoke out were all adamantly against Option A primarily due to safety (Fire/Rescue  and traffic on Northlake).  The presenters said that they would do what the City and the residents want and that they would be conducting a town hall/work-shop within the April/May timeframe – so look for notices of the workshop!
  • All Aboard Florida update – this too raised the ire of the Council.  Palm Beach County Commissioner Valeche was in attendance and generally spoke in favor of the project.  But the Council was very concerned about the significant impact not just of the passenger service, but in possible doubling of freight train traffic from 11 currently to 28 trains.  While passenger trains are expected to clear an intersection in less than 2 minutes, freight trains are generally 2 miles long and stop traffic for a considerable amount of time.  Mr. Jablin most concisely described this as selling one thing  (passenger rail) while the key goal was double tracking to allow for the increased freight rail.  Frustration level was high during the discussion and impacts to the safety of residents was a constant theme as was the need for Quiet Zones.  Watch Mr Tarr’s video of this segment – this will impact us all – so keep informed!
  • General Survey of Citizens:  City Manager Ferris described a survey that was conducted in 2006 seeking input from residents, the results of which were used in a lot of decisions made afterwards.  Mr. Ferris plans to send out a similar survey in the next 60 days s0 be on the lookout for it and make sure you participate!

All other resolutions resolutions and the Consent Agenda passed unanimously.

Also – learn about Avenir proposals in the workshop scheduled by the developer on Monday, April 7th.  The council has mentioned more than once that they are opposed to the current proposals.

Thanks again to Steve Tarr for recording the meetings.

Council Video – 04/03/14

Part 1

0:00 Pledge;
0:29 National Anthem Singers;
2:53 Election Results;
3:43 Oath of Office;
11:01 Appointment of Mayor and Vice Mayor;
13:54 Financial Report Award;
17:29 DOT Beeline/PGA Repair;
37:56 All Aboard Florida Update;

Part 2

0:00 Items of Resident Interest;
6:29 City Manager Report;
14:14 Comments From The Public;
30:01 Consent Agenda;
33:07 Resolution 21 Briger;
55:15 Resolution 22 Franklin Academy;
59:05 Resolution 23 Downtown at the Gardens;

Part 3

0:00 Resolution 26, 40th Terrace;
45:09 Ordinance 6, Elections Amendment;
48:13 Charter Review Committee;
1:10:45 Council Appointment to Internal and External Boards;
1:13:51 Video Discussion;