Previously, in my post entitled “Speak Litely and Carry a Big Stick” I mentioned that I did not see any type of unity or camaraderie amongst the Commissioners. Well, at Tuesday night’s meeting the dias was filled with friendly laughter, jokes, and only a bit of discord but it was not necessarily directed at the dias.
The meeting began as it normally does, I suspect, but don’t really know because I was about 10 minutes late. So, I will skip all of that and get to the good stuff. The dias became alive during the addressing of Resolutions on the Consent Agenda, which for the most part had to do with the City waiving certain fees for the public to utilize City Property.
The first was for the Ladies of Life-Relay for Life, a non-profit organization raising money for the American Cancer Society, requesting that the $116.00 fee the City charges to rent the pavilion at the Villages of Hillsboro Park be waived so that they could have a fundraiser there to raise money for their group’s charity. Well, it would seem that the City is so strapped for cash that a measly $116.00 for a charitable organization to use a park pavilion could not be waived. Commissioner Poitier attempted to help the group by advising the others that this would set a bad precedent if it was denied because the financially strapped groups in her district may require a waiver of these fees to use the parks. She even went so far as to propose that the City utilize CDBG funds to help cut or eliminate the cost for low-income individuals who would like to utilize the City’s properties. She even suggested that the City pick up the tab by creating an account that would reduce new hire salaries by 10% and those additional cost savings be put into that account. She stated that how could the City be so strapped when all of these starting salaries are so high.
I wonder if she was talking about Burgess, Keven, and Amanda having such a “high” starting salary at a time when the City is so “strapped for cash”.
Well, here comes Good Ol’ Burgess intimating that if they were to intiate Poitiers suggestion, the City would have to negotiate with the General Employees…
Now, she didn’t say the General Employees…she said all new hires. That would include management, clerks, department heads, etc. Why does this guy keep looking to cut from the Non-Uniformed General Employees…IUPAT, I hope you guys have enough administrative leave hours to cover all the bargaining you are going to have to do under Hanson. It seems that the City is going to use you guys as a “Savings Account” that they could just withdraw from by laying-off general employees at any time to afford management’s salaries and other pet projects.
He even went so far as to say that the City could not afford to lose that $116.00 because the City had not budgeted to allow for exceptions and waivers of fees for park rentals and such. He stated “what happens when next meeting 5 groups come in for waivers”…Commissioner Poitier, hurriedly advised him that protocols can be put in place to manage and safeguard who received the waivers. Burgess held to his guns, trying to make sure that the City collected a “lil bit of change” from its residence. He pointed out that the fees had been discussed and set in workshops previously held by the City. He stated that the City expends money for clean-up and general maintenance in preparation and post for these types of rentals and events.
Ok, so if the fee is for clean-up of the community center, the individuals looking to rent the space could clean it up as Commissioner Poitier so brilliantly pointed out to Hanson. In the case of Ladies for Life and any other organization that rented the City’s Community Facilities, if they were advised that they’d have to leave the space as they found it…Then all attendees would help out and clean it up. I have personally seen this happen, in days gone by when the City used to offer waivers for these sites. The attendees and organizers got out there and cleaned it up. The City workers did not have to sit there for the duration of the event and clean up, the organizers and attendees did most of it. Heck, if Burgess really needs to have someone sit out there to clean up, so he’d feel comfortable, then reach out to the schools and juvenile justice programs that are looking for ways to get the kids and participants to volunteer, this could be a program of the City’s where people volunteered by cleaning up for these events. This would defray the cost and keep the City clean. The student volunteers don’t always have to work the Beach; they could go into the parks and clean up. I don’t know about you, but this is just common sense. This could also be used to defray the cost of other initiatives by utilizing the schools, the juvenile justice programs, government assistance programs that all require some kind of community service. Stop just looking toward Deerfield’s Beach and look at Deerfield Beach as an entire site that needs beautification and upkeep. And like Commissioner Poitier said “I’m done with that”.
**I will be posting later, my perspective on the rest of the meeting.**