Palm Beach County is offering thanks to county residents who earlier this month voted to approve a 10-year increase in the sales tax from 6 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar.
That thank you is carried on the county’s redesigned website, where residents get a breakdown of how the roughly $2.7 billion in additional sales tax money will be distributed.
The county will get 30 percent of the money, which it plans to spend rebuilding parks, roads, bridges and county buildings. Cities will get 20 percent, and the School District of Palm Beach County will get the remaining 50 percent.
“We are saddened that it has come to this. Religious discrimination, and Islamophobia in particular, have been increasing dramatically, even more so since the election,” the group’s secretary, Charlie Cormier, said in an email to reporters. “We had hoped that our county government would not succumb to pressure from
that segment of our community. We continue to hope that other government offices resist similar pressures in the future.”
After the move, Bucher told The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board she felt she had to move the site “when we had a heightened threat that they (phone callers) were going to impede voters. I was very disappointed in our community and saw we have a lot of work to do.”
Bucher’s office didn’t immediately comment Wednesday on the Unitarians’ action.
Valeche did attend last month’s organizational meeting, his first in weeks, and was sworn into his new term. He did not make mention at that meeting of his absences or his health.
Valeche has not describe his health situation, and during the election, opponent Tony Bennett had called on Valeche to be more transparent about his health. Bennett, a Democrat, noted that Republican Gov. Rick Scott would appoint a replacement if Valeche, also a Republican, won re-election and could not finish that four-year term.
The Palm Beach County Commission changed the guard Tuesday with laughs, hugs and tears.
The commission also made a surprise pick for its mostly-ceremonial mayor’s post, selecting Paulette Burdick 4-3 over colleague Steven Abrams.
The panel Tuesday said goodbye to Shelley Vana, out by term limits, and Priscilla Taylor, defeated for reelection in August.
It then swore in former state representative Dave Kerner, who won Vana’s seat, and former Delray Beach City Commissioner and former state representative Mack Bernard, who replaces Taylor.
By tradition, outgoing Vice-Mayor Hal Valeche was next in line for mayor. But Valeche, hospitalized for weeks in late October and early November,said Nov. 9 he would not stand for mayor, citing his health.
Since the position was created, the board traditionally has turned to the person who is Vice Mayor and is chairman when the commission sits as the governing board of the Solid Waste Authority. That would be Valeche.
Next up would be Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the current vice chair of the Solid Waste Authority’s board. But only Burdick and Abrams were nominated Tuesday. McKinlay later was unanimously picked for vice mayor. McKinlay said later she hadn’t sought the top post and was happy with the pick.
Abrams had been the first mayor when the panel switched to the title from “commission chair,” and Kerner said later he voted for Burdick because she hadn’t had the post yet.
In 2013, Burdick, who as vice mayor traditionally would be next in line, was passed over for Shelley Vana in a move she later called “petty” and blamed on her growth-management stances. Burdick said Tuesday that was in the past and she was ready to take on her new duties.
Not clear: who will be picked for the mostly-ceremonial mayor’s post. Valeche, hospitalized for weeks in late October and early November, said Nov. 9 he would not stand for mayor, citing his health. Since the position of mayor was created in 2013, the board traditionally has turned to the person who is Vice Mayor and is chairman as the commission sits as the governing board of the Solid Waste Authority. That would be Valeche. Next up would be Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, the current vice chair of the Solid Waste Authority’s board.
Also on today’s agenda:
Westlake: A vote to approve changing the boundaries of its Municipal Service Taxing Unit for fire-rescue to include the new city of Westlake.
Cancer Treatment Centers: A vote to approve $357,500 in local incentives for Boca Raton-based Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which will spend at least $14.,5 million to buy and renovate an existing building for its corporate headquarters.
Palm Beach County Commission Meeting: When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Public comment at 2 p.m. Where:Sixth-floor chambers, Weisman Palm Beach County Governmental Center,301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach
Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County’s clerk and comptroller, has said her office will designate a special account so money from the recently approved increase in the sales tax can be closely monitored.
“A dedicated staff person will be assigned to monitor the receipts coming in, as well as audit any expenditures from this new fund,” Bock said in a statement released Friday.
She added: “Rest assured that my office will examine and account for every penny that is allocated and spent.”
Voters approved a 10-year increase in the sales tax from 6 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar. The increase is expected to generate $2.7 billion, with the School District of Palm Beach County getting half of that money, the county getting 30 percent of it and cities getting the remaining 20 percent.
County commissioners and staff have said they’ll use the county’s portion – estimated to be about $810 million – to repair parks, roads, bridges and buildings.
In approving the sales tax plan, commissioners also supported the establishment of citizen oversight committees to make sure the money is spent as originally planned. But Bock said she’ll be watching as well.
“As the official ‘watchdog’ of all county funds, I am constitutionally tasked to provide the necessary ‘checks and balances’ on the county’s budget, revenue and spending,” she said.
Bock’s office does have the power to refuse to release funds if she determines that the spending does not serve a public purpose.
“I know your tax dollars are in good hands,” she said. “We are here to protect and preserve public funds with integrity and accountability.”
A judge Monday gave Riviera Beach five days to assign activist Fane Lozman street addresses for the five Singer Island lots of what the activist calls his “Renegade” complex.
Palm Beach County Judge Martin Colin’s order said “credible evidence belies the City’s position” that Lozman hadn’t exhausted his avenues to get the address, saying Lozman first contacted the city via email and written correspondence more than a year ago.