Last week at the City Council meeting, two ordinances (Ordinances 5357 and 5358) were brought forward for adoption by the city.  No official vote was taken but testimony from the public and inquiries from the dais demonstrated how bad an idea annexation actually is!

The major negatives uncovered caused the City Council to pause and ask the City Attorney to investigate modifications to these ordinances. While no vote was taken at this meeting, a first vote may be taken at the next City Council meeting scheduled for August 23rd.

First and foremost, is the question of why the current city residents are not being given an opportunity to vote on these annexation issues?  Another set of issues were raised on behalf of the Boniello Acres by resident Michael Vislocky; and, finally, a critical analysis by Commissioner Earl Starkoff, incumbent Commissioner District 3, Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District.

On the question of allowing current city residents a voice in the major policy question of annexation, the City Council has instructed the City Attorney to research how this may be accomplished without affecting the ‘aggressive’ time line the annexation issue currently enjoys.  Consensus opinion on the council was that allowing such a vote is meritorious.  Those seemingly supporting the idea of giving the residents a vote includes Mayor Haynie, Councilman Rodgers and Councilman Weinroth.  Councilman Singer seemed hesitant to embrace this notion while Deputy Mayor Mullaugh remained relatively quiet.  One cannot help but wonder what the rush to annex is and certainly one wonders what the benefits are for Annexation in the first place?

On the questions raised by Mr. Vislocky, the City Council has now instructed the City Attorney to look at how Boniello Acres might be excluded from the pending Annexation question.  The prime objection is that Boniello Acres is a rural oriented community where residents enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle with horses, goats, chickens and other farm oriented critters.

Boniello Acres is a non-gated private community with roads and infrastructure different in design and standards than those required by Boca Raton.  Furthermore, although the initial annexation would adopt these different standards, there is no guarantee that future zoning regulations would not alter the Boniello Acre lifestyle; lifestyle residents specifically sought in the decision to move to this more rural community.

The notion that future zoning changes could be imposed by the City was confirmed by the City Attorney’s comments suggesting that there is no protection from future zoning regulation changes regardless of the intent at the time of annexation.

Finally, the argument that Boniello Acres’ future, even with 100% resident disapproval, might be out voted by the other ‘gated’ private communities sought to be annexed; communities that may see more benefit in being annexed into the city.

Highlights from Mr. Vislocky’s report are that 1) the Annexation report is flawed and understates the eventual costs to the City and the likely costs to the Boniello Acre resident; that the report omitted significant content required by State Statute; omits the cost of road maintenance; cost of drainage, storm water and street light maintenance leading to and within the community.  For a complete review of these and other points made, the reader should visit the City of Boca Raton’s Meetings and Agenda section where this complete discussion has been captured for viewing purposes.

Beach and Park District Commissioner Earl Starkoff on his campaign website, www.EarlStarkoff.com , make additional arguments worthy of consideration including but not limited to 1)the impact on the Beach and Park assets; 2) the non-negotiable position from the City Manager on discussing annexation with the District; 3) the inequity of residents outside the District having access to District facilities without fees; and, 4) the projected impacts and interests of annexation for the City firefighters.

Inserted below is Commissioner Starkoff’s position on Annexation as found on his website www.earlstarkoff.com.

ANNEXATION WITHOUT TAXATION

The key issue before the voters is Annexation. Annexation is a clear example of recent differences the have arisen between the District and the City. And Annexation also clearly defines the differences between the candidates for the District seats.

For context, understand that the communities north of Clint Moore Road are not  in the District. Those residents that join the City will enjoy all the benefits of the beaches and parks that we support BUT they will not pay any taxes like other District residents.

Just the 763 new residents from 5 communities will get a $300,000 annual free ride on the backs of our District constituents. That’s simply not fair.

All District residents – whether they live in or outside the City – will carry this $300,000 burden from just the initial annexation plans of the City. These new residents in Boca Raton will gain all of the benefits to enjoy our parks and beaches. AND – they will not contribute a dime to capital improvement projects such as beach renourishment.

And that’s not counting the much more sizable burden that we’ll all carry if the City proceeds with its goal to annex St. Andrews Country Club.

BocaWatch has taken a firm position opposing Annexation of these and any other community to the north and west of current boundaries;

BocaWatch has also taken a strong position that the City residents should be given the opportunity to vote on this annexation question per state statute addressing Involuntary Annexation; and

BocaWatch has endorsed incumbent Commissioners Dr. Dennis Frisch and Business Earl Starkoff for retention in the August 30th election for Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District Seat 3.

YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE, LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD ON AUGUST 30TH