Sunday , 31 August 2014
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A holiday wish list for the new Palmetto Bay council

There is an opportunity for new and positive beginning in Palmetto Bay. There are two new members and three current members who saw voters recently turn out both incumbents. It is time to return to public inclusion and, most importantly, time to move forward in a positive manner in 2013.

Here are some suggestions for the two new council members:

Meet with the manager along with all department heads to obtain a full briefing as well as to establish a working, not an adversarial, relationship.

Ask what business remains of the current agenda and ask for (and study) all official minutes related to the projects. It is time to play catch up and be well read on the topics. You need to be ready to hit the ground running.

By now both should have met with the village attorney and been briefed on the Florida Sunshine Law and Records Retention rules. This is the law and it is your responsibility to comply.

Suggestions for the entire 2013 council: This is a five-member council. Each member has the same right to make or second motions, to agenda and sponsor or cosponsor resolutions and/or ordinances. There are five votes — one per member, each equal to all other votes.

It is time for a village workshop on governance. This workshop needs to be inclusive and a true roundtable, not dominated by current members. Seniority does not allow for dominance over agendas.

I suggest that the procedures ordinance be reviewed and the entire council, new members included, discuss how to properly address violations of the decorum ordinance as well as how fellow council members can do their part if the mayor fails to maintain decorum.

Discussion should be held on current projects.

My concerns that I would like to see finally addressed include:

The status of two fire stations that the original Palmetto Bay Village Council worked on with federal, state and local (county commission and fire department) officials.

Good work should not be squandered. Committee reports should not be placed on shelves to collect dust. What is the status of the implementation of the new permit fee schedule and other recommendations of the Palmetto Bay Building and Permitting Advisory Committee Final Committee Report?

Should Palmetto Bay purchase bayfront land that is currently available? This may be the last time Palmetto Bay may ever be able to add waterfront access.

It is time again for a village-wide strategy session. Goals need to be set — and not just in a single workshop. There should be real attempts made at obtaining fresh opinions from all residents. There should be a neutral and professional facilitator in place to direct the topics. It is time to access the true nature of the wants and needs of the entire village.

Palmetto Bay kicked off its incorporated life with a huge series of public meetings, workshops and visioning session. We held planning workshops on the CDMP, zoning code and parks master plan. Committees were used; surveys were taken. Pinecrest recently completed a major update to its strategic plan. It is time for Palmetto Bay to do the same.

A public meeting needs to be held on the Franjo Triangle and US1 Island zoning district. Staff should give a public report on where the village stands on the infrastructure (the EDC fought hard for this water and sewer project; repaving and updates to Franjo road itself). I would like for each council member to give a written report on where they stand on revitalizing this area and plan for the future.

The future of committees needs to be discussed. Where are quarterly presentations of what they are or are not accomplishing? Is the council providing proper scope of work and are there indicators in place to measure whether there is progress?

It also is time for transparency on appointment to village boards and committees. All applications should include a spot for more than just prior service. Applications should disclose whether the applicants worked for or donated money to council members. The public needs to be assured that service is based upon merit and not political patronage or are appointed merely to drive the specific agenda of the council member who appointed them.

Happy holidays to all and let’s all work together for a positive Palmetto Bay in 2013. Eugene Flinn was the first mayor of Palmetto Bay.

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