Grab Those Glasses Again

This week’s meeting agenda is up for your reading pleasure… October 19th Agenda

Some items of interest on tap for Wednesday…

(from collective bargaining to prospective Tri-Rail station for Lake Park)

Proclamations and awards will be presented

A vote will be taken on umpteen meeting minutes

Further alleyway renovation is in the works. A resolution regarding the loan to fund this is up for a vote.

Here are a few of the items of note about that latest big money “improvement” scheduled for a small portion of one of our town’s alleyways.

  • $350,000 loan for 600 feet of alleyway renovation between 7th and 8th street (hourly budget for the project: $3,500)
  • $5,000 fee to the counsel of the bank in connection with the issuance, and due at issuance
  • $1,750 loan fee
  • $20,080 for preparation of design for alleyway improvements in order to procure bids
  • After construction contractor was selected, construction inspection expenses were expected to be $4,050

This is funded by the Stormwater Utilty Fund. However, our town is borrowing the money.

Earl Stewart Toyota request

Temporary trailer and signage request – for town to relax codes temporarily

Collective bargaining agreement with AFL-CIO

I find it interesting that our town has unionized workers for the following positions:

Custodian

Dock Attendant

Equipment Operator I, II and III

Facilities Maintenance Worker I, II and III

Facilities Mechanic I and II

Grounds Maintenance Crew Leader

Irrigation Technician I and II

Maintenance Craftsman

Maintenance Worker II and III

Mechanic I and II

Grounds Maintenance Worker II

It would be good if everyone read thoroughly and understood the agreements our Town has with the Union and understood how the Union’s relationship with our town affects Lake Park elections and budget votes. It would also be interesting to know what kind of information is placed on the union bulletin board at town hall that is mentioned in this agreement as well as what kind of campaign contributions this union makes. Are we paying (as is usually the case with public unions) for them to advocate for their partisan causes and for their candidates? Perhaps that gives further insight into the June 28th election and it probably offers some insight into the organized turnout by town workers during the budget hearings regarding insurance benefits where basically the same speech was parroted by every employee who came up to speak, right down to their glowing praise of their boss, Ms. Davis.

Here is a blog post I found which provides some interesting insight that might resonate with you regarding our town in relation to the union and the union’s affect on rising taxes. The author, David Zincavage quotes an article by Jonah Goldberg and shares how his small town was affected by unionized labor.

One can’t help but see how collective bargaining is likely playing into the outcome of a number of things in our town ranging from elections to budget negotiations.

This from Jonah Goldberg 

“Government unions negotiate with politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests and, as we’ve seen in states such as California and Wisconsin, exploding the cost of government. The labor-politician negotiations can’t be fair when the unions can put so much money into campaign spending.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg and something else we need to be watching out for. There is a whole lot about our town government that seems to be going into the mix regarding the changes that have occurred in the tone and character of Lake Park. It’s time to get to what is eating at the foundation of our town before the decay becomes irreversible.

Here is another good article on this topic by Robert Tracinski: Public Unions and the Socialist Utopia

Tri-Rail letter of support from Lake Park’s Mayor Dubois

Here comes another arm of the sustainable development beast that is working its way through every aspect of our lives. How do residents feel about a proposed Tri-rail station being built here? Do residents have a clue that this is even being suggested by our Town Manager and Mayor along with Karen Marcus? The Mayor states in the letter attached to this week’s agenda that “we are excited about the possibility of having a station here.” Oh, really? Well, he might just want to speak for himself rather than the residents at this point, since I can guarantee that very few residents are aware that this has ever been proposed.

The resolution presented states that this does not commit us to any financial obligations, however, there are more considerations to be addressed in light of this than merely the financial. Having the broader taxpayer base pay for this does not make it, by virtue of that fact, any less our money funding it, nor does it make it a good idea. This is a subject which must be given MUCH public attention before being allowed even a foot in the door through the passing of resolutions which applaud the idea. Here is a telling statistic regarding Tri-rail’s revenue and expenses for 2010:

Click image to enlarge

This information is from Wikipedia, and sourced there to:^ a b c “South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2010”. SFRTA.

Are we not already deep in a huge mess with the Marina Village fiasco and related grant ordeals and the imposing conditions brought on by the county, Karen Marcus and our Town Manager? Wasn’t that agreement promoted as something that would be done without a financial obligation? Yet, aside from the financial mess it turned out to be, consider the total ordeal it has caused for residents who live in close proximity…and they have only just begun their fight on this. Then think about the bureaucracy brought about by this for the town and the county. Precious time and money wasted on all fronts.

Until more is known about the Tri-rail project and more information is presented to residents, this needs to be put on the back burner. Way back. Residents also need to be schooled about the sustainable objectives of our town and county and what that really means. Hopefully I will be able to find the time to write about that before too much longer as it is intertwined throughout just about everything being done these days on every front.

Screenshot from Tri-Rail website

When our town staff begins to overwhelm the system with more things than the public can keep up with, something’s out of line and the brakes need to be applied. Why the need for a letter of support for this Tri-Rail project if a resolution supporting the study of rail station placement was passed a year ago? Why further encourage a train station here when we don’t have all the facts about it and residents have not been provided with any information? Have any more details ever been brought forward that make it necessary for us to push for this? This could take us in a direction that may not be right for our town. There should be much discussion and debate before giving this idea any more positive attention. If we support it now, then later when it’s barreling down the track and the town residents decide it is not favorable after all, we will have a hard time holding back the power of the engine in motion.  A lot of information needs to be brought our way before this gets even a nod of further approval.

Citizens of Lake Park need to get a grasp of how much their Town Government is doing that affects their quality of life and get engaged before they turn around and find out it’s too late. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Lake Park, these kinds of things are exactly what happened and will continue unless residents step up, speak out and get involved.

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