Friday, May 15, 2020

Part II – results obtained. Evaluating Palmetto Bay's efforts in Tallahassee at the 2020 Legislative Session.

This is Part II of a series. Part 1 was - Evaluating Palmetto Bay's efforts in Tallahassee at the 2020 Legislative Session - goals set. What were the legislative goals set by the current mayor and village council for the 2020 legislative session?

Palmetto Bay may receive $100,000 out of the $3.2 million requested, barely over 3% of what was being sought. But, this $100,000 is $100,000 more than made it into the budget at this time last year (2019).  

The $100,000 in Stormwater funding will require a $100,000 match by local dollars (this is standard). But this is not the entire story as the hard and soft costs spent on staff time, travel, per diem, and a reported last-minute no-bid award of $10,000 for lobbyists count against that $100,000. These costs over the last two years have not been fully disclosed by Palmetto Bay (I'd like to see the actual numbers), but theses costs could come close to completely offsetting the $100,000 earmarked in the 2020-2021 State budget.

I am starting with the goals set in Village Council resolution no. 2019-121*, the annual legislative agenda which set the following priorities for funding, versus the actual results stated in each category below:

A. Supporting legislation that provides funding for traffic calming projects and public transit improvements and extensions for Miami-Dade County;

RESULT: ZERO. While municipalities such as Doral received a budget line of $350,000 for Doral Intersection Signalization Pedestrian Safety (HB 4201) (Senate Form 1832) for traffic improvement, Palmetto Bay had ZERO requested and therefore, ZERO was placed in the budget for Palmetto Bay. 

B. Requesting funding for South Florida Water Management District specifically for canal bank restoration to address the critical erosion needs in the Village of Palmetto Bay;

RESULT: ZERO. Palmetto Bay officials continue to talk lawsuits against the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Let's hope not as there are currently several lawsuits lingering out there which serve no other purpose than to destroy the collaborative spirit between Palmetto Bay and Miami-Dade County.  The goal of litigation is to gain a positive result you were unable to reach pre-lawsuit, not to try to impress residents with how much money can be wasted on filing lawsuits that fail to gain results. Please mayor & council: win a lawsuit - or at least move one forward, before any more lawsuits are filed.

C. Maximizing all available appropriation and funding opportunities to implement storm water and other needed infrastructure projects throughout the Village;

RESULT: $100,000 The standard funding received by any other municipality that make such a request.

D. Supporting any legislation and requesting funding assistance and partnership opportunities that support the age friendly city initiatives and the development of unique opportunities for individuals with special needs;

RESULT: ZERO. There was money placed in the State budget for projects in other municipalities - just not requested, and therefore not earmarked for Palmetto Bay or our special need residents. In fact, special need events have ended since the last election  case in point - Jonathan's Day. I was a huge supporter of these important efforts, but it has ended with my last term. Two years and done in Palmetto Bay. There is no current leadership or desire to see such programs continue here in Palmetto Bay. 

There were no policy initiatives that Palmetto Bay officials worked for in Tallahassee. And at home, well, this current mayor and council have killed any ability to have a community center - a place where serious senior programming can develop and move forward. Same for any incentives in any of the zoning code updates for senior housing or semi-autonomous special needs hosing within Palmetto Bay, Just like workforce housing, the current official attitude appears to be live somewhere else, there is not desire to have 'any of them' here.

E. Support any legislation requesting funding assistance and partnership opportunities for projects that enhance mobility and create a network of interconnected lanes in support of bicycle and pedestrian activity within the Village;

RESULT: ZERO. In fact, bike lanes are being undone in Palmetto Bay, which is contrary to the existing Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the current 5 year capital plan as well as the current strategic plan. This mayor and council refuse to follow the plans. Additionally, Palmetto Bay is at risk of losing the $1 million TAP grant for bicycle lanes that was fought for and obtained under my administration. 

See prior related posts:

My goodness, we are talking about a gift of $1,000,000 (One Millions dollars and no cents). Compare that to the currently alleged budget deficit for Palmetto Bay's FY 2019-20 budget which is alleged to be in the neighborhood of $1,000,000.00. Something is seriously out of balance here.

The current mayor and council cannot afford to be turning down money - and then expect us, the village taxpayers to shoulder the burdens they create.

F. Seeking funding assistance for the Village’s FRDAP and other such FDEP projects to address park capital improvements and park property acquisitions.

RESULT: ZERO. Palmetto Bay became "the Village of Parks" under my administrations in large part through taking advantage of state programs such as the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) and FRDAP. Yet, it appears that there were no FRDAP applications even filed for this last cycle. Do I have to do everything myself? The Wayne Gresky quote is applicable here - "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

The year prior - 2019 legislative session recap - also known as "the year without a return on significant investment". Compare / contrast the present status of the Palmetto Bay appropriation requests (2019):

$ 1,790,800   Total money requested from the legislature limited for 3 projects, broken down as follows:

$   745,900   Multimodal center – location undisclosed (23% of the total estimated cost)
$   745,900   Enviro Center to be constructed at Coral Reef Park
$   299,000   Drainage for sub basin 61 (50% match from Village)

$ 1,790,800  Total money requested from the legislature to cover:

$ 6,089,800 Total cost of these proposed projects to the residents of Palmetto Bay.
$   ZERO        Received from the State of Florida for the 2019 efforts.
Please note that Palmetto Bay Resolution 2019-121 is NOT currently available under the resolutions page posted on the official Palmetto Bay website - only resolutions 1-33 are posted (CLICK HERE to view this page. CLICK HERE to view a screen shot of the page as it existed on 4/14/2020 - to document where this page has been updated in the interim).  

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