Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mayor Triolo Speaks at Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association meeting...

This picture was taken during the question and answer session at last night's meeting.  The Mayor talked for a little over twenty minutes and then took many questions from the 50 or so that attended the meeting - her portion of the meeting took up a total of about an hour.  She had lots to report.  The most significant announcement was that the city's budget projections are looking better than previously thought and it looks like the city will not have to dig in to the reserves - to the tune of $423,000 to maintain a balanced budget.  This is indeed good news!  Commissioners Mulvehill and McVoy voted against this budget - the one that reduced electric rates by 6.2% since it was thought that the city would need to rely on the transfer of the reserve money.  They also didn't like getting rid of the conservation program - but that also contributed to the decrease in utility rates.

Mayor Triolo also talked about how the city really needs to focus on streets and sidewalks in under-served areas of the city, particularly the south and west sides.  She mentioned a new business attraction program that will allow businesses to take advantage of lower rates, equal or better than FPL's, and that will promote economic development and job creation.  She was happy that Mulligan's is opened in the NEW casino building and that other tenants are finishing their build-out.  She also acknowledged problems with the building - water intrusion, etc. - and that the city will not accept the building until those issues are fixed by the contractor.

She also was very clear about her position on heights in the downtown.  She emphatically stated that she does not want to see skyscrapers in the downtown.  She reminded everyone that the only place we are talking about buildings up to 65 feet in height is the area east of Federal where there are already buildings of that height or higher.  She would even restrict buildings from going to 65 feet from 45 feet only if they provide at least 50 hotel units.  She stressed that having hotels in the downtown is an important part of job creation and helps keep tourist money in downtown Lake Worth as opposed to sending it to other areas of Palm Beach County.

The Mayor also said that they are working on resolutions to long--standing legal issues and lawsuits. These include the Greater Bay lawsuit - which appears for discussion on tonight's agenda - and the Sunset property mediation.  She gave out great praise to the city's new set of attorneys for assisting in this process.

During the question and answer portion, many questions were asked about the current status of the Gulfstream Hotel.  She said that she knew of two bona fide offers from people that want to buy the property, but they haven't been accepted by the owner.  She pointed out the the city is limited in what it can do to push things along there.

There was a whole discussion about parking in the downtown - the Mayor said that we are not at a point where we need a parking garage, that there is parking available but it may not be always in the most convenient location.  She did not like the idea of parking meters in the downtown but said that the city will be enforcing the four hour maximum limit for parking - which hasn't really been enforced before.

There were a lot of questions surrounding parking at the beach and handicapped access to the new building.  There is talk of a 10 passenger shuttle, perhaps two, that would ferry people from the fairly distant parking area during construction and perhaps after as well.  The Mayor pointed out that the current Commission is left with decisions made by previous Commissions on the site design and that there are some issues that need to be addressed.  She has also looked into an electric shuttle service like Delray employs that moves people around town and to the beach - operated by college-aged kids.

All-in-all, it was an enlightening, candid discussion presented with optimism and confidence - something that we have come to expect from Mayor Triolo.