PBC being asked for 27 acres of park land for sports fields

PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche

Palm Beach Shores Mayor Myra Koutzen has written to County Commissioner Hal Valeche to express her support for a plan to build sports fields on 27 acres of the North County District Park.

Koutzen notes that Palm Beach Gardens wants to use some of its money from the one-cent sales tax increase to build sports fields on park land, which is located in Valeche’s district.

“As a small community with very limited public space, our residents have particular need of the types of recreational space proposed for that area of the North County District Park,” Koutzen wrote in am email to Valeche. “We are particularly appreciative that Palm Beach Gardens opens their facilities to residents of neighboring communities such as ours. This proposal would support their ability to continue to provide this access in the future.”

PBC looking to boost spending to combat heroin/opioid crisis

Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche at county budget workshop, March 25, 2015 (Staff photo/Eliot Kleinberg)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche (Staff photo/Eliot Kleinberg)

Palm Beach County commissioners, opening discussions about their 2018 budget, are considering setting aside $2 million to combat the ongoing heroin/opioid crisis.

The Palm Beach Post has provided extensive coverage of that crisis, which has devastated families and strained the resources of first responders and hospitals.

Commissioners are considering dipping into its reserves to boost current year spending to $1 million to combat the problem.

“I think this is a drop in the bucket given the scale of the problem,” Commissioner Hal Valeche said of the proposed expenditures.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay agreed.

“Anyone who fails to see this as the public health crisis that it is is walking around with their eyes closed,” she said.

Check with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on the county’s initial budget discussions.

Palm Beach County Vice Mayor McKinlay now chairs Solid Waste Authority

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McKinlay

Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Melissa McKinlay is the new chair of the Solid Waste Authority’s governing board.

County commissioners who sit as the authority board selected McKinlay Wednesday morning at their regular meeting. The vote was 7-0.

The board then selected as officers two new commissioners; Mack Bernard as vice chair and Dave Kerner as secretary.

Mayor Paulette Burdick had nominated Bernard as authority chair but there was no second. Mary Lou Berger then nominated McKinlay.

McKinlay has been the authority board’s vice chair. She succeeds Hal Valeche, who also has been county vice mayor. By tradition, the county commission’s vice mayor heads the authority’s governing board.

Meetings of the governing board are held every other month at Authority headquarters, 7501 Jog Road, West Palm Beach. Call 561-640-4000 or visit www.swa.org.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Valeche out again; ‘I’ll be back next week.’

Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche, noted for recent absences, was out again at Tuesday’s workshop.

“My doctors wanted me to take it easy to the end of the week, so I’ll be back next week for all the meetings,” Valeche said by phone during the workshop’s lunch break.

Valeche’s aide sent commissioners an email Monday afternoon giving notice that Valeche would not attend.

The recently-reelected commissioner, and outgoing vice-mayor, missed weeks of meetings, and was hospitalized for weeks, in late October and early November. He said Nov. 9 he would not stand for the mostly-ceremonial mayor’s post, citing his health.

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.

Palm Beach County Commission picks Paulette Burdick as mayor

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Bernard
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Kerner

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.

Palm Beach County Commission picks mayor today

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Mack Bernard, middle, greets guests at an election party at Revolutions at City Place Revolutions at City Place West Palm Beach Tuesday August 30, 2016. ( Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post )
Bernard
Kerner
Kerner
PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche
Valeche

The Palm Beach County Commission today will swear in two new members and select a mayor.

Democrat Dave Kerner, who’s wrapping up four years as a state representative from suburban Lake Worth, won the race for the central Palm Beach County Commission District 3 seat that Shelley Vana is vacating after today because of term limits. And former Delray Beach City Commissioner and former state Rep. Mack Bernard ousted three-term District 7 Commissioner Priscilla Taylor on Aug. 30.  Newly-reelected County Commissioner Hal Valeche will be sworn into a third term as well.

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

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Valeche: I won’t stand for mayor

PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche
Valeche

County Vice Mayor, and newly-reelected Commissioner, Hal Valeche, hospitalized for weeks, said Wednesday he will not stand for the mostly-ceremonial mayor’s post when the new commission is seated at its Nov. 22 meeting.

“I don’t think I can do it because of my health. I’m going to decline,” Valeche said from Jupiter Medical Center, where he’s been since at least Oct. 24.

On Tuesday night, the 67-year-old Palm Beach Gardens Republican defeated his Democratic challenger, suburban Jupiter attorney Tony Bennett, for a second term on the commission.

For the position of mayor, created in 2013, the board traditionally has turned to the person who is Vice Mayor and also 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.

Valeche has in recent weeks been prominent mostly for his absence. He missed more than two weeks worth of meetings; his last was Oct. 18, at which he arrived late. In a pair of brief emails sent a week apart, Valeche told fellow commissioners he was undergoing tests for gastrointestinal issues when he fell ill and was hospitalized. But the commissioner has not said whether those gastrointestinal issues are the reason for his hospitalization.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Valeche cites illness as the reason for his absences

Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche, who missed a series of county meetings last week, told his colleagues illness is the reason he’s been hospitalized.

“I was scheduled for some medical tests regarding gastrointestinal issues I have been facing when I fell ill the week before last, and was admitted to the hospital,” Valeche wrote to his colleagues this morning. “My doctors and hospital medical staff are working through the issues and I am confident I will be back in action soon. I am grateful for all of the well wishes and outpouring of concern from so many and look forward to getting back to work as soon as possible.”

Valeche, 67, represents District 1, which covers northern Palm Beach County. He is facing re-election.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet on Tuesday. The subject of Valeche’s note was “absence from November 1, 2066 BOCC meeting.”

PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche
PBC Commissioner Hal Valeche

 

Many new faces when Palm Beach County commissioners, legislators next meet

palm-beach-county-logoNew faces will abound when the Palm Beach County Commission and the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation hold their annual joint meeting early next year.

County Commissioners and Palm Beach County’s state senators and state representatives will meet from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 4 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

At least two, and as many as four, of the seven county commissioners could be different. District 7 commissioner Priscilla Taylor was ousted by Mack Bernard in August. District 3 Commissioner Shelley Vana stepped down because of term limits. And commissioners Hal Valeche (District 1) and Mayor Mary Lou Berger (District 4) face challengers Nov. 8. Commissioners Melissa McKinlay, Steven Abrams, and Paulette Burdick are in through 2018.

Of the 13 state legislators in the Palm Beach County delegation, only one definitely will return to his post: Rep. Bill Hager, who was reelected without opposition.

Rep. Kevin Rader has been elected to the State Senate. Sen. Joseph Abruzzo moved to the House side and was elected without opposition.  Rep. Dave Kerner left to run for Vana’s county commission seat and Rep. Bobby Powell Jr. stepped down to run for State Senate. Irv Slosberg left the House for a failed State Senate run.

Out by term limits: Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs and Rep. Mark Pafford. Sen. Pat Rooney opted not to seek reelection.

Sen. Joe Negron, scheduled to be the incoming State Senate president, faces a challenger Nov. 8, as does Sen. Jeff Clemens and Reps. Lori Berman and MaryLynn Magar. 

 

 

 

Candidates for county commission to attend Economic Forum event

Candidates competing in three Palm Beach County Commission races are scheduled to participate in an event hosted by the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County Wednesday at the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse in West Palm Beach.

Commissioner Hal Valeche and Tony Bennett, competing to represent District 1, Dave Kerner and Sean C. Hogan, the candidates in District 3, and Commissioner Mary Lou Berger and Taniel Shant, vying to represent District 5, are all expected to participate in a forum.

Randy Schultz, former editorial page editor of The Palm Beach Post, will moderate the discussion.

The forum will also introduce Mack Bernard, who will represent District 7 after defeating Commissioner Priscilla Taylor and a pair of other candidates on August 30.

A meet and mingle begins at 11:30 a.m., with the forum/luncheon starting a half-hour later.

Reservations are $70 for non-members and $50 for members and their guests. For more information, contact Jon Kline at 561-373-5488 or 561-622-9920.

Mack Bernard, middle,  greets guests at an election party at Revolutions at City Place Revolutions at City Place West Palm Beach Tuesday August 30, 2016. ( Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post )
Mack Bernard, middle, greets guests at an election party at Revolutions at City Place Revolutions at City Place West Palm Beach Tuesday August 30, 2016. ( Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post )