Observer Corps- September Monthly Reports

by Katie Gettinger

How did different towns deal with the hurricane?  Which town is worried about sea-level rise? What will be the property tax rate in Jupiter?  Once a month, League members who attend municipal meetings get together to present and  discuss what happened at those meetings. Meetings are open to everyone and are generally held the last Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM at the Compass Center in Lake Worth.  

Many local meetings were not reported on this month as many Observers were still on their hurrication (the trip you take to get out of the hurricane probability cone) and there are still some areas in need of a LWV Observer to let us know what is happening.  If you don’t see your area listed, please consider reporting on your local meeting for the Observer Corps.

 

Palm Beach County Commissioners Meeting

By Melissa McKinley, County Commissioner

Exciting news from this month’s BCC (Board of County Commissioners) meeting:

  • Passed a resolution allowing for all permit fees for hurricane related damage to be waived for up to 6 months so that residents can save a little money trying to repair damages.
  • Approved a motion to allow for the conceptual planning of our county’s first “tiny cottages” neighborhood in an ongoing effort to provide affordable housing opportunities in our community. I am so excited about this as I have been asking staff for over two years to find a way to do a pilot project!
  • Appointed WPB Commissioner Cory Neering to be a local government voice on the PBC Healthcare District, particularly as it relates to supporting County efforts to partner with the District in providing ways to address the opioid/heroin/meth/crack drug epidemics ravaging our communities here. We have an opportunity to be a model for the nation and Comm. Neering has the advocacy and professional skills to be our voice.
  • Asked staff to add items to our annual state & federal legislative agendas to address the horrendous situations many of our frail seniors and other congregate living facility patients faced during Hurricane Irma and to provide punitive “teeth” to those facilities that disregard their responsibilities during evacuations and post hurricane recovery efforts.

Good morning of quality public policy!

 

Jupiter Town Council Meeting

Katie Gettinger, Reporter

  • The first reading of the ordinance to set the millage was approved after it was decided that lowering it would be inappropriate at this time.  It will remain unchanged at 2.6966.
  • The interim city manager estimates that Hurricane Irma will cost the town $3 million in repairs, debris pickup, etc.  The bills will be paid using the town’s $15 million reserve fund.
  • There was a long and contentious debate over the fate of a property on Love Street.  The property is just across the water from the Jupiter lighthouse and is currently used for public parking.  The owner would like to change the development plan the town has already approved, to scale it back quite a bit.  The new plan was approved.

Lake Worth City Commissioners Meeting

Claire Miller, Reporter

  • The city’s water works will be taking on water supply for a nearby area whose water works company has basically abandoned operations, and Lake Worth is kind of stuck.
  • Vice-Mayor Maxwell asked for a quarter-point reduction in millage, but much discussion ensued and it was decided not to lower the millage.
  • Commissioned Omoroso is on the celebrated Sober Homes Task Force and it has secured funding for another year.

Palm Beach Gardens City Council Meeting

Katie Gettinger, Reporter

  • Approved millage (5.55 + .1178 debt service) of 5.6678.
  • Approved the budget for 2018.
  • Passed first reading of an Ordinance that would ban medical marijuana treatment facilities and dispensaries in the city.
  • There was an update on the hurricane aftermath:  estimate cost to the city is $2.4 million, of which FEMA may reimburse 75% in three years or so.  For now, bills will be paid using the city’s unassigned reserve fund, which currently has $23 million.

Palm Beach County Commissioners Meeting

By Melissa McKinley, County Commissioner

Exciting news from this month’s BCC (Board of County Commissioners) meeting:

  • Passed a resolution allowing for all permit fees for hurricane related damage to be waived for up to 6 months so that residents can save a little money trying to repair damages.
  • Approved a motion to allow for the conceptual planning of our county’s first “tiny cottages” neighborhood in an ongoing effort to provide affordable housing opportunities in our community. I am so excited about this as I have been asking staff for over two years to find a way to do a pilot project!
  • Appointed WPB Commissioner Cory Neering to be a local government voice on the PBC Healthcare District, particularly as it relates to supporting County efforts to partner with the District in providing ways to address the opioid/heroin/meth/crack drug epidemics ravaging our communities here. We have an opportunity to be a model for the nation and Comm. Neering has the advocacy and professional skills to be our voice.
  • Asked staff to add items to our annual state & federal legislative agendas to address the horrendous situations many of our frail seniors and other congregate living facility patients faced during Hurricane Irma and to provide punitive “teeth” to those facilities that disregard their responsibilities during evacuations and post hurricane recovery efforts.

Good morning of quality public policy!

 

Affordable Housing

Sami Alzofon, Reporter

Our resident expert on affordable housing, Sami Alzofon, gave the Observer Corps an education on the topic.

  • Verdenia Baker, the Palm Beach County Manager, asked the task force on housing to continue their work.  The group sub-divided the county into fourths.
  • The Palm Beach County Housing Authority has members who were appointed by Governor Scott.  There is no local representation on the board.  A huge amount of federal funding goes to the housing authority and a request for proposals has been issued to hire a forensic accountant, fears of misused funds are rampant.
  • The difference between a “tiny cottage” neighborhood and a mobile home park was explained.
    • Mobile homes are not typically as mobile as they once were, but are made to be moved from place to place.  They have wheels (or places where wheels once were), and need to be licensed each year.  They are not allowed to be placed on a property smaller than ten acres, so they do not own their spaces at a mobile home park, they rent.
    • A tiny cottage will not be mobile, no wheels.  So, no licensing once a year and the land is able to be owned by the cottage owner.
  •     Sami will be meeting with a new LWV member who works for Gulfstream Goodwill to put together a recommendation for the LWV Board.

The next Observer Corps meeting will be Thursday, October 26, at 1 p.m., at the Compass Community Center, 201 Dixie Highway, Lake Worth.