To the residents of Loxahatchee Groves, I would encourage you to research what is happening in your town to better determine what you want to see in your future. You can view the town meetings online if you can’t attend in person, and you can encourage others to sign up for the Town-Crier to read the summation of meetings.
The last meeting resulted in the council hiring a town manager after agreeing to review the application of someone for town manager the previous meeting without supposedly knowing who that person was or what the salary requirements would be. Council members, with the exception of Dave DeMarois, voted to hire him without any review of any other candidates for the position. Is he the best? Who knows? It isn’t as if residents had any input. Were Sunshine Laws broken by some in coming up with this decision? It appeared from comments at both meetings they could have been. As the rumor mill goes, two of the council members have been bragging about making this happen. This means you, as a town, had no choice in the matter. You will pay out whatever remains of the current management contract (once again, the town breaks its contracts), you will pay for the new town manager and most likely all new employees to come into needed positions. You will once again be in a state of transition, and most likely at a much higher price tag to the town than what was currently being paid.
The attempt to fire present management has dominated the meetings meaning, that the things that are perhaps most important to you are not being brought to vote. We all paid assessments to bring our roads back to drivable conditions — what is the status of your road?
Are you aware that most of the present council supports eliminating the sheriff’s office? They are advocating you can get coverage much as the unincorporated areas. Did you pay taxes with the idea of police protection? Are they going to reduce your taxes by the $500,000 being paid to the sheriff? I have been unable to determine that the sheriff’s office has ever said they didn’t want to service any other town. What does that tell you about the treatment of them by the Groves? Other towns seem to celebrate their officers. I thought you would be asked to vote in March as to whether you will support language that eliminates the need for the sheriff, but the council has since decided they can do that as well without your vote. It probably won’t make a difference since the sheriff has not agreed to come back, and some of the present council doesn’t think they need them and looks to spend that money elsewhere.
Are you aware that most of the present council also supports eliminating code enforcement except for health and safety issues (as determined by them)? If you are one of those residents who have filed complaints regarding code violations, how does that make you feel? There are certain council members who benefit from eliminating new code — a little research should quickly reveal to you who benefits from this.
You will also be asked in March to vote on whether you will allow the town to borrow for a 10-year loan instead of three. If the town agrees on paving roads, 10 years are needed for residents to meet their share of expense on a road. Please review the finances of the town as to whether you believe any borrowing should take place. If you have access to people who understand finance, or better yet government finances, please consult them on the town budget. You may then want to review what roads are targeted to receive this funding. Only one of the roads designated is actually a through road. All others are dead-end roads. Are these the roads you are willing to place the town in debt to pay for?
Please view meetings, read articles and talk with the candidates who are running for office in March. Try to find the candidate who most closely aligns with what you desire as a resident, and then go out and vote.
Joyce Batcheler, Loxahatchee Groves