Wednesday, October 4, 2006

City Commission Meeting - 10/3

I thought it would be good to get a quick post in about the City Commission meeting last night. This is where the Commission voted 3-2, with Commissioner Jennings and Mayor Drautz dissenting, to approve draft interlocal agreement with Palm Beach County that will allow the City access to the $5 million from the 1992 cultural bond issue. The money had been reserved for this purpose for sometime. The discussion centered on whether or not to include the private money offered by Greater Bay for the recreation and infrastructure improvements.

Commissioner Jennings and Mayor Drautz wanted to delete reference to Greater Bay in the agreement. Both also had issue with the agreement including a reference that the City enter into a development agreement regarding the private money in the project and were uncomfortable approving the interlocal agreement without that document in place.

Commissioners Lowe, Vespo and Burns voted for the interlocal for a number of reasons - referencing the need for the money for the improvements, the need to move on with the project and the benefits that would accrue to the City by investment of money from other organizations.

From one account, there were 13 people that spoke against and 34 that spoke in favor. I was one that spoke in favor of approving the interlocal agreement. This is what I said:

"We need to move on as a community in a positive and unified way. Your action is another step down a long path, working through other details, site plan review, permitting and the construction process.

There is plenty of opportunity for public input as we move on.

$5 million represents a significant investment in the City of Lake Worth – one that will have a substantial return on investment in the form of increased economic activity in our downtown.

This project, more than anything else, will boost the morale of the City – let’s put this in the win column.

We really could use a unanimous vote and send a positive message to the County Commission."

I also want to share an e-mail exchange that I had with City Attorney Larry Karns after the meeting. It relates to the Planning and Zoning Board and our review/recommendation regarding the future land use and zoning changes necessary to proceed. It appears below:


Is there a problem with me expressing support for the beach project in light of the zoning changes that we will be considering. I see it as a legislative function and not quasi-judicial. Is that an appropriate distinction? Wes

Response from Larry:

Wes, I don’t see a problem with your expressing support for the beach project. Your consideration of the zoning changes in the future does not prevent you from commenting on the project.

Larry Karns

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"