Next City Council Mtg on June 1st at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday June 1st at 7pm in City Hall.


  • State Representative Rick Roth – summary of legislative session
  • Annual Audit Report – Fiscal Year 2016

Consent Agenda includes:

  • Lease of two Skeeter Ford F550 Brush Trucks from Skeeter Brush Trucks, LLC. and financed through Leasing 2, Inc. – $400K
  • Purchase award to Replace Pump Station at Gardens Park, publicly bid but only one vendor submitted a bid, at too high cost; the City rejected the bid and opted to go with the original manufacturer whose costs were in budget – $76K
  • Purchase award for Municipal Complex Renovations and Expansion – Architectural Service- publicly bid – $668K
  • Purchase award – Piggyback/Access Contract for Repairs to Bridges on Larch Avenue and Hickory Drive$179K
  • Purchase award for Golf Cart Barn Renovations for Sandhill Crane Golf Club – publicly bid – $144K
  • Purchase award – Piggyback/Access Contract for Audio Visual Systems and Content Marketing for New Golf Clubhouse at Sandhill Crane Golf Club – $213K
  • Purchase award – Piggyback/Access Contract for Earthworks and Site Works for New Property at Sandhill Crane Golf Club – $1.124 Million

City Manager Report – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Ordinance 11, 2017 – Second Reading and Adoption – Specialty Pet Boarding – Passed 4:1 on First Reading – with Council Member Lane voting NO
  • Ordinance 14, 2017 – Boards and Committees – modifies how vacancies are filled, how absences are handled, and eliminates Council Liaisons to Boards or Committees – Passed 3:2 on First Reading with Council Member Lane and Vice Mayor Marciano voting NO.
  • Resolution 40, 2017 – A request by FLF Lilac, LLC to receive approval for the construction of two residential entry signs to Lilac Village (formerly known a Golfer’s Village), as well as various site and landscape modifications. Staff is recommending approval. – The subject site is located on the north side of Lilac Street, 0.15 miles east of North Military Trail.
  • Resolution 42, 2017 – Making Findings and Opposing Conversion Therapy on Minors
  • Resolution 43, 2017 – Making Findings and Opposing the Display of Wild or Exotic Animals in Traveling Animal Acts for Public Entertainment or Amusement.

Council Discussion:

  • Charter Review Process and Timeline this should be of interest to every resident as the Charter is our ‘Constitution’. At the last Council meeting, Vice Mayor Marciano requested that staff bring forward a proposal, and it will be discussed on Thursday. In the proposal, Charter changes would be on the ballot in March, 2018, and the workings of the committee would be moderated by a professional facilitator.
  • Also up for discussion is a summary of the potential impact if the additional $25K Homestead Exemption that will be on the ballot in 2018, is passed.

Check the agenda to see if any additional items have been added before the meeting here.

New Council Asserts Itself

The May 4th City Council Meeting was the first full meeting of the new Council, and while all but two items passed  5:0 there were interesting discussions as the new members felt their way.

Announcements included an update on the Palm Beach North Initiative, and plans for The District (which would be an entirely refashioned Downtown at the Gardens).  See Sarah Peters article on the new plans here. 

Items of Resident Interest was fairly lengthy as the Council recounted their activities for the month.

May 4, 2017

During Public Comment, former Mayor Jablin read a proclamation honoring City Clerk Snider, in honor of Municipal Clerks’ annual recognition. The only other public comment was made during discussion of the County District Park.

City Manager Ferris announced awards and what will be national media coverage of the City’s Golf Professional, Sherri Pla.  The annual City’s Memorial Day event will be on May 29th at 9am at Veterans’ Plaza.  In response to discussion from the April Meeting on how to best structure outreach to residents, including those who do not have HOAs or gated communities, Mr. Ferris announced a new Speakers’ Bureau, which gives a way (including online access) for groups to request either Council members and/or staff to come speak on topics.  The City Clerk would refer those to the Mayor for appropriate action.  Council Member Marciano, who was the one who had requested ideas for this last month, hoped that this format would allow for ‘listening’ style meetings.  Council Member Woods was concerned that council members could be greeted by angry residents and there was some discussion that residents should be able to voice their views and it shouldn’t be contentious unless the ‘listener’ made it so.  Mayor Marino suggested that if a topic requires specific knowledge that the speaker doesn’t have, that they be accompanied by someone from staff that could assist in answering questions.  Each of the Council wants to see the entire list of requests.  (Editorial comment – those residents who don’t live in organized subdivisions or participate in some organizations or groups, would not necessarily be served by a format where they have to request such a meeting.  The concept of town halls as discussed during the campaigns would be outreach to the public, not the public having to reach out to the government.  It will be interesting to see how this works out).

All Ordinances and Resolutions except for Ordinance 11, 2017 (Specialty Pet Boarding) and Ordinance 14, 2017 (Handling of Board and Committee Appointments, Attendance and Council Liaisons) passed 5:0. Council Member Lane was concerned about the types of pets that would be covered by Ordinance 11, 2017 in the future and so voted NO on that item, which passed 4:1 on First Reading.  Both Council Members Marciano and Lane had concerns about eliminating the liaison role of Council on committees.  Marciano had appreciated the participation and insight of former Mayor Premuroso on the Budget Oversight Committee and felt that Mr. Premuroso brought back the Committee’s perspectives to Council discussion.  Lane felt the same about Mayor Marino’s role on the Parks and Rec Board. Mayor Marino suggested that there be requirement of some kind for the boards and committees to formally present to the Council – but nothing was discussed to flesh out that suggestion.  Ordinance 14, 2017 passed 3:2 on First Reading.

Resolution 38, 2017 authorized City Manager Ferris to negotiate and execute interlocal agreements with the County and to spend up to $11.2 million on the effort to construct the new District Park.  Council Member Lane, while in full support of the Park, was concerned about the ‘blank check’ aspect of the Resolution as written, and felt that there should be more direct Council involvement as well as a workshop on the topic.  City Manager Ferris took offense at Council Member Lane’s comments and implied that such oversight would delay the Park by a couple of years.  After further discussion, and Public Comment by Michelle Lewis in support of the park, the resolution passed 5:0.

During Items for Council Discussion, Council Member Lane suggested that the Agenda format be re-ordered to move Items of Resident Interest, City Manager Report and some presentations to later in the meeting so that Items for Council Discussion appear earlier in the meeting when there are people present to hear them.  The response by the City Manager and Mayor was that it was the City Manager who makes up the meeting, and that the Agenda as currently structured would stay as is.  Resident Joan Elias also supported keeping the agenda the same.  Council Member Marciano requested that next month a Charter Review timeline and process be presented and discussed.

Martino: The New City Council – What We Expect

The City Council of Palm Beach Gardens elections for 2017 are over and my mailbox now has room for my bills. Let me add my congratulations and best wishes to the new Council members, Ms. Rachelle Litt, and Messrs. Mathew Lane and Mark Marciano. They join with Council members, Ms. Maria Marino and Mr. Carl Woods to form the first 5-member City Council since the overwhelming passage of term limits in 2014. At their first meeting the new Council elected Maria Marino as Mayor and Mark Marciano as Vice-Mayor.

So what should be this new City Council’s imminent priorities one might ask? Is it traffic, is it All Aboard Florida, is it development, is it sports fields, is it concerns for our older neighborhoods, is it sober homes, is it fiscal responsibility, is it health, safety, and welfare? The answer to all of those questions is a firm, YES. However, in my opinion, the most pressing subject facing the new City Council is Council protocol. What will be their modus operandi? How will it differ from the past?

From my perspective, embedded in the discussion of protocol are the problems of transparency, Council-Manager relationship within Charter boundaries, agenda framework, more City Council meetings, among other concerns. Accountability for transparency is only assured by communicating with the public the ideas and thought processes of the collective governmental body that go into the consideration and making of policy decisions in the openness of an advertised meeting. The City Charter spells out the interface that must pervade between the City Council and the City Manager, particularly concerning policy directives and initiatives. Preparation of an agenda format that is more business and resident conscious is a needed modernization. City Council workshop meetings on a regular advertised basis to discuss all City issues among the five Council members in public before the regular meetings for final vote are a vital component in the protocol process.

It is my observation, that the passage of term limits by an overwhelming 80% of the Palm Beach Gardens voters was not based solely on a “changing of the guard” mentality. It was also a desire for refreshment. It was a hope for new ideas and innovative approaches to our local government with more consideration for the concerns of the residents. It is my suggestion that our new City Council members consider these premises.