Published On: Mon, Nov 11th, 2019

From the Desk of Your Palm Beach County Commissioner

By: Robert S Weinroth

Hope you and your family had an enjoyable Veteran’s Day weekend. There were lots of opportunities to recognize the veterans within our community and to thank them for their service.

At the last Board of County Commission meeting on November 5, 2019, I requested Palm Tran staff consider implementing the Patriot Passport Program, currently operating in Miami-Dade, which offers fare-free transit for veterans that meet certain income thresholds.
Palm Beach County is home to the second largest veteran’s population in state with over 92,000 veterans according to the Palm Beach County Veteran’s Services Department. This is just another small gesture in which we can continue to honor and support our veterans for their service.

Dealing with Iguanas

Though iguanas are not native to South Florida they are thriving in the warm climate and their population is growing.
Iguanas can grow up to six feet long and they are a nuisance. They eat valuable landscape plants, shrubs, trees, as well as orchids and other flowers and even bird eggs.
Their burrows can cause extensive damage to construction and seawalls.
Iguana droppings along decks, docks and pools are not just annoying they are also a source of harmful bacteria such as salmonella.
Though typically not aggressive, Iguanas can and will defend themselves if cornered by pets or people, using their sharp teeth, nails and powerful tails.
As with all wildlife, iguanas are protected by animal cruelty laws, and hurting or killing them inhumanely is punishable by law.
Below are tips on dealing with these giant lizards that are likely here to stay.
Discouraging Iguanas
  • Never feed iguanas.
  • Protect plants with cages or screen enclosures.
  • Use iguana-resistant plants such as citrus, milkweed, pigeon plum, oleanders, coonties, etc., in your landscape.
  • Install sheet-metal cylinders approximately 18 inches from the base of trees to prevent iguanas from climbing.
  • Create an L-shaped wire barrier along the bottom of seawalls and other fixed objects to prevent iguanas from digging underneath.
Habitat Modification
  • Avoid planting iguana favorites such as hibiscus, orchids, impatiens, roses, garden greens and melons
  • Remove protective cover such as dense thickets and piles of landscape timber or rocks.
  • Fill vacant burrows with rocks.
Humane Discouragement
  • Keep a water hose ready and available to spray basking iguanas on pool decks or boats.
  • A startling noise will also create an unwelcome atmosphere for a sunning iguana that feels a bit too much at home poolside.
  • Hang CDs near seawalls or dangle them like wind chimes from trees or prized plants. Their reflective surfaces often scare away iguanas.
For more information on coexisting with iguanas, visit Dealing with iguanas in the S. Florida Landscape).  If you have an iguana problem, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner recommends you contact a critter control company licensed to trap these animals.

How to Navigate the New Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals

The county is in the process of activating the first phase of the Flashing Yellow Arrow left-turn traffic signals at eight traffic signalized intersections in the vicinity of Congress Avenue between Golf Road and Gateway Blvd.
Although the Flashing Yellow Arrow traffic signal has been used nationwide for more than 10 years, including over 100 locations in Florida, the Flashing Yellow Arrow traffic signal is new to Palm Beach County. 
The Flashing Yellow Arrow signal indication will replace the traditional solid circular green indication for the following two left-turn signal types:
  • Permissive Only where only a solid circular green indication is displayed and motorists must always yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before completing the left turn;
  • Protected/Permissive which is composed of two parts: a “protected” left-turn phase initiated by a green arrow signal indication where oncoming traffic must stop and it is safe to turn left, followed by a “permissive” part during which a solid circular green signal is displayed and left turning traffic must yield to oncoming traffic.
During the Flashing Yellow Arrow display, drivers turning left must yield to oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians in the crosswalk.
National research has shown that after a short learning period, Flashing Yellow Arrow is more easily understood by motorists and it helps improve safety for motorists and pedestrians at signalized intersections. The Flashing Yellow Arrow also offers motorists more opportunities to make left turns, which reduces wait times and allows for additional traffic signal timing options to enhance traffic signal synchronization.
The county will be mailing tip cards to advise residents within the initial project implementation area. For more information on the Flashing Yellow Arrow, please visit http://discover.pbcgov.org/engineering/traffic.

Playtime and Pickleball

One of Palm Beach County’s greatest assets is our award-winning park system.  With over 8,000 acres of park land and 110 park properties, there is something for everyone including sports, fitness, environmental, and cultural opportunities.
The park locations range from oceanfront to the western areas of the county bordering the Florida Everglades. The amenities are extensive and include boating, camping, golfing, swimming, snorkeling, water skiing and nature centers, just to name a few.  
The county’s Parks and Recreation’s motto is “your playtime is our business” and they take it very seriously. New facilities accommodate the latest in leisure trends, as well as the always-popular, timeless needs of our growing community.
One example of a growing trend in parks nationwide is pickle ball. It is considered the fastest growing sport in the country. According to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport has had a 650 percent increase in numbers over the last six years. It initially became popular with the 55-plus crowd but is now just as popular with the younger generation.
Pickleball is a mix between tennis, racquetball and ping pong. Players use special paddles and a wiffle ball and nets and court sizes are smaller than their tennis counterparts. It is also affordable and the game is quick, usually about 15 minutes each.
For more information on the county’s parks, visit the Parks and Recreation Department’s website.

Nonprofit Spotlight: KidSafe Foundation

KidSafe is a non-profit located in Boca Raton and their mission is to teach personal safety to children and their grown-ups to build strong, resilient families and safer communities. Their vision provides that all children and their families live in a society where children are protected from child sexual abuse and trauma.  
KidSafe has been educating children, families and child-serving professionals since 2009. Since then, they have taught over 60,000 children that they have the right to be safe and provided assistance to over 35,000 adults as they are the first line of defense for children.
Some of their programs include an 8 week curriculum designed for children in grades Pre-K4 through second grade, parent and educator training.  For more information, please visit their website or call 855-844-SAFE.

Board of County Commission Briefs

Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners

At the November 5, 2019, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
Peer specialists – approved three full-time equivalent, grant-funded peer specialist positions for the Division of Human and Veteran Services in the amount of $149,007 annually. Homelessness issues continue to increase in John Prince and Phil Foster parks. Additional trained peer specialists are needed to assist homeless individuals with sheltering, diversion, family reunification and other needs. The grant-funded positions will be for the length of the grant and will be eliminated if funding is discontinued. No county funds are required.
Jerome Golden Center – approved a budget transfer of $130,000 from general fund-contingency reserves to the Division of Human and Veteran Services (DHVS) for emergency housing services provided to clients of the Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, Inc. who face possible loss of stable housing.
Henrietta Townhomes – approved a HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding award of up to $500,000 to New Urban Community Development Corporation, Inc. (NUCDC) for the Henrietta Townhomes project and directed staff to negotiate the HOME funding agreement. For several years, the 11-unit low-income rental complex in West Palm Beach has experienced a deficit in its operating budget for which NUCDC has had to secure subsidy from external sources. The property is at risk of foreclosure and loss from the county’s affordable housing stock. The HOME award of $500,000 will be structured with terms the project can support. These are federal grant funds that require a local match provided by the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program.
Supervisor of Elections – authorized the county administrator or designee to execute Amendment No. 1 to the contract with All-Site Construction Inc. in an amount not to exceed $400,000 for the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) interior renovations project. Funding for this project is from the Public Building Improvement Fund.
Facilities – approved the addition of an assistant director and a contracts manager position to the Facilities Development & Operations (FDO)/Capital Improvements Division. Two new positions are required mid-year to address operational challenges. Impact in FY20 is $103,124.
Veterans – directed staff to look into developing a program similar to Miami-Dade’s Patriot Passport program which provides fare-free transit services for generally or honorably discharged military veterans who meet certain low-income thresholds.
Environmental lands – directed the county attorney and administrative staff to research options for funding the maintenance of environmentally sensitive lands on an ongoing basis, rather than reappropriating funding each year through the political process.
Legal – held a private attorney-client session in the case of National Prescription Opiate Litigation.

Can we be of Service?

Please feel free to contact my office with county issues.

Lucia Bonavita – Senior Legislative Aide

Robert Weisman PBC Governmental Center

301 N Olive Ave Ste 1201
West Palm Beach FL 33401
Tel: 561-355-2204  EMail: LBonavita@PBVGov.org

Alexandria Ayala – Legislative Aide

South County Complex

345 S Congress Ave
Delray Beach FL 33445
Tel: 561-276-1220  EMail: AAyala1@PBCGov.org

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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