Now that Boynton Beach’s officials decided to bring back the red-light camera program, the big question is when does it start?
Well, there isn’t a start-date yet.
City Manager Lori LaVerriere said there’s a lot to be done before the program starts: The city needs to meet with camera-vendor American Traffic Solutions to work out logistics; and three police employees need to be moved back to the program to review the videos and pictures.
City officials decided earlier this month to reinstate the program. Boynton will be the only Palm Beach County city to do so.
DELRAY BEACH — A lengthy city commission meeting Wednesday sparked debates and decisions on issues such as the relocation of a local soup kitchen, placing parking meters downtown and a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for the part they played in the opioid epidemic.
Here’s the meeting breakdown:
Caring Kitchen, a soup kitchen that has operated in a neighborhood on Northwest Eighth Street near Pompey Park for two decades, will stop serving food at the site Oct. 31, the commission unanimously decided.
The kitchen, operated by nonprofit CROS Ministries, leases the space from the city for $1 a year. At the center of a residential area, the soup kitchen has been the site of 125 police visits in the past year, the Delray Beach Police Department said.
Some neighbors implored the city to relocate the Caring Kitchen, as it has brought crime, trash, noise and traffic to the neighborhood.
“I think the time has come to put an end to the suffering that the people in the neighborhood are experiencing,” Mayor Cary Glickstein said.
The kitchen serves 14 meals per week to hundreds of homeless and low-income people. It also delivers food to home-bound residents within 1 mile of the site. CROS Ministries is seeking a new site for the kitchen, but asked the city to extend that Oct. 31 deadline.
The soup kitchen can prepare and store food at the site until Aug. 1, 2018, city commissioners decided. But come November, no food can be served there. The kitchen will have to distribute the food to other ministries throughout the city.
City staff analyzed parking plans at cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and recommended placing meters along Atlantic Avenue east of Northwest Fifth Avenue, as well as surface lots and street-side parking two blocks north and south of Atlantic.
The meters would charge $3.50 per hour on Fridays after 5 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The plan also called for $1 per hour parking in the two garages east of Swinton Avenue.
The meters would net the city more than $3 million in two years.
The city’s Downtown Development Authority suggested tweaks to the parking proposal that would reduce rates, change the hours and create a system for employees to avoid burdening workers and business owners with parking costs.
The city commission directed staff to analyze the authority’s plan to see if it’s financially reasonable.
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, a national firm with an office in Boca Raton, will represent the city in a lawsuit against at least eight pharmaceutical makers and distributors, including Purdue Pharma and McKesson Corp.
It isn’t clear yet when the lawsuit will be filed as the firm will begin research this week, said Mark J. Dearman, a partner at Robbins Geller.
Check back Thursday for more details on these stories.
What: In November, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 2, making marijuana available to people with certain illnesses. The state has licensed organizations to grow, distribute and sell medical marijuana. The law went into effect July 1.
While the state worked on their law, the city worked on a local law. But city staff recently found out that portions of the local law — such as how many dispensaries will open in the city and where — are moot according to state law. State law says rules for locating dispensaries can’t be tougher than the ones on pharmacies. The City Commission can either allow the dispensaries to open in the city and not restrict them more than pharmacies; allow the stores but change requirements for pharmacies in order to write stricter rules; or ban the dispensaries.
Vote: The dispensaries will be allowed to open in the city and officials will not restrict them more than pharmacies.
Raising garbage rates:
What: The first of two votes allowing a $1 per month increase on residential garbage rates for the next two years. If approved, beginning Oct. 1, single-family home rates would be $17 per month and multifamily home rates would be $13.75 per month. Those increases would bring about $460,000 a year in revenue to the city. For 2018-19, the rate for single-family would be $18 per month. Vehicle and personnel costs for Solid Waste are rising, and the city wants to keep enough money in the Solid Waste fund to be able to handle unexpected emergencies.
Vote: The majority voted against this increase, so the rates will not change. There will be no second vote. Now the city’s budget is short that $460,000.
Texting while driving:
What: State Rep. Emily Slosberg has asked Boynton to support legislation that would make the ban on texting while driving a primary offense. As it is now, police officers cannot pull over drivers who are texting while driving because it is a secondary offense. Slosberg said new legislation would save lives, prevent injuries and prevent property damages.
Vote: The commission supports Slosberg’s move for new legislation.
What: Commissioner Joe Casello has requested to discuss allowing dogs at Oceanfront Park beach during certain hours. If the dogs could be confined to one area, he said the dogs wouldn’t need to wear leashes. If not, they would wear them. “Just to have the ability to have dogs be on the beach and enjoy the water would be a huge success,” Casello said.
Vote: Commissioners supported Casello. The city will work on plans to make this happen.
The city commission will hear a presentation Wednesday on the parking plan, which includes smart meters that would charge a fluctuating rate based on location and demand, a concept called “surge pricing”. Some details haven’t yet been ironed out, including a parking plan for downtown employees who currently take advantage of free city-owned spots.
The parking meters could net the city as much as $3.15 million a year, city officials said in early July.
City staff will present the parking plan at a commission meeting Wednesday evening.
The city owns 3,277 parking spots in downtown, 727 of which are inside two parking garages.
The parking garages currently charge a $5 flat fee after 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Seven-hundred spots along the beach are already metered, but would become smart meters with charges that fluctuate based on time of day.
The remaining spots in downtown are currently free for 8- or 2-hour parking.
Check back Wednesday for more details on this proposal.