Sunday, December 6, 2009

Glimmers of hope...

This is the agenda for the City Commission work session scheduled for Tuesday. Note that these meetings had been taking place during the afternoon, making it difficult for the public to attend or listen. This one is scheduled for 6 p.m. Click title for link to City's website for a .pdf agenda and links to back-up material.

The presentation by the County on the Snook Islands access project should be interesting. This has been slated for a while but I haven't heard an up-date on timing of the improvements. Included here would be day docks and walkways that would create links between Bryant Park and the south part of the golf course to the recently created Snook Islands. The former bridge still needs to be removed by the City and we will hopefully get that done soon as it is an attractive nuisance. This sort of improved access to the water makes sense. The back-up material does not contain any graphics showing the improvements, so I will keep an eye out for those.

The Commission will also be discussing digitizing their packets in order to eliminate, or severely reduce, the amount of paper and materials used under the current way to distribute agenda back-up material. The Clerk estimates that this will save a little more than $400 a year in paper - which I know is way too low. It will be interesting to have a true accounting of the savings once it's been in effect for a year or so. I think we will all be astounded. Coincidentally, I mentioned this in a previous post "Greenwashing - Lake Worth Style" a few weeks ago as an easy way for the Commission to show a commitment to the Climate Control Task Force recommendations. At last Tuesday's Commission meeting, Pangiotti Tsolkas brought up the need for a report on how the City is doing at meeting it's stated environmental goals. Apparently, someone is listening. Let's hope this leads to a more exhaustive effort and check on the City's performance in this area.

The next item regarding the East Coast Regional interlocal agreement appeared on the Commission's agenda last Tuesday. This is about a thirty year extension of an existing agreement related to our regional sanitary sewer system. The staff has prepared some extensive back-up, so refer to that if you want some more detail. What's important to note is that the Commission, at Commissioner Jennings' suggestion, wanted to discuss this in greater deal so that they could assess how this affects the City strategically in the on-going conflict among municipal members. This is where the City was not collecting maintenance money as it should have been from other client municipalities, discovered it and then billed them all the full amount at one time. That did not sit well. Item E on the agenda explains the status of the default on the bond covenant violation - which is a matter related to this whole affair. The good thing about this is that it appears we are getting a handle on this and we are aware of our relationships with other municipalities. Where have we heard this before?

Also at last Tuesday's meeting, at the urging of Commissioner Maxwell, the Commission voted to suspend the second deposit provision if someone made a late payment to the utility. It turns out that the City has approximately $4.6 million in deposits, of which almost $1 million relate to the second deposit assessment. There's almost $6 million in unrecovered billings dating from many years ago - all still in collections. I encourage you to read the entire back-up material, but the sheets below provide a good summary overview of the process/timeline before and after the change.

Lastly, there is discussion regarding a day-long retreat to discuss the City's mission and mission statement. City Manager Stanton believes the "Working Together" slogan and associated current mission statement doesn't reflect the City's soon-to-be focus on customer service. By the way, if you have ever seen the current "Working Together" statement hung on various City Hall office walls, you know that it is completely illegible as they used black letters on a dark background - it's illegibility says a lot, period. Let's hope that this new discussion leads to something that can be the basis for concrete action and improvement.