After attending Tuesday’s meeting of the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council, I came away disappointed yet again that the residents seem to have so little input into decisions made by the council, as it was always my belief that all the councilmen have been elected because they have claimed that they will serve the interests of the residents.
This week, it was decided by the council majority that they would go out for an RFP for town management services knowing that the present town management had already stated that they would not go through the bidding process again. The reason given was that all contracts should go for RFP; however, that seems to be a random act. It appears that there is still a want for one individual to have one contract without any bids. A town hall was purchased for $500,000 on the decision of council alone (although it is a lovely building), no problem spending money there, and now they want to have a new bid from a company that was already selected by bid.
The rationale was that all money spent by the town should go to RFP. One of the explanations was that money was spent on a road last year and council was criticized for not going out to bid. That may have been some residents’ complaint; however, my complaint was not what was spent on it, but that the particular road had been paved twice for free while others either pay for their paved roads or still live on dirt.
Loxahatchee Groves is changing at an exceedingly fast pace, making it difficult for the council and town management to keep up with all problems presented; however, perhaps working together they could. Instead of putting forth this effort, we are off again to go through the bidding process for yet a fifth company in nine years. How can anyone gain enough tenure to get anything done when there is always a training and catch-up process with any new company? I would venture to guess that while the present management would have been training on newly purchased software in ways to better handle our already existing problems, it will be left for a new firm to learn after the end of September, and the town will be left vulnerable again.
The majority of the residents presenting comments wanted the current management left in place for at least another year. I believe I recall one water control district employee who did not. Regardless of all the opinions and/or pleas expressed, without flinching, some of the council voted the bid forward — so much for representation. It was interesting that after the vote the council made, Councilman Ryan Liang would encourage everyone to work together when he heard what the residents wanted and did just the opposite!
So, where does that leave the town? The only way you can change anything is with your votes when the positions are up for election. There is an election for a seat on the water control district on June 22 — the only one allowed by public vote (for reasons I don’t fully understand), so if you want to try for change, I would encourage you to vote in this and every election. When we vote for any candidate, we are saying that we trust them to put their desires behind those of the majority of residents, and perhaps one day it will get there.
Joyce Batcheler, Loxahatchee Groves