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.

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.

Announcements/Presentations:

  • 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.

Next City Council Meeting on May 4th at 7PM

The next City Council Meeting will be on Thursday May 4th at 7pm in City Hall.

Announcements/Presentations:

  •     Palm Beach North Brand Initiative
  •     1st Place Award for Palm Beach Gardens Police Explorers
  •     District at the Gardens (?)

Consent Agenda includes:

  • Resolution 35, 2017 – setting the July City Council Meeting to 7/13 as to not conflict with the 4th of July holiday
  • Purchase Award for Annual Asphalt Milling and Resurfacing – openly competed Piggyback/Access contract (City of Wellington), not to exceed $500K to resurface City streets and locations

City Manager Report  – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Ordinance 11, 2017 – Amending Chapter 78 Land Use Regulations to provide a definition and details for new use Specialty Pet Boarding which must take place within enclosed building with no outdoor activities.
  • Ordinance 13, 2017 – 2nd reading and adoption of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design approved at last month’s meeting.
  • Ordinance 14, 2017 – 1st reading Amending Procedures for filling Board and Committee vacancies, absentee policy and eliminating council liaisons to board and committees.  (Editorial Questions – 1) did the council request eliminating the liaisons?  2) doesn’t this increase the influence of staff?)
  • Resolution 31, 2017 – Alton PCD Parcels D, E, F – approving site plans for 316 single dwelling units and 199 town homes.
  • Resolution 33, 2017 – Appointments to the PBG Police Officers Pension Board
  • Resolution 34, 2017 – Appointments to the Budget Oversight Committee
  • Resolution 38, 2017 – North County District Park – approving the conceptual Master Plan and giving the City Manager authority to negotiate with Palm Beach County, within the limits of the Sales Tax Surcharge ‘appropriations’.

Council Discussion:  Appointments to Boards and Committees and Forum Club Membership.

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

A New Council Takes the Reins

The Council Chambers were packed with friends and family of the incoming and outgoing Council members on Thursday, Apr 6th. Mayor Tinsley called the meeting to order, and after the Pledge of Allegiance and acceptance of the results of the Municipal Election, she, Vice-Mayor Jablin and Council Member Premuroso stepped off the dais while incoming members Mark Marciano, Matthew Lane and Rachelle Litt each took their oaths of office and took their places at the dais. At this point, City Manager Ferris spoke about his relationship with each of the outgoing members and presented each with crystal gavels as a token of the City’s appreciation for their accomplishments, love of and dedication to Palm Beach Gardens.

April 6, 2017

Next came the nomination and appointment of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor. In both cases, Council Member Lane moved to nominate and close nominations for Maria Marino and Mark Marciano, respectively. Both were voted-in unanimously and new Mayor Marino took the gavel.

Comments from the public included welcomes and well wishes from Tom Cairnes of PGA Corridor, Ken Tooma, also of the PGA Corridor, former Mayor Joe Russo, former Mayor David Levy, Gunster Attorney, Gardens resident and member of many PB County organizations Brian Seymour, resident Pat Hughey, former Council candidates Joseph R. Russo and Michael Paolercio.  Margaret Kennard of North Palm Beach addressed concerns about handicapped space distance from Planet Fitness and asked that the Council address alternatives. Tom Murphy, President of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Foundation spoke of upcoming two $2500 scholarships along with welcomes to the new council.

As the Council turned to business, the chambers literally cleared out, leaving a handful of folks and staff for the remainder of the meeting. Both Ordinance 12, 2107 (and related Resolution 22, 2017) second reading and adoption, and Ordinance 13, 2017 passed 5:0.

There were no City Manager or City Attorney reports.

During Items for Council Action and Discussion, each of the new Council members expressed in turn what their election meant to them and their hopes for the City’s future. Vice Mayor Marciano asked City Manager Ferris for some ideas on how to coordinate future outreach by the Council to the communities throughout the City. He expressed the idea for town-hall (our term, not his) type get-togethers in both those communities that have HOAs (and respective club houses) and those that don’t (perhaps having such informal meetings at the library). We are very supportive of Marciano’s proposal and hope that it will be a continuous effort by the Council members.  This will be discussed further in the May City Council meeting, as will board and committee assignments for the Council Members.

Mayor Marino also pointed out that only 2 members of the public attended the New Council Orientation earlier in the week and hoped that others would take the time to view it online. It has an excellent overview of the various responsibities of the Council and staff alike and we encourage any future candidates and all residents to check it out here.

We also wish to thank former Mayors Jablin, Premuroso and Tinsley for their contributions to the City, and congratulate the new council for taking on the responsibilities and commitment to Palm Beach Gardens!

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