With the City’s 2017-18 budget now final there is perhaps no more important item to review for insights into the narrative of what will be of import over the next 12 months. All eyes should be on the implications of the upcoming final budget vote. BocaWatch has been working on budget items for some time now. Articles have been written and are being written to raise questions of how taxpayer monies will be spent….Residents from around the city point out items that remain undone effecting quality of life while the city council boasts about how frugal Boca Raton leadership is….Really?
With hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves and with expected windfalls from current and future negotiations, it is time to loosen the purse strings and spend monies to the direct benefit of the residents both residential and commercial. What these are should be the focus of a public debate at the Council level with residents being afforded a participation to shape the future.
One very important item in question….What’s Up with the Pension Contracts?
Not much has been heard regarding the contract negotiations for the Police and Fire pension plans. The fact of the matter is that both contracts are up for renewal based on their cycle of negotiations. At the present time, BocaWatch is unable to determine if the negotiations are even scheduled. It would be beneficial for residents if these negotiations were held in a timely manner rather than postponing them until after the March election. A delay would not reveal where incumbents stand on this important issue that impact the future fiscal health of the city’s balance sheet and financing.
Clarion Call…..Opportunity knocks
March 12, 2018 is a scheduled municipal election date for Boca Raton and two City Council seats are up for grabs. This presents Boca voters with another opportunity to elect ‘resident friendly’ candidates to represent their interests going forward. Voters did receive partial benefit for successfully electing ‘resident friendly’ Councilmember Andrea Levine O’Rourke this year. However, one is not enough. It takes three votes to carry, or deny, the measures that come forward for approval at City Council.
What Do We Have Currently?
Thus far, the only candidates to file for the election are incumbents; Robert Weinroth and Jeremy Rodgers. Their voting records speak for themselves.
For his part, Mr. Weinroth is completing his fourth year in office and has voted one hundred percent of the time in favor of high density, high intensity development. With no surprise, Mr. Weinroth primary source of campaign funding comes predominately from the development community. He is not ‘resident friendly’. BocaWatch is now compiling a comprehensive list of the un-resident friendly votes and actions Mr. Weinroth has taken since his appearance in the public arena….This list will be published when complete. In the meantime, BocaWatch will be monitoring the campaign contribution reports, the next due very soon. Councilman Weinroth is also invited for a video interview to go over his voting history and correct the record for any misstatements that may have occurred.
On to Councilman Jeremy Rodgers…
Mr. Rodgers voting record is a bit mixed. His most notable ‘resident friendly’ vote occurring when he voted against the ‘Mansion on the Sand’ at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. When it comes to development issues for other areas of the city, his record may favor high density development as exampled by his yes vote for increasing density at University Village on Spanish River Blvd over the objections of dozens of residents affected by the extent of that particular project.
More information on Mr. Rodgers’ past and present voting record plus his campaign contribution reports will also be forthcoming in future weeks.
Where Are They?
So, where are the real ‘resident friendly’ candidates? Who will step up and represent the community at this opportunistic time for our city? It is a big ‘ask’ of anyone. It is a big time commitment with big decisions to be made. But if the 2017 election is any yardstick the voters will get behind a ‘resident friendly’ candidate and provide the votes necessary for a win. The timing couldn’t be better. The time is now. Your city needs you.
Al Zucaro, Publisher