Listen, watch and/or attend Tuesday’s BOCC meeting

The Martin County Board of County Commissioners includes Doug Smith, Ed Fielding, Anne Scott, Sarah Heard, and John Haddox. Pictured are Ed Fielding, Sarah Heard, and Anne Scott. (Source: TFPofMC)

 

Civic activist and local attorney Virginia Sherlock details Tuesday’s upcoming Martin County Commission meeting. Residents should attend and/or watch MCTV’s coverage, comment and be aware of these meeting events.

Presentations will be made on topics ranging from tourism to public transportation to water resources project updates.

There are quite a few pre-set items:

At 9:30 a.m., Agenda Item 8F1 is a presentation by a consultant hired to make recommendations regarding tourism in Martin County after ties with the Convention and Visitors Bureau were severed in 2013. The Zeitgeist Consulting report is thorough, straightforward, and provocative. Should the County establish an in-house destination marketing organization or contract with another private entity like the CVB?

Consultant Bill Geist’s report is worth reading in its entirety. It is well written and understandable and contains some excellent suggestions and recommendations.

Geist says the County should set up its own tourism agency but cautions that strong, experienced leadership will be required. He suggests streamlining allocation of Tourist Development Tax (“bed tax”) dollars and using some of the funds for capital improvements, beach and inlet maintenance. The report is encouraging and upbeat but also points out pitfalls and concerns about how tourist development efforts must be reconstituted and aggressively pursued. This item is a must-see for residents who want to learn about how Martin County can encourage eco-tourism, sports venue opportunities, and enhancement of beach, fishing, and marine tourism activities to reap the benefits of tourism while maintaining our small town, environmentally rich community character.

At 11:00 a.m., Item 8A1 requests approval of a $1.3 million – really closer to $2 million – proposal to construct a roof over the horse arena at Timer Powers Park. The $1.3 million is the “base bid” that does not include “extras” like lighting, bleachers and a restroom. This item generated questions by Commissioners last month. Many questions remain unanswered regarding whether the seemingly enormous expense to construct a roof over an existing arena can be justified. This is a major expansion project that may be more than its location can support.

At 2:00 p.m., Agenda Item 8C2 is pre-set to present a Transit Development Plan of interest to residents who use public transportation. The Florida Department of Transportation requires an approved plan that looks 10 years into the future to qualify for state grant funding. The report is hard to follow but worth a look to see who uses public transportation in Martin County and what users want in coming years – longer service hours, weekend service, discounts for the elderly, disabled, veterans and students. The report does not consider availability of funding, which makes it more entertaining than compelling.

(Before approving the report, the BOCC may want to tone down an overly benign description of All Aboard Florida on Page 24 and correct the name of the municipality formerly known as Ocean Breeze Park to its proper name, the Town of Ocean Breeze.)

At 2:30 p.m., Item 6A is a request by the Martin County Sheriff for a revision to the local sexual predator ordinance to expand residency restrictions from 1,500 feet to 2,500 feet for adult registered sex offenders who live near a school, park or child care facility.

South Florida Water Management District and US Army Corps representatives are scheduled to present a report on pending projects in Martin County at a 3:00 p.m. pre-set for Item 7A. The rest of the pre-set items relate to Community Redevelopment Area and Jensen Beach CRA updates.

Other agenda items, not pre-set for hearing at an announced time, include a proposed Request for Qualifications for a consultant to prepare a report on the use of County-owned facilities is offered for BOCC approval as Item 8A2.

Commissioners Ed Fielding and Anne Scott have been instrumental in urging review and evaluation of properties owned by Martin County to determine how they are being used (or not), whether any County-owned property should be sold, future needs, and whether any facilities should be re-located. Commissioner Scott asked that the study include an examination of leased space as well as County-owned property. This is a long overdue project.

Items 8D1, 8D2 and 8E1 present proposed contracts for approval, including contracts to license the use of the County’s fiber optic system (to Liberator Medical Supply and to Martin Health System) and an agreement to provide medical air service for Fire Rescue.

Finally, Item 8A5 asks Commissioners to consider a policy governing contributions to private charities. In the past, the County has given “grants” to private organizations deemed to be providing a public service to the community. This practice has grown to an astounding $244,000 in gifts to worthy charities like the Alzheimer’s Association and the Council on Aging last year, with more than $525,000 sought this year as more charities apply for taxpayer dollars. The BOCC is being asked to establish a policy to determine whether taxpayer dollars should be handed out to private charitable organizations. It will be interesting to see whether any reasonable explanation can be given as to why taxpayers should be forced to support a few favored charities by having tax dollars donated at the direction of the County Commission rather than allowing residents to support charities of their own choice with private donations.

Please let commissioners know how you feel about these agenda items and others by speaking during Public Comment at 9:05 a.m. or 5:05 p.m. on Tuesday or by e-mail at:sheard@martin.fl.us, efieldin@martin.fl.us, jhaddox@martin.fl.us, ascott@martin.fl.us, dsmith@martin.fl.us with a copy to the County Administrator at tkryzda@martin.fl.us and County Attorney at mdurham@martin.fl.us

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1 comment to Listen, watch and/or attend Tuesday’s BOCC meeting

  • dizdude

    So what happened regarding item 6A to expand the residency restrictions for sex offenders to 2500 feet? Haven’t heard any update from any news source at all what happened with this proposal.