New Mayor Marcie Tinsley Leads Smooth Transition

NOTE: There will be a Special City Council Meeting on Shady Lakes Extension on Wed. 4/20 at 7PM.  Plans will be on display at 6pm

The April City Council meeting commenced with the Results of the Election, heartfelt goodbyes to Joe Russo (who was awarded a beautiful crystal gavel, as well as some ‘big shoes’ to fill by in-coming Council member Maria Marino). There was no mention at any time in the meeting, by City Attorney Max Lohman, that there are 2 lawsuits pending hearings related to Group 4’s result and Council member Levy’s eligibility to be seated. David Levy, Group 4 and Maria Marino, Group 2, were administered the oath of office and sworn in.

Congratulations go to Mayor Tinsley, who is only the second female to hold the office of Mayor (Linda Monroe was mayor from 1985-1986) of Palm Beach Gardens. She was nominated by Bert Premuroso, seconded by Eric Jablin and elected unanimously. Mr. Jablin was elected Vice-Mayor.

The three Public Hearings: Compassionate Friends Memorial Garden, Reduction in Square Footage for United Technology’s Center for Intelligent Buildings Technology Complex, and Combining PGA Commons Parcel 2 and 3 PUD Amendment, all passed 5:0 with little discussion after the presentations.

The bulk of the meeting was spent on Presentations, Comments from the Public and Discussion of the Sales Tax Referendum.

April 7, 2016


  • Dorothy Jacks, Chief Deputy Property Appraiser (and candidate for Property Appraiser) gave an update on the Gardens property valuations. Ms. Jacks praised the mix of residential versus commercial properties and careful growth in the City. Her tentative outlook in 2016 Market Valuation for the Gardens was 8-10% or more. Note that those with homesteaded properties would not see more than a 7/10 increase.
  • Mark Bannon, Executive Director of the PBC Commission on Ethics, briefly summarized the role of the Ethics Commission and encouraged the City to make use of their staff when ethics questions arise. There is a database of 400+ advisory opinions and while those are online, the City should ask Ethics staff for assistance. New opinions can be sought as well.
  • FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) gave an update on the I-95 Central Blvd Project – describing and showing images of proposed on/off ramps and intersections in the area between the Military Trail and Donald Ross Rd intersections. The next public meeting on the subject will be in late Sept or early October 2016 and will include a noise study.
  • The Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce has had a 2-year branding initiative which will have it’s big Reveal on April 26th. The Chamber asked for a proclamation in support, by the City, as well as continued financial support, which City Manager Ferris said was already in budget.
  • Sandra Wesson, of the Palm Beach County School System Choice Programs Manager, spoke a bit about the International Baccalaureate programs and requested a letter of support from the Council in order to assist in getting the next 3-year grant. Grove Park and H.L. Watkins Middle School have been participant schools.

Public Comment:

  • Flax Ct – Gary Pitchford, speaking for the neighborhood, expressed their continued displeasure with the progress of the property.
  • Andrea Ciampi had equestions on who was responsible for any I-95 related improvements to Central Blvd – answer was County
  • Eileen Henderson requested biographical information on new Councilmember Marino
  • Michael Marsh, speaking on Corey Jones, thanked the City for writing a letter to State Attorney Aronberg and described the actions by the Florida Legislature on body-cameras as ineffective
  • Tom Murphy, President of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Foundation spoke on upcoming essay contests
  • Rick Sartori, Executive VP of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber, voiced the Chambers’ support of the Infrastructure Sales Tax Referendum proposal, especially commending the Cultural Council and Economic Developments components of the proposed tax.
  • Matt Baker, along with 5 other residents of the Mirasol area, demanded that Fire Station 64 receive the same staffing as the City’s other 4 fire stations. Fire Rescue Chief Mike Southard has met with Mr. and Mrs. Baker over the last few months. Station64James Ippolito, Division Chief of Emergency Medical Services gave a detailed power point presentation describing how ‘automatic aid’ works in balancing coverage in all areas of the city, with appropriate staff covering each area as vehicles are called to various emergencies. An external study was only begun a few days ago and could take 90-120 days to complete. The residents were requesting immediate increase in staffing to equivalent levels, but both the City Manager and the Chief said that such staffing would cost $234K in overtime for the remainder of the budget year, without any evidence that response time would be improved. Part of the problem with the Mirasol area is that there are gated communities within gated communities, that add to the response time. However response time averages in all 5 stations are all better than targets.

Sales Tax Referendum:

Councilmember Levy kicked off the discussion saying that while he was not for the sales tax in general, if it passed, there should be some way to reduce the millage or give back some of the increased costs back to the residents. Vice-Mayor Jablin described his opposition, as did the remaining council members. They voted 4:0 to not sign the inter-local agreement supporting the sales tax increase. Note that cities representing 50% + 1 of the population of the County must vote in favor of the sales tax referendum in order for it to get on the ballot.  See the Palm Beach Post’s coverage here.

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