Town of Palm Beach Shores

 

Hello Palm Beach Shores,
Summer is upon us and the beach sand is so hot, we have to wear shoes to get to the ocean.  Things are heating up in Town Hall too so here’s your report for the month. 
 

Staffing Update
 

Police:  The thrill of the promotion is wearing off for Chief Langevin as the hard realities of the 2018 budget plan become real.  There’s never enough money to do everything you want to do.  As expected, he has lots of good ideas and is busy implementing them. 
 
Chief Langevin has decided that he will have two Sergeants in his command staff instead of naming a new Lieutenant.  Mike Simmons will continue in his current role and Blase Pfefferkorn is promoted to Operational Sergeant.  In addition, Darrell Russian has been named Detective in addition to his patrol duties.  Congratulations to all. 
 
Replacing Blase on patrol will be a new officer, Bart Potter, who is joining us after 10 years with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office.  Bart is a native Floridian, is married and has 4 children.  Officer Potter has a wide variety of Policing experience and speaks Spanish. 
 
We will have another new Officer joining us in August.  Our canine Officer, Nia, is retiring from active duty.  We hope she enjoys her well-deserved rest.   Nia’s partner, Officer Jodi Novella, is currently in Connecticut, training with our new Drug Sniffing Canine Officer, Bella.  As you can see, Bella is a 2 year old black Lab.  According to Jodi, she is very smart and affectionate.  We can’t wait to meet her.

 
Fire:  Two full time Fire Fighters/Paramedics started work this week.  This is a big step for the Town but one the Commission feels is necessary to maintain our service levels for your safety.   We remain committed to our volunteers and appreciate their service on our behalf.  Many departments successfully operate blended staffing to provide for your safety at an acceptable cost. 
 
Jonas Stephens is originally from West Palm Beach and graduated from Wellington High School.  He attended fire school at San Diego College as well as Palm Beach State College.  Jonas comes to us with twelve years’ experience as a Firefighter/Paramedic.  He and his wife Tiffany, son Riggs (2), and daughter Isla (1) just relocated to South Florida from Hilton Head Island South Carolina.  The whole family is excited to be part of history here at the Town of Palm Beach Shores.
 
Nikolas Kotocavage is 25 years old, born and raised in West Palm Beach. Nik received his Emergency Medicine, Fire Science Education, and Paramedic degree from Palm Beach State College. Nikolas has developed a great passion for Emergency Medicine and is constantly discovering avenues to continue to expand his knowledge. He has been a Palm Beach Shores Volunteer Fire Fighter/Paramedic for 2 years and is excited for the opportunity to be a full time employee. Nik also works for a local engineering company where he assists in projects that require critical thinking and creative efforts to accomplish. In his free time Nik enjoys carpentry, spending time with his family, staying active, and enjoys the outdoors. As a Firefighter and Paramedic who has been serving your community for the last few years, he looks forward to continuing to be here to ensure the safety and immediate care of the residents and visitors of Palm Beach Shores.
 

Public Works: We have hired a new Public Works Technician, Andrew Fenton.  Andrew worked in Maintenance at the local Marriott for 6 years so he knows our Town well. He is married with 2 children and is very qualified to handle the diversity of tasks facing our Public Works team. 
 
We have invited our new staff to attend the July 17 Commission meeting to introduce themselves.  Please give each of them a hearty Palm Beach Shores welcome. 
 

2018 Budget Planning
 

The 2018 budget planning is in process.  The staff has been working together since May, discussing projects and setting priorities to give the Commission a good starting point.  Some of the capital projects that have high priority are replacing the water fountain (human and canine) by the Inlet Gazebo, updating the playground equipment and renovating the Police Station.  Every other staff space has been redone and it is time to give our Police a brighter, cleaner and more functional working environment.  Part of the plan is to provide a more user friendly entrance for visitors (human and canine) to the station. 
 
The first Commission Budget Workshop is scheduled for Monday July 10, starting at 6PM.  We will begin with a review of Town budget history, an explanation of Town revenues, present a draft Operating Plan, discussion of capital projects and initial discussion of our tax rate for next year.  The preliminary tax rate will be set at the July 17 Commission meeting and it must be finalized in September.   The meetings will be available on “Go To Meeting”.   See the Town website for details and to see all the materials that the Commission will be reviewing. 
 
Thank you to our invaluable Town Treasurer, Wendy Wells.  Wendy has once again worked magic with her spreadsheets to give the Commission a good starting point for our budget planning.  In addition, congratulations to Wendy for another gold star audit report.  Our Auditors reported at the June Commission meeting that the Town received a clean report for last year’s financial activities.
 

Undergrounding Update
 

Our Supervising Engineer, Danny Brannon, reports that we are on schedule to begin construction early next year.  His most recent status update is posted on the Town’s website under the Projects tab.   

 
Danny is working with FPL to finalize their plans.  He expects that we will be receiving those plans and the Binding Cost Estimate (BCE) in September or October.  The BCE is the agreement between FPL and the Town outlining the details of the transition from above-ground to underground service. 
 
The Commission will then have 6 months to accept or reject the BCE so that will be a hectic time for us.  Within those 6 months, we will bid out the work, select contractors and finalize our financing.  We only want to borrow as much as we need so we must have our construction bids in hand before we finalize the loan.  This should be fun! 
 
For those of you wondering what is going on along Ocean Ave that is not the Town’s undergrounding project.  That is AT&T undergrounding their lines themselves.  That’s good for us.  The more they do, the less we have to. 
 
 

June Commission Meeting  
 

At last month's Commission meeting, the Commission discussed a proposed new ordinance requiring registration and identification of service vehicles in Town.  After much thought, the Commission decided that we will not go forward with this ordinance.  We felt that we could use existing code to achieve the goal without adding a new administrative burden on both the Town and the contractors. 
 
In order to identify and limit contractor vehicle street parking, Town Hall will begin providing contractors with a limited number of street-parking passes when they pick up their permits.  The passes should be displayed on the windshield of vehicles parked by construction sites.  As for landscapers, we will renew our efforts to enforce our existing requirements that they register with the Town and display our permit.  Let’s see how this goes and then we can decide if we need more oversight. 
 

July 17 Commission Meeting Preview
 

We will be voting on the Preliminary Millage Rate for 2018.  This is the rate that will be used on the tax notification you receive each year from the Tax Assessor.  The Commission will set the Final Rate in September.  We can set a Final Rate that is lower than the Preliminary Rate, but not higher.  Sometimes, the Commission sets a higher Preliminary Rate to leave us some “wiggle room” when there are major expenses yet to be determined.  For instance, we will not know what our employee health insurance rates will be until August and that is a big driver of our overall expenses. 
 
Also on the agenda will be a discussion of Community Center rental rates for 2018.  Thank you for your good input on this important question. 
 
The other item will be the first reading of an ordinance proposing that we move the Qualifying Period for Town Elections at least 60 days before our Election Day.  This is a request from the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) to all Palm Beach County municipalities.  Currently, our Qualifying Period is approximately 30 days which does not give the SOE adequate time to produce and mail Absentee Ballots to overseas voters.  We are proposing that we move our Qualifying Period to mid-December (84 days).  This will accommodate the SOE and avoid the holidays. 
 

Mark Your Calendars
 

Budget Workshops July 10 (6 PM), Aug 7, Aug 21
Coffee/Birthday Cake with the Mayor July 14 (10 AM)
Commission Meetings July 17, Aug 21 (7 PM)
Code Magistrate July 19 (2 PM)
P&Z July 25 (7 PM)
DRC Aug 2 (2 PM)
 
That’s my report for July.  We’ll do our best to make your tax money work hard for your safety and comfort. 

Your Mayor,

Myra
 

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