City’s Monkey Business

It began with the 1/25/2021 City Commission meeting where 2 Resolution’s were discussed.

Item #4 “Resolution No. 3-21 authorizing the assessment of city liens in the total amount of $41,600.11 for unpaid water service, sewer service and storm water service charges for the month of October 2020.” Last line states “If not paid, these liens may be foreclosed by the city.”
The city can take your home, put you and your family on the street which adds to the homeless population and are subject to a $500.00 fine or 60 days in jail if your caught urinating of dedicating in parks or city streets. The city (James) claims the city is not criminalizing homelessness.

Item #8 “Resolution No. 347-20 Finding that property located at 630 5th. St. is not needed for city purposes, declaring the property to be surplus, and authorizing the conveyance of property under the Housing Assistance Incentives Program to Neighborhood Renaissance, Inc. for the development of a single-family home in the Historic Northwest Neighborhood.”
Resolution No. 22-21 approving a conveyance and Development Agreement and award of development funding to Neighborhood Renaissance, Inc. in a sum not to exceed $96,500.00 for the construction of a single-family home located at 630 5th. St. The total cost to develop this property $307,074.00. The City’s financial contribution to this project shall not exceed $96,500.00.” Can’t help but wonder where the city found the money. There have been to many homes owned by the city that are being sold as surplus, and I asked the question at the recent CC meeting if these homes were foreclosed on for non-payment of the water bill. I waited so long for an answer my 3 minutes ran out, and I never did receive a response.

Item #12 “Ordinance No. 4924-20 An Ordinance of the City Commission of the City of West Palm Beach, Florida, approving the sale and conveyance of city-owned property located at 225 Monroe Drive to 225 Monroe, LLC. authorizing execution of a sale and purchasing agreement for $450,000.00. The City received (5) offers to purchase City-owned property located at 225 Monroe Drive ranging from $405,000.00 to $499,900.00.”
The City accepted a sale price of $450K when they could have had a sale price of nearly 50K more. The City’s reasoning 225 Monroe, LLC has performed historic renovations on several properties including Park Slope Town and Courtyard Homes a 14 home new development. In addition 225 Monroe, LLC received the 2020 City of WPB Historic Preservation Award.
Smart move by the city to present the award, kind of locks then into  receive more properties to renovate. City claims they have the experience to do a good job. OK, but how does the city know what a different company, offering more money, can do if they aren’t given the opportunity?

And how about the city give us the name of the company that has done all the renovating never mind the moniker 225 Monroe, LLC.

If Monroe, LLC acquires another property, say at 10 Smith, will that be known as 10 Smith LLC?

These properties are located in Commissioner Lambert’s district and I can’t help but wonder if the company her husband works for Wantman Group (WGI) is working behind the scenes in some capacity.

The City Commission meetings are televised and saved so residents can view the meeting at any time after they are posted. The 1/25/2021 meeting was handled differently. A reader called and asked why the meeting was not posted on line. I checked and the only part of the meeting residents could view was the last 5 min. of the meeting when James spoke about city business. The entire meeting along with  resident and City Commissioners comments were eliminated.

On Sunday (1/31/2021) afternoon the entire meeting was posted.

I left the meeting (my bad) when it came to the Commissioners comments so I missed Commissioner Peduzzi request the city post an upcoming meeting concerning the State Rd. 7 extension which took place on Thursday 1/28/2021, a meeting I didn’t attend because I didn’t know about it. If it was posted on the city website I would have been advised and definitely would have attended. Obviously the mayor didn’t want a showing of residents, while Peduzzi wanted the city to act in the sunshine. I checked previous meetings and the State Rd. 7 was not listed on the city website.

Below is the only part of the meeting residents were allowed to view of the 1/25/2021 City Commission Meeting.

Below is an excerpt from a story reported by channel 5 and the entire story can be read below

“Two new workshops are scheduled Thursday to redesign the controversial State Road 7 extension project in West Palm Beach.

The extension of the road in the western area of the city has been a point of contention for years, leading to a lawsuit by the city and millions in legal fees to stop the construction.” Read the story below.


Another meeting not posted on the City website:

The WPB Fire Fighters are scheduled to go before the Special Magistrate sometime in February, and not being sure of the date I inquired and received the information below.

“The impasse hearing is currently scheduled for the 3rd and 4th of February, however the City is claiming that the hearings are not required to be public and therefore did not notice the public accordingly. The union has requested that the Special Magistrate issue an opinion. If he is not willing to do so we will seek an opinion from an Attorney General. If that happens, it is unlikely the hearing will proceed on Wednesday but the question has be asked, “why is the city afraid to have the hearing out in the open for all to watch?” The firefighters welcome the public and hope as many as possible are able to watch via Zoom.”

I have attended Special Magistrate meetings and it always concerned code violations with the city and homeowners and couldn’t understand what role they would play in negotiations with a new FF contract, so I asked another question and received the response below.

“Impasse hearings are governed by he Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). PERC provides a list of Special Magistrate that both the city attorney and union’s attorney reviewed and chose one together. The Magistrate is suppose to be a neutral party, the cost of which is split between the firefighters and the city. There is also a rating system so the lawyers were able to see how often this particular magistrate sides with the unions versus the city. That being said, with the issue surrounding the attempted private hearing could force the selection of another Special Magistrate.”

“We have also put together a website to outline the issues that we are facing an seeks the publics support in our fight with the City. Check it out and let us know what you think. http://wpbfirefighters.com

Most things never change except the city has hit a new low with their attempt to keep the public at bay by not posting meetings.

UPDATE: 2/3/2021

The Special Magistrate ruled in the favor of the Fire Fighters, ruling the meeting MUST be made public. One win for the good guys/gals.

The end.