Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop …. Following the LITTLE Letter(s) of the LAW ….

September 1, 2009 by Barbara

“THUMBING” YOUR NOSE AT THE TAXPAYERS …..

Dear Readers…an update to the post concerning the purchase of the Public Safety Complex in May 2008…and the required LBTS Purchasing Manual 30 day published notice prior to Commission approval  (see below)

5. “ANY AGREEMENT BY LBTS TO PURCHASE REAL PROPERTY SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE TOWN COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL AT A PUBLIC MEETING AFTER THIRTY (30) DAYS PUBLIC NOTICE. NOTICE OF THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF REAL PROPERTY SHALL BE PUBLISHED ONCE A WEEK FOR AT LEAST TWO (2) WEEKS IN A NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION IN LBTS”

On a positive note….the Town was uncharacteristically quick to respond compared to past PRRs and also charged appropriately 15 cents for the copy of the page scanned below…

ad for pub. safety building

The ad for public notice was indeed published….although just like the recent Parking Citation Processing RFP (prev. post) it was about the size of a thumb!…Its actual size is  shown above on the PRR  picked up today…I verified the size with the Town Clerk and Office Specialist Nikki Smith… No wonder nobody, including me recalled seeing it!….

I checked the Public Notices category for April/May 2008 and found a post for April 27, 2008 …but not the one above….I checked May 11, 2008 and did not find a post …just a post for May 12, 2008…..So this writer missed the itty bitty notice…big time!….

” The Town is considering the purchase of property located at 4513 N. Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Fl. 33308. The legal description being (Lauderdale-By-The-Sea 6-2B Lot 28,29 Block 24)” The wording, may be legally sufficient, does not offer the taxpayers notice they can come forward to object the purchase……and of course no such ability to do so was mentioned from the Town Manager in her presentation to the Town ….SHAME!…

more to come….

Post Division

Here’s The Scoop … Following The LBTS Purchasing Manual Procedures ….A Lesson In Selective Adherence? …

August 17, 2009 by Barbara

HAPPY TOWN MANAGER…..

Dear Readers… Still looking at the LBTS  10/15/05 Revised Purchasing Manual…(yes, still)…after finding one “selective” procedure the Town Manager and her staff want to adhere to concerning the RFP bids wording in Sec.2 …page 19 4a…(prev. post scoops cat.) that was revised on 2/17/09… (without Comm. approval)…and to forgo reading “aloud” the RFP bids as published and done prior to July 29, 2009…While at the same time the Administration did NOT follow the procedures when it came to the LETF decision process (prev. post scoops cat.) that states it is the BSO Police Chief and the Town Commission who decide the use and approval of the funds… The Town Manager  is not even mentioned  in the procedure and  should be only the facilitator in the process ….The Purchasing Manual procedure that states the Fl. State Statutes in black and white spelling out ….LETF funds cannot be used for renovations or building a station …And now there’s one more procedure that may have been tossed aside …and if it turns out it too was selectively and purposely ignored..then readers..once again…”Houston, we have a problem!”…

According the the LBTS Purchasing Manual Section IV L. REAL ESTATE ACQUISITION…(page 39-40 Revised 10/15/05-scans below)…

“The following procedures shall be employed whenever LBTS seeks to acquire, by purchase, any real estate.”

1. Deals with the prior to initiating negotiations with the property owner LBTS shall obtain a written appraisal including the appraiser has no vested or fiduciary interest in the property..

BC- At the March 25, 2008 (video link below…below) the Town Manager asks the Commission for a motion on the sale/purchase of properties (it was tabled at the 3/11/08 meeting) because “there are RFP processes we have to follow”…and she “doesn’t want to waste her time” …Comm. Silverstone asks if it is to sell the warehouse as well as purchase the hotel…The Town Manager says “It would be nice.”…Comm. Silverstone makes the motion to do both and VM McIntee 2nds it…Comm. Clottey asks for an estimate of what the property we would sell is worth…Town Manager Colon says the Town bought the warehouse for $1.6 million and the hotel was orig. $2.4 million and was down to $1.9 million so there would be a $300,000 difference..and says “that doesn’t mean anything” because  the market is not good …but also says “it is a good time to buy an adjacent property”…adding that since she [TM] has been her [8 yrs] we have bought 6 properties and we own all of them except the “parkin’ lot”…VM McIntee (ever the “wheeler dealer”) addressed the Town Manager and said that the $1.6 million warehouse could sell for more ..”It could grease the wheel”…The Town Manager says that a Realtor she thinks named “Stella” “performed the process for us”…the motion was passed 5-0…The question is was “Stella” involved at all with the purchase or sale of either property which according to the procedure is not allowed?…

2. Appraisal reports and counter-offers are confidential and exempt from public records law (1991)

3. No negotiations may be commenced, offers, and counter-offers made for the acquisition by purchase of real property without prior authorization of the Town Commission.

BC- In the March 25, 2008 video the Town Manager states the price for the hotel was “down to $1.9″…was that done in general for the open market or with the Town prior to the motion made at this meeting?

4. Upon commencement of negotiations, LBTS shall inform the property owner, in writing , that all agreements for the purchase of real property are subject to approval by the Town Commission.

HERE’S THE ONE THAT NEEDS TO BE VERIFIED THAT IT WAS ADHERED TO… …(public records req. below)

5. “ANY AGREEMENT BY LBTS TO PURCHASE REAL PROPERTY SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE TOWN COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL AT A PUBLIC MEETING AFTER THIRTY (30) DAYS PUBLIC NOTICE. NOTICE OF THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF REAL PROPERTY SHALL BE PUBLISHED ONCE A WEEK FOR AT LEAST TWO (2) WEEKS IN A NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION IN LBTS”

BC- I cannot find anything that shows this was done…could I have missed it that far back?…Yeah…but I want verification it was adhered to and that it continues to be adhered to moving forth…If it was not then the public was not allowed to voice their opposition to this purchase as they should have been afforded with the publication and the process of this purchase was not done properly. I await a response from the Town showing  copies of the 2 weeks of “general circulation” newspaper publications ….

6. Evidence of marketable title in the form of title ins. etc….

7.” In order to prevent the premature disclosure of LBTS’s interest in acquiring a specific parcel of real estate, the Town Manager may expend up to $30,000 on related appraisals, environmental studies, etc. without Town Commission approval”

BC- This one [#7]  needs to be “Revised”… ASAP!

MAY 27,2009 Commission Meeting video (link below)…The Town Manager spoke of the 2 appraisals that were done …the Town Atty’s review of the property document agreement…BUT NO MENTION OF 30 DAYS  PRIOR PUBLIC NOTICE (#5-2x in a general circulation to LBTS newspaper)…and that the owner reviewed the agreement as well….Comm. Silverstone made the motion…VM McIntee 2nd it…Comm. Clottey asked about the warehouse property…The Town Manager said they were awaiting a 2nd appraisal but the appraisal they had was higher than the hotel property they were buying…The Town Manager stated the property [hotel] started at $2.4 million and after 2 appraisals the owner agreed to come in between the 2 appraisals and the purchase price would be $1.77,650…Comm. Silverstone said it was a “pretty good deal”…The Mayor said we had enough property with the land we own and she was not for investing in more with the funds we have…The Vice Mayor said he disagreed with the Mayor …VM McIntee said we are “10 years behind for police…50 years behind for fire”…we are “jumping from 3 people to 92 possibly”…we need a “environment for public safety people”..he spoke of the BSO fire station promised and not produced…and asked the Town Manager “Do we have the money?”…”Town Manager do we have the funds?”…TM”yes!”…VM McIntee “Is it earmarked for this?” Town Mananger “Yes!”…VM “Then what are we arguing about?”..

Town Manager Colon-” I want everybody to understand we have a fire department comin’, an AMR department comin’ and of course we have a police department and we only have one room to house the fire and fire rescue. We have to house both companies somewhere. Right now BSO sits in 2 trailers cause they really don’t have a facility to reside in.” (HUH?) “I think it’s time we address that issue.”

BC- 2 trailers?  [(A reader informs there were 2 trailers…1 by Town fire station and 2nd one was at Assumption Church…)The BSO police reside in the same place [Jarvis Hall building] they have from the beginning of their contract…… and we now know from the special meeting in June when Chief Scott Gooding was represented by the BSO Colonel that BSO asked to remain where they are after seeing the hotel!…OUCH!…We also now know that the Town Manager did not plan properly for the building  and did not include the real cost of doing the required renovations…and it seems her decision to use the LETF  for the renovations was improper. Double OUCH!…In the time since we purchased the property the BSO have remained where they are …so the status quo implies the Town Manager should have planned better and waited to purchase this property or to not purchase it at all!…

Comm. Clottey said that “normally” she wouldn’t like a purchase like this , but asked “how often does an adjacent property come on the market?”…

The Town Manager said “Never!”….

BC- not long after the purchase the adjacent property behind the hotel on Bougainvilla came up for sale (prev. post) and it was for sale at less than $800,000!…The Commission addressed it, but did not attempt to buy it with the outrage that came from this purchase…which cost the taxpayers more than double for the same size lot now available!…OOPS!…

Comm. Clottey then spoke of the warehouse and the need for it to be advertised ASAP!…She stated “Otherwise I think residents are going to be justified in screaming loudly.”

The Town Manager said she had an advertisement ready to go as soon as the 2nd appraisal came in as she was “obligated” to wait for it…saying she [TM] will work with the Town Atty. who had reviewed it …Comm. Clottey reiterated she wanted the property on the market….The Town Manager said “probably this week if not next week, we’re just waitin’ for the next appraisal.”

BC-Originally the Town Commission approved a 90 day contract for the firm to sell the property…Here we are 15 months later..the Town Manager has not asked the Commission for any extension or any direction to replace the company….We still own the building…just the “For Sale”  signs are larger…

The Mayor repeated her reasons for not wanting to purchase the property saying we have enough property…Comm. Silverstone asked the Mayor what it would cost to replace the Town Hall…the Mayor responded they would save the $1.7 million and then need to get the numbers …Comm. Silverstone retorted “Without knowing those numbers that’s a very strong statement you’re making”…The Mayor attempted to make him understand “You don’t have to spend money” on the new property…Comm. Silverstone spoke of a past Master Plan that included the Town Hall and the Town Manager said it was at a cost of “a couple of million”…The Mayor said to “use the $1.7 on top of that.”..

BC- THE FOLLOWING IS NEWS TO ME….

Town Manager- ” HONESTLY THE GOAL WAS TO ACQUIRE ADJACENT LAND. THAT WAS ONE OF THE GOALS. ”

BC- When?…By whom?…

The Town Manager went on to talk briefly about the relocation that would have to happen if Town Hall was replaced…

Comm. Silverstone- ” That’s what I thought”…..

BC- Comm. Silverstone brought up the acquisition prior to the 2008 election 2 months earlier …but as far as it being a “goal”…Hmmmm….

VM McIntee- ” Jimmy’s right on, a fire station’s gonna cost $2-3 million, police department a million and a half, that’s $4 million, that’s not counting the Town’s offices, new structure, $6-8 million minimum, we don’t have that.”

BC- WHOAAAAA….I thought the Town Manager/ “Gang of 3” “Mantra” was and is “We are in the black” and the $8 million loan could be paid back at any time!…OOPS!..

VM- ” That’s probably low. You’re apples and oranges here Mayor! Bottom line is in less than 70 days we’re gonna have 92 firemen working in this town, 27 policemen. That’s 127 people.” (HUH?) ” Before we sneeze we’re gonna have ambulances coming in and out that we got to maintain”

BC-Add much VM?…We are not maintaining the ambulances, AMR is and the in- town ambulance is plugged in with an extension cord in front of the hotel (that alone would be a code violation for anyone else in this town)…The AMR portion of the Public Safety building is lousy, they could have stayed at the Beach Hotel or the Holiday in and had the same type of accommodations…YIKES!…

VM- “AND I MEAN WE COULD PROBABLY PUT BUNK BEDS ON THE ROOF, BUT THEY’RE GONNA GET WET IF IT RAINS, WE GOTTA PUT THEM SOMEWHERE AND WE GOTTA DO IT RIGHT.”

BC- The Manager found out after the purchase that the VFD could NOT sleep upstairs …and although there was talk of moving them downstairs and BSO up, that too would not fly…So desperate was she (we were told) that she considered using Lazy-boys to bypass the requirements…That too did not happen…We have heard that indeed there are some beds upstairs, but the intended use by 92 firemen never came to fruition as the VFD steadily thinned out to 60+ (last month we heard 75) ….

Town Manager Colon -” Remember if you look at your budget documents, a municipal complex was $4 million and that is about 4 years ago”..

VM McIntee-” Well quadruple it then!” and then used the increased costs of the sewers in the north as an example…

The Town Clerk asked for clarification of the vote…and was told it was to “just approve” the purchase…the Mayor read the motion and it passed 4-1 Mayor Minnet dissenting…

BC- There you have it…we taxpayers might have been had…unable to speak out and stop this unnecessary and unpopular purchase of the LBTS Mc-Public Safety Complex with its Mc-Public Swimming Pool…(still actively looking to hire a town lifeguard)…

The Scans…The Minutes….The E-mailed public records request….the Town meeting video links…

real estate acq. pg 1

real est. acq. page 2

mar 25, 2008 minutes hotel #1

may 2008 hotel purch #2

From:
“Barbara Cole”
To:
“Steve D’Olivera”
Steve: I am making a public records request for a copy of the publications that were to be published in a newspaper once a week for 2 weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in LBTS concerning the acquisition of the hotel in May 2008. Please acknowledge receipt of my request and let me know when it will be ready for pickup. Barbara Cole

March 25,2008 online link ….New Bus. 13D……. http://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=55

MAY 27,2008 online video link….Old Bus. 15A. ……. http://lbts.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=66

more to come……..

Post Division