Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lake Worth Utilities answer to accounting woes!

Friday, September 24, 2010

City Commission's Level of Expertise related to building construction cost estimating:

New Visits Only - FYI

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Click here for Request for Qualifications Packet for Construction Manager at Risk for Casino Rehabilitation

From page 14 and 15 of the RFQ document.  The myth continues on, only now in official form.



Reminder - Second Charrette on the Casino Rehabilitation 9/25 - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Golf Course Club House

This is from the 9/14 Work Session Presentation - Click here for PowerPoint.

Lake Worth raises tax rate slightly but cuts budget

Click title for link to PB Post article. Downtown parking meters and redlight cameras didn't make it in this budget, a good thing. Another thing that didn't make it in the final version was the internal auditor position. This is what the city charter says about the internal auditor position:
Sec. 4. - Form of government.
(a)
The form of government of the City of Lake Worth shall be known as the "commission-manager plan." The city commission shall constitute the governing body with powers as hereinafter provided to pass ordinances, adopt resolutions and policies and appoint a chief administrative officer to be known as the "city manager," and to exercise all other powers hereinafter provided, or conferred by law.
(b)
Elective and appointive officers.
(1)
The elective officers under this charter shall be the mayor and the members of the city commission.
(2)
The appointive officers shall be the city manager, city attorney, internal auditor, city clerk, police chief, fire chief, and such other officers as may be provided for by ordinance. Any of the above officers which are, or may become, under civil service shall be subject to civil service regulations. All of the appointive officers under the charter, except the city manager, city attorney, and internal auditor shall be appointed by the city manager and all appointive officers shall hold office subject to provisions of law.
(Ord. No. 96-34, § 1, 12-5-96)
It is interesting that the Charter uses what I think is "prescriptive" language for the position - meaning you SHALL, or in other words MUST, have an internal auditor. Our city attorney, also appointed by the City Commission gave them a "pass" on this being a requirement according to her legal interpretation.

One thing that did make it in was $1 million for "open space" for what Commissioner Jennings said was a "park" in Tropical Ridge, but was corrected by Commissioner Mulvehill that it was to buy the Sunset property. I have said this before, but if the Planning and Zoning Board had access to the city's checkbook, our decisions on many land use issues may have been different. A guiding principle of planning is that you work within a framework of regulations, police power (of which zoning is a form) and private property rights to render decisions that many times are compromises. It is never a working goal that you are actively anticipating that the city will buy a property that is going through zoning review. This $1 million represents the least beneficial result of what I refer to as "checkbook zoning." This $1 million took away from other worthy programs and services for this budget year. Who knows? More might be appropriated after the budget year begins or maybe an additional amount would be needed next year. Of course, this $1 million is exclusive of the amount of money the city has spent in defense of its legal position on the matter. Costs like that tend to get lost in consent agenda items - like in this past Tuesday's regular City Commission meeting agenda.

It doesn't surprise me that Commissioner Jennings voted against the setting of the millage rate and indicated that she would have preferred that it go higher. The Mayor talked about, but now apparently is backing away from comments made about the city's bankruptcy at his special message on the budget this past summer. But, if you think about it, isn't being bankrupt not having any other alternative to finance your services? If we are at the maximum rate of 10 mills, then I would refer to the city as being bankrupt. We are now at 8.85 mills - just 1.15 away from our maximum rate and we are projected to face larger budget deficits in each of the next 2 years. Where is the money going to come from? If a city doesn't have an answer to that question, then I would say that city is bankrupt.

And do we really trust any number that comes out of City Hall?  This budget has a lot of numbers in it. As accountants say, financial statements are a group of lies agreed upon.

Publix Groundbreaking Ceremony - 9/29 @ 11 a.m.

2212 Collier Ave. - E-mail from Robert E. Waples II

Good "Late Night" All,

Wanted to send out a reminder that we will be back at 2212 Collier Ave. again THIS Saturday, September 25 from 9am - 1pm to due more clean up!!!!!  Again I want to thank the City of Lake Worth for being so supportive of this project and the trash and yard debris pick up!  Mr. Kroll you are a champion of our charity projects and we thank the entire city Staff from city Manager Susan Stanton down to every person on staff that unconditionally has embraced our efforts.

Needs for this Saturday will be continuing to clean and wipe down everything in the home, we have the main bath room that needs to be scrubbed down, two bedrooms that we need to clean out and more carpet to rip out.  There is tape and tape residue on the front windows that needs to be removed, and we still would like a contractor to tour the property with us to make a list of all repair and rehabilitation that the home needs to make it habitable and help us get a rehab direction wish list.

Again you can review the history of this case at www.volunteerpalmbeach.blogspot.com as this is just one of many projects to come.  All donations of Sweat Equity is greatly appreciated and please pass this email on to your friends and family.  Remember that we are the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project with partners....City of Lake Worth, County of Palm Beach, Rebuilding Together of the Palm Beaches, Paint Your Heart Out, Solid Waste Authority, Office of Community Revitalization, DCI Construction and so many more that have continued to support this project.

We are looking forward to having Trixie back in her home and giving her independence back....as a disabled senior in our community this is the biggest gift that we can give her and that is the sweat equity of volunteers to make her home ....  Well her home again!  This is one amazing experience and all of our organizations look forward to bringing this project to a happy conclusion with Trixie living a better quality of life.
 
Robert E. Waples II
robertwaplesii@yahoo.com
www.roloh.org - President
http://rolohsponsors.blogspot.com/
http://www.volunteerpalmbeach.blogspot.com/
Planning & Zoning Board Lake Worth
Vice-Chair NAPC - www.lwnapc.org
PBSO C.O.P Volunteer Unit 109

Volunteer to make a difference today!

National Take-Back Initiative for Unused and Expired Medications - from County Commissioner Abrams

Please be advised this Saturday (9/25/10) is the National Take-Back Initiative providing the public with an opportunity to surrender unused and expired medications for destruction which will help combat problems associated with dangerous controlled substances.  Reportedly, last year Palm Beach County documented over 382 deaths from unintentional overdoses of prescription drugs.  Many of these deaths were in adolescents who had obtained the drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets and the majority were the result of overdoses of controlled substances.  Individuals are urged to bring in all their unused medications to the designated sites (see below) - no questions asked. 
In the past, as many as 300,000 pills were collected in one day.   Also, when people flush unused drugs down the toilet or throw them in the trash, these substances can ultimately enter the drinking water or food supply.
Some of the drop off locations in our area are as follows: 
DELRAY BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT
DELRAY COMMUNITY CENTER
50 NW 1ST. AVE.
DELRAY BEACH
FL, 33444

LIGHTHOUSE POINT POLICE DEPARTMENT
DIXON-AHL HALL
2220 NE 38 STREET
LIGHTHOUSE POINT
FL, 33064
DELRAY BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT
PUBLIX
4771 W. ATLANTIC AVE.
DELRAY BEACH
FL, 33483
LANTANA POLICE DEPARTMENT
LANTANA PD
500 GREYNOLDS CIR.
LAKE WORTH
FL, 33462

PALM BEACH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE
PALM BEACH SHERIFF'S OFFICE
3228 GUN CLUB ROAD
WEST PALM BEACH
FL, 33406

For more information and/or newly added drop off locations, please visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/.    

The following is an excerpt was obtained from the above-referenced Web site.   

 

NATIONAL TAKE-BACK INITIATIVE


On September 25, 2010, DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.  The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction.  These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.
This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse. 
  • The program is anonymous. 
  • Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
  • Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.  
If you have any comments or suggestions or if you need assistance, please contact me.  I can be reached at sabrams@pbcgov.org or at 561-355-2204 (West Palm Beach) or 561-276-1220 (Delray Beach). 

Also, please visit my Web site at http://www.pbcgov.com/countycommissioners/district4/ for updates and links to county divisions and other governmental agencies.

Commissioner Steven L. Abrams

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Residents celebrate as 8 Bell, Calif., officials arrested in corruption case

From the article (click title for link):

Cooley praised the Times, saying the scandal occurred in part because residents and much of the news media paid little attention to what was happening at Bell City Hall until the story broke.
Since the scandal broke, public officials, city managers and others have said the situation in Bell showed why people must insist that elected officials communicate honestly and openly with them.
"One of the problems that was obvious with Bell was the lack of transparency and the lack of involvement on the part of the public," Dave Mora, West Coast regional director of the International City/County Management Association, said recently.

From Steve Weagle at Channel 5 re Tropical Storm Matthew

He says it might be affecting our weather during the middle of next week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Click here for live link to City Commission meeting (9/21)

City Manager, "If it looks like we are running around here trying to balance the budget at the last minute, that is what we are doing." This relates to the General Employees Pension Plan.  (Public Hearing Item D)  There is an issue of whether this should be a second reading or a new first reading given the number of changes made since the original first reading.

Commissioner Mulvehill is giving all sorts of props to the OMB Department - saying they weren't here before and would have scrutinized contracts before initial decisions were made.  More dissing of previous decisions by previous Commissions.

Item 8B on the City Commission Agenda tonight - 9/21 (consent)

The excerpt above is from the back-up material.

This interest rate on utility deposits is adjusted every year, so the adjustment is not noteworthy, other than the rate being an extremely low .28 percent from .75 percent set last year.  The reason why it's of interest (no pun intended) now is that it is a peak at the city's "cash portfolio" and that .28 percent the city is paying for holding on to customer money is its cost of capital for $4.7 million.

This is the same "cash portfolio" that the city is using to loan itself money to rehabilitate the casino building, with the hope that some bank (?) will come through (?) and lend the city money (?) on a permanent basis (?).  Whether this will actually come to pass is conjecture, but it makes me wonder at what interest rate the city will pay itself back?  If it's higher than the .28 percent, I would say that the people whose money is being held - utility customers in and outside the city limits - should be paid back at that rate, not the .28 percent.

If you look at it this way, this item shouldn't be on consent and should be discussed given all of the talk about the city's "cash portfolio."  And it's convenient that there is no public comment on consent agenda items - unless perhaps pulled by the Mayor or a Commissioner.

City of Greenacres is one of one hundred "Best Communities for Young People" according to ING

Click here for write-up on Greenacres.  Click here for more information on the award program.  Our neighbor is one of seven communities in the State of Florida to be honored.

Monday, September 20, 2010

There are many comments waiting - so far all will be published - please be patient. Thanks.

Things I recall about Incumbent Commissioner Mulvehill's term of office...

Whenever I turn on my faucet in the morning and am greeted with a wretched sulphuric smell, I think of her breaking the agreement with Palm Beach County for water and temporarily getting back-up water from West Palm Beach.

Sitting in her office and her insistence that the Lucerne was 82 feet high, then the both of us bumping into Fedner Alcius (planner) in the parking lot and her asking him if he had laser measured the building yet.  Let's not let the fact that is the 82 foot measurement is from sea level.  Never get in the way of a good story.

Her refusing to acknowledge the recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Board on height and refusing to examine the long term implications of a "low rise" city.

Terrorizing property owners with Intracoastal frontage about making public parks out of unused adjacent rights-of-way.

Voting for five years of water rate increases which compound to nearly an 80% increase in resident bills.

Thinking that New Mexico had oceanfront property, or at least on the Gulf of Mexico.

Going on foreign trips to meet with our Sister City representatives who haven't acknowledged Sister City status with Lake Worth.

Voting to rescind the rezoning and land use change on the Sunset parcel which will cost the city money to purchase from the aggrieved property owner and more money to maintain as a park.

Attending a South Palm Park neighborhood meeting and saying that she didn't represent them, she represents the entire city.

Nearly choking the Publix deal with a plastic bag ordinance.

Having her campaign coffers filled with contributions from casino building tenants and proclaiming that she has them to thank for her being in office.

Referring to the electric utility as a "cash cow."  It's just that cow's udders issue what used to be residents' hard earned cash.

Record decreases in property values city-wide.

Please feel free to add more under the comment tab below:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can the PB Post be any more biased?

Hello?Click title for link to article (headline above) and check out the generally un-informed comments.