Next City Council Meeting on October 12th, 2017 at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday Oct. 12th at 7pm in City Hall.  

Agenda Highlights:

  • Charter Review Committee Final Report
Announcements/Presentations:
  • Charter Review Committee Final Report  – The Charter Review Committee met several times and has submitted recommended modifications to the City's Charter including:
    • elimination of duplicative, 'unneccesary', or sections covered by State Statute
    • removing residence requirement for City Manager
    • increasing number of allowed consecutive Council Member terms
    • allowing for term-limited Council Members to run again
    • changes to Council Member Elections – allowing for plurality instead of majority, and not counting certain votes when tallying total number of votes in election results.
  • The report can be read here.  The Council will decide which if any of the proposed changes will be placed on the March 2018 Uniform Municipal Elections ballot in ordinance(s) to appear on the November and December agendas.
Consent Agenda includes:
  • Purchase Award for Rental of Motor Vehicles (Police) – 5 year contract to rent unmarked vehicles on an as-needed basis.  $40K/year for 5 years for total contract of $200K.  Not publicly solicited.
  • Purchase Award for Management of Food and Beverage Operations at Sandhill Crane Golf Club – bid waiver since sole bid responder was not recommended by the Selection Committee. Contract value of $1 million over 5 years;  One Million Dollars (expected revenue to City over First Term). Option to renew for two additional 5-year periods.
  • Purchase Award – Piggyback/Access contract to construct a public safety training complex for the Police and Fire Rescue Departments, value $250K.

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:
  • Ordinance 22, 2017 – 2nd Reading and Adoption of the Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Facilities which passed on First Reading 5:0 on September 7th
  • Ordinance 23, 2017 – 2nd Reading and Adoption of a Moratorium on Micro Wireless Facilities through December 31, 2017, which passed on First Reading 5:0 on September 7th
  • Resolution 71, 2017 – to approve a miscellaneous amendment allowing for 3 Residential Community Entry Signs for Burwick Residential Community in PGA National
  • Resolution 68, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Art in Public Places Advisory Board (AIPP)
  • Resolution 69, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
  • Resolution 70, 2017 – Appointments and Re-appointments to the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB)

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

Two Budget Hearings result in 7.4% Increase in Property Tax Revenue

The City Council voted to hold operational millage flat at 5.55% at both Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget Hearings on September 7 and 25, 2017.  Even for those on the Council who would have liked to reduce property taxes somehow they concluded that it looks worse to residents, and is worse to lower the tax rate now and then have to raise it later. Legislative issues, potential passage of the 2018 ballot question on additional homestead exemptions as well as need for reserves due to storm impacts, all weighed into the debate. See Taxes to rise for many in Palm Beach Gardens from the Post, which covers some of the Council’s rationale.

The Council meetings spanned Hurricane Irma. On the 7th, City Manager Ferris gave a detailed update on Storm Preparation  and then on the 25th gave a summary of the actions taken to recover from the storm and bring the City back to full function as soon as possible.

The September 7th council meeting also passed 5:0 first readings on:

September 7, 2017
  • Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Facilities and Dispensaries
  • Moratorium on Micro Wireless Facilities until December 31, 2017 – allowing regulations to be developed consistent with State statute
  • Rearrangement of Floodplain Management Regulations

Also passed were:

  • 2nd Reading and Adoption of Operation of Mobile Food Trucks
  • Art in Public Places resolution for La Posada
  • Approval of FPL Watts Substation on utility parcel at Alton

The September 25th council meeting featured a short presentation by Joseph St. Germain on the 2017 Resident Opinion Survey. The survey can be read in its entirety here  and the Post has a short recap. The survey was quoted in several places in the budget documents to bolster rationale for future action plans.

September 25, 2017

Summaries by the council during Items of Resident Interest raised issues with recent (and expected) actions by the State Legislature that severely impact Home Rule.

Besides the adoption of the Tax Levy and Millage rate and the adoption of the FY 2017/2018 Budget, the council passed 2nd reading on the two ordinances related to the Floodplain Management Regulations 5:0.

The October 12th City Council meeting will feature the recommendations and report of the Charter Review Committee.

Final Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget Hearing and Council Mtg – Monday 9/25/17

The next City Council Meeting will be on Monday September 25th at 7pm in City Hall.   This is also the final of two Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget Hearings.

Agenda Highlights:

  • Second Reading and Approval of the 2017/2018 Budget and setting property tax rate
  • Second Reading of Ordinances regarding Floodplain Management Regulations
Announcements/Presentations: 2017 RESIDENT OPINION SURVEY – Presentation by Joseph St. Germain, PH.D., President of Downs & St. Germain Research.  The survey was referenced in the Budget document to identify strategic focus areas.  See the survey results here.
 
Consent Agenda includes:

  • Ordinance 63, 2017 – A request to allow the shopping center at Downtown at the Gardens (DTAG) within Regional Center Planned Community Development to have a total of 36 special events per calendar year that is 24 more than the maximum permitted by Section 78-187 of the City's Code

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Resolution 58, 2017/Ordinance 19, 2017 – the proposed operating millage rate for Fiscal Year 2017/2018 is 5.5500 mills and a debt service millage rate of .1178. The proposed operating millage rate of 5.5500 is 5.37% above the roll-back of 5.2671 . When combined, the total operating and debt service millage rate proposed for Fiscal Year 2017/2018 is 5.6678 mills, which is .18% below the current year combined rate of 5.6781 mills.  (Note: PBG Watch comment: This millage will raise $59M in taxes, an increase of $4.1M over last year’s $55M, up 7.4%. (Note that we compare the budget figures, not the calculated “rollback rate” which overstates last year’s budget.) The sales surtax provides another $3M windfall each year.)
  • Ordinances 15 and 18, 2017 – 2nd Reading and adoption.  A City-initiated request to amend Chapter 78, Land Development, in order to repeal the previously adopted and now outdated Floodplain Regulations from Chapter 78 and to amend Chapter 86, Buildings and Building Regulations to add the revised Floodplain Regulations. The proposed amendments will provide consistency with the Florida Division of Emergency Management's Model Ordinance.

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

See our article on the Budget and Tabor.

We get the government we deserve – and it’s up to us to watch what they do.  Hope you can make it. If you can’t make the meeting try and watch live-streaming or on-demand.

First Budget Hearing and Sept City Council Mtg on Thurs 9/7

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday September 7th at 7pm in City Hall.   This is also the first of two Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget Hearings.

Agenda Highlights:

  • First Hearing 2017/2018 Budget and setting property tax rate
  • New Ordinance prohibiting Medical Marijuana facilities in the City
  • Final Approval of Ordinance on the Operation of Mobile Food Trucks 
Announcements/Presentations: None listed
 
Consent Agenda includes:

  • Resolution 59, 2017 – Ratifying the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the SEIU/FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICES UNION (FPSU) for fiscal years 2017-2020;   Employees' base salaries were increased as a result of being placed in a new, updated salary plan, effective October 1, 2017.  In addition, all employees will receive a 3 percent increase to base salary effective October 1st each year of the contract: 2017, 2018, and 2019. 
  • Purchase Award for Renewal of Microsoft Enterprise License for 3 years – Piggyback/Access Contract for $417K
  • Purchase Award for Landscaping for the New Golf Clubhouse – Landscape contract is for 1 time $175K – using an existing vendor with the City

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions includes:

  • Ordinance 17, 2017 – First Reading and First Public Hearing Adopting the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budget..  The proposed budget holds Operating Millage flat at 5.55 mills.  The total operating and debt service millage rate proposed for Fiscal Year 2017/2018 is 5.6678 mills, which is less than the current year combined rate of 5.6781 mills. See our post on the growth of the proposed budget along with a link to the Proposed Budget page.  The second and final public hearing on the budget is scheduled for September 25, 2017. 
  • Ordinance 22, 2017 – First Reading of Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Facilities and Dispensaries  – amending Chapter 78 Land Development Regulations to prohibit such facilities in the city.  The staff analysis outlines the rationale for the proposed ordinance.
  • Ordinance 23, 2017 – First Reading of Temporary Moratorium through December 31, 2017 on Micro Wireless Facilities:  on the submittal and processing of applications and the issuance of any permits pertaining to the collocation on existing or the creation of new utility poles in the City-owned rights-of-way to support small or micro wireless facilities for a period ending December 31, 2017. 
  • Resolution 55, 2017 – Art in Public Places for La Posada
  • Resolution 60, 2017 – Approving a FPL Watts Substation site-plan on 5-acre utility parcel in the NE corner of Alton PCD.
  • Ordinances 15 and 18, 2017 – A City-initiated request to amend Chapter 78, Land Development, in order to repeal the previously adopted and now outdated Floodplain Regulations from Chapter 78 and to amend Chapter 86, Buildings and Building Regulations to add the revised Floodplain Regulations. The proposed amendments will provide consistency with the Florida Division of Emergency Management's Model Ordinance.
  • Ordinance 17, 2017 – Mobile Food Trucks – second reading and adoption of the new permit requirements approved on first reading in August

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

The PBG Budget and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)

The 2018 PBG Budget raises $4.1M in new taxes, up 7.4% over last year. See the Proposed Budget here.

Prior to the passage of the sales tax surcharge last year, PBG staff had said they didn’t need the money, and if passed, would return some to the taxpayers in a millage reduction. That all changed of course when the full 10 year revenue stream was captured in a bond and allocated to projects starting immediately, including $11M for a new park.

As the new budget is considered, so far only Vice Mayor Mark Marciano, following in the Bert Premuroso tradition, has suggested they consider a millage decrease. The rest, along with staff, plan to proceed for the third year with the millage rate set in 2016 at 5.55.

This millage will raise $59M in taxes, an increase of $4.1M over last year’s $55M, up 7.4%. (Note that we compare the budget figures, not the calculated “rollback rate” which overstates last year’s budget.) The sales surtax provides another $3M windfall each year.

Is this growth in taxes (and expenditures) justified by the growth of Palm Beach Gardens? How much taxation is enough?

In 1992, the state of Colorado amended their constitution to restrict the growth of taxation. Under the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (TABOR), state and local governments could not raise tax rates without voter approval and could not spend revenues collected under existing tax rates without voter approval if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth. The results of this Colorado experiment are mixed, and TABOR has its pros and cons. (For background on TABOR, see: Taxpayer Bill of Rights ) Population growth and inflation though, would seem to be a way of assessing the appropriateness of the growth of a city budget, at least as an initial benchmark.

Since 2005, the population of Palm Beach Gardens has grown by about 14% to its current 55,637 (est.) Inflation, measured by the consumer price index, was 26%. Taken together, TABOR would suggest a growth in city spending and taxation of about 45%. (see graph below).

Over the same period, ad-valorem taxes grew 69% and total expenditures (budget less debt payment, capital and transfers) grew 54%. Both are above the TABOR line, but note that in 2013, reductions in tax collection had actually returned to the trendline. It is only since then that we seem to be off to the races.

It should be noted that ad-valorem taxes fund only a part of city expenditures, the rest made up from impact fees, fees for services, other taxes, intergovernmental grants, etc. and have varied from 66% of the total in 2005 to about 73% now. That is why taxes and expenses do not track each other on the chart.

So if you trust TABOR as a measuring stick, is this growth in taxation excessive? You be the judge.

Flush with cash for $50 Million for Capital Improvements

Save the dates!

  • Thursday August 24FDOT Workshop – Staff and their consulting teams have been invited by the City to present at this workshop to provide the most recent plans regarding upcoming Interchange Improvements at: I-95 and Central Boulevard I-95 and PGA Boulevard I-95 and Northlake Boulevard, Northlake Boulevard and Beeline Highway This workshop style meeting is designed to allow the public to engage with FDOT representatives and have their project questions answered. This was a workshop requested by Council Member Woods earlier in the spring and should be of interest to residents and anyone who travels in North County.
  • Thursday Sept 7  and Monday Sept 25 for FY 2017/2018 Budget Hearings
  • Also – for those interested in the meetings of the Charter Review Committee – those will be on the City Calendar and are open to the public.
August 3, 2017

The August City Council meeting was relatively brief. Fire Explorer Nick Swan was honored for his heroism in a Tequesta fire in August 2016. See the PB Post article on his bravery. The City’s Police Explorers placed Second in the state for this years’ competitions.

All items passed 5:0 except for Consent Agenda Item Hospitality Staffing Services for Sandhill Crane Golf Club from which Council Member Lane recused himself.

City Manager Ferris gave an update on the current status of the numerous Capital Improvement Projects in the City. The $30 million in Sales Tax related projects coupled with the $20 million in budgeted construction projects are project managed by a team of 3 staff who Ferris will acknowledge in September. For a detailed list plus status see here or watch Mr. Ferris’ segment of the meeting. In addition, he played a short clip of the City’s Head Golf Professional Sherri Pla which can also be seen above.

Resolution 44, 2017 – Adoption of the City’s Annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan was accompanied by a video (some of it taken with the Police Department drone) highlighting three re-roofing projects accomplished with the prior year’s grant. Resident Christen OConnor, one of the homeowners assisted by the grant gave a heartfelt thanks.

When Resolution 50, 2017 – Appointment of members to the Charter Review Committee came up for discussion, Vice Mayor  Marciano wanted to open discussion on what the others on the Council were looking for in their nominees. However, Mayor Marino countered that clear directions and criteria was given to the Council and that the nominees should be listed and voted upon immediately. No other  council member made comment other than to give their nominations and all were approved with a single motion. Congratulations to the following active residents on their nominations:  Craig Allgood – nominated by Rachelle Litt; Ian Helsby nominated by Matthew Lane; Steve Mathison nominated by Carl Woods, Meg Shannon nominated by Mark Marciano and Brian Seymour nominated by Maria Marino.

Additionally – Mobile Food Trucks will now be subject to streamlined permitting by Ordinance 17, 2017. Also Eric Bruns of West Palm Beach, a recently returned veteran, spoke about his 501c3, Voice for Veterans which aids with education, training and mentoring for recently returned vets to obtain meaningful employment.

The City Attorney was not asked if he had a report and the meeting was concluded.

Next City Council Meeting on Thursday August 3rd

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday Aug. 3rd at 7pm in City Hall.  

Agenda Highlights:

  • Appointing Members of the Charter Committee
  • New Ordinance on the Operation of Mobile Food Trucks 
  • Changing/introducing new fees
Announcements/Presentations include recognition items 
Consent Agenda includes:
  • Resolution 57, 2017 which Repeals Resolution 20, 2012 which was deemed to be unconstitutional, and was discussed at last month’s Council meeting.
  • Resolution 51, 2017  Lease of Golf Carts with GPS from Club Car, LLC and financed through Leasing 2, Inc. – Replacing the leasing of 86 Yamaha Golf Carts for Sandhill Crane Golf Club with the same number of golf carts from Club Car, LLC due to failure to find a permanent resolution to issues with the carts from Yahama.  
  • Renewal of two Purchase awards, for Group Health Insurance Plan (Self-Funded) – Stop Loss Insurance Coverage with Symetra Life Ins Co, and for Independent Auditing Services with Marcum LLP
  • Purchase Award for Technical Service Support for EKG/AEDs and Lucas CPR Systems, single source with vendor for $136K
  • Purchase Award for Emergency Medical Services – Third-Party Billing Services, openly competed, 5-year contract with option to renew for another 5 years.  $2 million per year.
  • Purchase Award for Hospitality Staffing Services for Sandhill Crane Golf Club, openly competed, 5-year contract with option to renew for another 5 years.  $200k per year.
  • Purchase Award for  Emergency Food Catering Services (Pre-Event Packaged Meals)  – with bid waiver, for sole source – for $100K per year for 5 years

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:
  • Resolution 44, 2017 – Adoption of the City’s One-Year Annual Action Plan to Obtain Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  ( HUD) and Amendment to Citizen Participation Plan – the plan must be submitted annually to maintain the grant. The City is eligible to receive approximately $187,726 for fiscal year 2017-2018. 
  • Ordinance 17, 2017 – First reading of amendments to Chapter 78, Land Development Regulations to specify regulations pertaining to the operation and sale of food from Mobile Food Trucks within in the City of Palm Beach Gardens.
  • Resolution 48, 2017 – Adopting the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Fees and Charges Schedule – the proposed changes include an Art in Public Places Application Fee, Mobile Food Truck Permit and Renewal Fees, and increases in fees for unnecessary false alarms.
  • Resolution 50, 2017 Appointing Members to the Charter Review Committee –  each council member will nominate members and the entire council will vote on each nominee.  The committee will consist of 5 members who are charged with providing their final report of Charter Change recommendations in October 2017.  The names under consideration are listed in the resolution, which also lists the time-table in order to have any changes on the ballot for March 2018 Uniform Municipal Elections.

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

Effusive Praise Abounds

After Mayor Marino called for a moment of silence for Fire Rescue Lieutenant Gary Bussey – the City Council Meeting proceeded through numerous recognition events with accompanying picture taking sessions. Items of Resident Interest continued the highlighting of additional city employee accomplishments by Council Member Woods, and proceeded through the City Manager Report where there was even more praise – culminating in the annual City Manager Evaluation – which couldn’t be better.

Interspersed in this love fest was some new City Business. The Consent Agenda, and Resolutions all passed 5:0.

July 13, 2017

Highlights:

  • State Senator Bobby Powell delivered an outstanding power-point presentation summarizing the just completed Legislative Session and pointing out those items of special interest to the City of Palm Beach Gardens. Here is a link.  It is well worth watching for an easy to understand summation.
  • Vice-Mayor Marciano asked that Resolution 45, 2017 be pulled from Consent; Planning and Zoning Director Natalie Crowley gave a quick overview of the future Palm Beach Gardens Tri-Rail station area planning, and introduced Kim DeLaney, Director of Strategic Development and Policy for Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council who will serve as the project manager on the strategic plan development. There will be public workshops in the fall – watch for them.
  • Council Member Lane requested that the Purchase Award for the new Tennis Center Clubhouse be pulled from Consent. Director of the Purchasing Department Km! Ra and Laura Schuppert, Recreation Director – described the need for an enlarged Clubhouse, explained that the $3 million is covered by the Sales Tax funding, and presented the Council with an animated walk-through of the new Clubhouse.
  • Mayor Marino had two proclamations pulled from Consent as well – to recognize two Entrepreneur Score Winners who were given an opportunity to speak about their businesses.
  • After a brief overview by Finance Administrator Allan Owens, the Council set the Maximum Millage Rate for fiscal year 2017/2018 to its current Operational Rate of 5.55 mils and slightly decreased .1178 debt service for an overall millage of 5.6678 – which will be used by the County Property Appraiser to send out the Trim Notices in August. This represents a tax increase since property values have appreciated significantly.   (It should be noted that the city has not made the budget proposal detail available to the public yet – so the total dollar amount to be raised in taxes (which expected to be more than 5% over last year) or how it is to be allocated was known only to staff, the council and the budget committee. This effectively precluded any intelligent comment by the public before they set the maximum millage rate. The county, and many other municipalities are much more open and transparent in this regard.) Discussion during the item, and later during Items for Council Action/Discussion was mixed. Vice Mayor Marciano, who had served on the Budget Oversight Committee for five years, asked the Council to individually think about whether there was possible room for at least token relief to the tax-payer. Mayor Marino and Council Member Woods were firm that there was no room for consideration of any such tax relief. The first Public Hearing on the Budget will be on September 7.
  • The Council approved the establishment of the Charter Review Committee and Timeline. Resident Iris Scheibl requested that any proposed Charter changes, especially pertaining to something like Elections, be placed on the November 2018 ballot instead of the March Uniform Municipal Elections due to the expected very low turnout in March. Vice-Mayor Marciano replied that he spoke with SOE Bucher and that she rejected November out-right. There was no other discussion. The Council Members will put their nominations for the Charter Review Committee members to staff by July 24th and they will be voted upon in the August 3rd City Council Meeting.
  • City Attorney Lohman informed the Council that the City lost on appeal the case with Sears  and that he recommended that the Council repeal Ordinance 20, 2012 which was found to be unconstitutional. The Council will vote on such an ordinance next meeting. The City will be responsible to Sears for legal fees yet to be determined.
  • During Public CommentTom Cairnes, of the PGA Corridor Association, praised City Manager Ferris and reminded the public of the 9/13 Mobility Around the Gardens event that was mentioned last month.  Tom Murphy of the Police Foundation described the 10th annual Police Foundation Golf Tournament to raise funds for the Police Explorers.

The next council meeting will be held on August 3rd.

 

Next City Council Mtg on July 13 at 7pm

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday July 13th at 7pm in City Hall.

Agenda Highlights:

  • State Senator Bobby Powell – Legislative Session Wrap-Up
  • Set Maximum Millage Rate for FY 2017/2018 Budget
  • Establishing the 2017 Charter Review Committee targeting March 2018 Municipal Elections
  • Annual Evaluation of City Manager
  • Inter-local agreement with Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council for Palm Beach Gardens Station Area – transit oriented development (TOD) Master Plan (on Consent Agenda)
Announcements/Presentations include several recognition items and State Senator Powell
Consent Agenda includes:
  • Resolution 45, 2017 Interlocal Agreement between Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and Palm Beach Gardens for Palm Beach Gardens Station Area Transit Oriented Development Master Plan. Funding for the grant includes $30K from Palm Beach Gardens.   Public Input will be collected from Sept-Dec. 2017, with a draft plan in 2017 and a Final Master Plan and Report by March 2018
  • Purchase  Award – Operate On-Site Employee Health Clinic – $3.3 Million 5 year contract with option to renew for an additional 5 years – openly competed.  Awarded to Carehome LLC – current operator.
  • Purchase Award – Renewal of Agreement for Dental Insurance – $80K – City exercised option to renew for 3 years.
  • Purchase Award – Construct Prefabricated and Pre-Engineered Metal Building Shell for Golf Cart Storage Barn – openly competed $171K
  • Purchase Award – Mowing and Landscape Services for PGA Flyover and Canal Long-Line Mowing – openly competed, 5 year contract for $1.5 million with option to renew for another 5 years.
  • Purchase Award – Alert and Communications System for Fire Rescue Stations 1,3,4,5 – sole source $250K – to match system installed in Station 2.
  • Purchase Award – Modifications to Johnson Dairy Rd – piggyback/access contract for $303K
  • Purchase Award –  Bleachers Shade Structure for Gardens Park piggyback/access contract for $131K
  • Purchase Award – Emergency Food Catering Services – City exercised option to renew $200K contract
  • Purchase Award – New Tennis Center Clubhouse  Architectural Services – openly competed $220K
  • Purchase Award – Dispatch Consoles for Northcom – piggyback/access contract for $79.7K

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions includes:
  • Resolution 46, 2017 – City Initiated Major Conditional Use approval for constructing a 180′ public safety communications monopole at the northern boundary of Lake Catherine Sportsplex  
  • Resolution 41, 2017 – Setting a Maximum Millage Rate of 5.6678 which holds operating millage at 5.5 and with lower .1178 debt service, is less than current year 5.6781.  Also sets first Public Hearing on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 . (Note – there is no budget detail and the backup material states “The detailed proposed line-item budget will be distributed to Council and the Budget Oversight Review Board under separate cover.”)
  • Resolution 49, 2017 – Establishes the 2017 Charter Review Committee and associated duties and timeline, with the assumption of final report to the Council on Oct. 12, 2017, for Council approval of the Referendum Ordinance on Nov. 2, 2017 and Dec. 7, 2017 for placement on the ballot on the March 13, 2017 Uniform Municipal Elections.  (Note – the last two Charter related votes took place on November ballots in 2012 and 2014!)

Council Discussion

  • City Manager Evaluation

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

 

Council Eliminates Liaison Role to City Committees and Boards

Following is a summary of the June 1st meeting.   The key policy change that was made was the elimination of council member liaisons to various City boards and committees in Ordinance 14, 2017 described below.

June 1, 2017

Announcement and Presentations:

  • State Representative Rick Roth spoke on several bills – the most discussion with the Council related to the impact on local or home rule by “WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY: Limits local governments from regulating types of equipment known as “small wireless facilities” in public rights of ways that are used for new 5G wireless technology. (HB 687)” which could over-ride local zoning in placement of towers/devices.
  • Marcum LLP, the City’s external auditor, gave the 2016 budget documents rave reviews with a ‘clean opinion’ and ‘no findings’.

Items of Resident Interest and Board/Committee Reports:

Council Member Woods asked the Council (who agreed) to ask that the City Manager have a Workshop by FDOT on the three I-95 interchanges (Northlake, PGA and Central) to inform the public on proposed traffic movement and right-of-way issues in August. Most of the FDOT workshops have been interchange specific which doesn’t get at City-wide issues and traffic movement.

Comments from the Public:

  • John Channing – of the PGA Corridor Association, took over from his brother Joel Channing. He mentioned the 4th Annual Mid-Year Economic Update, given by Dr. Weiss and mentioned a 9/13/17 event to be held at the Embassy Suites on Mobility Around the Gardens
  • Don Mathis – discussed the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) stating an issue with all projects scheduled for the same construction year and referred the Council to WPB or Boca for ideas on how to change this.
  • 3 Employees of Gander Mountain spoke on the imminent closing of Gander Mountain (Travis Holmes, Jon Bagley and Lance B (sorry – he didn’t give address)), the potential loss of 70 to 100 plus (in season) jobs, if the new owner, Camping World is prohibited from displaying RVs outside dues to zoning. They and fellow employees who did not speak, were asked to wait until later in the meeting so the item could be addressed by Council and staff.

City Manager Report:

City Manager Ferris highlighted several recent awards, gave a brief presentation on before/after pictures of the impacts of Code Enforcement and mentoned a city-held event on Weather The Storm (hurricane preparedness) this Thursday, June 8 from 6-8.

Consent Agenda:

Council Member Lane asked that Item D on Consent be pulled for a presentation by Purchasing Manager Km! Ra on Municipal Complex Renovations ($668K). The rest of the Consent Agenda passed 5:0 as did Item D.

Ordinances and Resolutions:

  • Ordinance 11, 2017 second reading and adoption of Specialty Pet Boarding passed 4:1 with Council Member Lane objecting. He pointed out that while the facilities themselves would have to be entirely enclosed, the animals would have to be brought in and out of the facilities and at some point ‘neighbors’ would object.
  • Ordinance 14, 2017 Second Reading and Adoption regarding Procedures to fill board/committee vacancies, modify how absences are handled, and (most importantly,) alter the policy of having Council Liaisons to various Boards and Committees. County Attorney Lohman’s primary position was that the County Ordinance regarding the Sales Tax called for independent boards, and by expanding the City’s Budget Oversight Committee’s role to oversee the handling of the ‘penny’ sales tax, that committee was precluded from having a Council liaison. Don Mathis made public comment declaring the Council Liaison, especially on the Budget Oversight Committee, invaluable. The Council briefly explored having the Budget Oversight Committee divide their meetings into Budget and Sales Tax, with the Liaison only participating in the former. Vice-Mayor Marciano rightly pointed out that the voters, who the Council  represents, would be left out by the lack of liaison. Both Marciano and Council Member Lane reiterated their transparency and value issues from the prior Council meeting. To Mayor Marino and Council Member Woods, the issue seemed clear cut, and the value of liaisons to other boards seemed of lesser import. Mayor Marino compared the City policy to that of Jupiter, who didn’t have liaisons. Council Member Litt was torn, opining that all the input she got favored the continuance of liaisons, but she couldn’t see treating the Budget Oversight Committee exceptionally. With the vote of 3:2 (Lane, Marciano opposing), the Council ‘threw out the baby with the bathwater’ by eliminating board and committee transparency and interaction with our elected representatives while not modifying the Ordinance in any way to allow for interaction with the boards .
  • In passing 5:0 both Resolution 42, 2017 – Opposing Conversion Therapies and Resolution 43, 2017 – Opposing Use of Exotic Animals in Circuses, our new council veered into Social and potentially Religious issues – passing non-binding, opinion resolutions.  Here is the Palm Beach Post’s coverage of Resolution 42, 2017./

Items for Council Action/Discussion:

  • Gander Mountain – Mayor Marino thanked the Gander Mountain employees for staying. Natalie Crowley, Director of Planning and Zoning, gave a recap on the original Gander Mountain zoning (which would not have allowed for outside RV display). She had not yet been formally contacted by Camping World and was willing to work with them through issues, eg with such a display would there be adequate parking. Director Crowley needs to see a plan from the owner before discussions can proceed.  See Palm Beach Post coverage here.
  • Charter Review CommitteeVice-Mayor Marciano had requested a time-line and proposal.  Staff suggested that any proposed Charter changes be on the March 2018 ballot. The Council did not dispute staff’s opinion that the changes could not be on the November ballot, and accepted staff’s comments that August 2018 would be too busy a ballot reiterating the ‘voter fatigue’ meme that was used by staff in 2012 and with term limits in 2014 – not mentioning that both proposals were on the November ballots in 2012 and 2014 respectively, and voter turn-out is largest. 
  • Lastly, Finance Administrator Allan Owens discussed the impacts should the expanded Homestead Exemption to $75K be approved by voters in November 2018. He and the City Manager made the case that had this not passed to be placed on the ballot, perhaps a small decrease in ad valorem tax rate could have been entertained, but now, not so much, by threatening the budget stabilization reserve fund which the prior Council spent down earlier in the year.

Reminder – the July City Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, July 13 at 7pm.

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