Letter: It’s Time To Fix The Town’s Problems

This is in response to Mr. [Frank] Schiola’s letter “Schiola: Time To Unincorporate?” published last week. He is entitled to his opinion, as are we all, but I am totally against unincorporation for many reasons.

Perhaps we all heard something different as reasons for incorporation in 2006, but my vote was to keep the makeup of our town agricultural and residential and to not divide it to less than five acres.

There is a learning curve with any new undertaking, so if you came out the gate expecting that five council members (none of whom were paid at the time) and a town manager could provide everybody with everything overnight and able to do it with the same money, it is just not realistic.

Yes, some paved roads do have holes in them. Council members tried to provide residents with what the residents could afford without raising taxes. No one could have anticipated the traffic growth in the Groves coupled with the many big trucks now coming through. I find it astounding that you, of all people, would complain about holes. You had your road paved free, and you already had one fix on top of that free, while many others are still on dirt roads. The dirt roads are in disrepair, but the town didn’t do that. The water control district, where you sat on the board (and were paid to be a waste pickup monitor) permitted this to happen. The materials that should have been placed on the roads did not seem to make it there, and there is nothing left to grade.

While the town wasn’t responsible for the deterioration, council members and town management did come together during the last council meeting to try to come up with a short-term remedy to help the residents even though there was not money in the budget to do so, compounded by the fact that one council member held out against increasing the budget even to what was needed in the new year to offset the increase from the sheriff’s office. In a Facebook post, you even complained about the town having people out laying material and working on a weekend to accomplish this! You also gave no credit for the new B Road with surveys, materials and drainage as it should be…

As to signs missing, you used to replace them, so you know how they go missing — the people driving up and down the road, pulling them out as fast they go up. The town puts them up, people tear them down, and they are expensive to keep replacing.

Storm debris not being picked up? Look around — we are still way ahead of many surrounding areas. Culverts collapsing — yes, they are, and they are expensive to repair. Again, these were under the control of the LGWCD, not the town. Looking back is no good. We need to look to how these repairs will be accomplished.

You are condemning paying for professionals? Do you think the town can build roads that will last or culverts that will hold up or audits that will stand scrutiny or any of the many things a town needs without professionals? There are so many levels to everything, and all need to be correctly done…

You seem to submit the answer to all is to unincorporate. Do you think that Palm Beach County will just automatically take the Groves back? And, if they do, the town wouldn’t turn into 1.25 acres or less just watching how everything else has been approved by the county? The other side is you could be annexed into Wellington, Royal Palm, Westlake, wherever, and then you would be dealing with their taxes and code enforcement.

Let’s stop the blame game. Looking back gives us absolutely nothing. As I have said repeatedly, please come with solutions and not criticisms. Criticisms do nothing to help the town advance. I know there are many people in the Groves who have much to offer if they would choose to be involved.

I remain committed to the town staying incorporated, and I would ask all who want to see your town succeed come out and vote in March — your vote really does count.

Joyce Batcheler, Loxahatchee Groves

Editor’s note: Ms. Batcheler plans to be a candidate for Loxahatchee Groves Town Council Seat 3 in 2018.

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