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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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, 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.
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.
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.