Body cameras for PBSO deputies could cost $10M

Body cameras for Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies could cost as much as $10 million, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said.

County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, campaigning for re-election, has made a renewed call for body cameras.

Taylor said she’d like to see money from a proposed increase in the sales tax used to pay for the  body cameras. Her colleagues on the commission would have to agree to use sales tax money for body cameras.

An initial sales tax projects list included $27.4 million for in-car cameras, body cameras and radios. Baker said the plan was to purchase the equipment together to save money.

As the sales tax debate moved forward, however, money for body cameras was removed from the projects list. When the commission meets on Tuesday, Taylor plans to urge her colleagues to put funding for body cameras back on the sales tax projects list.

Taylor
Taylor

 

Palm Beach County set to urge feds: fix Lake Okeechobee dike now

DikeFail
(US Army Corps of Engineers graphic)

Palm Beach County Commissioners are expected Tuesday to tell the federal government: Free up money to finish fixes to the Lake Okeechobee dike before something bad happens.

The commission is set at its regular meeting to vote on a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to find the money for the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project, the first major rehab in some 75 years, and calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to expedite its repairs to the dike to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare of the cities surrounding Lake Okeechobee and the Corps’ ability to manage the lake’s water level in a way that will significantly reduce the impact to the coastal estuaries,” an agenda item says.

The first part of that refers to concerns about breaches in the dike during the hurricane season; it’s just now starting its busiest stretch. The second part is related: heavy rains have left the giant lake swollen and high, and to reduce pressure on the dike, the Corps has been sending millions of gallons of fresh water down to the St. Lucie Inlet in Stuart and the Caloosahatchee estuary in Fort Myers, where the imbalance altered the fresh-salt mix, endangering plant and animal life and leading to a massive, odorous and ugly algae bloom that’s devastated the Treasure Coast economy.

More than 1,000 pets available Sept. 10 for you to take home

031416 Pet Parade Portraits 16Imagine 2,000 eyes giving you that look only a shelter pet can.

As many as 1,000 dogs and cats will be on hand for what organizers say is the county’s biggest adoption event of the year, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center at 650 Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

The third annual Countdown 2 Zero adoption event is presented by The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and organized by the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, and more than two dozen local animal rescue organizations. The first two events found homes for nearly 600 animals.

Organizers said they also want to spread the word about having pets spayed or neutered, as part of the campaign to end the euthanizing of shelter animals.

Admission and parking are free and many of the groups will offer discounts and incentives. All adopters will receive gifts as well as free rabies tags.

Call 561-472-8845 or email info@countdown2zero.org.

This “change order” will save Palm Beach County part of $1.4 million

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It’s two words that strike fear in the heart of any homeowner getting a kitchen remodeled: “change order.” It usually means bigger numbers on the final payment to the contractor.

But Palm Beach County commissioners Tuesday will hear about a change order that’s going mean a savings of $1.24 million, according to a draft agenda item for Tuesday’s meeting.

The county’s still calculating how much of that will go to county taxpayers, who will split the $1.24 million with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, Stephen O’Neil said Wednesday. O’Neil is chief construction coordinator for the county’s department of engineering and public works.

The money in question is part of a phase of a project to redo a part of County Road 880, also called Old State Road 80, in an area south of “20 Mile Bend,” the jog in State Road 80 that marks pretty much the halfway point between the coast and Lake Okeechobee. He said this phase involve rehabilitating a bank of an adjacent canal.

“They found the contractor was able to do it with less material and less work,” bringing the cost for this phase down from about $4.1 million to about $2.8 million, O’Neil said. He said the savings is  unusual but not unheard of.

Palm Beach County: We’ve distributed 240,000 Zika info flyers

ERMZika

zika2Even as the state Friday revealed two new travel-related cases of the Zika virus in Palm Beach County, the county already has distributed nearly a quarter million flyers educating people about the crisis, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said Friday in an update sent to commissioners and staff.

“We are monitoring this very fluid situation and will take further actions, if necessary. Our goal is to keep our residents and visitors safe,” Baker said in sending the update.

Also Friday. Gov. Rick Scott said that, of 20,000 mosquitoes tested across Florida , not a one has tested positive for the Zika virus, this as the state and its federal partners continue to reduce the danger zone in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.

Baker said Friday that Palm Beach County now has four 2-person crews applying chemicals on the ground, searching for and emptying water containers, and educating residents, and has a person on call in the Glades. She said workers will be armed with “newer, lighter and more effective backpack sprayers and hand foggers.”

Baker also said the county’s mosquito control hotline has received an “unprecedented” volume of calls. She said the county’s health department has begun training local medical professionals to conduct educational seminars with homeowner associations. And she said, several agencies have stepped efforts to find and get rid of illegally-dumped waste tires, which fill with water and become prime mosquito breeder sites.

Baker
Baker

 

Baker said some 240,000 flyers have been distributed. They’re being put in county water bills and sent to county libraries and other county locations as well as Palm Beach International Airport and the Port of Palm Beach. She said the county’s working with local cities and utilities to distribute the materials as well. The flyers include one from Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (left).

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

Palm Beach County distributes new Zika flyer; Gov. Scott: Not one local mosquito found to carry virus

Zika

ERMZikaOf 20,000 mosquitoes tested across Florida , not a one has tested positive for the Zika virus, this as the state and its federal partners continue to reduce the danger zone in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Gov. Rick Scott said Friday.

“The only spot where we believe there is the risk of local transmission right now is Wynwood,” Scott told state legislators Friday afternoon in a 20-minute conference call.

Also Friday, Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management issued a new flyer reminding county residents how to help fight the spread of the virus (left).

 

On Thursday, in the Wynwood section, which researchers say is the source for the locally-contracted cases in Florida, a 10-block section to the northwest was declared clear of Zika mosquitoes.

But two new travel-related cases were found in Miami-Dade County, bringing the state’s total of those affected to 393, including 55 pregnant women.

Officials of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health have said the only way for a local mosquito to spread the disease locally is  to bite someone who has the virus, then transfer it as it bites a second person. Zika also can be transmitted sexually.

Philip
Philip

“We’re not surprised that we have local transmission,” Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip said in Friday’s conference call. But, she said, “If we can keep the

Scott
Scott

number of cases very low, that helps us do our part to protect pregnant women in our communities.”

 

Zika has been blamed for microencephaly, a condition in which a newborn’s head is smaller than expected, and the baby’s brain might not fully develop.

Scott and Philip also came in late June to West Palm Beach to huddle with Palm Beach County officials.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

ZIKA VIRUS: Read The Post’s complete coverage of the outbreak of the disease

One Wawa gets initial OK amid opposition to another

The Palm Beach County Zoning Commission approved Wawa’s application to build a 24-hour gas station at the southeast corner of Military Trail and 10th Avenue North west of Lake Worth.

That application will now go to the Palm Beach County Commission for consideration on August 25.

A far more controversial application from Wawa – this one for a gas station at Hypoluxo Road and High Ridge Road – was also to be considered by the Zoning Commission today. But the agenda item was postponed until the Zoning Commission’s September 1 meeting.

Citing noise and traffic concerns, residents near the proposed Hypoluxo Road station have bombarded county commissioners with letters of opposition to the project.

Residents opposed to a proposed gas station on a lot at High Ridge and Hypoluxo hold signs expressing their opposition Monday, April 11, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Residents opposed to a proposed gas station on a lot at High Ridge and Hypoluxo hold signs expressing their opposition Monday, April 11, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

 

Palm Beach County Inspector General marks 2 years on job

Carey
Carey

OIGPalm Beach County Inspector General John Carey has marked his second anniversary with an open letter to “Palm Beach County Leaders” urging their cooperation.

In a letter dated July 29 but released to the press Wednesday, Carey, whose actual 2-year anniversary was in June, asked local elected officials and staff to:

  • Call him if they have questions or recommendations.
  • Let him know of any agencies that can benefit from a talk by him about local governments’ transparency and accountability responsibilities and the role of his office.
  • Attend the twice-a-year meetings of the Inspector General’s Committee, or watch them on County TV or online.

PBC Administrator Baker explains details of sales tax plan

Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker explained the details of the county’s plan to raise the sales tax to a group of planning and growth management officials Tuesday morning.

Baker said the sales tax increase, which would generate an estimated $2.7 billion over the next decade, would allow the county to repair roads, bridges and county buildings that were neglected during the recent economic downturn.

Baker is expected to make a similar presentation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this evening at Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Reach more about the campaign for passage of the sales tax increase later today at http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker
County Administrator Verdenia Baker