Published On: Sun, Jul 21st, 2019

From the desk of Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert S. Weinroth: No Slowing Down for the Summer

By: Robert S Weinroth

Update from Behind th Scenes at Palm Beach International Airport

My staff and I recently visited with the executive team at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) that includes Homeland Security and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies. It was an educational behind-the-scenes tour of our award-winning airport.   

PBI operates as an enterprise fund (no taxpayer dollars) and has a $7 billion impact on our local economy. Operations are funded by user fees generated by the airlines, businesses and passengers.  Major improvement and construction projects are funded by a combination of grants, passenger facility charges, revenue bonds and airport revenue.  In 2018, over 6 million passengers traveled through the airport, a 4% increase from the previous year.

How ’bout a game of mini-golf while waiting for your flight?

PBI has nonstop service to 30 markets, and at peak season operates over 100 daily nonstop departures.  It’s no surprise that the New York metropolitan area offers the greatest number of flights to and from PBI with 42 flights daily during the winter and 25 flights daily in the summer.

A quick selfie — couldn’t resist!

The airport has earned many awards over the last 30 years including being named among the top 10 Best Domestic Airports in 2017 by Travel + Leisure Magazine! The 2017 awards included ranking fifth Best Medium Airport in the 2017 J.D. Power North American Airport Satisfaction Study and best U.S. airport for overall wait times at TSA checkpoints.
If you have traveled through PBI lately, you probably have noticed the terminals are in the process of being modernized to make them more user friendly and convenient. The majority of the public restrooms were recently renovated. The baggage claim level has new flooring, lighting and ceilings. The ticketing level is currently under construction and is being updated. Additionally, new seating with integrated charging stations on Concourse B were recently installed, and Concourse C will be undergoing the same improvements this summer.

PBI Baggage Claim After Renovations

PBI Baggage Claim Before Renovations

Over the years, the airport has purchased surrounding properties providing opportunities for increased revenue from leases with new businesses such as the travel plaza/cell phone waiting lot which includes a convenience store, gas station and car wash, Drive Shack (due to open late 2019), a Toyota dealership, and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Revenues from non-airline development help to ensure low airline costs and contribute to the on-going revenue stream for the operation and maintenance of the County’s airports including Lantana, North County and Glades.
One of the highlights of our tour included a demonstration with PBSO K-9 Baro who is trained to detect drugs and explosives in luggage, cargo and mail travelling through the airport.
Just a reminder that we have a cell phone waiting lot in the plaza at the southwest corner of Florida Mango and Belvedere Rd just west of I-95. The plaza features 85 parking spaces, free wireless internet service, free electric charge stations, and a flight information display screen inside the 7-Eleven.  There is also a Dunkin’ Donuts, car wash and a Mobil gas station.

Combating Robo-Calls

In response to the growing number of complaints from residents, I recently initiated a resolution which was unanimously passed by the Board of County Commissioners urging the United States Congress to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED). Our residents are being inundated by these illegal calls which are not only a nuisance but are often dangerous scams by telemarketers using tactics designed to defraud and deceive. 
The TRACED Act will enable the telecom industry, federal regulators and the Attorney General’s office to abate illegal and unwanted robocalls. The legislation will reduce the number of illegal robocalls and fight spoofing (the practice of using technology to disguise the caller’s phone number).
In 2017, consumers reported losses in excess of $240 million as a result of frauds perpetuated by telemarketers. In 2018, the estimated number of illegal robocalls increased by 40 percent and reached over 48 billion people.
The bill passed in the Senate in May and will go to the House of Representatives for consideration. Please feel free to contact your local member of Congress urging support of the TRACED Act.

Changes in the Upcoming Elections for PBC Constitutional Officers

A recent Florida Supreme Court opinion held that county constitutional officers’ elections cannot be nonpartisan
Even though the ruling stemmed from an Orange County case, Palm Beach County is impacted as its charter calls for nonpartisan elections for the office of sheriff, property appraiser and supervisor of elections.
In light of the Supreme Court’s action, the county attorney issued an opinion stating that the Palm Beach County charter’s provisions providing for such elections are unenforceable as a matter of law. In other words, starting with the 2020 elections, the offices identified above will be partisan. All other offices continue to be held as set forth in the Florida Election Code.
The practical result of this change is the likely need for primary elections for these offices in August 2020.

The Camino Real Bridge Renovation

The $9 million structural restoration work on the Camino Real Bridge in Boca Raton is scheduled to be completed in the next four to six weeks. Work began in April 2018, after the historic bridge was one of 14 in South Florida identified as structurally deficient by the state.
Due to its historic designation, there was a limit on the type of aesthetic changes permitted.  The most noticeable change was the relocation of the bridge tender’s house on the north side. Also, the sidewalks have been widened providing extra room for cyclists and pedestrians.

Non-Profit Spotlight: Boca Chamber Festival Days

The Boca Chamber Festival Days features lots of fun-filled events during the month of August benefiting a wide array of the Boca Chamber’s nonprofit members.
The goal is to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit organizations by joining forces with the for-profit members. It’s a true example of the value of community partnerships while offering terrific events throughout Boca Raton!
Below is the list of events open to the public with the non-profit Chamber member benefiting:
Jul. 27   Community Back to School Bash (Spirit of Giving)
Aug. 1    Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl Idol (Spirit of Giving)
         5    Boca’s Got Talent (Faulk Center for Counseling)
         7    8th Annual FondueRaiser (Lynn Cancer Institute/League of Ribbons)
         8    Soleil Warriors (Connected Warriors)
        10    Guided Tour of historic Boca Raton Resort (BR Historical Society & Museum)
        12    Back The Blue (Boca Raton Police Foundation)
        13    Feed Your Funny Bone (Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Federation)
        14    Bingo for a Cause (AACY)
        16    Caribbean Dreamin’ (Be Like Brit)
        17    Big Fall Kickoff (YMCA)
        18    Beer & Bingo Bash (ChildNet)
        19    Margarita Monday (KidSafe Foundation)
        20    Midsummer “Cosmos” Party (Boca Raton Museum of Art)
        22    Cruise on Land (Edgewater at Boca Pointe-ACTS)
        23    Battle of the Bartenders (Best Foot Forward)
        24    Guided Tour of historic Boca Raton Resort (BR Historical Society & Museum)
        25    Bowling for Bread (Boca Helping Hands)
        26    Sips & Sushi (Place of Hope)
        27    Lip Sync Battle (Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc.)
        28    Taste of the City (FAU’s Center for Autism & Related Disabilities)
For more information, visit the Boca Chamber website.

PBC Board of County Commissioners Briefs

At the July 2, 2019, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
Needle exchange program – adopted an ordinance establishing the Palm Beach County Infectious Disease Elimination Program as authorized by the Florida Legislature. Implementation will include a sterile needle and syringe exchange program with the goal of eliminating infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. No county funds are involved.
Budget – authorized staff to submit to the Property Appraiser’s Office proposed not-to-exceed millage rates for the FY-2020 budget. The proposed millage rates for Countywide, Library and Fire Rescue MSTU are at the current millage rate and above rollback. The millage rate for the Jupiter Fire MSTU is slightly above the current rate and rollback. The proposed millage rates can be lowered but not increased at public hearings scheduled for September 3 and September 16 at the Governmental Center.
Animal shelter – approved a contract with PGAL, Inc. to provide professional architectural/engineering design, programming, site plan approval, permitting and construction administration services for renovation of the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control shelter and authorized consultant services in an amount not to exceed $200,000.
State troopers – adopted a resolution authorizing construction of honorary designation markers on the turnpike between mile marker 100 and mile marker 105 for 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. Trooper Fred Groves was shot to death in September 1984 during a traffic stop.
Monument – directed staff to look into claiming and relocating to Palm Beach County a memorial monument documenting racial lynching that is currently on display at the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.
Environmental lands – directed the County Attorney’s Office to research MSTUs, dependent and independent taxing districts, and other ongoing sources of revenue collection for the purposes of funding maintenance of environmentally sensitive lands.
Equal Opportunity – approved a series of amendments to the Housing and Places of Public Accommodation Ordinance. They include updating definitions and providing consistency regarding the time limit for complainants to request administrative hearings and providing for input from the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity regarding the filing of a civil action.
HUD – approved a request to HUD to convert $2 million in NSP1 program funding to community development block grant (CDBG) funds and to reallocate the converted funds from the Gramercy Park Community Center project to the Royal Palm Beach Lakes apartment project. No local match is required.

Homelessness – announced that the Human Services Division won the 2019 Excellence in Ending Youth Homelessness Award to be presented this Monday (on July 22nd) at the Alliance National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington D.C.

L-R: Sally Chester, Shea Spencer, Peter Cruise, Kelly Smallridge, Sophia Eccleston and Paul E Dumas Jr

The board also welcomed Sheneka Spencer as the new CEO of the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County. Most recently, she was with HOPE South Florida.
E-Z-Weld – adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $3.25 million in industrial development revenue bonds to E-Z Weld Group LLC to finance the acquisition of machinery and equipment to support the manufacturing of 5-gallon commercial buckets at the company’s existing facility in Riviera Beach. A TEFRA public hearing is required. No county funding, taxing power, faith or credit is involved.
Ocean Breeze East – approved an Impact Fee Affordable Housing Assistance Program (IFAHAP) funding award in the amount of $211,849 as a credit for Roads Zone 4 impact fees for the construction of Ocean Breeze East, a 123 multifamily apartment development for very low-, low-, and moderate-income persons in Boynton Beach. These funds are from interest earned by the Impact Fee Fund.
Mango Drive Homes – approved an IFAHAP funding award in the amount of $31,721 to CH76 Investment as a credit for impact fees associated with the Mango Drive Homes project in Delray Beach. The project is comprised of four affordable single-family homes for sale to households with incomes no greater than 140 percent of area median income (AMI).
Financially Assisted Agencies – approved FY 2020 funding allocations totaling $13,299,507 Financially Assisted Agencies program for the period of October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020.
Action Plan – adopted a resolution approving the PBC Action Plan for FY 2019-2020 and delegating signatory authority for purposes of allocating CDBG, HOME and ESG program funds in the following amounts: $6,406,686 in CDBG funds plus estimated program income of $30,000; $2,145,072 in HOME funds; and $546,649 in ESG funds.
Morselife – adopted a resolution approving the issuance by the Palm Beach County Health Facilities Authority of up to $181 million in revenue bonds for the Morselife Housing Corp. Inc. for construction of new health care and independent living facilities on the existing Morselife campus located at 4847 David S. Mack Drive and 4920 Loring Drive in West Palm Beach. No county funding, taxing power, faith or credit is involved.
“LISBON” – approved a non-disclosure agreement with Warner Bros. TV for the production of an audio-visual program titled “LISBON,” a global documentary about child development. Wall to Wall Productions, a Warner subsidiary wants to feature the Youth Services Department’s Super Summer Spelling Bee and some of its young contestants. The fifth annual Super Summer Spelling Bee will be held July 10 at the Florence De George Boys & Girls Club in West Palm Beach.

If you have a county issue, feel free to contact my office at:

PBC Board of County Commissioners (Dist 4)
301 N Olive Ave 12th Flr
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

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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