Tuesday, September 19, 2017

VIDEO: “Distributed Energy: The Lake Worth Solution.”

“In the midst of an economic comeback, the City of Lake Worth, Florida,* built a renewable energy station on top of what used to be a landfill. This 2-megawatt solar farm is one step in a much larger plan to revitalize the area, both aesthetically and economically.
     Across the U.S., energy users of all sizes are taking control of their power supply, and relieving stress from the grid. That’s the idea behind distributed energy.”

This very well-produced video below features:

*Inquiries from press and news media: contact the City of Lake Worth’s communications specialist, Mr. Ben Kerr, at 561-586-1631; email: BKerr@lakeworth.org 
“Whether the challenge is energy generation, distribution, storage, or management, all can be addressed through a single solution: on-site energy control. Often called distributed energy, this increases reliability while reducing costs and environmental impact.”

News from the City of Lake Worth: Another post-Hurricane Irma update.

Remember, the City of Lake Worth is your OFFICIAL news source for what’s happening following the storm:

“The Beach and Casino complex will resume normal operating hours tomorrow [Sept. 20th, 9:00 a.m.].”

To read the latest update in its entirety use this link which includes another video update (see below):

City Commissioner updates the community
after Hurricane Irma:

“On Saturday [Sept. 16th] we had the opportunity to catch up with City Commissioner Andy Amoroso who met us during the La Revolución event at the HATCH. Like all of our commissioners, Andy has made the effort to be out and about and available to any resident who needs him, especially at his shop in downtown [newsstand at 600 Lake Ave.]. He has worked tirelessly to help in any way he could.”

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .

From Facebook. Name withheld:

“The negativity I have been reading on my phone is disgusting.”

Thank you to the person who wrote this and hope you’re not catching too much grief from the haters.

“I do not normally post, but decided to do so due to a lot of complaints I have read about electric [Lake Worth’s Electric Utility].
     First, I do not know the City’s protocol for hurricanes. What I do know is that I have lived in this City since 1981. I am not political in any way, shape or form. I have been through the unnamed storm in the late 80’s . . . no power. I have been through Frances, Jeanne and Wilma in ‘04 and ‘05.* I lived with no power, food loss, no generator for 7, 10 and 13 days with three children, and even fell and broke my ankle during Wilma.
     I saw Matthew at tropical storm . . . no power loss. Four crews from other states came in to help our City. Yes, I was out six days and am hoping the rest come on today, but heck the majority of us have power.
     Now think about your suffering through one or seven days! There are areas such as our entire Keys who have nothing and I mean nothing, so please do not blame our City officials or our utility director because we too could be so much worse.
     How about instead we focus on Florida? Donate your unused hurricane supplies, baby clothes, formula, clothing, towels to those in our Keys. They are struggling unlike us with no power, no food, no water, nothing, but we can and have restaurants, stores, gas stations.
     The negativity I have been reading on my phone is disgusting. I myself am grateful that I only lost my fence, tree branches and power. How about positive help for those in need!”

*To learn more about those terrible storms back in 2004–2005 use this link for an account by Yours Truly.

Election Season 2018: Campaign signs in the front yard. Can everyone please wait until January 8th to put them out?

The latest news is another is in the running for election to the Lake Worth City Commission on March 13th, 2018 (use this link for the City’s website). That will make 5 total (including 3 incumbents) and word is there are many more candidates in the wings. The incumbents have a big advantage, of course, and the challengers will be in a real hurry to get their names out there.

However, the actual 2-week Qualifying Period to
get your name on the ballot doesn’t even
begin until November 28th.

An ordinance about campaign signs — the time period they are allowed prior to an election — is not being enforced any more by the Lake Worth Code Enforcement Dept. So everyone is on the honor system.

The unwritten City policy is:

Because the Silly Red Signs [see example below] have been out there for almost six years now, all political signs are allowed with no time limit or regulation whatsoever. The sign’s political message, no matter how silly or stupid, must remain untouched by the City.

[Did you know political campaign signs are protected Free Speech and that stealing or vandalizing a campaign sign is a crime? Learn more about that at the end of this blog post.]

There’s another reason to hold off putting out signs: am still sensing a lot of “voter fatigue”. There remains plenty of interest in Lake Worth political history, recent as well, but going forward think the public mood is “let’s take a break for a while” vis-à-vis the prospect of new faces on the City Commission.

The public needs a break.

Hold off until January 8th next year before putting campaign signs out in the front yard. 

Why Jan. 8th? That’s the Monday following the long New Year’s weekend the previous week (New Year’s Day falls on a Monday next year). Enjoy the first week of New Year 2018 (Jan. 1st–Jan. 7th) — celebrate, comisserate, carouse, have a ball, kick up one’s heels, feast, extol, revel, make merry, beat a drum, jubilate — and then let the campaign begin on Janaury 8th!

Remember: Signs don’t vote. People do.

But if you do plan on putting signs out very early.
Some ideas and suggestions:
Note the use of 5-pointed stars and the subdued greens and blues on white #5 non-recyclable Chloroplast.

Color progression is also very important. See how
the red pops to blue and then blends into the
green and then the blue again:
Silly Red Signs can mix up the color scheme. Have a sign with vibrancy! Draw the viewer in.

A slate of candidates in 2015: Gary, Frank, and Ryan! They all lost but got points for patriotism and
promoting “The American Way!”
Note the mix of blues and red: Be patriotic! Show your love for the planet: Go GREEN! You may not win but you do get points for style!

Location. Location. Location.
Street corners (intersections) are the BEST locations.
Don’t have all the signs facing the same way.
Get them coming and going!

Important. Find a location with an unobstructed
clear view. Note the parked car:
Another tip: Write down the location of all your signs. You might need them again!

What if signs get stolen? Use this link for instructions on how to handle that issue. Good Luck!

Full text of International Talk Like A Pirate Day (ITLAPD) proclamation at Lake Worth City Commission tonight.

Use this to learn more about ITLAPD and how it’s quite possible all this fun and frivolity might force some malcontents in the press and news media to visit their health care provider and get a prescription for medical marijuana.

Full text of ITLAPD proclamation at
the City Commission:


Whereas, the City of Lake Worth is known to possess a spirit of independence, high spirits, and swashbuckling, all traits of a good pirate; and
Whereas, old pirate culture from the Caribbean is popular in TV shows, movies, literature, products, and rafting; and
Whereas, pirates are colorful, adventurous, mischievous and flamboyant; and
Whereas, two re-enactors, John Bauer and Mark Summers instituted International Talk Like A Pirate Day in 1995; and
Whereas, humorist Dave Barry liked the idea so much he promoted it in his nationally syndicated column in 2002, igniting a powder keg of followers worldwide; and
Whereas, it is fun to talk like a pirate by using words like Arrrrr, ye and bilge rat; and
Whereas, everyone would like to think they have a little bit of pirate spirit inside of themselves.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Pam Triolo, Mayor of the City of Lake Worth, Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby proclaim:
SEPTEMBER 19, 2017 as INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY and urge all citizens of Lake Worth as well as all the less worthy sailors and scalawags in other communities to celebrate in a hearty and fun loving way on September 19th!
I have set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Lake Worth, Florida to be affixed this 19th day of September, 2017.

Pam Triolo, Mayor ATTEST

As Key West residents and businesses begin the long process of rebuilding. . .

. . . they need to remember their city has always been, and will always be, an inspiration.

Remember “Key West-ish on Lucerne Avenue” in Lake Worth?

A beat reporter from the Post wrote last January, “That brings me to Lake Worth, OK, work
with me here.”

Click on image to enlarge:
It’s important to remember our business community took a hit from Hurricane Irma as well. Visit
local businesses in our City of Lake Worth today. Have you met Mr. Brian Schlitz yet?

Excerpts from the Q&A are below to learn more about Mr. Schlitz, the proprietor of Artsy Fartsy Décor & More (561-469-7348) located at 506 Lucerne Ave. in Downtown Lake Worth:

Tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York. I came from a large family; my brothers, sister and I longed for a warmer climate and Florida was the answer. After originally making Boca Raton home, I stumbled upon this one of a kind, close knit and charming town of Lake Worth.

What made you choose Lake Worth?

Lake Worth is a very artsy, charming town and the perfect place for a specialized, fun décor store. The locals and tourists, alike, love our pieces and feel right at home.

What do you like best about having your business within the City of Lake Worth?

Lake Worth’s top business assets are the public officials in place, the downtown (two downtown streets running east/west which allows for double the amount of walkability and opportunity), the beach casino and the artistic, quaint and close knit feel that makes Lake Worth so unique.

We’re all very happy the City of Lake Worth
is home to Artsy Fartsy Décor & More!

Evening on the Avenues taking pre-“Season” break this month.

Press release.

Evening on the Avenues in the City of Lake Worth is taking a pre-Season* break through the month of September. Screen on the Green will proceed in the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza on September 29th with a showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Evening on the Avenues will return to Downtown Lake Worth on Friday, October 6th.

For media and press inquiries, contact Mr. Ben Kerr, the City of Lake Worth’s Communications Specialist at 561-586-1631; email: BKerr@lakeworth.org

*What exactly is the “Season”? That is when our precious Snowbirds begin to return:

Getting ready for our annual migration of Snowbirds is hard work. Our City staff has a lot to do.

For example:
Don’t forget: “It’s the ‘snowbird effect’ that keeps Florida going.” And it’s always fun when the malcontents and pundits in the press get unhinged when they see our Snowbirds having so much
fun every Season!

James Lovelock: “Enjoy life while you can” because the looming catastrophe of climate change, “is unstoppable.”

Climate scientist James Lovelock has an impressive background as you can read about on Wikipedia.

[Quick question: How much of $810Mproceeds from the ¢1 sale tax increase— do you think Palm Beach County is spending to combat climate change? The answer is below.]

Reporter Decca Aitkenhead at The Guardian interviewed James Lovelock and published this very depressing news for supporters of “sustainability”, “resiliency” and those on the front lines combating rising sea levels, global warming, and climate change. For many people, including some in our little City of Lake Worth, Florida, this news may forever change the next walk to the recycling container, a new and improved presentation on Dark Skies, or updating the next treatise on water percolation in our Downtown.

What does scientist James Lovelock think of all your efforts to save the planet Earth? He thinks you’re being silly. Just enjoy life to the fullest while you still can. Here is an excerpt from the article by Decca Aitkenhead (isn’t that a cool name!):

     On the day we meet, the Daily Mail has launched a campaign to rid Britain of plastic shopping bags. The initiative sits comfortably within the current canon of eco ideas, next to ethical consumption, carbon offsetting, recycling and so onall of which are premised on the calculation that individual lifestyle adjustments can still save the planet. This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. [emphasis added] Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won't make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.
     “It’s just too late for it,” he says. “Perhaps if we'd gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don’t have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can’t say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do.”

And whilst on the subject. . .

Reporter Wayne Washington at The Palm Beach Post has this recent news about the ¢1 sales tax increase and what the County plans to do with their share of the pie, ≈30% of the total, about $810M:

     Those projects won’t reshape the county into a new age place of raised highways and buildings less vulnerable to the more potent storms and catastrophic flooding scientists are warning will come with climate change.
     Most of the projects are traditional, according to a report compiled by the county’s Office of Inspector General, which will assist with oversight.
     Building replacement and renovation will account for $335 million of the $709 million allocated. Roadway repairs — restriping, resurfacing, bridge repair and replacement and street lighting — will take up another $157 million.

This puts Palm Beach County’s Climate Change and Sustainability Dept. in a pretty tough spot. If they can’t convince the County Commission about the vulnerability to climate change and global warming, then they’re not in the position to be giving any direction to the cities either.

Back to James Lovelock and the article
in The Guardian:

     He [Lovelock] dismisses eco ideas briskly, one by one. “Carbon offsetting? I wouldn’t dream of it. It’s just a joke. To pay money to plant trees, to think you’re offsetting the carbon? You’re probably making matters worse. You’re far better off giving to the charity Cool Earth, which gives the money to the native peoples to not take down their forests.
     Do he and his wife try to limit the number of flights they take? “No we don’t. Because we can’t.” And recycling, he adds, is “almost certainly a waste of time and energy”, while having a “green lifestyle” amounts to little more than “ostentatious grand gestures”.
     He distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. “Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam . . . or if it wasn’t one in the beginning, it becomes one.”

“World’s Largest Ghost Hunt” at Lake Worth’s historic Gulfstream Hotel?

Below is ‘news’ from staff writer Julio Poletti at the Post from the “list of things to do” last Labor Day weekend here in our vibrant City of Lake Worth:

“World’s Largest Ghost Hunt”

“Join the historic Gulfstream Hotel for thrilling and spooky hunts. Proceeds benefit Stomp the Bullying!”

The public has been waiting quite some time for some “thrilling” news about the Gulfstream Hotel to Begin the Vibrancy!” bringing much-needed hotel rooms to “benefit” our local economy. But the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel have not accomplished much at all since purchasing this historic structure back in 2014.

Well, anyhow, the “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt”, according to the Post reporter, was set to begin at 6:30 and go on til midnight. A local citizen-reporter on the scene at 6:30 reported no one was there at the hotel and ended up no one showed at the Gulfstream for the “Ghost Hunt” anyway (and no ghosts showed up either, according to reports).

Anyway, around 7:30 or so learned the hotel had some new locks on the doors and there were no “ghost hunters” inside.

The Tweet sent out by the Post’s “ThingsToDo”
crew promoting the ‘ghost hunt’:
You’ll be happy to learn there has been some recent progress at the Gulfstream Hotel; use this link
to learn about that. No recent news about
any ghosts though.

Infill development and Lake Worth history: The one constant is constant change.

Many of the things City residents take for granted wouldn’t exist today were it not for infill development: Bryant Park, the Snook Islands, ‘Hot Dog Park’*, the City’s Golf Course, Park of Commerce, and the County’s John Prince Park are just a few.

For another example of infill development, coastal hardening and protection, you’ll be interested to learn what happened after the hurricanes of 1947 and 1949: A1A used to hug the coastline east of the Casino building but was moved west, away from the ocean and closer to the Intracoastal.

Later on in the 1950s more areas west of the Casino building were “filled in”. That is where the large Casino parking lot is located and where the Farmer’s Market meets during The Season. This first image is from Facebook and the next two color images are courtesy of Frank Palen, a long-time City resident many of you know very well:

Aerial view looking south likely pre-WWII. A1A hugs the coast in front of the former Casino structure. Then later, in the 1950s. . .

Note location of the pool (rear of building). The pool at the Beach now is condemned. Due to modern trends and market forces, a municipal pool at the Beach is unlikely an option going forward (but one may be constructed somewhere else in the City).

Notice all the parking close by the former Casino and short walk to the beach. The present structure has parking and traffic problems of which most of you are aware. Those weren’t issues “back in the day”.

*Many residents of Lake Worth will fondly recall why that area (base of the former Lake Worth bridge) was called “Hot Dog Park”. It had to do with ‘free hot dogs’ on a July 4th back in 2009. Former resident and blogger-extraordinaire Tom McGow explained this quite well in a post titled, “PAC your lunch for the 4th of July. . .”.

Quote in Palm Beach Post, referring to Michael Bornstein: “I suspect his stamina has not yet been tested.”

Image posted by The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) mocking City Manager Michael Bornstein when he was
first hired, now over 5 years ago.

“Michael Bornstein seems to be a happy soul and seems to be happy with the job,[Barbara Jean] Weber said. “I suspect his stamina has not yet been tested.
—Ms. Weber quoted by reporter Willy Howard on 6/3/2012 in a Palm Beach Post article titled, New City Manager Michael Bornstein makes welcome changes in Lake Worth, published 5 years, 3 months, and 14 days ago.

Today, September 19th, 2017, marks 1,934 days since City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16, 2012. There is nothing significant about that except as a matter of perspective. The previous city manager, Susan Stanton was fired on December 6, 2011 after 953 days on the job. Stanton’s tenure was marked by divisiveness and a lack of outreach to the greater community.

Under Stanton, the relationship between the business community and the City was strained to non-existent. The relationship with the CRA was contentious, at best. She created such a rift with our neighboring cities that only until a few years ago are they no longer wary of partnering on projects fearing Lake Worth would be too much trouble.

A classic photoshop from the inimitable Tom McGow from 2011 poking fun at the self-described ‘progressives’ as the City continued to fall
apart all around them.

A local blog at the time referencing the coming Christmas holiday season and the firing of Stanton, wrote:

“In this joyous season, I am celebrating the potential for renewal in Lake Worth which began with a bold move to clean out city management from the top down.

and. . .

“Yes, I know there are those who are disappointed to see Stanton fired but dwelling on one side of her performance while ignoring the other side of the story… is delusional.

One of the least remembered and bungled efforts by Stanton was the “Fire Assessment”. Here is an interview NBC5/WPTV did with Commissioner Andy Amoroso after Stanton’s firing and he references the failed Fire Assessment initiative by Stanton.

Here are some initiatives Stanton supported:
  • “Day Labor” Center (succeeded)
  • Gutted the Code Enforcement Department (succeeded)
  • “Street Light” Assessment (failed)
  • Red Light cameras (failed)
  • Eliminate PBSO and restore the LWPD (failed)
  • Regional Sewer billing fiasco
Without doubt one of the worst policy decision by Stanton was being an obstructionist thwarting the CRA’s acquisition of NSP2 funds. Thankfully that effort failed. She along with commissioners Golden, Mulvehill and Jennings did not want the CRA to acquire the $23 million available.

Another classic from McGow. This one from 2009 where The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) left this short observation: Very unfortunate comment. Indeed.

It was only action by the CRA to apply for the funds that allowed many blighted areas to be home to new residents and families. Since then the CRA, led by Joan Oliva, has received national recognition for their outstanding efforts.

Bornstein with Mayor Pam Triolo receiving recognition for the City’s municipal golf course.

There are many new residents of this City and many don’t know how we got to this point. In many ways, such as the code enforcement department, there is still a lot of work to be done. However, when you understand things in perspective, code being gutted and needing to be rebuilt from the ground up, you can understand how much hard work has been done.

That’s why some people complain this blog focuses too much on the past. Why? They don’t want you to know what happened “back in the day”:

Quote by a well-respected City resident.

Explore YouTube videos about the little City of Lake Worth.

For the most-viewed videos on my Lake Worth YouTube channel use this link. Along with each video is a red “Subscribe” button. Subscribers get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Coming in at #10 of the most-popular is “Art on the Water: Can you do the Can Can? Yes we can!”, a performance prior to the City’s July 4th Raft Race a few years back. At #16 is a former Lake Worth City Commissioner during “Break” to the music, The Love For Three Oranges Suite by composer Lutz Kohler (Op. 33bis: III. March, Arr. F. Tull for Brass Ensemble).

And hope you enjoy this one as well — at #24 the ever-popular visit to City Hall by ‘Weetha Peebull’ — “Why it’s generally unwise to be disrespectful to City employees”.

Hope you enjoy the video below as well. Whilst everyone awaits the end of all the talk and actual work begins to renovate our historic Gulfstream Hotel. . . this video is from February 2016 when the public was very excited about the rezoning of the Gulfstream property believing progress was finally on the horizon:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricanes and the City of Lake Worth: Why having our own Electric Utility is significant and very important.

Please pardon me if you’ve already read this blog post, first posted after Hurricane Matthew last year and several times since. But I’ve received several requests from my long-time readers to remind new or recently new residents about some hurricanes that may or may not sound familiar to you: Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma.

The shortest length of time I was without power was 10 days, and when power was restored it was flickering with brown-outs for many more days afterwards. Each minute with power seemed like a blessing.

I’m still having a hard time believing my power came back on last Friday after going out the Sunday prior due to Hurricane Irma. I am very grateful and very relieved. For many of you — what you’re about to read is unbelievable — but it’s not. It actually happened to me and many other residents of this City.

This blog post isn’t a look back for long-time residents of this City. For those who were here at the time, no words are necessary. But for new residents of this City, what you’ll read about below is what happens when infrastructure, like our Electric Utility, was allowed to fall apart years ago and the consequences of those terrible decisions that “came to roost” starting in 2004.

Were you here last year for Hurricane Matthew? You’ll learn why I prepared to go without electric for weeks because of that storm. Why? The short answer is because of past hurricanes that actually happened to me and many others as well.

But a lot has changed in this City since those terrible storms back in 2004/2005. And Hurricane Matthew is proof of that. All the hard work done to harden the City’s electric distribution system has paid off and was done using money from where? Money from a bond. That’s right. A bond (you’ll read more about that below).

In order to know where we’re going as a City you need to know where we’ve been. For many of us Hurricane Matthew brought back a lot of terrible memories. Reading about Lake Worth’s Electric Utility during hurricanes Francis, Jeanne, and Wilma may seem like mundane history now but that’s not the case. It’s very important you know these things. Very important.

Many of you know I am not a native Floridian. I came here in 1989 after having lived for 28 years in Michigan. Other than both states sharing the common element of being peninsulas there are few similarities. There is a long list of differences. One concern I had when relocating here was Florida was known as a place where hurricanes can make landfall. A frightening prospect.

Upon arrival here in Fall of 1989 I quickly became acquainted with the parade of storms shared in reports by local news lore. South Florida is prone to threats from storms that form off the coast of Africa, referred to as Cape Verde storms. These storms can evolve into their own, self-sustaining hurricanes and roll across the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these storms, while they may be large and pack high winds, turn north and are referred to as “fish storms”. Marine traffic is warned and alter their course accordingly. No harm done. This time.

It’s a roll of the dice whether storms will be fish storms or make landfall. In 1979 Hurricane David was the last storm to hit the area prior to my move to Florida. Hurricane David was a significant storm and it skirted the east coast of Florida in a similar way that Hurricane Matthew did. However, David did not have nearly the powerful punch of Matthew.

Here are some of the near misses I recall as it relates to Palm Beach County (PBC): Of course, there’s Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. That Category 5 storm had its sights set on PBC but plowed through the southern part of Dade County instead with disastrous results. Following that storm was the re-writing of building codes and wind-impact standards now required for new construction and window/door replacement.

Between 1992 and 2004 we had near misses and threats but really no major impacts from hurricanes in Southeast Florida. That’s not to say other areas didn’t experience landfalls during that time, but PBC was spared.

In Lake Worth we have our own electric utility which makes our experience different than surrounding municipalities and unincorporated (or suburban) PBC that use FPL. Whether through indifference, conflicting priorities, or lack of funds the Lake Worth Electric Utility degraded over time. Once it was something Lake Worth residents could rely on and it was a selling point to live here. The City gained the reputation for reliable, reasonable electric delivery service. It was a source of civic pride. “Was” is the key word.

All those false notions and fanciful memories about our Electric Utility were laid bare after hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 (exactly two weeks apart), and then Wilma in 2005. Things were already falling apart at the utility before these storms. We had what were referred to as “palm frond” or “small dead animal” excuses the City would use for virtually inexplicable outages, some occurring during clear weather, in the middle of the day. A change of administrations and a focus on hardening of our electric distribution system over the past five years is really what made Hurricane Matthew seem only like a nuisance to so many.

My house lost power in all three storms of 2004 and 2005, early in each storm. The shortest length of time until the power came back on was 10 days. That was after Francis. Those that were here remember Francis being a lengthy, slow-moving storm that seemed like it would never go away. When it did we endured hot and humid summer nights with the windows open and hearing newly purchased generators running all night long. Sleep was nearly impossible.

The cycle was repeated only two weeks later with Hurricane Jeanne, which followed almost the same landfall spot as Francis, but was stronger and faster moving. Neighbors and myself then endured another two weeks without power, while other communities and areas around us were being turned back on by FPL. The contrast was vividly apparent.

The next year Wilma made a late October appearance and surprised everyone (especially the forecasters) with its strength as it made its way west to east across the state. Its fast speed contributed to an increase in wind speed. It was Wilma when we experienced the passage of the “eye” only to learn that what came after the eye was worse than the conditions which preceded it. The aftermath of that storm on my property was much more severe than the other storms. My electric meter and connection to the house from the pole was ripped away requiring a trip to an Orlando Home Depot for parts (that was the nearest store that had storm recovery materials and equipment).

The College Park neighborhood lights came on about 2 weeks after Wilma. My property remained dark for about five more days until the work could be completed and inspected by the City.

That’s when I found out how the City, and its utility customers, were taken to the proverbial cleaners by out-of-town contractors assigned to restore power to residences and businesses who suffered damage and required a new meter. At 10:30 p.m. a large white truck showed up at my address and two workers got out. They met me in the yard and I directed them to the meter location. They worked about 20 minutes connecting the wire feed to the house and then the new meter box.

It turns out these particular two were from Ohio and were on an open-ended contract to restore power. For the past three weeks they were working double eight-hour shifts and getting triple-overtime. I asked them how they decided which house or business they went to next. They said they went by a master list and it was based on the order in which properties became ready for meter installation after a successful inspection.

Now that the wiring work was done they had to go back to the main dispatch and get an electric meter. They didn’t have one on their very large truck. Convenient, huh? They were gone about 45 minutes (remember, triple-overtime pay) and then returned to install the electric meter. Success! I finally had power like the rest of my neighbors.

It dawned on me the City wasn’t over-seeing these contractors at all. Imagine the same process for every installation: wiring, going back to HQ, returning with a meter and then off to the next property on the list which could be anywhere in the City. They could have planned an installation in the extreme northeast corner of the City and then travel to the extreme southwest corner of the City and repeat the process. All the time on triple overtime.

Nothing like this happened during Hurricane Matthew. Granted, we were spared the brunt of that Category 4 storm spinning off of our shores, and very few (at most 200) went without power for a short period of time. As I wrote this last year on October 9th, two days after the storm, the Town of Palm Beach reported that 103 properties are still without power on the island. If I’m not mistaken Lake Worth had everybody back on line by then. FPL, at the peak of the storm, had 60,000+ without power in PBC. That number is nearly double the entire population of Lake Worth.

The point is this is more evidence the City of Lake Worth has turned a corner. Through the diligent hardening of the electrical distribution system over the past five years we all have noticed fewer interruptions in service. The contrast between then and now couldn’t be more stark. This is a clear example, when it comes to improving infrastructure, the best way to ensure that it actually happens is through a specific bond issue that funds those improvements.

The hardening of the City’s electric distribution system was done by the Commission through the auspices of the electric and water utility funds. These bond funds did not require the vote of the electorate as this was not a general obligation bond.

Last November was the Neighborhood Road Bond referendum. That was an opportunity, going forward, to improve our road network as we did with our electric and water utilities. The bond last year passed “overwhelmingly”, by 69% of the voters. In order to keep on making Lake Worth a more attractive and safe place to live, the bond was the only answer.

Another real pathway to continued success is the voting booth. Elections in this City are not trivial. They have consequences long after Election Day. That’s why, if you’re a new resident of the New City of Lake Worth, it’s important to get involved and stay involved in whatever way you can.

The City of Lake Worth’s Water Utility update post-Hurricane Irma.

“Water Utility Dir. Brian Shields, P.E., provides key details to the community on how the City’s infrastructure was fully prepared for Hurricane Irma.”

To learn more about Lake Worth Water Utilities use this link. Along with “Useful Links”, “Permitting Agencies”, and contact information there is also a helpful Q&A as well on this City website. For example:

Will Lake Osborne Estates* (LOE) residents be charged the same water service rates as residents who actually reside within the City’s municipal bounds?
“As you are aware, the City already provides bulk water to LOE through a master meter to Lake Osborne Waterworks. LOE would be charged the same rates as all customers served outside the City limits, which includes a 25% surcharge, consistent with City policy. Depending on usage, it is anticipated that LOE residents with average usage will see no noticeable change or slight reduction in their water bill. The City does have tiered, conservation-based rates that discourage excessive usage.”

*LOE is located outside the City of Lake Worth in what’s called suburban Lake Worth (unincorporated PBC); in the map below that would be the area in white west of Lake Worth and east of the Great Walled City of Atlantis.

Note the Zip Codes. The actual City of Lake Worth is 33460 and a small part of 33461.
Stay tuned for news about enclaves, County ‘pockets’, and annexations as more of the public in suburban Lake Worth learn about the benefits of becoming “incorporated” into a municipality.

At 5:00 p.m. yesterday: “100% of reported outages are restored!”

Enjoy this video of our Lake Worth Electric Utility “power restoration recap”: