RPB Council Could Decide To Scale Back Meeting Schedule

Mike Mikolaichik receives acknowledgment for 10 years of service with the village. (L-R) Councilman Richard Valuntas, Vice Mayor Selena Samios, Mike Mikolaichik, Mayor Fred Pinto, Councilwoman Jan Rodusky and Councilman Jeff Hmara.

At the Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council, Mayor Fred Pinto brought up the idea of scaling back the council’s meeting schedule from twice a month to once a month, adding a second meeting only if time-sensitive issues need to be addressed.

Pinto asked that the idea be added to the council’s Feb. 21 agenda to discuss and accept public comment. He noted that a reduction in meetings from twice a month to once a month still complies with the village’s charter.

The new permanent schedule would have meetings on the third Thursday of each month, with the option to schedule meetings on the first Thursday of the month to address time-sensitive issues, as needed.

The council agreed to add the item to the Feb. 21 agenda.

In other business:

• The council started the meeting by honoring Mike Mikolaichik, the assistant director of the Parks & Recreation Department, for his 10 years of service. He started as a program supervisor in athletics in 2009.

“We are talking about a gentleman who is a key component of the leadership team for the Parks & Recreation Department,” Pinto said. “He’s a take-charge type of person, and he doesn’t shy away from making tough and sometimes unpopular decisions. Mike is a true leader in the sense that he leads by example and doesn’t ask anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself.”

Pinto thanked Mikolaichik and looked forward to his continued service.

“Mike is truly an asset to the department and is a vital part of its future and the future of the entire village, and we want at least another 10 years or more,” Pinto said.

• Councilman Jeff Hmara reported on the upcoming 120-day legislative session items posted by the Florida League of Cities, including one that directly impacts the future for local governments. At the meeting, the council adopted Resolution No. 19-03 to recognize 50 years of maintaining municipal home rule and also committed to helping residents better understand its benefits.

“We have good reason to be concerned for maintaining our local decision-making authority,” Hmara said. “We are going to be defending home rule again. New administration, lots of new people, and there is no lack of indication we are going to be battling this again case by case.”

He explained that bills including the term “pre-emption” are designed to move decisive action on various issues up to Tallahassee instead of keeping the authority at the municipal or county level. The bills vary widely from the management of vegetable gardens to how council meetings are structured.

• Two items on the council’s regular agenda were approved unanimously without any members of the public offering comment. One was an application seeking final plat approval for a parcel known as the Westland Center on Business Parkway. The plat will allow the owner to subdivide the land for the purpose of sale. Also approved unanimously was an updated site plan and architectural approval for the Royal Palm Beach Chapel, located at 660 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. The application brings the property up to current village building codes.

• During public comment, resident Diane Queller addressed the council about boat traffic in the canal behind her neighborhood. While the concern about boat volume was addressed a few years ago, the concern now is the speed at which boaters travel.

“The problem that we’re having is that we have not seen the marine patrol out there. The only time we saw them was in December when we had the boat parade,” Queller said.

In addition to safety, the concern is the erosion of shoreline property. Pinto responded that the village manager will follow up with law enforcement to address the issue.

• Hmara took a moment to remind those interested in applying for one of the 10 scholarships available to graduating seniors that the deadline for applications is Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. Applications can also be dropped off at the clerk’s office. Scholarship finalists must also be available to attend an in-person interview on Saturday, April 27.