Tuesday’s BCC: ‘A welcome return to what will likely be more orderly meetings…’


From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: The new chair of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners has brought pre-sets back to meeting agendas, scheduling items for specific times to allow interested members of the public a better opportunity to participate.  Four items on Tuesday’s agenda have been assigned a specific time to be heard in a welcome return to what will likely be more orderly meetings than those run by the previous chair, Doug Smith, who eschewed pre-set agenda items.
Most of Tuesday’s meeting will be devoted to presentations and final approval of ordinances that received preliminary approval in earlier presentations.
At 11:00 a.m., the Office of Management and Budget Director will request approval of funding requests, including proposed transfers of funds from reserves to operating accounts to pay for utilities projects in Port Salerno, Palm City and Tropical Farms.  Also on Agenda Item 8A1 is a request for approval of a loan scheme to finance more than $15 million in costs associated with the Lake Point rockpit’s lawsuit against the County and the astronomically expensive settlement that was approved last month by all of the Commissioners except Sarah Heard.
At 1:30 p.m., the Board will hear a presentation on the County’s unsuccessful challenge to a permit issued by the South Florida Water Management District to All Aboard Florida.  In Agenda Item 8D1, staff recommends that the County forego appeal of the District’s final order approving the permit.
A presentation on the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) will be delivered as Item 8A2 at 2:00 p.m. in an effort to revive Martin County’s participation in the statewide program to provide low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and wind resistance improvements on private property.  
Finally, Agenda Item 6C will be heard at 5:01 p.m. to finalize changes to the County’s Land Development Regulations governing the Port Salerno Redevelopment Overlay District.
Commissioner Ed Ciampi, who succeeded Doug Smith as Commission chair during last month’s annual Board reorganization meeting, announced his intent to give members of the public an opportunity to attend or tune in to specific items of interest by restoring pre-set times to the agenda.  Tuesday’s agenda appears to be a good start toward achieving that goal.
Pre-set times for public comment – 9:05 a.m. and 5:05 p.m.  unless the meeting concludes sooner – remain unchanged.  
Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a final public hearing to adopt an ordinance allowing concrete plants on property zoned for agricultural use (Item 6B).  This is one of the conditions of the settlement agreement with the Lake Point mining operators, who also obtained commitments from Commissioners that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars and effectively allow wealthy political campaign contributors to determine how Martin County will be developed in the next 50 years.
Another public hearing will be conducted as Item 6A to announce special assessment areas for the 2018 property tax year.  Special assessments may be added to property taxes in many areas throughout the county for water and sewer projects, paving, and drainage improvements.
The Engineering Department is also asking the Commission to approve a “maintenance map” for part of SE MacArthur Boulevard on Hutchinson Island and part of SW Old Jupiter-Indiantown Road in western Martin County.  Item 8B1 consists of a series of virtually incomprehensible maps and a jumbled explanation about a statute that allows the County to assume ownership of private property adjacent to publicly maintained roads without compensating property owners.  
In other matters on Tuesday’s agenda:
– Item 8C1 features a staff presentation on goals, objectives and policies of the Martin County Comprehensive Plan regarding Community Redevelopment Areas.
– The Consent Agenda includes requests for approval of $5 million in contracts for coastal environmental consulting and planning services for Community Redevelopment Areas (Item 4B1) and appointments to the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee that helps develop the County’s economic development strategy, including retired County IT Director Kevin Kryzda, husband of County Administrator Taryn Kryzda (Item 4B3)
– In Item 8A3, the Business Development Board is seeking a 60-day extension of the deadline for completing its annual audit.  The County’s contract with the BDB authorizes an extension “for good cause shown,” however, it’s not clear why the extension has been requested or why it is needed.  The audit should be completed by January 31, 2018.  The BDB wants an extension until March 31, 2018
Download or view agenda items at:
Please attend the BCC meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday at the Administration Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, to express your views on these or other issues.  You can also 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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