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December 13, 2014

Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Summary of December 11 th Meeting

The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics (COE) took the following actions at its monthly public meeting held on December 11, 2014.

Four advisory opinions were approved. The full opinions are published and available at:

RQO 14-035: The vice mayor for the Town of Palm Beach Shores asked if she may participate and vote on matters pertaining to a public works project for the town when the project would benefit a condominium where she owns two units.
The COE opined as follows: The vice mayor may participate in the discussion and vote on the matter as long as the public works project does not benefit only her condominium. There are only 89 units in her condominium. If the public works project would provide a benefit to her condominium only, then her interest in the benefit would be more than 2 percent of the class. The size of the class would be too small, and the project would result in a special financial benefit to her. As such, she would not be able to participate in the discussion and vote on the project. However, based on the facts submitted, because the proposed public works project would benefit other buildings and property owners, in addition to her condominium, then the economic benefit or loss affects a class large enough so as to remove any prohibited financial benefit. Therefore, in that instance, she may participate in the discussion and vote on the matter.

RQO 14-036: A councilman from the Village of Wellington asked if he is required to abstain from voting on matters involving a series of upcoming land development approvals related to the Wellington Country Place PUD project (the PUD), specifically master plan amendment and site plan, re-plat and special use permit applications, when two of his law firm’s clients own property within the affected area.
The COE opined as follows: Based on the facts submitted, he is required to abstain from voting on and participating in the matters involving the master plan amendment, the site plan application for Pod F, phases V and VI, the re-plat application for Pod F, and any special use permit application, which involves the properties of Pierwell or Chickering. Here, the Village of Wellington staff report states that this master plan amendment will affect 250 acres of the 958 acres within the PUD. Chickering owns 5.9293 acres of the 250 acres affected by the master plan amendment, which results in a 2.37 percent interest in the affected class. Pierwell owns 15.4999 acres out of the 250 acres affected, which equals a 6.2 percent interest in the affected class. Therefore, because the class of persons affected is small and the master plan amendment would provide a unique benefit to customer or clients of his law firm, the Code of Ethics prohibits him from voting on or participating in this matter. Similarly, he is prohibited from voting on and participating in the site plan application for Pod F, Phases V and VI, the re-plat application for Pod F, and any special use permit application, which involves the properties of Pierwell or Chickering. Based on the information submitted, Pierwell’s interest in Pod F, the area affected by the site plan, re-plat, and special use permit applications, is approximately 29 percent; Chickering’s interest in Pod F is approximately 11 percent. Because Pierwell and Chickering each own more than 1 percent of the property to be affected, the benefit to them would be considered “special.”
RQO 14-037: A Palm Beach County employee asked if his outside business or employer could enter into a contract for services with the county.
The COE opined as follows: The county employee’s outside business or employer may not enter into a contract for services with the county unless one of the exceptions to the contractual relationship prohibition applies. In general, the code prohibits an employee from entering into any contract or other transaction to provide goods or services to the public entity he serves, including any contract or transaction between his public employer and his outside employer or business. The code also prohibits a business of which a member of his household has at least a five percent ownership share from contracting with his public employer. However, the code has several exceptions to the contractual relations prohibition which may apply to his situation.
First, the code provides an exception for contracts awarded under a system of sealed, competitive bidding, where his company is the lowest bidder. The sealed bid exception applies so long as he 1) does not participate in the determination of bid specifications, 2) does not use his official position to influence or persuade his public employer other than by the mere submission of the bid, and 3) files a statement with the Supervisor of Elections and the Commission on Ethics disclosing his interest in the business prior to submitting the bid.

In addition, the code provides a sole source exception where the outside employer or business is the sole source of the services within the county. The sole source exception applies if the employee’s outside employer or business is the only source of the training courses in the county and he fully discloses his interest to his public employer and the Commission on Ethics prior to the transaction.

Finally, the code provides an exception for contracts or transactions totaling less than five hundred dollars ($500) per calendar year. Under this exception, his outside business or employer would not be prohibited from contracting with the county if the total amount of the contracts between his outside employer or business and the county does not exceed $500, in the aggregate.

RQO 14-038: The director of Human Resources for the City of Belle Glade asked if city employees may participate as a team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of the Glades Walk for Cancer.
The COE opined as follows: Based upon the facts submitted, city employees may participate as a team in the event. The code does not prohibit the participation of city employees in a charitable event, such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of the Glades Walk for Cancer, so long as there is no quid pro quo or other special consideration, including any direct or indirect special financial benefit to the official or employee or to the person or entity being solicited. However, no person or entity with a current application for approval or award may be solicited. Any solicitation of vendors, lobbyists, principals or employers of lobbyists who lobby the city that are in excess of $100 must be disclosed on a solicitation log and submitted to the COE within 30 days of the charitable event. In addition, the code prohibits the use of on-duty municipal staff or municipal resources to be used in the solicitation of these charitable contributions. If an official or employee is a director or board member of the nonprofit charitable organization, he or she is prohibited from using his or her official position to give any special financial benefit to the charity. The identification of the team as employees of the city does not violate the code in and of itself, as long as the other provisions are followed.

A detailed explanation of all agenda items is available at

POSTED IN: Government (132)

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December 8, 2014

Alliance of Delray to Host City Meeting


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December 2, 2014

Palm Beach Residents Can Now Pay Their Water Bills On Line

Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department (WUD) customers now have the option of paying their water bills online with credit or debit cards. There are no fees for the convenience of this service.
The credit card payment option is currently only available to customers who have signed up for an online account. Signing up is easy. Almost all the information needed to create an online account is available on a water bill.
The Water Utilities Department currently accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards and plans to expand the service in the future.
Customers benefitting the most from this new payment option are those who make cash-only payments that need to be made in person at the Customer Care Service Center. They can now pay their water bills conveniently online.
WUD customers are encouraged to also sign up for eBill which allows them to receive bills by email instead of mail. This also offers conveniences such as receiving emails that remind customers of when bills are due and provide access to usage and billing history.
To set up an online account, visit and click “Access Your Online Account.” For more information, call 561-740-4600.

POSTED IN: Government (132)

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PBC Cooperative Extension to Offer Free "Farm Your Backyard" Workshop

Learn the secrets of vegetable gardening in South Florida with Arthur Kirstein and Melissa Allman from the Office of Agricultural Economic Development. The focus of this workshop is on using established agricultural techniques for successful small area vegetable establishment, plantings, crop maintenance, and harvesting will be covered.

A tour of the Mounts Botanical Garden vegetable garden will complete the program.

The program is free of charge and is limited to the first 100 individuals to sign up. To register for the workshop please email Melissa Allman,

Class Date: January 10, 2015
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service
Exhibit Hall A
559 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach

POSTED IN: Home and Garden (18)

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November 28, 2014

Top 10 Taxpayers in Palm Beach County

Here are the Top 10 Taxpayers In Palm Beach County by the amount of taxes billed are:

1. Florida Power & Light Company $77,409,495
2. Town Center at Boca Raton Trust $ 7,506,035
3. Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc. $ 5,858,674
4. US Sugar Corporation $ 5,183,276
5. Comcast of Florida $ 4,954,703
6. Garden Venture LLC (PGA Mall) $ 4,920,364
7. Breakers Palm Beach Inc. $ 4,737,357
8. Okeelanta Corporation $ 3,621,127
9. Panthers BRHC LTD (Boca Resort Hotel & Club) $ 3,494,237
10. Hub Properties Trust (Arvida Park, Boca Raton) $ 3,051,610

POSTED IN: Government (132)

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November 23, 2014

MorseLife to Open PACE II in Delray

morse%20life%20and%20bob%20and%20lori%20photo%20with%20keith%20meyers%20webCopy.JPGMorseLife is pleased to announce that it is planning to add a second site to its Palm Beach PACE program (Program All Inclusive Care to the Elderly) at Temple Sinai 2475 West Atlantic Ave, in Delray Beach.
The PACE program at MorseLife (Palm Beach PACE) has experienced overwhelming community support and is considered the fastest growing PACE program in the country. PACE is a program that is for people age 55 or older who meet the criteria for nursing home placement but prefer to remain at home and receive comprehensive care from a team of health care professionals. PACE benefits include hospital care, pharmacy, primary and acute care and rehabilitation needs and day care. The PACE site is a gathering place for PACE enrollees for socialization, medical care and rehabilitation services. MorseLife and Temple Sinai have worked collaboratively for several months to develop a design that meets the PACE regulatory requirements and works well with the Temple daily activities. It is anticipated that construction for modifying the site will begin in February 2015 and the Center will open in January 2016.
Photo taken at the Alliance of Delray Residential Association's November Membership Meeting. From left are: Keith Meyers, President & CEO of MorseLife; Dr. Lori Vinikoor, Alliance Executive VP; Bob Schulbaum, President of the Alliance.
For more information go to:

POSTED IN: Community Service (747)

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November 18, 2014

Traffic Signal Soon to be installed on Atlantic Avenue

The traffic signal at Atlantic Ave & Lexington Club Blvd/Stone Quarry Blvd which local residents have been waiting for has been permitted and construction will soon begin. The initial signal will be flashing red (Lexington Club/Tuscany) and flashing yellow (Atlantic Ave.). Upon the determination of PBC/FDOT that the actual signal warrants have been met, the signal can then change from flashing amber/red to normal signal operations of red/yellow/green.

This traffic signal is part of the new construction near the Atlantic Commons and Tuscany projects.which are located adjacent to the Florida Turnpike.

POSTED IN: Development and Construction (67)

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November 2, 2014

Sheriff Bradshaw Speaks on Security Issues

RIC%20BRADSHAW.JPGOn October 31, 2014, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw met with leaders of south Palm Beach County organizations which included the Alliance of Delray Residential Associations. The meeting took place at the offices of Weiss, Handler, and Cornwell PA. The ebola threat, homeland security, and local public safety issues were discussed. Questions from the group were answered as well.
On hand was the new Commander of the South County Regional Bureau, Major Ron Mattino. Sheriff Bradshaw introduced Major Mattino to the group. Major Mattino is a seasoned and experienced law enforcement professional
Photo from left: Norma Arnold, Alliance Director, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Dr. Lori Vinikoor, Alliance Executive VP, and Bob Schulbaum, Alliance President.
More about the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office can be obtained at
The latest newsletter from Sheriff Bradshaw can be viewed with the following link:

POSTED IN: Government (132)

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October 20, 2014

2.83% Rate Increase in Water Bills for County

An ordinance adopted by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners back in March 2007 authorized the indexing of guaranteed revenue fees, base facility fees and commodity fees beginning October 1, 2008, and annually thereafter. The ordinance provides that the rates be adjusted based on 75% of the prior year's Consumer Price Index (CP!) increase for Water and Sewage Maintenance, measured July to July. The published CPI increase for Water and Sewer Maintenance for that period was 3.77% resulting in a rate increase of 2.83% effective October 1, 2014.

Projects being funded by the increase include automated metering infrastructure, rehabilitation of treatment plants, replacement of emergency generators, life station rehabilitation, and water and wastewater line replacement. For more information on these projects and for a comparative schedule of rates go to the following:

POSTED IN: Government (132)

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October 8, 2014

Executive Managers Association 10th Annual EXPO

FullSizeRender.jpgEMA (Executive Managers Association) held its 10 th Annual Business Expo at the Doubletree Hilton in Deerfield Beach on October 7, 2014. Since its inception on June 23, 1983, The Executive Manager's Association (EMA) has become one of the most innovative and impactful, Property Manager and Vendor organizations in South Florida. Through networking, education, and development, the EMA promotes a high level of professionalism in the community association management industry.

EMA is powered by people who want to make things better under the leadership of its Director Diana Zayas. CEU's for LCAMS were offered at this event and such distinguished speakers as Representative George Moraitis and Attorney Lisa Magill of the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff contributed to the education of the hundreds of LCAMS attending this event.

PHOTO: Rep. George Moraitis and EMA Director Diana Zayas

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About This Blog

The Get Local community blogs are written by residents of the community. The Sun-Sentinel does not edit the blogs, nor take responsibility for the contents.

LORI VINIKOOR has lived in Delray Beach for more than 15 years. All of her recreational activities serve the Community in some way....

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