Palm Beach County Commission to hear federal priorities today

palm-beach-county-logoThe Palm Beach County Commission will hear a roundup of its federal priorities at today’s meeting.

Part-time Palm Beacher Donald Trump now is in the White House, and Palm Beach County officials have been studying how actions taken by his administration could be a boon to the county – or they could block progress in areas where the county can’t succeed without federal help.

Also on today’s agenda:

Animal Care: Will get a report on how the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control collects, and spends, money from rabies tags.

Code: Set to approve the settlement of four large unrelated code violations, reducing penalties from more than $1 million to just thousands.

Court Security: Will get an update on plans to overhaul the security system at the Palm Beach County courts complex.

Jet: Will “receive and file” a resolution passed by town of Atlantis opposing the allowing of jets at Lantana.

Palm Beach County Commission Meeting:

When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Where: Sixth-floor chambers, Weisman Palm Beach County Governmental Center, 301 N. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach

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Palm Beach County office of community revitalization holds meeting Feb. 15

palm-beach-county-logoIf you want to learn about programs and services county agencies and department offer, and let the county know how it can improve, the county invites you to a meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Vista Center, 2300 North Jog Road in suburban West Palm Beach.

The Countywide Community Revitalization Team meeting is hosted by the county’s Office of Community Revitalization.

For more, call 561-233-5303.

Palm Beach County Tax Collector: property tax discount ends Feb. 28

TaxCollectorLogoFebruary is the last month for property tax early payment discounts, Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon said in a newsletter. Pay by February 28 and save 1 percent.

Property taxes are due by March 31. Taxpayers can use the office’s ePay system; instructions are on the website.

Taxpayers also can sign up for the Tax Collector’s advance installment plan for their 2018 property tax payment; make four payments throughout the year and get a discount of just under 4 percent. Sign up on the website by April 30.

The Tax Collector also offers a tax planner and  services guide. It includes a calendar, information about services, frequently asked questions, and a glossary of tax terms. Pick up a hard copy at one of the Tax Collector’s offices or click here to download. For bulk copies, email

For more, call the tax collector at 561- 355-2264.


Atlantis: We support ban on jets at Lantana Airport

citation-i-1-eThe Federal Aviation Administration has yet to rule on whether retired commercial pilot Errol Forman can land his jet at the Lantana Airport. But an interested party has weighed in. The Atlantis City Council, at its Dec. 14 meeting, voted 5-0 to support the 43-year-old embargo,

The town, which is adjacent to the airport, said in its resolution that many people and businesses relied on the ban when they moved there, and the city “believes that it is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of its residents and businesses” to keep the moratorium in place.

The FAA said in December that Forman’s complaint has merit and the ban “may be unjustly discriminatory and not consistent with the county’s federal obligations.” Palm Beach County Airports Director Bruce Pelly then wrote to county commissioners that the restriction still might be enforceable for reasons of “airspace safety and/or efficiency.”

Forman has told The Palm Beach Post it’s the county that’s infringing on his right to fly at an airport that’s paid for with federal money and open to the public.

Lantana, just 7 air miles from Palm Beach International Airport and officially named Palm Beach County Park Airport, is the subject of a 1973 agreement in which the Federal Aviation Administration gave the county authority to ban jets. It’s the only one in Florida that formally forbids jets.

Palm Beach County ethics panel tosses two complaints

ethics logoA Delray Beach city commissioner and a Palm Beach County Community Services Department supervisor were cleared Thursday by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics.

The commission found “no probable cause” that Commissioner Shelly Petrolia benefited by nominating a customer of her outside business to the city’s Site Plan and Review Board. According to a memo, on June 7, Petrolia nominated Cynthia Freeburn as one of seven applicants; Freeburn was not picked. The memo said Petrolia did not reveal she and her husband, real estate brokers and had sold Freeburn a home and recently had listed her current home for sale. But an ethics commission memo ruled the $8,885 the Petrolias earned from Freeburn did not meet a $10,000 minimum to constitute a code violation and that she received no direct benefit in exchange for nominating Freeburn.

The commission also found no probable cause that Kathryn McNealy used her official position to manipulate the time sheets of two department employees. A former supervisor alleged McNealy put in hours for two co-workers for time they did not work. But a memo said a commission investigation found no evidence of that and noted the complainant signed off on many of the questioned time sheets and that one of the workers actually ran out of vacation and leave time and accrued some 80 hours of unpaid leave.

Pot summit draws PBC officials

The Florida Association of Counties has organized a pot summit that will be held in the Orlando area on Saturday, and, no, neither Cheech and Chong nor Snoop Dog are expected to attend.

Instead, county officials from across the state – including Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay – are gathering to discuss the issues surrounding the legalization of medical marijuana.

The county is waiting to see what state legislators do in the area before crafting its own set of regulations.

County officials hear from the director of the Florida Dept. of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use on what steps DOH have taken so far in regulating and implementing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

Other presenters will include county attorneys, law enforcement and officials from Denver, whose high-profile legalization has come with a few snags.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)


Palm Beach County busts code penalties by more than 90 percent

palm-beach-county-logoFour penalties for unrelated Palm Beach County code violations dating as far back as the 2004 hurricanes are set to be reduced from more than $1 million down to about 9 cents on the dollar, according to a memo for next Tuesday’s Palm Beach County Commission meeting.

The four items will be reduced to 8.6 percent, from $1.076 million to $92,290.

Code enforcement officials have stressed that dramatic reductions are the norm; that the ultimate goal isn’t to collect a big penalty but to get people in compliance.

The four items:

Property in West Palm Beach owned by Marcos Acevedo was hit with three code enforcement liens of September 2008, August 2010 and September 2010 for various maintenance violations. A lien grew to $786,531 as of Dec. 9. Settled for $50,000 (6.4 percent).

A shopping center near Palm Springs owned by South Military Trail LLC was cited for  landscaping issues and draconian “hat-racking” trimming of trees after the 2004 hurricanes. A lien grew to $128,812 as of Nov. 15. Settled for $6,675 (5.2 percent) with a ban on the center operating a cocktail lounge or selling alcohol between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Ramsey Bulkeley, deputy director of Planning, Zoning and Building, which oversees code enforcement, said El Toro Loco, a night club at the center, was for years the site of numerous incidents of violence and crime.

Property near Palm Beach International Airport that’s owned by Florida Land & Timber Corp. was cited for exotic pest trees, standing dead trees and trash dating to 2005.  A lien grew, with interest, to $117,634 as of Nov. 9. settled for $20,665 (17.6 percent).

Property in Lake Worth owned by Carmella Daut and Jean Rene Pierre-Louis was cited for installing a porch without proper permits. Liens grew to $43,348 as of Jan. 3. Settled for $14,950 (34.5 percent).





Want to see Air Force One this weekend? You can’t miss it.

Air Force One leaves PBIA in 2012
Air Force One leaves PBIA in 2012
123116 PBDN Meghan McCarthy Melania and President-elect Donald Trump leave the dance floor before midnight at Mar-a-Lago Club Saturday December 31, 2016 in the Town of Palm Beach.
Melania and President-elect Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party (Meghan McCarthy/The Palm Beach Daily News)

This weekend’s visit by President Donald Trump, the first to Palm Beach since he was sworn in, by no means marks the first time Air Force One has been parked at Palm Beach International Airport.

And as always, interested sightseers will want to take a look at America’s most recognized flying machine.

Not to worry. You can’t miss it, says Bruce Pelly, Palm Beach County’s director of airports.

“It’s a 747,” Pelly said Wednesday. “You can pretty well see it from almost anywhere at the airport.”

Pelly said it will be the Secret Service that decides exactly where the plane sits during Trump’s stay, but most likely it will be near the U.S. Customs office, a small building along Southern Boulevard on PBIA’s south side.

Which, Pelly noted, is about where private citizen Trump used to park his no-less-recognized private plane. The one that says “Trump.”