Published On: Sat, Apr 20th, 2019

Commissioner’s Corner

By Robert S Weinroth

I. Avoid Fire Hazards: Proper Disposal of Rechargeable Batteries

Throwing rechargeable batteries in a recycling bin or the garbage puts property and lives at risk since they are known to ignite spontaneously. Please do not put rechargeable batteries in the garbage or recycling bin. They need to be disposed of at one of Solid Waste Authority’s (SWA) designated centers or at major retailers who have drop-off locations.
The county commissioners, sitting as the SWA Board, recently requested SWA officials initiate a public outreach campaign concerning the proper disposal of rechargeable batteries. Additionally, we asked staff explore installing specially designed disposal bins for these batteries at convenient locations countywide.
Palm Beach County residents can dispose of rechargeable (nonalkaline) batteries at any of the SWA’s seven Home Chemical and Recycling Centers. Regular alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt) can be placed in your garbage.
To learn more about the SWA Home Chemical and Recycling Centers and to see a full list of household hazardous wastes, visit SWA.org/HCRC or call 561-697-2700 or 866-SWA-INFO (toll-free).

II. Safety Precautions when Using Ride Sharing

We would like to remind everyone to be careful when using ride-sharing services and take the following precautions.
  • Confirm the vehicle’s license plate when you book the fare, so that you can match it to the car.
  • Confirm the picture of your driver matches before you get into the vehicle.
  • Share your trip status with a friend or relative. You can do that by clicking on the share status option on the app once the fare has started.
  • Ask the driver his or her name and who they are picking up. Never give your name first when you open the door.

III. Water Safety and Drowning Prevention

With the summer almost upon us, please remain diligent concerning water safety. We are surrounded by water including pools, lakes and canals, and unfortunately, most drowning accidents can be prevented.
The latest statistics show that nearly 300 children younger than 5 drown in pools and spas each year. The Drowning Prevention Coalition (DPC) of Palm Beach County encourages the following water safety recommendations:
  1. Maintain constant adult supervision.
  2. Swim in front of a lifeguard.
  3. Install physical barriers around a pool area
  4. Install window and door alarms that sound when breached.
  5. Use pool safety covers.
  6. Use pool alarms that float on the surface of the water.
  7. Use alarms that go around a child’s wrist and sound if the wrist touches water.
  8. Teach children to stay away from pool and spa drains.
  9. When at a party, designate an adult water-watcher.
For more information on water safety lessons and water safety/drowning prevention education, please visit the DPC website at www.pbcgov.org/dpc or call 561-616-7068. The coalition is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

1909 Records Revealing

Our office recently had a unique opportunity to review official county documents from 1909! Did you know that Palm Beach County was carved out of Dade County to become Florida’s 47th county? The first county government meetings were held in an old four-room schoolhouse at the corner of Clematis Street and Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. There were only 5,300 people living in the new county which was comprised of portions of what are now Broward, Martin and Okeechobee counties.
My staff and I were recently treated to a tour of the office of the County Clerk and Comptroller’s office where we saw handwritten minutes from the first meetings. The following are examples of what was happening in Palm Beach County in 1909:
 Approved bills:
  • Hauling of dynamite $3.50
  • Badges for sheriff 5.25
  • Charity (3 individuals are listed for $9.00 each) 27.00
  • Lunacy Commission 2.00
  • Coffin for pauper 7.50
  • Road work on Okeechobee Rd 66.22
  • Feed for convicts 57.38
 A sample of a motion concerning an open bid:
 Open bids for the hire of county convicts, mules and wagons, the clerk reported that only one bid had been received, which was opened and found to be a bid from T. Carter for the hire of six county mules and harness at $30 a month or ten dollars per month per pair. The bid was rejected.
Budget information:
The county collected over $2300 in licensing fees. The general fund had a balance of $2.50 and the school fund’s balance was $6.00.

Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Offering Sustainable Gardening Classes

Discover how to have a healthy, sustainable landscape and save money while reducing environmental impacts. Participants may take one or more classes or register for all seven and earn a signed certificate of completion.
Classes begin on Thursday, May 16, and will run for seven consecutive Thursdays through June 27. Each class is repeated with the same topics on Saturday mornings, beginning May 18 and concluding June 29.
Classes are held at UF/IFAS – Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension, Mounts Auditorium, 531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. All class times are 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. You can mix and match Thursday and Saturday classes and still earn a certificate, as long as all seven classes are completed.
Class fee: $10 per person for one or all classes to cover materials.
Weekly topics include selecting the right plant material, becoming water wise, growing healthy plants, mulching and composting, gardening for wildlife, coping with pest problems, and growing fruits and vegetables.
Please contact Candace Smith at 561-233-1759, csmith5@pbcgov.org for more information or to pre-register. Please sign up early as class minimums and maximums apply.

BCC Briefs

At the April 16, 2019, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following actions:
The Commissioners observed a moment of silence in memory of former County Commissioner Maude Ford Lee, who passed away on April 14. The board agreed to name a new Community Services facility in her honor.
The Commissioners also observed a moment of silence in the wake of the devastating fire at the historic Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, France.
Impact fees – adopted an ordinance amending the Unified Land Development Code pertaining to impact fees, including changes to school impact fee benefit zones. Staff was authorized to enter into a new contract with Tindale Olive Associates to revise the impact fee update report to incorporate the latest trip generation rates, capital infrastructure costs and credits. The revisions will take approximately a year to complete.
Supervisor of Elections – confirmed direction to proceed with design and construction of a new, county-owned Supervisor of Elections (SOE) production facility. The project was given high priority so as to be ready for occupancy by June 2023. Currently, the SOE leases warehouse space in Riviera Beach for ballot tabulation and processing.
Opioid Response Plan – approved a contract amendment with Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc. extending the end date to September 30, 2019, and increasing the contract amount by $798,000 ($1.348 million total contract amount) for the continuation of expanded bed capacity, treatment of substance use disorders, care coordination, and prevention programs to educate the community about the dangers of opioid and substance use disorders.
Carrier Corp. – approved on preliminary reading and to advertise for public hearing on May 7 ad valorem tax exemptions for Carrier Corp., a division of United Technologies. The company has filed applications with the Property Appraiser’s Office for tax exemptions in the amount of $3 million (Project Diamond) and $650,000 (Project Knight). The Property Appraiser has issued a determination that both projects meet ad valorem tax exemption requirements and are being presented to the BCC as required by state statute.
Local Housing Assistance Plan – approved the FY 2019-2021 through 2021-2022 Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP) as required by the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program Act. In so doing, Palm Beach County will be in a position to receive funding under the SHIP program during the next three years when the state makes funding allocations. SHIP funds do not require a local match.
Economic Development Incentive – approved a modification of the Economic Development Incentive (EDI) agreement to accept the state’s audit requirement and retention of the county’s existing performance security requirement.
Palm Tran – approved a grant application in the amount of $883,244 with local matches totaling $102,676 to purchase and equip 12 replacement paratransit vehicles for Palm Tran.
Robocalls – at my request, staff was directed to draft a resolution asking the U.S. Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act to protect residents from the proliferation of robo calls “spoofing” the recipients phone number.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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