The weekly editions of the Town-Crier for the years 2005 and 2006 provide a glimpse into the pre-incorporated Loxahatchee Groves. There are Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District articles, Loxahatchee Groves Landowners’ Association articles, pre-incorporation committee articles, letters to the editor both pro and con; news articles and a front page photo of current Councilman Ron Jarriel holding a “say no to incorporation” sign.
These pieces reveal the current Loxahatchee Groves governmental players’ positions on pre-incorporation community issues. Several of the current players seated on the council and the board made up the leading nucleus of the opposition to the town’s incorporation.
Recent activities of this group include, but is not limited to, the hiring of Sevren Trent to replace Underwood Management as town management, which was aborted by public outcry; continuous bombardment of Underwood Management for forcing the LGWCD to “toe the line” in governmental interaction; the suggestion of lawsuit exposure to the town by misrepresenting the recommendations in a recent OIG audit as being findings of fact; failure to comply with state statute 95.3612(b) in turning over remaining LGWCD-designated roads to the town; the unconstitutional land grabbing of a portion of West D Road; and the constant demand of gas tax revenue to which the LGWCD does not qualify for. It’s the perfect recipe for town division.
The crusade for consolidation of the LGWCD is an indictment of the attempted feudalistic rule by current select board supervisors and the LGWCD auxiliary of former supervisors misled by John Ryan. Either the town council lacks the ability or concepts to take action against this diminishing LGWCD group’s authoritarian agenda or the town council lacks the will… Either way, the town council must do better in realizing the mayor’s own words… a new time… a new era…
Describing what has to be done requires the town council to talk not just about the importance of honesty, accuracy and transparency that are the underpinnings of any form of government. The Groves council also has to interact with a different set of folks who are elected by a different set of voting methods with a different set of policies requiring the council to pay the LGWCD’s way, the LGWCD’s bills, and that’s not appropriate. With the LGWCD being dependent, the town council can discuss what the drainage expenses and the road expenses really are… The town then may fund roads and drainage through the methods the town has.
Some nine months ago, “a new time, a new era” was realized, yet the town council has taken no action. The LGWCD’s approximate budget of $1.2 million of taxpayer dollars includes $21,000 for canal maintenance. Approximately $1 million is for the payroll of seven employees, including perks, the administrator and legal counsel. The remainder is spent pushing dirt on LGWCD-designated roads.
The town’s dilemma is the various power value systems that have created electile dysfunction in the electorate, as the in-groups versus out-groups, that has prevented real town progress by stimulating town division. Groves residents fall short of receiving services in a timely fashion as the inconsistencies found in the elitist policies of the LGWCD have led to an erosion of democratic norms, primarily public trust. Bottom line: consolidation of the town of Loxahatchee Groves and the LGWCD will reverse these sediments.
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves