Saturday, March 26, 2011

Palm Beach Politics | Sun Sentinel blogs | Extending Palm Beach County ethics reforms delayed again over inspector general dispute

Hmmm...have we emerged from the Dark Ages yet? Click title for link.

College Park Neighborhood Meeting - 3/28

Monday, March 28th
Note Earlier Time ~ 6:30 pm
First Congregational Church
1415 North K Street
 
Speakers and Items of Interest:
Selecting the College Park Banner
Joe Kroll, Director of Public Services
Update on Spillway Park Improvement Project
PBSO Report

Friday, March 25, 2011

E-mail to City Commission, City Manager from a humble resident...

Click here to see what one of our competitors does to promote themselves.

And here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flashing Yellow Alert! from The Florida Coalition for Preservation

The news from Tallahassee is alarming!  The long-expected draft revision to Florida's Growth Management statutes and process has just been released by the House. The 1000 Friends of Florida and other public interest groups are asking concerned citizens to contact their Florida Representatives, and voice strong opposition to the 283 page proposed bill, now known as PCB MCAS 11-04.

The Coalition has e-mailed comments to our 87th District House Representative, Bill Hager (please see below).  We are scheduling a teleconference with him next week.  At this time, we do not know enough to recommend a citizen-action plan, but we feel that is important for all friends of the Florida Coalition to know that we almost certainly will need your help when the bill comes up for debate.

Key provisions of the bill include:  (1) virtual elimination of citizen rights to challenge inappropriate amendments to local Comprehensive Plans (if the municipality and the developer support a project, it is almost impossible to stop it); (2) eliminates the requirements that a plan be "financially feasible" and weakens the provision that the project fulfills an actual need; (3) weakens concurrency requirements that new developments pay for roads, schools and other costs associated with the project (the developer can build it, but the citizens must underwrite associated expenses); (4) virtually eliminates state agency review of plan amendments. 

Imagine that all four umpires are removed from the field, and the municipality and developer are playing on the same team. 

You will be reading about the Growth Management Bill in the newspapers in days ahead.  Opponents will claim that Florida is returning to the "anything goes" era of the 1960s and 1970s.  Unless we do something about it, they will be right.
Stay tuned!********************************************************************************************** 

March 21, 2001

To the Honorable Bill Hager;

As a private citizen, and as President of the Florida Coalition for
Preservation (a grass roots non-profit corporation whose mission is to
champion responsible development on Florida's coastlines), I am writing
to plead that the House exercise reason and restraint in re-writing
Florida's growth management statues. 

Four years ago, our Coalition successfully opposed an insane plan for
redevelopment of the Town of Briny Breezes, converting it from a
peaceful mobile home park to a small city whose population density would
have been 20-40 times greater than neighboring residential communities
on a sensitive barrier island.  This event made national news.  It
represented the very worst example of greed and lack of concern for the
environment, for which Florida developers have earned a notorious
reputation. 

Had the proposed changes to Florida's growth management laws been in
place, the Briny redevelopment plan might have gotten off the ground
(probably to crash in flames when the economy tanked).  Private citizen
challenges to the plan would have been virtually impossible to mount.
The "umpire" (DCA) would not have been in the game.  The project would
have added 2500 new residents, and countless hotel guests, to a coastal
area where the existing infrastructure is already straining at the
seams.  Neighboring communities would have to foot the bill to widen
roads, find new sources for water and sewer service, amend plans for
hurricane evacuation, pay even higher premiums for wind insurance, and
on and on. 

I fully understand that the Governor and Legislators want to reduce red
tape and help to create jobs in the building sector.  It is hard to
argue that DCA implementation of existing growth management statues has
inhibited such development over the past 25 years.  At least DCA has the
sense to ask if proposed developments are "financially feasible", and if
proposed changes in Comprehensive Plans are based on "need", rather than
a developer's whim.  Having an umpire in the game does add value.
Giving developers free rein on critical growth management decisions
constitutes a denial of citizen rights, and will most certainly result
in another attempt at "Hometown Democracy"---this time, with new
evidence that neither our elected representatives nor our business
community can be trusted to look out for our interests.

It will take courage for a few such elected officials to call a "time
out" and look for ways to streamline approval processes without
abandoning the principles underline sensible growth.  I would be happy
to meet with appropriate rule-writers, or to appear at hearings, if such
action might be helpful.  I care deeply about our State, and want to see
it grow responsibly in the future.

Sincerely,
Robert Ganger
President, Florida Coalition for Preservation

Florida lawmakers aim to slash local regulations on businesses, too

Oh oh!  Click title for link to Orlando Sentinel article.  Perhaps it will be harder to enact tomato and plastic bag laws.  Cara grab the stilts and get to Tallahassee!

After searching the City website for about 10 minutes...

I found the current water restrictions for Lake Worth - which are either Monday or Thursday, depending on the size of lot and whether you have an odd or even address.  Click here for link.

It would be good idea if the City would issue a press release reinforcing these restrictions are still current. But if we aren't going to enforce them, maybe it just doesn't matter.  This press release is from last year around this time.  It at least deserves a more obvious placement on the website.

Tragedy befalls family of Joel Burns.


Joel Burns is the City Commissioner from Forth Worth, Texas who appeared on the national scene after his "It gets better..." speech on YouTube (previously posted here) about the affects of bullying on gay youth and youth in general.  Here he talks about the death of his younger brother this month as a result of a car accident.  His bother wasn't wearing a seat belt.  That's the poignant message in this video - seat belts save lives.  He also reminds us of the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones.  Joel has an ability to touch many with his teachable moments springing from adversity.  He is up for re-election this year.  Click here for his campaign website.

Pride Flag Raising at Lake Worth City Hall - 2011


Photos courtesy of Compass GLCC.

Earth Day Peace Jam 2011 Saturday, April 9 th , 2011 -12p.m.-9p.m. Cultural Plaza Downtown Lake Worth

Lake Worth Kiwanis Club is making plans for the annual Earth Day Peace Jam.  For over 40 
years Earth Day has inspired individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their 
commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. This year the Lake Worth Kiwanis 
Club and the City of Lake Worth will host a free event for the community called Earth Day 
Peace Jam on April 9th at the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza from 12pm-9pm. This year’s Earth Day 
Peace Jam promises to be an outstanding event with a message about the many Acts of 
Green. The event will feature a clean air caravan, hybrids, electric cars and bicycles will gather 
in the PNC bank parking lot across Lucerne Avenue from the Cultural Plaza at 3 PM.  At 4 PM, 
participants will caravan through downtown Lake Worth, green flags flying, with zero or nearzero emissions. Exhibits will range from county wide conservation projects to solar energy and 
Florida wildlife. The music will also be a big part of the event with local bands from rock to funk 
and transcendental to new age. For more information call Andy Amoroso 561-398-8340.

Just heard on Channel 12 morning news...

that Mayor Varela was quoted as saying that the city will retain full lifeguard coverage at the beach.  Parking rates will increase to $2 per hour from the current $1.50.  He said that we have to keep people safe. He said that he would "fight tooth and nail" to keep all the lifeguards.  The City Commission hasn't met since Tuesday - other than closed door sessions related to litigation on 3/22.  The next meeting on the topic of layoffs and budget cuts will be on April 5th according to the report.

Mandatory Water Restrictions Start Saturday

Click title for link to WPEC news item. Lake Worth has been on the most severe water restrictions for a few years now. Irrigation can only be used one day a week for a few hours in the morning. The city can also only draw a certain maximum gallons per day rate and that is enforced by the South Florida Water Management District. This is due to the possible and probably saltwater infiltration of the city's existing wells. These wells are some of the farthest east in Palm Beach County. Parts of Lantana are affected as well. The Reverse Osmosis plant will help relieve this situation in the future, but the city could still face certain pumping limitations.

Beyond the overall usage citywide which is regulated by the SFWMD, enforcement of residential and commercial irrigation restrictions still fall on the city. It has been my observation that many are not abiding by the one day a week limitation and, no surprise, the city really isn't enforcing this. There are times that the city violates this restriction in parks, rights-of-way and other areas. So, if restrictions are only as good as the enforcement that needs to go along with it, then the city is not holding up its end of the deal. Strangely, uses of Lake Worth water outside the city limits of Lake Worth are not subject to the city's more strict watering schedule. So people in Palm Springs and the unincorporated area of the county served by Lake Worth water have been able to water whenever they wanted - but that will change come this Saturday when they will be limited to the new initial restrictions. I pointed this out to some colleagues at SFWMD and they confirmed that this loophole does indeed exist - even though water feeding those non-city of Lake Worth customers is coming from the same saltwater threatened wells.

If we have a skeleton code enforcement crew to begin with, that only reacts to specific complaints, how likely is the city to start being a policeman of water use?

Someone posted a comment on the budget cut thread yesterday that they saw a full cutting crew in action at the grassy area at the beach. The only problem was that, due to lack of rain, there wasn't any real new growth since the last cut. The crew just managed to blow dirt around.  The poster likened it to running snow plows on dry streets. In this new era of scarcity, the city will have to work smarter in order to curtail such obvious signs of waste, while at the same time crank up the enforcement of the city's unique water restrictions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arrest Reports of Treesitters

Courtney Claar

Brandon Block

Neighborhood Association Presidents Council - Crime Walk

Hello,
 
The first NAPC (Neighborhood Association Presidents’ Council) crime-walk is this Saturday! Each month the NAPC, in conjunction with PBSO (Palm Beach Sherriff’s Office) will select a neighborhood to walk. These walks are intended to promote awareness and safety. The target neighborhood association members, NAPC members, and association members from neighborhoods around Lake Worth will be joining the PBSO to pass out literature for the local neighborhood association, discuss various solutions for problem areas within the neighborhood and bring awareness to the fact that there are people out there trying to make Lake Worth a great place to live.
 
We will be focusing on the SOSA (South of Sixth Avenue) Neighborhood this Saturday. This neighborhood is located between Dixie and Federal from South 6th to South 15th Avenues.  We’ll be meeting at South Grade Elementary at 2pm sharp!
 
http://tropicalridge.org/downloads/sosa.png

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association - Banner Winner

With 16 votes, the David Savage design "B" was the winner in the TRNA banner survey.
We will be submitting the final design to Joe Kroll this week and will keep you posted on their progress.
We received a total of 43 votes and lots of great feedback. If your choice was not the winner, don't worry we will be retaining the other two designs for potential future use as t-shirts, other banners, etc.
Thanks to everyone for your votes.

From 2008...


These were taken along Dixie Hwy a few years ago, but conditions haven't really changed since then.  If anything, they have continued to deteriorate.  These properties represent potentially the highest value commercial property tax producing properties in the city.  That had been their historical role through the city's early development.  An unrealistic and arbitrary height limitation again acts as a de facto moratorium.  In addition, the city has the highest commercial utility rates in the state of Florida.  Layer on the questionable status of the Comprehensive Plan, the land development regulations (zoning code) and there is no answer to the question "Why would you like to invest in Lake Worth property?"

Once a viable development pattern is established along the Dixie Hwy. corridor - one that supplies the retail and employment needs of Lake Worth residents - then we can dismantle the CRA and enjoy additional revenue to the general fund.  In the meantime, we can use captured money from new redevelopment to cure blight and slum conditions in other areas of the CRA district - helping raise property values.

I will not be accused of not coming up with ideas for additional revenue.

The City Commission asked what we can do to bring in more revenue for the general fund.


I took these pictures back in January of 2010.  They are of vacant lots along South Federal Hwy.  This area of the city is outside the CRA and tax dollars from these now unimproved properties would go directly to the city's general fund.  Granted, market forces have played a role in keeping these properties unimproved, but what has the city done to find an economically viable and environmentally sustainable land use pattern for this part of the city?  After over $1 million spent on the Master Plan process, we still have a Comprehensive Plan that is not in full compliance (The final ruling from the administrative hearing officer is due out anytime now.)  We have an artificial height limit that was put in place to win an election - so that those who won could keep Lake Worth a "low rise" city.  How about a "no rise" city?  Or a city fallen?  The three story limit in some areas acts as a de facto moratorium on redevelopment - which is perfectly fine for the majority on the dais.

In the meantime, we find that we cannot maintain basic levels of municipal services.  The City Commission is about to lower levels of service for public safety - in police, fire and lifeguard services - which would imperil people and property along the way.  Apparently we are learning the costs of pandering to the voting public.

The "Gateways" - 6th and 10th Avenues - are ready for mixed use redevelopment which encourages the assemblage of property for a cohesive development pattern that provides a buffer between the high volume roads having exits on to I-95 and the interior neighborhoods.  This is the other half of the Gateway projects that have yet to happen.  With the city's other current pock marks, this is a hard sell.

A well-staffed, professionally run planning department would be a good place to start, but the chance of that happening now are slim.

Let the watchdog roam free

PBP opinion piece on what's happening with the drafting of the governing language for the Inspector General. Click title for link.

Home sales, prices rebound

The rest of the world seems to be recovering. Click title for link.

Tree-sitting protestors charged with trespassing

Part of the clan is arrested - click title for PBP article.  Interesting that the PBP is not allowing comments for this article.

Lake Worth city manager says city lacks money to pay for current level of service

The PBP account of last night's affair in the Commission Chambers...click title for link.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Click here for live link to City Commission meeting (3/21) re Mid-Year Budget Cuts - after 5 p.m.

Stanton said that the memo took 80 hours of staff time to complete.  The budget was balanced originally and it is the first time the city hasn't drawn on its reserves in a long time.  She said that after 2007 the bottom fell out and the city drew on its reserves (Chart 1 of back-up)  She says if they could have gotten the unions to agree in FY 2009-2010 to the City's financial situation, we wouldn't be talking about layoffs now.  The five year plan shows increased projected deficits (Table 3) over the five years - going up to near $10 million in year five (FY 2014-15)  All these cuts are coming from Public Works - she asked Joe Kroll to reduce his budget by 20% and 40% as part of this exercise.  The privatization of grass cutting and street maintenance, she says, will be targeted to smaller Lake Worth firms.  Not backing away from the lifeguard recommendation, but says that they can discuss it.  Workforce reductions create about $1.3 million in extra funds.

Click here for back-up memo.

Stanton still.  Now talking about the timeline, talk about contracting for services by the end of this week.  Union does have the right to make their own proposal.  Award contracts on May 3, and layoffs would be effective May 14.  There is also a voluntary separation program, modeled after one in West Palm Beach.  Referring to longevity "mix" of the city's workforce (page 14 of memo.)

Getting into police issue now with PBSO - study due out in two weeks.  She doesn't know if the service reduction and lower fee will be acceptable.  She expects a proposal to reduce their cost by $1 million.  If not, we would be in a deeper hole.  Now talking about special fire assessment that would be outside of the 10 mil cap.  Talking about Mulvehill being rebuffed by the county on the request to re-look at the MSTU part of the millage and the prospect of a special assessment for fire.  Many properties are valued under $50,000 and pay a minimal tax - but still benefit from general fund services.  There are some rental properties with full homestead exemptions.  Even if the assessment is for the supplemental payment of $1.4 million, that would help.  There are also different level of services - response times and staff levels.

Cost of electric - $10 million goes to general fund from utility.  This calls for a reduction of $500,000 in that contribution next year and lower rates.  She is asking what we have to do to grow our economy and attract business, but the cost of electric is a barrier to do that.

All of the changes amount to about $4 million in savings - assuming everything goes forward as in proposal.  Still need a reduction of $800,000 FY 2012 - and assumes a reduction of property value by 15% - if it's more, then the deficit will be larger.  This is "within striking distance."  Chart 3 in the memo shows the result of these changes spread out over five years.  Talking about "state of financial urgency" and how that is being challenged.  If the mediator agrees with the unions, $3.5 million of refunds to the workforce.  The city would have to go to court to challenge that decision if it goes against the city.  "Not a nose dive into the black hole..."

Mayor says that this is a proposal.  The Commission has to debate and the Commission is not laying off anyone tonight.  Stable, functional cities start the process at this point - putting up trial balloons here - can raise taxes or fees - discuss how we go forward tonight - with the timeline.  Aggressive.

Mullvehill asks about the DROP plan - how many employees are on it?  Stanton says that you cannot tell people legally that they are not employed if they are on the DROP plan.  If they challenge this, there would be a lot of litigation.  Mulvehill also mentions the benefit plan and Stanton refers to it as a ponzi scheme - people are paying into something that they wouldn't get a benefit from.

Golden reiterates that is was a "real team effort" of the staff.  She asks about the $1.2 million of funds that have to go back to FEMA and if that needs to be added to this?  In dispute is $23.5 million, and the city is down to $1.2 million.  The answer is "YES" - it would add to the deficit.  FMPA exiting is based upon usage and an old housing stock - Golden is amazed that more people don't participate in the conservation program.  Loves the idea of lowering electric bills.  Stanton says there is going to be a presentation by the electric consultant in April that will answer some of those questions.  She says that the franchise fees shouldn't count as transfers to the general fund.

McVoy - this is a difficult time trying to figure this out.  Looks at charts and tries to figure them out.  Revenue does not equal expenses.  An average 1,000 megawatt monthly bill, the bill would be $134 - we're not that far out of line - we are about middle of the pack (so far he is not mentioning commercial rates which are the highest in the state) - not comfortable with the transfer from the electric to the general fund.  He talked to someone in Miami Lakes about that.  Getting the "thinking caps on."

Maxwell - talking about laying off some valuable employees and thanks the manager for considering reducing electric rates.  Disappointed in some ways and didn't vote for the budget.  And the budget was approved with the assumption that we wouldn't be going through layoffs this year - now we are talking about significant layoffs.  How are we going to go through this tonight - how is the discussion going to be structured?  Mayor refers to bullet points - they are going to work by area - he references five.

Mayor - probably the biggest discussion tonight is workforce reduction and what that will mean.

Maxwell - a lot of assumptions that we are dealing with - if these don't come true - not been successful with our unions to date - might be back in a worse situation later.  Should just be dealing with what IS true, not what we think is true.  This is "dynamite."  Five year projection does nothing to increase its revenues and taxable value.  Concerned about what we are doing here tonight, should be done in a very methodical manner.

Mayor is speaking specifically - lifeguards at the beach, a public safety concern.  Add a quarter to the meters out there, if that makes up the difference?  We need to look at that - that is the easiest one for me.  Stanton - says $50 and $75,000 additional revenue - which is about half what is being proposed.

Maxwell - lifeguards - what message are we sending to the public with our focus on the beach and then we cut lifeguards at that beach.  Are we really going to get there by going down this road?  Should we have a different discussion about how we generate revenues?  What cuts have been made at the administrative level?  Commissioner salaries - zero dollars?  Need to share in the pain.  Hasn't been received well by others.

Mayor pushes the rate increase for parking at the beach.  Mulvehill is talking about unguarded beaches at the County - Peanut Island is seasonal - guarded on weekends only.  Mulvehill likes one half of the beach guarded - the other half would be "swim at your own risk."  Thinks that a quarter increase is o.k. - not comfortable with just Friday, Saturday, Sunday - the north half would be guarded 7 days a week.

McVoy supports the increase if the public is informed that the increase is for lifeguard coverage.  Likes 7 day coverage - look at legal obligations so that we know what the implications are.  Liability issues, etc.

Mulvehill looked at guarded versus unguarded beaches in the county - keeps referring to Peanut Island (not a good comparison, imho)

Maxwell asks if that is enough of an increase.  Asks the city attorney for input.  Sorry didn't hear the answer.

Golden wants to know which is the "best" side for the lifeguards to be - north or south.  She thinks we call don't want cuts, but the time has come to make those changes.  We need to ticket and enforce parking too to increase revenue.  She doesn't know if a quarter increase is enough.

Mayor says to offset the lifeguard cuts with additional revenue from parking.

Mulvehill thinks that everyone would know that one side is not guarded.  (tourists??)

Stanton says that with the redevelopment of the beach, an unguarded section of the beach, that might deter people from coming.  There is risk management to all these cuts - from streets, sidewalks - everyone can sue.

Maxwell says that we can increase the CAM charges at the new building as that would be more predictable rather than parking.  Mayor also asked for pool subsidy form tenants, but he's concerned about the burden on the businesses.

Maxwell - number of meetings on code enforcement with the manager.  Outstanding money in terms of code fines?  Can this Commission look different at recovering some of the money in code fines?  Compliance would better the neighborhoods and if not we get money.  Stanton asks when we would be receiving those monies - she doesn't know - and there would be litigation.

Maxwell - Part of the reason that we are here tonight is that there are properties that are out of compliance with code.

Mayor - can't snap our fingers and get the money - its been owed for years.

Maxwell - can we get more money out of our rental properties, standardized rental signs, we don't charge what other communities charge.

TIMEOUT FOR LAUNDRY AT 6:23 p.m.

BACK at 6:34 p.m.

Talking about the library - Golden takes a swipe at the Lucerne saying that because its there, the library can't expand.  Says that we need a volunteer coordinator to make it work.

Mayor says volunteers do care - they are valued at $50 an hour.  It's a resource we haven't tapped into heavily, but we are going to have to.

Maxwell - total hours of operation of the library?  Still need to open and close the building - answer is 40 hours a week.

Mayor - what does the Commission want to do - McVoy wants more employees there, Mulvehill  says we need a volunteer coordinator.  Stanton says the hole dance we are going to have to do here, is hire part time staff - no one wants to do this.  Golden thinks that one of the part time people could coordinate volunteers.  Mayor thinks that function is better handled through HR.

McVoy wants to add 2 full time and keep the two added part time.  Mulvehill thinks its all arbitrary right now cause we don't know what we are looking at.  When could we look at what the actual impact is?  Stanton, we could come back in a week with different mixing of staff.  She thinks they are going in the wrong direction.  Mayor - city manager's proposal - but done with the library and public works director.

Golden asks McVoy - where is that money going to come from?  Free library, they charge fees if late.  Library Director talks about the Trust Fund - she is saying that now is the time to use those funds to staff the library appropriately - applause.

Maxwell - library staff to come back and make a recommendation on that proposal.

Mulvehill - not in favor of using the trust fund money for personnel.  She likes 1 full time and 4 part time - that's with 30 and she wants to see 40 hours.  The Mayor would want to see two more part time.

McVoy - wants two full time - would like to see three.

Maxwell asked if the library director had input - she said very briefly.  He would like more of her input and she said that she needs more time to consider this.

Mayor wants to lump two sections together and wants to open up public comment soon.  Outsourcing services - streets and grounds maintenance.

Maxwell asks how much will we be saving - Stanton says that we will know when we get the bids back - the numbers are "net" of the estimate.

Mulvehill asks what other services will be eliminated.  Stanton says we contract out a lot now.  It would be a lower level of service - may not be ex-tenable for a long period of time.  The custodians don't go into the beach bathrooms to clean - it's the LIFEGUARDS!  Stanton said that they do it when they can.(that are about to be halved)  Stanton - it won't be done as well as our own people - we are going to notice, we just don't have the money to pay.

Maxwell - level of service from bidding companies should be same level of service.  Stanton - we are looking at a reduced level of service everywhere.

Ed Fry - OMB - explaining assumptions on costs of private services.Stanton - trying to get good bids.  $38,000 for street maintenance and one person is the department - Maxwell.  Supplies and materials would be supplied by contractor.

McVoy - asks Fry about COBRA, unemployment insurance - are these additional costs - Fry says that they are accounted for.  Thinks that we to be aware that these are big reductions will be going in the wrong direction in terms of attracting people to live in LW - brilliant!

Mayor wants to know what the impact of a skeleton crew is and what it really means.  Stanton says that the private sector isn't going to do a good a job.  Mayor says if we are really going through this we need to know if it is well worth it - to get rid of our own employees.  Stanton says that the current levels of service are not sustainable.

LAUNDRY BREAK 7:15 p.m.

McVoy thinks residents can be responsible for removal of dead animals.

Mayor - introduces recreation issue and says that this might be a special assessment.

Golden thinks we need to get the word out to  people that we need to step up and sweep the streets or what have you.

Talking about the City Clerk department now.

Now Human Resources.

Mulvehill asking about grant writer being eliminated as someone who actually brings money into the city.  They tried to do on an incentive basis, but no one was interested in that type of position.  McVoy agreed.  So does Maxwell.  The grants administrator's time has been taken up with the FEMA investigation.

Stanton is justifying OMB by saying that the purchasing department and assistant City Manager have been deleted as positions.  She says its a net reduction of cost.  Maxwell says that $500,000 is in the chart.  Ed Fry - Table 11 there is an error in OMB for 2011 - he's referring to Table 8 $586,000 is the real amount - which included the grant writer.  Maxwell  points out that it is still $100,000 higher than what Stanton is saying.  Now it's a $40,000 increase.  Maxwell is talking about the number of mistakes throughout the whole budget process, that the tables don't match and we have all these professionals putting this stuff together.  Stanton says they re-did the chart and there are some mistakes - Maxwell says its another thing when the numbers are off and we are talking about laying off people.  Stanton says we need to get to audited actuals - (when is that going to happen??)  Maxwell says that the tables should present one period of time.  Stanton says the number is what it is in the budget - the budget rules.  He says that there are huge discrepancies in Table 1.

Please continue commenting to fill in as needed.  Going to take an extended break.

Florida League of Cities January 2011 Issue: Reducing Your City’s Expenses Without Reducing Services

Timely article - click title for link. It does look like we attempted, or are attempting, many of these.

My first e-mail from the Lake Worth "CityWeb" service...

This just came in 5 minutes ago. Luckily I reviewed the packet for tonight's meeting before it was sent to me.  Two hours and 15 minutes before the meeting, during the work day, is a lot to ask of residents if they expect to have a chance to review the back-up materials.

Architect Gonzalez: Nearby towns offer inspiration for PB's business district

With a hearty dose of self-promotion, Rick Gonzalez mentions two of his Lake Worth projects as examples Palm Beach can follow. Click title for link to Shiny Sheet article.

The value of a public library - Omaha.com

A Nebraskan view of the importance of public libraries - click title for link.

All this talk about the library...

I thought about some pictures taken a couple years ago of the art and artifacts found inside the Lake Worth Public Library.  If you haven't wandered around the building, you owe to yourself to do so.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another duty of our Lifeguard corps...morning beach clean-up and bonfire duties...

Photo by AnnaMaria Windisch

Photo by AnnaMaria Windisch

One of the surprises in the memo from the City Manager...

included in the back-up memo for the 3/21/11 meeting on the budget cuts, is the following item regarding the library building. Note particularly the part that is highlighted:

With all this talk about city buildings and their future use, it got me thinking that Song and Associates did a study on utilization, condition and future facility needs for the city not too long ago.  I was able to find the Phase I report, but am having trouble tracking down the Phase II report.  If any one has luck finding it, forward it to me and I will create a link to it.  I forwarded the Phase I report to Ms. Stanton.  While realizing her disdain for the past, if she hasn't seen this report, she should read it.  I believe the Phase II report recommended that the current City Hall is best suited for use as a library.

You can see that the City Manager is looking at having the City Hall Annex building house the library - thinking that it is a "great" building for it.  According to the Phase I report, the architects found the Annex to be in poor condition with a great deal of damage from wood-eating insects and general rot.  The report also goes into a square footage analysis about the ultimate size of a library for a city the size of Lake Worth.  They recommended that a building three times the size would be ideal for our library.

What would the current library building be used for if not for a library?  It is landlocked by other buildings so expansion isn't possible.  It is most definitely historic and probably eligible for an individual listing on the National Register.  It gets a little scary that we are a city in a state of "financial urgency" and the future of the library building may be in limbo.  

I remember the uproar when the Lucerne had to eliminate the windows on the east side of the building due to the proximity of the property and the possibility of a future building being built on the library property.  This was caused by the building code and fire safety considerations.  But the conspiracy theorists, especially at election time, wove a tall tale about how this meant that the library building was soon to be demolished.  How strange that those holding the cards now might just propose that.  It would be a terrible mistake.  Perhaps some sort of adaptive re-use would be possible?

High Tech Urban Art...


Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

Best watched full screen.

Town readies time capsule for Centennial celebration

A group in Palm Beach is putting together a time capsule. Not a bad idea for Lake Worth's celebration in 2013- perhaps to bury near the Casino building. If we did it, what do you think would be worth putting in Lake Worth's time capsule that symbolizes our current time for future generations? Use the comment feature to leave your ideas. Click title for link to Shiny Sheet article.

The "SUPER MOON" over Hillsboro Light...

Click here for PBSO Semi-Annual District #14 (LW) Crime Report - a 17.8% decrease in total offenses!