BCC will conduct most work without public input on Tuesday


From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: The Martin County Board of County Commissioners will conduct most of its public business without public participation during Tuesday’s meeting, with more than two-thirds of the items on the Agenda relegated to the Consent Agenda. 

Items on the Consent Agenda are not discussed or individually voted on in public.  Consent Agenda items are contracts, expenditures, property conveyances and other public business that staff wants the Commission to approve without any public discussion or debate.
When the Commission Agenda is approved at the beginning of a meeting, all items on the Consent Agenda are automatically approved.
The Consent Agenda has been expanding as Commission rules designed to increase transparency and public participation have been eliminated or weakened by the current majority.  New contracts or items that have never been discussed by the Commission are routinely placed on the Consent Agenda, which is where most of the Commission’s business is now handled.
Of the 31 items on Tuesday’s Commission Agenda, 21 items are buried on the Consent Agenda and will not be discussed by either the public or commissioners.  These items include new contracts and expenditures that will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For instance, the Board is being asked to approve a $750,000.00 contract for generator maintenance and repairs and more than $75,000.00 in increased costs for previously approved contracts for projects on Bridge Road in Hobe Sound and in Fisherman’s Cove. (CNST-1)
Another Consent Agenda item requests Board approval of a commitment to the Florida Department of Transportation to maintain new landscaping to be installed on South Kanner Highway from Lost River Road to Monterey Road at an estimated (but not capped) cost of $68,000.00 a year in perpetuity. (CNST-14)
The Clerk’s “Warrant List” confirming $10,458,419.84 in expenditures between July 4 and July 20, 2018, without detailing how the money was spent, will be approved as CNST-2.  And the County will assume maintenance and repair responsibility for two new roadways which will be “opened” when the Commission approves CNST-10 to authorize roads in Palm City Farms to be accepted into the County road inventory.  
Initial assessment resolutions for installation of water lines in Hibiscus Park, Paramount Estates and James Villas will be approved (CNST-17 and CNST-18) along with an after-the-fact permit for construction of a retaining wall in a marsh within the Heritage Oaks subdivision (CNST-6).  
Consent Agenda Item CNST-20 seeks approval of a memorandum of agreement with the Martin County Property Appraiser relieving the Property Appraiser of any liability associated with the special assessment the Commission will be imposing on County property owners in unincorporated areas to pay for fire services and equipment.  The amount of the assessment is not based on the value of the assessed property, and the Property Appraiser is seeking confirmation in the form of a written memorandum that the County Commission is fully responsible for imposing and defending the fire assessment if it is challenged in court.
Other items that will be approved without public discussion include contracts with other government agencies and easements to or from private property owners that have been placed on the Consent Agenda.
The few items that will be discussed publicly include:
– Approval of a revised master site plan and final site plan for a 42-lot agricultural ranchette subdivision on 212 acres off Citrus Boulevard in Palm City adjacent to I-95 (DPQJ-1)
– Appointment of a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member (B&C-1)
– An ordinance to terminate the Indiantown Community Redevelopment Plan, now that Indiantown is incorporated and responsible for its own development regulations (PH-1)
– Ordinances the amend the Rio and Jensen Beach redevelopment overlay districts (PH-3 and PH-4)
– A final assessment resolution (PH-5) to establish the annual amount Martin County residents will pay for garbage and trash collection during the 2019 fiscal year ($309.10).
– A contract with County employees who are represented by the Teamsters Union Local 769 (DEPT-2)
Download or view Tuesday’s agenda items at:
Click on the Agenda for the meeting date and then select items from the .pdf file for further viewing.  The Agenda is not easy to navigate and it requires a considerable amount of patience and determination to display the agenda packets for review.  
Attend the meeting at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Administration Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, to express your views on these or other issues or e-mail commissioners at sheard@martin.fl.usefieldin@martin.fl.ushjenkins@martin.fl.useciampi@martin.fl.us, and dsmith@martin.fl.us, with copies to the County Administrator and the County Attorney at tkryzda@martin.fl.us and swoods@martin.fl.us.

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