Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop….LBTS MPSC/ COMMISSION WORKSHOP ….DRAGGIN’ …. DRAGGIN’ … DRAGGIN’ …. …..

July 20, 2009 by Barbara

WAKE ME WHEN IT’S OVER…..

The Master Plan Steering Committee invited the Commission to meet with them in order to get some reason to continue on as a MPSC….What they got in this writer’s opinion was a reason to “drag their feet” and wait until March 2010 to replace the Broom Boys and the Town Manager…and then perhaps have a newly appointed committee that will be productive due to constructive direction coming from those that replace these 3!…

This meeting was a total embarrassment…a waste of time for the committee…and those who attended and are well aware of how truly lacking in information the majority STILL is……

In attendance were the MPSC / Commission/ Town Clerk/Town Manager/ Town Engineer/ Town Architect-Planner/ 3 residents/Mc-Furth Times Editor Cristie Furth/ Pompano Pelican Reporter Judy Vik/ this writer….

The Mayor spoke of what this meeting was called ….for direction concerning the El Mar Drive Project. and turned it over to MPSC Chair Paul Novak ….He spoke of the purpose being the El Mar project but hoped to discuss other matters as well….He spoke of the project winner …the million…and where to go from here…The Mayor said they should go around the table for Commissioners to speak…She asked the Vice Mayor to begin…he passed…Comm. Clottey said she wanted the architect to incorporate the existing plantings (she said they cost $150,000) in front of Oriana…she spoke of underground wiring…storm sewers and not having the money go all to landscaping…Comm. Silverstone repeated what he has said from the dais…that the medians should not be the focus…and he feels it’s dangerous for pedestrians to be using the medians…he agreed with Comm. Clottey about  underground wiring ….along with flooding and spoke (incredibly) about long time flooding in the north end of El Mar by Washingtonia…he ended with saying it should have a”feeling of pride”…make it “more pleasing” … “keeping a mantra of a small seaside community.”…HUH?…Comm. Dodd informed Comm. Silverstone (correctly) Washingtonia was not part of this (it can only be used south of Commercial Blvd….Homework Jimmy?)….He spoke of the expense of underground wiring and that 1 million won’t cover it…Comm. Dodd said we should include as much as we can of the student’s work and again spoke of his desire of El Mar not being a straight lane…(His pet project is for a meandering road)…Vice Mayor McIntee disagreed with Comm. Dodd saying it should be a straight road and compared it to Misner Park…”straight from one end to another”…He said we were stuck with 1 lane (in front of Oriana) and we should not take the $150,000 landscaping in the mediums out (where did that figure come from?)…Comm. Clottey added that during special events people parked along the medians and that needs to be “kept in mind”…Paul said we should start out with a landscape architect…and agree with leaving the median in front of Oriana alone…stating that left only 3…He asked if any monies could go to the North and VM McIntee said it cannot…..Paul added the need for lighting…and said at least we will see something and it would be a “great accomplishment”…Comm. Clottey said she spoke to “Mr Sehl” and he said solar lighting was not yet available in the U.S….but it was something that we should think about …(audience members disagreed with the assertion of unavailability)…Sandra Booth again spoke of Barbara Wayne who was available to present to the committee and the town her expertise with the most sustainable plant materials available….The Vice Mayor asked if we needed an RFP “if we can afford it”…The Mayor indicated that at the the meeting were Chen and Assoc. Engineers and Ocampo and Assoc. (architect)…and offered them each 5 minutes …

The Town Manager’s lack of informing them about the history of LBTS and El Mar Drive….was embarrassingly evident when Ben Chen of Chen and Assoc. came the podium to speak of having a long term development plan with the community coming together and having charettes!…HELLO?…We have done that…we have had long term development plans…we have had Master plans…3 of them Comm. Silverstone said…Mr Chen also spoke of having a “Ritz Carlton” at one end of El Mar!….OUCH!…He must have picked up the vibe that he was heading in the wrong direction and reeled his comments back in to address underground wiring…the problems with FPL and the prohibitive costs to do so….He spoke of the “unusual elevations we have on El Mar and said we “don’t have a serious flooding problem”…HUH?…He said it could be remedied with paving….REALLY?….and then finally addressed the students work and what could be created …talking of a linear park…a signature project for residents and tourists…going on to speak of planning…and the costs…that having only a million and deciding where that million would be could create a problem…(again was he not informed that we are tied to where it can be used?)…He added we could use grants and stimulus money …even putting forth the idea (and saying this probably wasn’t the time to talk about it) for a special assessment for burying the lines…ending with saying all options were put on the table….Marc Furth asked his opinion about burying the lines under the medians instead of the sidewalks…Mr. Chen went further into the costs…and the hoops required in dealing with FPL…adding if we ever decided to do it his company could do for less….Marc said he had concerns of doing the medians only to dig them up later…wanting instead 8 foot sidewalks….Ernie Ojito from Ocampo then stood at the podium and spoke of projects his company had done…being architects/planners/ and landscape architects…He too was not informed prior …bringing up a Master Plan…and phases …beautifying and incorporating the designs….He spoke of funding available and artists who will get involved such projects. …The VM said we were “off on a tangent” and spoke of the students…the contest …the meetings …that this was like the pavilion ….and how much will it cost to do the student’s project….He wanted it broken down “This is pie in the sky”…(must have wanted to get back on his newest VFD acquisition the 102 ft. ladder truck waiting for him in the El Prado parking lot)…”trust in the students”…The Mayor said the students aren’t professionals…they came up with “thoughts, ideas” they were “creative” with their concepts but now the professionals needed to work to make it a “pedestrian friendly walkway” and take care of the hospitality businesses like Mr. Furths…when phasing it in…Mr Ojito said they can come up with the concept and then it can be scaled down…Again a Master Plan…The Mayor said we’ve done that…the Town Manager said they were outdated….and Comm. Clottey chimed in to ask the TM about a memo she received saying we (LBTS) cannot get stimulus funds “because we’re too small” [in population]…Yann Brandt was sitting a few rows behind Ms. Colon and said that was wrong…TM Colon said that it was correct…Mr. Brandt disagreed and the Town Manager said  to taxpayer/resident Brandt…”I’m not going to argue with you”…Below is an e-mail sent to the Comm./TM from Yann after the meeting and the letter he sent in response to an inquiry fro the TM….(Yann had a discussion with Comm. Clottey after the 1st budget meeting and then received a letter from the TM)…

E-MAIL AND LETTER FROM YANN BRANDT….

Members of the Commission and Town Manager,

I had the distinct pleasure to attend today’s MPSC meeting with all in attendance. In a short 30 minute timeframe, you managed to say something utterly ridiculous, but said it with conviction.

First of, the Town Manager managed to completely rework how stimulus funding is allocated. According to her “expertise”, LBTS is not eligible for EECBG funding. I do have to give it to our TM, she says things with conviction. Since it is her method to ensure that those beneath her are less qualified and does not wish to listen to the resident’s that may know better. Let me reiterate as I did in the meeting, the Town Manager is wrong yet again.

DE-FOA-000013 is the funding guideline for the energy efficiency and community block grant (EECBG). I have attached the guideline for your leisure and to show you in black and white that her conviction does not work for those of us that have the ability to do our homework, which apparently the TM does not wish to do.

“B. ESTIMATED FUNDING
• The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $3.2 Billion ($3,200,000,000)
for EECBG for fiscal year 2009. DOE will retain $59 million to provide technical assistance and
training for grantees under the program. The amounts available for grants are as follows:
• $1,863,881,000 for formula grants to eligible cities and counties
• $767,480,000 for formula grants to states
• $54,819,900 for formula grants to eligible Indian tribes”

Please see the portion which differentiates between formula allocation and to State allocation. LBTS does not qualify for formula allocation as that was restricted to the largest Cities and Counties in each State, even Broward County did not qualify for formula allocation. As described by DE-FOA-000013 below

“STATES AND TERRITORIES: DISTRIBUTION OF SUBGRANTS
Each state that receives a grant under the program shall use not less than 60 percent of the amount
received to provide subgrants to units of local government in the state that are not eligible for direct
formula grants. The state shall provide the subgrants not later than 180 days after the date on which the
Secretary approves the proposed energy efficiency and conservation strategy.
States are required to develop a sub-granting process that expeditiously allocates funding, prevents
fraudulent spending, generates robust reporting, and promotes the EECBG Program principles stated
above.”

The State of Florida will be subgranting over $16 million dollars to non formula allocated Cities and Counties across our State. Now, you may think that this is simple oversight by the Town Manager, however she knew about this. Why? Because she had corresponded with me via USPS mail on the subject to which I replied via USPS and even had a follow up conversation with the Asst. TM. The letter is attached and portion of it states

“A vast majority of the funding was made available through formula allocation to Cities and Counties across the Country. $168 million dollars was allocated to the State of Florida. The share of funds allocated to the State Energy Office was approximately $30 million, 60% of which must be made available to non-formula allocated government entities.
The grant applications will be forthcoming shortly from Governor Crist’s Energy Office, led by Mr. Jeremy Susac. His office can provide guidance to the Town for further information. Feel free to mention my name as an introduction.”

When correct at the meeting, TM Colon told me with authority or shall I say with conviction that I was wrong and did not wish to argue with me. I do not wish to argue either, but be sure to be correct when stating something with “conviction” in a publicly aired meeting because you are our “expert” our “manager” and we must be able to believe that what the TM says is the truth and is correct.

With continuing great concern for the lack of adequate leadership shown in our Town.

Yann Brandt
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Resident and Taxpayer

yann brandt letter

Chen and Assoc. Engineer Shaun Bamforth went further into the abyss by speaking about the “big question” one lane or two lanes …GULP!….saying we have both…talking of incorporating some designs and having 8 foot sidewalks and a bike lane!….Paul reiterated what happened with the lanes on El Mar and all that stated even with 8 foot sidewalks they will continue to walk in the street….Marc brought up the 440 parking spaces…and Paul asked for a ballpark figure for the report…Mr. Bamforth said we still had $1900 left over from the MPSC height study (recently done for P&Z/MPSC) and that would be more than enough to cover it…The Manager spoke up and said “I thought this Commission wanted to incorporate the students”…HUH?…Comm. Silverstone never disappointing in providing material said he watched the Tour De France and he would like to have art in the medians and keep the 2 lanes but have “squiggly lines” in one lane and that would be the walking lane…Michael San Miguel said they did their homework…the students did an  excellent job and we have no numbers at this point…but if it was going to be 20 million they [committee] were wasting their time….Again Ocampo talked Master Plan…the Mayor reiterated the points …walking friendly…2 lanes…drainage…residents…businesses….and parking capable…Comm. Clottey asked for the preliminary work in a week…saying “we don’t have to drag our feet.”…(That’s exactly what they should do)…Paul said they had consensus to get a number from each firm…the Mayor said with a million to use…the VM said he disagreed with that…Paul said it was what we could do with a million…and Comm. Clottey asked to save the trees or they needed to be moved elsewhere in thee town… …Mr. Bamforth felt some would need to be moved….The Town Manager wanted to make sure each company knew which project they were working with…project #1….and proceeded to point out the wrong one…She said it was missmarked…BUT…the winning project was the only model submitted (asleep at the wheel?)…Sandra spoke of the 2005 Master Plan (which shows it certainly is not outdated)…and problems encountered with maintenance…Paul said we should not call it a Master Plan…it brought forth negative reactions…and Shaun Bamforth said call it a Conceptual Plan…Paul asked to go down the list although he understood the meeting was called to address only El Mar Drive (on the agenda)…He wanted to talk of some future things for MPSC to do…Briefly they spoke of grant monies …and the Mayor said most were matching funds in this economic climate…Bus Shelters…went untouched…Paul’s pet project…a pedestrian overpass over A1A…no discussion (no money)…and parking for new restaurants…getting rid of the requirement…and this one brought out a real humdinger!…Vice Mayor/Dep Chief McIntee warned this was “dangerous” …”very political” for a board member to talk about something that could benefit themselves….saying the “perception is there!”….HA!…What a joke for the VM to be warning anybody about “perception” …Paul was not deterred and continued on about the death knell in our town from being tied down with parking requirements…and it ended with discussion on a parking garage with Jimmy-boy then stating we have an small inventory of parking spaces with none available…stating business owners should build a parking garage…not the town…Hmmm…

BC- So there you have it…to see if there is any forward movement in this million dollar El Mar Project….stay tuned for next week’s report….

Is it August yet?…..

more to come….

Post Division