Observer Corps May Reports

REPORTS FROM MAY MEETINGS

School Board — Vivian Koppelman attended the May 10, 2017 meeting.

Chuck Shaw expressed gratitude to the League for all they have done for the students and the committee.

  • Attendees were urged to call the governor’s office to ask him to veto the Education Bill, HB 7069.
  • Concern was expressed that  African American students weren’t being served, but assurances were made that they were being served.
  • Charter Schools. The Board had tried to deny the approval of Renaissance schools, but because there is a law that doesn’t allow the school board to object, they were overruled. The Board is now suing over this issue.
  • Suggestion for Language Line to be implemented to help out with the language barrier.
  • Odyssey Middle School in Boynton Beach is closing due to low enrollment–at only 43%.  South Tech, a conversion charter under the auspices of the school board will lease that facility. When South Tech moves from its current facility, the school district will be able to use that property to expand the bus facility.  This is all subject to state department of education approvals and budget constraints.

 

PBCBCC—  MAY 16, 2017–

  • County Tax Exemptions were passed for six historic properties located with the City of West Palm Beach.
    • A resolution was passed to write to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reactivate its animal care search tool to make animal welfare records publicly accessible. The recent removal of animal welfare records from USDA’s website halts the ability of PBC’s Division of Animal Care and Control and local pet stores from viewing the violation history of breeders.
    • An additional resolution was passed to contact the DEP to reinstate the listing of permits so the public can be aware of what is going on.
    • Tax incentives were passed to encourage Pratt and Whitney’s return to the county.

 

  • Focus on Affordable Housing–A housing summit will be held on May 31st.

 

 

Delray Beach– Arlene Ustin reported that there was a lengthy discussion as to whether the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) will be able to continue functioning as they have in the past, or should be revised.   Since its inception in 1985, the CRA has a long history of major accomplishments as well as questionable leadership and decisions, and in recent years, its effectiveness has been challenged involving thousands and thousands of dollars. Apparently, the CRA is an independent board that lacks accountability and transparency.  Eventually, the commission voted to keep the CRA as is, with the stipulation that the Commission will be more attentive to the CRA’s actions.

COBWRA— The Florida legislature voted to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will lower property taxes in Florida by increasing the homestead exemption by $25,000.  Joe Abruzzo and Emily Slosberg voted for this to be placed on the ballot based on surveys sent out to their constituents. Now the cities in the area are concerned about financial difficulties when less property tax income is collected.

Lake Worth – Clare Miller attended the meetings on April 4 and 18. The commissioners continue discussing Safe Homes and Sober Homes, but no movement at this time. Money for street repairs was approved and there was talk about redoing pools.

Palm Beach Gardens–Kathryn Gettinger  The previous council approved projects to be funded with one cent sales tax increase in January, none of which are on the list of proposed projects. At the May meeting, the Council appointed new members (all men) to the Budget Oversight Review Board (BORB), which will also serve as the unpaid citizen oversight committee required by the sales tax referendum.  The new  BORB met for the first time May 25th and was given the presentation on the projects to be funded with the sales tax increase funds, but they did not vote to approve them, nor did they discuss their worthiness as infrastructure projects.  Their “oversight” seems to be just being given the information.

 

There was no report for meetings in Boca Raton, Jupiter, Riviera Beach, Wellington, or West Palm Beach.