Another Go at the Sales Tax on Tuesday

The proposal for a county sales tax increase is back on the agenda, Tuesday March 11, postponed from the December 17 meeting by a 4-3 vote. (See Item 5G1.) In December, there was consensus that the proposal was a “potpourri” or grab-bag of small projects lumped togther to utilize the $110M a year that a .5% increase would bring. It’s reincarnation is still a grab-bag of small projects, but they are limited to infrastructure and spending... [Read More...]

Overlooking the Obvious? Observations from the Palm Tran Connection Workshop

Good summaries of the 2/28/14 BCC workshop to discuss the future direction of Palm Tran Connection were written by Joe Capozzi in the Palm Beach Post and Andy Reid in the Sun-Sentinel. We are generally in support of the direction given by the Commission to: Pursue multiple contracts in lieu of a single-source vendor, since competition will enhance responsiveness and flexibility. Bring dispatch in-house – this may not be quite the salvation... [Read More...]

Best Practices in Transportation for the Mobility Impaired

While researching our article “Growing Government in Giant Steps: A County Takeover of Palm Tran Connection?”, we encountered an excellent reference for best practices in ADA compliance for public transportation. See “Innovative Approaches for Increasing Transportation Options for People with Disabilities in Florida” – published by Center for Urban Transportation Research and sponsored by the United States Department... [Read More...]

Growing Government in Giant Steps: A County Takeover of Palm Tran Connection?

Now that the county has decided to end the relationship with Metro Mobility Management Group a year from now, a serious proposal has surfaced to bring the operation into the government – with county-owned vans and equipment, and with county employees with their higher salaries and generous benefits. If executed as described, it would require the hiring of 416 new county employees, a 7% growth in total staff and a 72% growth in the Palm Tran... [Read More...]

BCC to Discuss $29M in Spending Reductions

At the Tuesday, May 15 Commission Meeting, agenda items 5a2 and 5a3 deal with an “efficiency audit” performed by consultants Gerstle, Rosen & Goldenberg at the request of county administration. The audit found areas of significant savings, both in county operations and in the constitutional offices (except the Sheriff who evidently refused to answer any of their questions), estimated in the range of $29M. They looked in four areas:... [Read More...]

Yet Another Taxing District?

Palm Beach County property owners are taxed in many ways.  We pay separate tax rates for our cities, for our schools, and for the county government.  We also pay for the county libraries, the Health Care District, the Children’s Services Council, and a variety of inlet and water management districts.  If we live in the unincorporated areas we pay separately for Fire/Rescue. Now there is a proposal to create yet another tax district –... [Read More...]

Notes and Feedback From June 30 Commission Workshop in Pahokee

I was not able to attend the entire Commissioner Workshop on Thursday in Pahokee, but the following are my notes from the discussion: Programs identified as potential areas for budget cuts by Robert Weisman and the Commissioners: 4-H Children’s programs Park services Drug & alcohol treatment / recovery Consumer Affairs Pools Life guards at the beach No increase in funds for economic development Events at County amphitheatres The Commissioners... [Read More...]

Reduce Govt Overhead, Not Essential Services: BOC, Constitutional Officers and particularly the Sheriff

Editor’s note: This post was sent as an email to the County Commissioners and Constitutional Officers by Dale Gregory on June 13, 2011. PALM BEACH TAB PROPOSALS: I support in concept the proposals of the Palm Beach TAB advocated at the June 13, 2011 Budget Workshop. REDUCE GOVERNMENT OVERHEAD, NOT ESSENTIAL SERVICES I am appalled at the County Administrator’s appeal to emotion by proposing to increase Palm Tran rates, reduce life... [Read More...]

Legislative Update – 5/5/11

As the Legislature winds down the session, there has been much progress on the bills we have been tracking that relate to county budget issues. The following is a status: Pension Reform SB2100/HB1405 having emerged from conference on Friday May 6, has been sent to the governor. From the House bill, the plan adopts the 3% employee contribution and retirement eligibility of age 65 / 33 years for general class and age 60 / 30 years for special risk.... [Read More...]

SWA Board Selects Babcock and Wilcox

The Taxpayers won again – just barely. After a 9 1/2 hour marathon meeting at the Solid Waste Authority auditorium on Jog Road, the SWA board upheld their selection committee’s choice of Babcock and Wilcox to build and operate the $600M waste-to-energy plant that is the biggest taxpayer-funded project ever undertaken in the county. This was good news for the taxpayer since on the “future value” method of comparison by SWA consultant... [Read More...]

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