A Good Deal For The City?

Mr. Green as the city’s Financial Director did not do a monthly bank reconciliation for over a year meaning the difference between the city cash balance shown on a bank statement and the amount shown in the city account holder checkbook. This was reported by Marcum the city’s outside CPA who works in unison with city’s Internal Auditor and Audit Committee Members. If there were unscrupulous, dishonest employees working in the finance department who knows what kind of damage could have been done in a years time with taxpayer dollars.

Business and Rental Licenses:
The Internal Auditor Dept; which is headed by Mr. Roger Strout, has an outstanding staff who audit departments for the city. I attended the Audit Committee Meeting held on 2/27/2015 and received an excellent report from the audit dept. which included a report on business and rental licenses which is needed to conduct business in the city of WPB.

Here is a small part of their audit report.
Numerous business and rental property are operating without a license.

Rental License:
The audit department made a comparison between the city, county, and PBC Property Appraisers office to locate businesses and rental property not licensed by the city.
The city’s Development Services Department (DSD) has a policy of going back 3 years if they found property being rented. The report states there is a potential to collect $1,000,000.00 a year, and possibly $3,000,000.00 for the previous 3 years.

Business License:
A grocery store for example may need multiple licenses with the city in order to do business. A Supermarket, Pharmacies & Drug Store, Beer Wine & Liquor Store, and including an ATM license. One store = 4 licenses.

The audit dept. obtained a list of businesses licensed with the county and made a comparison with the businesses located within the city limits and found based on a sample of 60 businesses they estimate that the potential yearly revenue could amount to approximately $9,000.00 a year, or an average of $150.00 per business. Now add to that a business which also pay’s for fire and zoning inspections and possibly a Certificate of Use which could raise yearly revenues to $13,000.00 or 217.00 per business.

When the Internal Auditors report was released Mr. Green stated the report was wrong and Mr. Strout was confused about the process.
Audit: West Palm Beach not collecting all its fees | www.palmbeachpost.com

City Administrator Jeff Green has one of the most responsible job’s in the city with each department reporting to him with the exception of the Internal Auditor who the City Commission oversees. I don’t believe we are getting our money’s worth with Mr. Green and questioned why he was promoted to City Administrator when he had absolutely no experience in the field.

Mr. Green recently negotiated the purchase of 336 Flagler Drive. Below are the results.

A piece of property at 3336 Flagler Drive has the lowest point along a four block length of Flagler Drive and is prone to flooding and I agree with the city something must be done to alleviate the problem. A little history.

This property was purchased in March 1983 for $300.000.00

On March 16,2015 the City Commission unanimously voted to purchase the property. Here is my problem with the commissioners vote.

When Mr. Green was finished with negotiations the commission voted to spend
$2,950,000,00 for the land and home.

1/22/15 Anderson & Carr appraised the property for the city at $2,400,000.00

PBC Property Appraiser Total Market Value as of 12/31/14 was $1,764,000.00

The city commissioners voted to spend $1,185,603 dollars over the PBC Property Appraisers market value. I don’t find this to be in the best interest of the taxpayer, but rather in the best interest of the homeowner selling to the city. This amounts to over 980% profit. The city is not only bailing the owners out, we are enriching them also.

The city had three alternatives to alleviate the problem and they choose the most expensive option.

The property is in Commissioner Moffett’s district and she has stated she wants to see the home, which she say’s is in excellent condition, moved instead of being torn down. How much will it cost the taxpayer’s to move the home, and to where? Will the city purchase more land in which to place the home? Why not auction the house to the highest bidder, and the winner moves the home?

With the city’s purchase the land and homes in the area have increased dramatically, and the city is aware there is flooding in other area’s of Flagler and will it cost taxpayers many millions more to acquire other property. The city states:

“The city is not prohibited from paying more than the appraised value if necessary to acquire property” Because the city can doesn’t necessarily mean it should.

I believe the city should advertise for a City Administrator with experience. We can’t afford more negotiation by Mr. Green.