ITID To Consider Letter Opposing 60th Street Right Of Way Increase

The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors will consider approval of a letter to Palm Beach County opposing the widening of the 60th Street North right of way at its meeting on Wednesday, April 25.

The Palm Beach County Commission is scheduled to hear a proposed county staff-initiated amendment to the thoroughfare identification map at its transmittal hearing on May 2, which ITID President Betty Argue said could allow up to five lanes of traffic. The proposed amendment would increase the right of way on 60th Street North between 140th Avenue North and 120th Avenue North from 80 feet to 100 feet.

The board held a workshop with county engineering staff on April 4 attended by Argue, along with supervisors Jennifer Hager and Ralph Bair, where they agreed to send a letter to be submitted to the county asking that they not approve widening the right of way.

At that meeting, Argue also asked that Persimmon Blvd., whose jurisdiction is controlled by ITID, and would largely serve the City of Westlake, be taken off the county’s future plans for widening.

At the April 25 meeting, the ITID board will also hear an opinion by district legal staff on the shared cost of FEMA grants for improvements to the berm separating the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area from The Acreage.

“The attorneys have concerns about accepting the federal grant because of the obligations that are entailed with it, and the fact that the estimated cost has increased from $4 million to $5.7 million,” Argue said. “We don’t have the funds to do it. We don’t even have the amount to make up the shortfall for the matching dollars, so we’re getting a legal opinion on that.”

The board will also discuss planning options to include traffic calming for the R2 and R3 road projects. The R2 plan brings paved roads to within a mile of all residences, and the R3 projects bring pavement to within a half mile of residences.

“Essentially, I think we’re going to build the traffic calming for the R3 roads into the R3 plan, and traffic calming for the R2 roads can be done under the R2 plan,” Argue said.

The board will also hear proposals for traffic calming on Key Lime and Hall boulevards.

“We have had major accidents on Key Lime, as well as on Hall,” Argue said. “We have lots of speeding, and there’s no breaks there, so the traffic engineer is going to propose a pilot project for those two locations.”

The board will also discuss the intention of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to increase the rate for extra-duty law enforcement from $45 to $80 per hour.

“It goes up May 1, and we have a budgeted amount,” Argue said. “But the amount is almost double what they were charging before, which is going to have a serious impact on our budget.”

ITID has about $100,000 in its budget for contract deputies to be present at meetings and patrol district-owned property.

“Either we have to do a budget increase, or we have to reduce the services, so the board is going to have to discuss it and decide what to do,” she said.

ITID does not have full policing authority.

“Our contract is really to just have the PBSO here protecting the works of the district, our buildings, our parks and [that] kind of thing, to patrol them and make sure that we don’t have any problems,” Argue said. “We have a huge problem with vandalism in our parks, and the board has increased [protection] because we didn’t have enough deputies to address that.”

That is something that ITID can do within its very limited scope of services.

“We don’t have the authority to hire police officers and have them go out and patrol the roads,” Argue said. “If we did, that would be a different story, but here we are, it’s not within our responsibility, and yet we’re having to pay extra because we’re not getting those services through the PBSO.”

Argue said she has talked to staff about alternatives, such as obtaining more security equipment or hiring a private security firm to patrol district property.

“The board is going to have to decide what’s important to them,” she said, explaining that the district cannot sustain the current level of protection through September with what was budgeted for this year.

The board also has a workshop scheduled for 4:30 p.m. before the regular meeting for its first look at the 2018-19 budget.

“It’s the first discussion that the board will be having as a whole with the district staff regarding what our budget priorities are,” Argue said. “It’s a planning workshop meeting, as well as [an opportunity] to get feedback from the district manager, who has collected information from all the district department heads and zoning chiefs as to what the needs are for the district next year.”

In other business, the board will consider an emergency request for a culvert pipe to replace deteriorated pipes on 130th Avenue and Mandarin Blvd.

The ITID board will also receive updates on the progress of the Acreage Community Park expansion.