SDM filled every nook and cranny in a binge food bender that is definitely going to leave a mark. We hope you did too.
While loafing on the couch, we got to thinking about Palmetto Bay’s agenda and what we think the council needs to tackle in the next few months. In no particular order:
Palmer Trinity Litigation
Sometime very soon after being sworn into their new roles, the village council needs to get the straight skinny on how to wrap up the Palmer Trinity pending litigation.
We’ve read the primer by Mr. Lehtinen and have no doubt about his legal chops. And, we don’t want to see Palmetto Bay pay legal fees and costs to Palmer if none are likely to be awarded by the courts.
But in fairness to all, this chapter must be closed so the village and Palmer can reconcile their interests and move on in a normal relationship.
We feel comfortable that Mayor Flinn – a competent lawyer in his own right – understands that the time for hardball tactics passed during the last mayor’s tenure. Find a reasonable solution or tell us why we need to fight it out, but for heaven’s sake tell us the unvarnished truth immediately.
Palmetto Bay Village Center – Southeast Fire Station
SDM is dubious about the forest so some serious disinterested third party needs to tell the village council and the Village People if there are endangered pine rocklands on the site and to what extent they ought or must be preserved.
We don’t trust the enviro-whackos to give us their opinion because they never seem to find ANY land to be developable anymore.
Again, this council bears the responsibility of determining whether a deal with the Palmetto Bay Village Center where the village permits limited development in exchange for a fire station location is a good deal for everyone.
Regardless of whether it is or it’s not, tell us why and make your decision. SDM may be speaking for others in town when we say we’re tired of the spinning.
Village Manager Ron Williams
The prior council punted on the decision to extend Mr. Williams tenure, which wisely leaves the decision in the hands of the new council.
We think Mr. Williams deserves to be fairly evaluated should he wish to remain in his post. On the other hand, we also think Mr. Williams – if he is retained – must be given clearer instructions on how to run this village.
SDM and, we think, others want this village to be lean. If this council agrees, then Mr. Williams’ tendency to empire-build must be curtailed from a policy perspective and not just from a budget perspective.
We hope the new council will keep us in the loop on this important decision and not pick a path one way or the other without a public discussion. This is not a topic for behind-the-scenes wrangling.
Palmetto Bay Budget
A corollary to the Williams issue is whether this council intends to exercise budget discipline. We have written extensively about the perpetual growth in the village’s headcount and total budget under the past two councils.
We believe the budget must be restrained so that we are not forced into a tax increase. Tough decisions require real leadership that has been in short supply over the past 8 years.
SDM Says: The budget is a policy document that will tell us how this village council intends to behave for the next few years. Big spending cannot be hidden.
Downtown Redevelopment – Charter School
The former mayor and her administration admitted that failing to develop the Franjo Triangle area amounts to a budgetary death sentence for Palmetto Bay.
At the same time, they continued to fund unnecessary positions in the police department. But the inconsistent message wasn’t limited to the budget. When a major downtown landowner asked for village support for a county grant program, the council deadlocked and failed to send a letter of support.
We fully understand that there are those in this village that want to see the decrepit downtown stay just as it is, to which we say fine, let’s build our budget to live within our current and future means.
On the other hand, if we as a village are serious about allowing healthy growth downtown, then we need to get out of the way and let the landowners build whatever the market will bear.
If the landowner believes a charter school works downtown, then the village should open its arms and welcome the development and the people it will bring. More people downtown will lead to more stores and eventually to healthy development.
SDM Says: The village council can’t have it both ways. You either accept development or you clamp down on it and accept the consequences either way, but making no decision is unacceptable.
Village Election Dates
Why do we have this dumb runoff three weeks after the general election and right before a major holiday?
If a September primary and a November general election work well enough to elect Governors, Presidents, Senators and Legislators, they’re good enough for little old Palmetto Bay.
SDM Says: It’s time to save some money and make the Village People’s lives a little easier.
Coral Reef Park Improvements
One wag suggested that SDM join a gym, which is a good suggestion given the constriction in our clothing today, but we want the option of jogging or walking after work in Coral Reef Park.
For us to do so we need two things: (a) later hours in the park; and (b) lighting in the parking areas and on the walking tracks. If we had our druthers, some of the ball fields and grassy areas would also be lit so that others could use the park, too.
Sure, there are neighbors around Coral Reef Park who believe they were granted a birthright of no-lights-ever, but shouldn’t we all get a voice in this important decision? We don’t remember being asked our opinion.
So, let’s put it to the voters. Here is the question:
Should lights be permitted at Coral Reef Park?
Simple and it misleads nobody.
SDM Says: If the majority of this village wants the park to be dark half the year then SDM can live with their decision.