Housing Seminar set for Jan. 23 in Belle Glade

022215-met-pbg-house-repair-04Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay will host a seminar for homeowners and local contractors from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Palm Beach County Public Library Belle Glade Branch, at 725 NW 4th St. in Belle Glade.

The event will provide information about low-interest rate loans for home improvement projects. Financing is available at below market-rates and homeowners with poor and limited credit history are eligible to apply. Local contractors also are invited to learn more about how these financing programs can help their businesses:

Programs:

  • *U.S. Department of Energy low-interest rate loans to for energy efficiency improvements.
  • The non-profit Solar and Energy Loan Fund, which provides low-interest rate options for improvements. Call (772) 468-1818.
  • Contractor recruitment for SELF. Approved local contractors can use SELF financing options.
  • Job training programs available from the building trades.

Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation meets next week in Belle Glade

palm-beach-county-logoThe third and last hearing of the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation before the 2017 session starts will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Monday, Dec. 19, at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center on the Palm Beach State College Belle Glade campus, 1977 S.W. College Drive, Belle Glade.

At the hearing, the group — comprised of Palm Beach County’s state senators and state representatives — will vote on the local bills submitted for consideration and will take comments from the public. The proposed local bills can be found on the delegation website: www.PalmBeachDelegation.com.

For more, call the delegation office at 561-355-2406.

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Solution for excess horse manure?

Palm Beach County has a problem – too much horse manure. And that’s not because presidential candidates keep coming here.

No, the county has a vibrant equestrian industry. But some of the waste from those horses is dumped illegally, threatening the environment.

More companies that recycle or process that waste have wanted to set up shop in the county, but residents, wary of the potential odorous effects of such an operation, have shouted NIMBY (not in my backyard).

County officials now hope they have a solution.

Commissioners have given preliminary approval to an amendment of the county’s comprehensive plan that would allow an equestrian waste recycling pilot project to operate in an area called the Glades tier, a large swath of unincorporated farming land west of Wellington and east of Belle Glade.

The goal is to have the operation located close enough to the equestrian hot spot of Wellington but not close enough to Wellington (or to cities in the Glades, for that matter) for it to foul the air of neighborhoods and depress property values.

Commissioner Priscilla Taylor initially expressed concern that the operation would be foisted upon already economically depressed cities in the Glades, but Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose office has been working on the issue, assured her that is not the case.

McKinlay’s district includes the Glades, and she bristled at the suggestion that she would support foisting anything on the area.

Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the amendment, which must be reviewed by state officials before it comes back to the county for final approval.

McKinlay viewed the amendment as a step in the right direction.

“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of tons that need to be disposed of,” she said.

equestrian2

 

PBC forms partnership to rehab complex in Belle Glade

Palm Beach County’s Department of Economic Sustainability has joined forces with the Palm Beach County Housing Authority and a private developer to renovate Covenant Villas, a 144-unit complex in Belle Glade.

The goal is to boost the number of affordable housing units in Belle Glade, one of the poorest communities in the county.

Covenant Villas was built in 1989 and, according to a county press release, is “in need of significant repairs.”

Only 40 percent of the complex is occupied.

The Housing Trust Group is the private developer working with various government entities to upgrade the complex, purchased for $22.3 million through low-income housing tax credits.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose district includes Belle Glade, praised efforts to purchase and renovate the complex.

“It is a testament to the proactive approach Palm Beach County takes to protect and grow affordable, safe, and healthy housing stock in the Glades,” she said.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay
Commissioner Melissa McKinlay

 

 

 

Glades to host criminal justice academy

PHi_j0193This summer, for the first time, the Glades will host a “citizens’ criminal justice academy.”

The academy will meet from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on consecutive Thursdays, June 9, 16, 23, and 30, at the Belle Glade Library/Civic Center, at 725 N.W. 4th St., in Belle Glade.

Sponsors are the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization.

The academy is designed to teach lay people about specific aspects of the criminal justice system and how decisions are made. Participants will see demonstrations, meet with decision makers involved with criminal justice, and tour the jail.

Participants must be at least 16 and can earn up to 12 community service hours.

Applications are required; visit http://www.pbcgov.org/criminaljustice or call 561-355-4943.

Belle Glade mayor supports cultural projects in sales tax plan

Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson urged Palm Beach County commissioners to use some of the money from a proposed sales tax increase to pay for cultural projects.

The County Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on a plan to raise the 6-cent sales tax by a penny on the dollar. If the tax increase is approved by commissioners and by voters in November, it would generate $2.7 billion over 10 years for repairs to roads, bridges, school and county buildings.

Cultural institutions like museums, theaters and the zoo can apply to receive $121 million from sales tax money for their projects. Some commissioners, business officials and county residents oppose using sales tax money on cultural projects, arguing that all of the money should be used on county and school projects.

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County had identified specific projects it recommended for funding, and those projects were initially included in the sales tax plan put together by County Administrator Verdenia Baker.

But after some raised questions about how the council came up with its recommendations, Baker changed her plan, requiring all cultural institutions to compete for sales tax money in a process run by the county.

In a letter written on April 18 and forwarded to commissioners Friday by Cultural Council President Rena Blades, Wilson said he backs using sales tax money on cultural projects.

“While we definitely need additional funding for infrastructure, we also need help in bringing tourism to Palm Beach County, and particularly to western Palm Beach County,” Wilson wrote. “I want to see cultural arts opportunities become more readily available to youth throughout the county, including children and young adults in the Glades region.”

Tuesday’s public hearing will be held on the sixth floor of the Weisman Governmental Center at 301 N. Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach.

(Bill Ingram /The Palm Beach Post): Steve B. Wilson, mayor of Belle Glade
(Bill Ingram /The Palm Beach Post): Steve B. Wilson, mayor of Belle Glade

Hug a tree and win in Palm Beach County contest

MDELRAY BEACH-031104 NPD CLPhotograph a “tree hugger” and you might win a prize in a contest being staged by Palm Beach County.

The “Hug a Tree for Earth Day” Instagram Photo Contest is sponsored by the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management.

The winning photographer gets a kit filled with eco-friendly products, including a native tree and a rain barrel. There’s no fee to enter.

To enter, take a picture of a tree hugger in action, follow @pbcerm on Instagram, upload your photos on Instagram and tag with #ermgreen @pbcerm, and include location and, if known, tree species.

Photos must be taken in Palm Beach County and shared between April 1 and April 30. Earth Day is April 22.

ERM also, in partnership with the county’s Cooperative Extension Service , will give away  up to two native trees or shrubs per home address on April 16 at the Black Gold Jubilee event in Belle Glade. Supplies are limited.

Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office to hold Passport application day Friday

Photo caption: Lock up that passport! Photo credit: SwimParallel

A special  “Passport Day” is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the three branch offices of the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.

In addition to its West County Courthouse in Belle Glade,  the clerk also will have special Friday hours at the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens and the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach; those two locations usually are closed on Friday.

Each applicant, whether adult or child, must come in person and bring one piece of proof of citizenship (previous passport, certified copy of birth certificate with names of both parents, or certificate of naturalization) and one piece of proof of identity (previous passport, current drivers license, state identification card or certificate of naturalization)

Payments to the U.S. Department of State must be by personal check, cashier’s check or money order; no cash or credit cards. A separate application fee to the clerk can be made by cash, check or card.

The clerk’s office also will offer passport photos on site for a charge.

No appointment is needed.

If your passport is expired for less than 5 years, this event isn’t for you; you must renew by mail.

Click for more information