Published On: Wed, Sep 16th, 2020

Palm Beach County Commission Briefs for September from your County Commissioner

Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert S Weinroth (District 4)

At the September 15, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:

COVID-19 – received a report from Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County and Bill Johnson, director of Emergency Management on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Since September 1, there have been 114 new cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County (44,139 total); no new hospitalizations (3,492 total); and 3 fatalities (1,199 total). The county’s positivity rate per 100,000 is 3% (+.1%); statewide 3.2 % (+.2%). Daily positivity rate in the county is 2.99%; statewide 3.91%. Of particular concern, said Dr. Alonso, is a recent increase in the number of young adults testing positive, perhaps due to partying and attending public gatherings without proper social distancing. Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Dr. Wendolyn Sneed explained to the board how suspected COVID-19 deaths are investigated, classified and reported by her office.

Phase 2 – Commissioner Robert S Weinroth asked County Mayor David M Kerner, as a member of the Executive Policy Group, to review the county’s “5-step Phase 2 reopening plan” and hopefully streamline the timelines for bars and other businesses currently still closed to facilitate their safe reopening. Step 1 of the plan took effect September 8, 2020. Weinroth also asked the EPG and County Administrator, Verdenia Baker, to look into using some of the unallocated CARES Act dollars received by the county to assist businesses and cultural interests still impacted by the county restrictions.

Noncongregate sheltering – approved a modification to the plan for implementation of the infrastructure sales tax (IST) housing units for the Homeless, Extremely Low and Low Income Project, and the use of up to $1 million of IST funding allocated under this project toward the renovation of the Pahokee Facility as part of the noncongregate sheltering strategy for the Western Communities. This increases the total capital funding allocated for the Pahokee Facility renovation project to $6 million from CARES Act and IST sources.

CARES Act – received a comprehensive report on the progress of programs and services provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). Palm Beach County was awarded $261 million in federal funding and has earned an additional $1 million in investment earnings. As of August 27, staff has expended $103 million of the awarded funding. An additional $116 million has been committed.

All CARES Act funds must be expended by December 30, 2020.

Westgate CRA – approved the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) Fiscal Year 2021 budget for its Redevelopment Trust Fund in the amount of $3,803,786 and Capital Improvements Fund in the amount of $2.051 million. The Redevelopment Trust Fund represents the CRA’s annual tax increment financing (TIF) and balance brought forward from previous years. The Capital Improvement Fund represents balances of reimbursable grants awarded to the CRA by county, state and federal governments for construction activities.

Conflict resolution – adopted a resolution expedite the ultimate resolution of a controversy between the county and Palm Beach Gardens with respect to Impact Fees and Mobility Fees by declaring that significant legal rights will be impaired if Palm Beach County is required to complete intergovernmental conflict resolution procedures with the city of Palm Beach Gardens prior to court proceeding. The BCC went on to direct staff to initiate litigation, as appropriate, to resolve the county’s conflict with the city of Palm Beach Gardens over the city’s amendment # CPTA-20-04-000036 to its comprehensive plan.

Conveyance – approved an interlocal agreement with the city of West Palm Beach conveying 45 county-owned lots within the city’s golf course in exchange for the city conveying transferable development rights (TDRs) to the county for use on Block D, and amending the city’s development regulations to provide for the reconstruction of the Governmental Center in the event of destruction.

Library – approved waiving all remaining accrued overdue fines on children’s library card accounts within the county library system. In 2019, the policy of charging new overdue fines was eliminated, but existing accrued fines on library card holder accounts remained in place. As of August 17, 2020, 13,436 juvenile accounts had accrued overdue fines totaling $77,616. An estimated 1,400 children’s library card accounts are blocked as a result. Removal of these overdue fine charges will allow accounts to return to good standing and restore borrowing privileges.

Cooperative Extension – approved a budget transfer of $50,000 from the General Fund to the Friends of Mounts Botanical Garden to cover a portion of shared funding to maintain existing staff and operational responsibilities, and a budget transfer of $120,000 from the Capital Outlay Fund to partially match funding for the Mounts Welcome Center. The nonprofit group has raised approximately $330,000 toward the welcome center project; this transfer would provide a partial match of funds to help complete the project.

Airports – authorized an emergency three-month extension of the current contract for on-demand ground transportation services at Palm Beach International Airport to allow for the issuance of a new RFP.

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. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed 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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