Two Consecutive Terms are Good Enough for PBC Cities

Not all of the municipalities in Palm Beach County have Term Limits – but most of the larger ones do.  See the chart below.  Note that none of these allow for more than TWO consecutive terms.  All have more meetings and workshops per month than does our Council – and their council and/or commissions have comparable or more complex  jobs (due to the population of their cities)  than does our council, and are all part-time positions.  Most are silent but some specify whether a term-limited member can run again.

Other cities that are similar or larger without term limits, but have term  and election descriptions:

  • Jupiter – 3 year terms, Majority Wins, Run-off required
  • Riviera Beach – 3 year terms, Majority Wins Run-off required
Click on the image for link to PDF version with links to city charters, and League of Cities pages.

Click on the image for link to PDF version with links to city charters, and League of Cities pages.

Martino: Don’t touch our elections! Don’t touch our term limits! Leave them alone!

On Election Day, November 4, 2014 the registered voters of the City of Palm Beach Gardens were asked to vote YES or NO on the following ballot question…

SHALL THE PALM BEACH GARDENS CHARTER BE AMENDED TO ESTABLISH TERM LIMITS PROVIDING THAT CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SERVE NO MORE THAN TWO CONSECUTIVE THREE YEAR TERMS

An overwhelming majority of approximately 80%, or 16,000 registered voters, answered YES. With that kind of majority vote there is no question or ambiguity about the registered voters’ intent. The resounding message to the City Council then and now is that CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SERVE NO MORE THAN TWO CONSECUTIVE THREE YEAR TERMS.

At the October 8th City Council meeting the duly appointed but less than representative of all of Palm Beach Gardens residents, City Charter Committee, submitted its report with its recommendations to the City Council. Three of their most controversial recommendations are…

  1. Change the Term Limit Law to allow City Council members to serve three consecutive three year terms instead of two consecutive three year terms.  Comment: Ballot language must exclude present City Council members.
  2. Allow City Council members to run again for three consecutive three year terms after they have sat out one three year term.  Comment: Ballot language must exclude present City Council members. When does this end?
  3. Allow for plurality of votes cast to elect City Council members rather than a majority vote as presently required.  Comment: Majority must rule. It’s American and the democratic way.
  4. Change current election language from “a majority of votes cast” to language that would eliminate the intent that every vote cast must count in every contested race or issue without question, as the charter now states and Courts affirmed.  Comment: Every vote that is cast must count per current charter language and as the Courts ruled in the Woods – Levy Council race, in 2016. No circumstance can undo a legally cast vote from being counted. A cast ballot is a sacred vote that is untouchable.

The City Council authorized the City Attorney to take the above along with other committee recommendations and legalize them for ballot consideration in March of 2018. I urge the City Council to reconsider their affinities toward these recommendations. I urge the City Council to vote NO to moving forward with a ballot question whose perception is that of self-serving political machinations.

In my opinion, the three recommendations above undermine and thwart the will of the 16,000 registered voters who voted for the Term Limits Law. In essence these recommendations disenfranchise the ballots of 16,000 registered voters. It also conflicts with the results of several candidate lawsuits and the City’s own lawsuit in which two levels of County courts validated the Term Limits Law as is.

Still further, as history suggests, a March 2018 election with no contested Council races in Palm Beach Gardens would generate a voter turnout of approximately 10% of the registered voters, considerably less than a November election. Thus, a small minority vote of, perhaps, 1,500 votes could obviate the votes of 16,000 registered voters.

The ink is hardly dry on the codification of the Term Limits Law. None of the current City Council members have served a single term yet. Their seats are barely warm! Yet they are changing a Law that they clearly understood existed and applied to them when they very recently, March 8, 2017, stood for election to the City Council. In fact, if not for the Term Limits Law, perhaps, none of them would be serving as City Council members. Their opportunity to serve is in many respects because of the Term Limits Law.

My message to the City Council is a simple one…

Don’t touch our elections! Don’t touch our term limits! Leave them alone!

Proposed Term Limits Weakening Dominates Meeting

The October City Council meeting had a fairly light agenda, with the exception of the Charter Review Committee Final Report – which was expected to generate a lot of discussion. Mayor Marino reordered the agenda to leave the report until Council Member Lane, who was delayed, could be there to hear it. So the Consent Agenda (4:0), City Manager Report, and Items of Resident Interest preceded the presentation.

October 12, 2017

Prior to the Council meeting, several supporters of the Palm Beach Gardens Needs Term Limits Committee, demonstrated outside City Hall carrying signs. During the meetings, opponents of the Charter Review Committee recommendations regarding Term Limits and elections sported stickers stating “Don’t Touch My Term Limits – Leave it alone!!”

Charter Review Committee Final Report agenda item:

The Charter Review Committee met several times in August and September.  The Committee, selected by the Council , consisted of Craig Allgood, Ian Helsby, Steve Mathison, Meg Shannon – Vice Chair and Brian Seymour – Chair – all City residents.  They developed a set of recommended modifications including simplification and removing conflicts with Florida State Statute.  They also made recommendations with respect to Council terms and elections.  Present from the committee were Brian Seymour and Meg Shannon.

Mr. Seymour presented the Committee recommendations, focusing on those known to be controversial. Copying directly from the report those are:

We recommend that term limits remain and that they be provided as three full three (3) year terms and that it be clarified that after being elected to three consecutive three (3) year terms and serving at least one-half of the final term, a person may run again only after sitting out a full three (3) year term. We should also clarify that service of one-half or less than one-half of a full three (3) year term shall not count toward the subject term limit.

We further recommend that some of the language relative to “a majority of the votes cast” be clarified to provide that only votes cast for a qualified candidate whose name appears on the ballot and is eligible to take office at the time of the election shall be counted. No vote for a deceased, withdrawn, or removed candidate should count or contribute toward the total number of votes, number of under votes, or number or over votes

We recommend that elections be determined by plurality and not majority of votes cast for a candidate qualified to be on the ballot at the time of the election.

City Manager residency was also one of the issues during the 2012 charter review however not discussed at length:

We recommend removing the residency requirement for the city manager as follows: “The city manager need not be a resident of the city at the time of appointment, however, must be a resident within one year following the appointment, though residency as soon as practical after appointment is encouraged.”

See the report and rationale for each point here: 2017 Charter Review Committee Final Report.

There were numerous residents who made comment on the report.  The following summary doesn’t do justice to their comments:

  • Tom Cairnes – representing himself,  not speaking for the PGA Corridor Association – praised Irma cleanup  then spoke on the charter: projects take 30 years to happen, need continuity to carry through on original concepts and make sure what was in original plans are followed up on over time. Tri-rail is an example – in support of  Review Committee’s recommend changes.
  • Roma Josephs – member of the Board of Ballenisles – takes a long time to get anything done – need the experience and will to see it through. supports the charter committee. Ballenisles will vote for it.
  • Kevin Easton – against any changes to Term Limits  – proposed changes disenfranchise voters by changing term limits
  • Sid Dinerstein –  proposed changes reflect utter contempt for the PBG electorate by putting on a March ballot when no candidates are on the ballot. More voted for term limits than voted for any of the Council. Plurality instead of majority is a scheme to tilt election odds in favor by adding straw candidates. Already can’t trust you, the new council
  • Philip Blumel –  Lake Worth, President of US Term Limits – commended those who got it on the ballot and got 80% of the citizens to get it approved. nothing about the current term limits allows those to run again. Simple and just like the ones everywhere else. It’s typical for electeds to try and circumvent – first went to court, next resort is always a new and improved version – always includes letting them sit for additional terms, and not count their existing term and put on a low ballot election – typical.
  • Vito DeFrancesco – very impassioned remarks – With small turnouts it can be tilted. For 30 years elections have been tilted by powerful, well organized high-end communities that will turn out their voters despite what the majority wants. You’re going to try and sneak in, back-dooring everyone who voted and that our opinion means nothing. Not right. Government at its worst. Voices of people don’t mean anything – government can’t be trusted, gets what it wants, government sticks together and the people are puppets meaning absolutely nothing in your opinion. If you change it, we’ll put it back, get it back on the ballot and make it so you can’t touch it again – what you’re doing may be legal but surely isn’t ethical.
  • Iris Scheibl – who had attended most of the charter review meetings, read the text of the 2014 ballot question, pointed out that none of the Council would be there had it not been for term limits, that just because the committee made a recommendation doesn’t mean the council has to accept it, and asked that any election or term limits change be on a November ballot.
  • Fred Scheibl – recounted Council’s history of losing trust – and is trust is rarely regained. Term limits was a grassroots petition effort and city fought it at every step. courts validated the law despite the city’s objections. you were elected by these rules and should abide by them. not enough time to evaluate. Make no changes regarding the conduct of elections; changes to basic principles means of gaming the system. if you go forward – the campaign organized to opposed it – you will be on that ballot.
  • Marilyn Parmet – agree with previous statements – she was one of those who got term limits petitions signed – no one turned her down in signing the petitions – this is the will of the people, please respect and do the right thing
  • Nick Tomboulides –  Melbourne – Executive Director of US Term Limits – if term limits are too short – that means it’s working. on one side is 80% of the voters; on the other side – those who are affected by that term limits law. It’s a conflict of interest – you shouldn’t be discussing let alone placing on the ballot – should recuse yourself.  Hands off term limits
  • Barbara Grossman – another person who collected petitions and no one turned her down.  All were losing faith in the council due to the stadium.

The Council, after some debate on two 4-year terms, which Council Member Lane favored, discussed their views on the proposals and directed City Attorney Lohman to present 4 ballot questions to them next month – a base question updating the Charter, and the 3 questions related to term limits and elections. The Council will then vote in December and January (first and second readings), in time to place the questions on the March 2018 Uniform Municipal Election. Watch the Charter Review part of the City Council Meeting here, for complete discussion and read a summary of the subject from the Palm Beach Post here.

After the extended Charter Review discussion, passed 5:0 were:

  • Ordinance 22. 2017 – Ban of Medical Marijuana Treatment Center and Dispensing Facilities. While one person made pubic comment saying that it was silly to wait for allowing such centers in the City, Council Member Litt had Police Chief Stepp address some of the safety issues due to the fact that all transactions have to be done in cash. He also pointed out that patients can have the medical marijuana directly delivered to their homes. Rachelle Litt then gave an outstanding in-depth explanation for her ‘No’ vote – articulating how the current legislation is an attack on Home Rule, covering medical concerns as a pharmacist, and that this was an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. Watch the discussion by Council here and the Palm Beach Post summary here.
  • Ordinance 23, 2017 – Moratorium on Micro wireless Facilities until December 31, 2017 – this is another attack on Home Rule. Staff will come back in the November Council meeting to cover recommended policies.
  • Resolution 71, 2017 – allowing for 3 Entry Signs to the Burwick Residential Community within PGA National

Additionally – Appointments and Reappointments for AIPP, Parks and Rec, and PZAB Advisory Boards were discussed and voted on. Council Member Lane spoke at length about the candidate process. He pointed out that candidates apply for many boards, don’t have to outline their qualifications for each (any) of those boards, nor make the case why they should be considered. Not all votes were unanimous – see the  City’s Board and Committees page at a later time – the website has not yet been updated with the new names as of this posting. Staff was asked for a future recommendation on enhancing the application process for Boards and Committees.

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.

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.

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!

New City Council to be Sworn In on Thursday, April 6th at 7pm

A new City Council takes the reins on Thursday, April 6th at 7pm when term-limited Mayor Tinsley, Vice-Mayor Jablin and Council Member Premuroso step down and are replaced by newly elected Matthew Lane, Rachelle Litt and Mark Marciano. Council Members Maria Marino and Carl Woods were seated in 2016. While there is a light agenda, active residents may want to attend to see the transfer to the new council, swearing in and election by the council of the new Mayor, Vice Mayor and any discussion of future actions. This will happen right after the meeting is called to order and the roll call is taken.

Announcements/Presentations: National Congenital Diagphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month

Consent Agenda includes 3 Purchase Awards:

  • Emergency Equipment for Police Vehicles – Piggyback/Access Contract for $116K – ” Each year the City purchases new police vehicles to replace the vehicles that are scheduled for replacement. The new replacement vehicles are not sold with installed sirens, light bars, etc. The City must purchase these items and their installation elsewhere.”
  • Bunker Gear for Fire/Rescue Department – Piggyback/Access Contract for $114K
  • Renovation and Repair of Splash Playground at Burns Rd Community Center – Piggyback/Access Contract for $130K. The splash playground is not currently in operation and must be repaired prior to re-opening.

City Manager Report – no details listed

Public Hearings and Resolutions:

  • Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance 12, 2017 and related Resolution 22, 2017 – Business Center at the Gardens – which passed 5:0 on First Reading.
  • Ordinance 13, 2017 – a City-initiated Amendment to Chapter 78 – Land Development Regulations, to provide for the inclusion of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into the City’s Land Development Regulations. CPTED has been a part of development reviews since 1998 but was never codified into the regulations. The Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) approved this on March 7, 2017 7:0 and recommended approval by the Council.

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

Rachelle Litt wins the Group 5 Runoff

Congratulations to the winner in the Group 5 runoff election, Rachelle Litt, who won the race by 16 points, 58% to 42% over challenger Joe Russo.

The newcomers, including Ms. Litt, Dr. Mark Marciano and Matthew Lane, will be sworn in at the next Council meeting on April 6. The Mayor and other Council officers will be selected at that time.

Turnout for the race was 5235 – 13% of registered voters, and 83% of the turnout on 3/14. As runoffs go this was respectable as in the last March runoff in 2004, only 59% of the original voters returned to cast their ballot.

Group 5 Runoff
Strong Litt Weak Litt Very Close Weak Russo Strong Russo
Click the precinct on the map for vote totals.

1186 1426 196 14 132 64 67.3
1188 869 65 7 39 26 60.0
1189 75 17 23 0 17 0.0
1190 3166 248 8 112 136 45.2
1192 1476 160 11 94 66 58.8
1194 2023 390 19 264 126 67.7
1238 1667 288 17 195 93 67.7
1240 2479 341 14 231 110 67.7
1242 2490 459 18 290 168 63.3
1244 1544 200 13 118 82 59.0
1246 2380 282 12 168 112 60.0
1247 221 50 23 6 44 12.0
1248 1488 226 15 133 93 58.8
1250 61 3 5 3 0 100.0
1252 2355 797 34 356 441 44.7
1254 454 63 14 48 15 76.2
1260 1320 164 12 107 57 65.2
1266 478 5 1 1 4 20.0
1268 293 9 3 3 6 33.3
1272 1911 196 10 116 80 59.2
1274 1589 186 12 94 92 50.5
1280 396 39 10 25 14 64.1
1284 2290 153 7 86 67 56.2
1288 37 3 8 2 1 66.7
1290 2114 216 10 127 89 58.8
1292 67 9 13 5 4 55.6
1296 732 38 5 22 16 57.9
1324 1288 62 5 32 30 51.6
1326 553 77 14 45 32 58.4
1340 11 1 9 0 1 0.0
1352 2200 198 9 114 84 57.6
1360 883 94 11 47 46 50.5
1372 157 4 3 4 0 100.0
TOTAL 40513 5239 13 3019 2216 57.7

Vote in the Group 5 Run-Off Election on Tuesday March 28th!

Congratulations! 14% of us turned out for our City Council Elections on March 14th. But we’re not done. There is a run-off election for Group 5 between Rachelle Litt and Joe Russo on Tuesday March 28th. One of these WILL be on the Council – so it’s up to you to vote again! I’ve linked to their profile answers above, and if you want to do more research – look at responses from our forum here: Candidate Forum Synopsis with Videos for each question.

The polls are open from 7am to 7pm on Tuesday March 28th. There will be no lines! Here are the polling locations. Here is your sample ballot.

You’re active residents – please encourage your family, neighbors and friends to vote too!

Here is a detailed analysis of the March 14th election results. Congratulations to Group 1 winner Mark Marciano and Group 3 winner Matthew Lane.  And thanks to all the fine folks who gave of themselves to run for the Council.

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

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