Published On: Mon, Jun 10th, 2019

Palm Beach County Commissioner’s Corner

By: Robert S Weinroth

Prepare for hurricane season now

It is everybody’s responsibility to be prepared for the next storm. Government alone cannot begin to handle all of the potential adverse impacts. It is also important to have a family evacuation plan in place and to make sure your residence is secure. 

Emergency officials advise that residents should be prepared to survive on their own for at least 72 hours. Supplies sell out fast once a storm has been forecast, so it is important to be prepared.
Some questions to consider:
If you have questions, or would like us to mail you information, please call my office at 561-355-2204 or Palm Beach County Emergency Management at 561-712-6400. Also, in addition to the links provided above, there is helpful information on county’s Emergency Managements website.

Sign up for alert system

AlertPBC is the county’s Emergency Alert & Notification System that is used to notify users of imminent threats to health and safety via text messages, email or telephone calls.
Users will be alerted to various weather hazards such as tornadoes, floods, tropical storms or severe weather alerts.
In addition, alerts are also issued concerning public safety issues such as law enforcement activity, missing persons, and significant road closures.
To sign up for these up-to-date emergency notifications, please visit www.alertpbc.com.

Emergency social media and apps

Emergency officials will be communicating with county residents using Facebook and Twitter. My office will also be posting on my Facebook page. 
There is also a free emergency app, PBC DART, which will provide vital information such as storm surge evacuation areas, flood zones, shelter locations, grocery and building supply stores and gas stations with emergency generators.
PBC Dart also lets individuals and businesses send damage reports to the Emergency Operations Center, which will enable emergency workers to access and respond to areas needing attention during and after a storm.
While the new technology is terrific, there are still some basic pre-storm tips:
  • Get cash early. This will be extremely helpful when the ATM screens are dark and swiping a credit card doesn’t work during an outage.
  • Get gas for the car. Fill up as far in advance as possible.
  • Create an offsite or online data backup for important records, family photos, and other irreplaceable files that are stored on your laptop, desktop, or mobile device.
  • Use solar-powered USB chargers. No electricity or battery needed – just a little sunshine!

Hurricane evacuation shelters​

A hurricane evacuation shelter is a refuge of last resort; a place to go if you can’t stay at home or with a relative, friend, or co-worker or nearby hotel. While shelters are set up in schools, the timing of openings and locations can change due to circumstances of the storm. Monitor local and social media for shelter openings and locations. Remember, pets can only be accommodated at certain shelters and only with a reservation.
Palm Beach County and the school district manage public shelters. Shelters provide simple meals, beverages and basic first aid only. Each person is assigned 20 square feet of space and must bring supplies such as bedding, blankets, inflatable mattresses, water, medicine, baby food, water, and toiletries. For more information on shelter supplies, visit http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Pages/Shelters.aspx.

Learning from past storms

In 2017, Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It made landfall in Florida in Key West on September 10, 2017 as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. By the time it hit Palm Beach County, it was a tropical storm with winds at 67 mph and gusts up to 91 mph along with 8 to 9 inches of rain. Even though Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, our area sustained over $43 million in damages.
The following is a breakdown of the damages sustained by the county:
  • Debris removal: $2.6 million
  • Emergency Measures: $25 million
  • Infrastructure: $2 million
  • Parks and Beaches: $12.5 million

Non-profit Spotlight – Viner Community Scholars Foundation

The Viner Community Scholars Foundation is a program that provides South Palm Beach County high school students with four year scholarships to colleges and universities in the State of Florida public educational system.
In addition, the Foundation has created a mentor network for the four year scholarship students in order to provide students with the guidance and support necessary to keep them on track as potential issues arise during their tenure at college and to ensure the highest possible college graduation rates. Mentors are selected from qualified local volunteers, thoroughly trained and then matched with a student (mentee). Once at school, mentees will be expected to make weekly contact with their mentor and submit a monthly report of activity.
The Foundation has awarded over 140 scholarships since inception in 2015. For more information, please visit https://vinerscholars.org/mentorship-program/ or call 561-544-4436.

Board of County Commissioners Briefs:

At the June 4, 2019, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
Vacation rentals – approved on first reading and to advertise for public hearing on June 18 an amendment to the Tourist Development Ordinance to clarify the county’s regulation of short-term rental units due to current litigation with hosting platform/booking service companies.
Kayak-King – approved a second amendment to the concessionaire service agreement with Kayak-King Watersports, Inc. for the continued operation of a water sports and recreational rental concession at Okeeheelee Park on a month-to-month basis, at a rate of $610 per month, until terminated by the board.
Data sharing – approved a data sharing agreement with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that will enable the county to obtain detailed census information on employment and wages at no cost. The Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability uses this information to perform economic impact analyses of job creation and gross domestic product for proposed projects.
Child care – approved a tri-party agreement with the Mary Alice Fortin Child Care Foundation and the Palm Beach County Housing Authority for the continued operation of a child care center on the Housing Authority’s New South Bay Villas site located on Harrelle Drive in South Bay.
Community Land Trust – adopted a resolution conveying a one-acre vacant parcel on Davis Road in unincorporated Lake Worth to Community Land Trust (CLT) of Palm Beach County, Inc. The appraised value of the land is $220,000. CLT proposes to build not less than four affordable, attached, single-family homes on the site. The homes will be sold to families earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income; the anticipated sale price will not exceed $245,000 per unit.
Land conveyance – approved the conveyance of a 303-square-foot strip of land along the south side of Blue Heron Blvd. and east of Phil Foster Park to Singer Island Gateway, LLC for $9,000. Gateway is in the process of developing its property and the three-foot-wide parcel is not required for the right of way.
ORBCOMM – approved a cash grant in the amount of $19,200, to be matched by the City of Boca Raton, for ORBCOMM, LLC. Previously referred to as Project Saturn, the company is a single-source provider of multi-network connectivity, devices and applications for a variety of industries. ORBCOMM is required to make a minimum capital investment of $580,000 to lease, renovate and equip an 11,500-square-foot facility, create 32 new jobs over a two-year period at an annualized average wage of $76,000, and maintain the new jobs for three years. The project’s estimated five-year economic impact is $51.7 million.
Grandview Prep – adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $5 million in industrial development revenue bonds for Grandview Preparatory School, located on a 7.46-acre campus at 336 Spanish River Blvd. NW in the City of Boca Raton. The private school serves 250 students in grades pre-K through 12. No county funding, taxing power, faith or credit is involved.
Brooks Subdivision – conceptually approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Riviera Beach to complete the county’s ownership of the Brooks Subdivision. The single-family, mixed-income affordable housing development was never completed. Palm Beach County owns 18 of the 22 lots in the subdivision. The board approved the purchase of the remaining four lots from Prodigy Capital for $130,000. These are state grant funds that require no local match.
Uniform addressing – adopted a resolution amending the uniform addressing system to eliminate duplication and similarity of street names and improve and enhance response times for medical services.
Garbage collection – approved on first reading and to advertise for public hearing on June 18 a new garbage and yard waste collection ordinance. Under the new measure, improved methods of collection through automation will be utilized; new, larger garbage carts will be provided to the public; and the amount of time garbage and yard waste can remain at the collection point in public view will be limited.
Vaping – directed staff to draft an ordinance banning the use of e-cigarette products on playgrounds.
State troopers – asked staff to draft a resolution enshrining two state troopers who died in the line of duty in Palm Beach County. Trooper Herman Morris was killed in an automobile accident in March 1972 when his patrol car was forced into a bridge railing by another motorist. Trooper Fred Groves was shot to death in September 1984 during a traffic stop on the turnpike.
Lake Okeechobee – authorized the mayor to sign letters addressed to the US Army Corp of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District and the Everglades Caucus, following a joint meeting with commissioners of the other four counties surrounding Lake Okeechobee in May.
Highridge Family Center – congratulated the Highridge Family Center on being formally certified by the Sanctuary Institute in its Trauma Informed Care Model. The residential treatment and family counseling program is operated by the Youth Services Department. Legislative Affairs staff was directed to include a funding request for Highridge in next year’s legislative priorities agenda.
Green building – accepted Silver Level recertification by the Florida Green Building Coalition recognizing Palm Beach County as a green local government.
Medical Examiner – ratified the appointment of Dr. Wendolyn Sneed as the county’s new Medical Examiner, upon the retirement of Dr. Michael Bell on September 30. Dr. Sneed will start with the Medical Examiner’s Office on August 18 in an overlap capacity. Dr. Bell has headed the Medical Examiner’s Office since 2005.

Gleaning mangos at Solid Waste Authority in Lantana

Beach Cleanup in Ocean Ridge

Memorial Day at Veterans Park Boca Raton

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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