Westlake City Council Talks Education And Law Enforcement

Ahead of this week’s opening of Palm Beach County public schools for the 2022-23 school year, Westlake City Council members were focused on education when they met Tuesday, Aug. 2 for their regular monthly meeting.

With the support of Vice Mayor Greg Langowski, the council named Santa Rosa Lane resident Dr. Anita S. Kaplan to the city’s Education & Youth Advisory Board. Kaplan was dean of Palm Beach State College’s bachelor’s degree programs from 2011 to 2020, when she retired.

Kaplan joins Board Chair Lisa Liriano, Vice Chair Wesley Logsdon and members Earle Wright, Jennifer Bermudez and Julie Acevedo on the board. Langowski is the council’s liaison to the board.

“Dr. Kaplan has been to every city council meeting. She’s always in the room,” Langowski said. “That shows me she wants to get involved.”

Mayor JohnPaul O’Connor noted Kaplan’s “lifetime in education” dating all the way back to 1974. “I think Dr. Kaplan would be an absolutely solid choice,” he said.

Kaplan was appointed on a 4-0 vote, with support also from Councilwoman Charlotte Leonard, who was sitting in on the session online but was not included in the vote.

Langowski, a former board chair of the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, said he was happy to take on the liaison job with the Westlake committee. He said he became passionate about children’s issues and education during his nine years with the Children’s Services Council.

Meanwhile, the board’s current project — a back-to-school supply drive — continues through Wednesday, Aug. 17. Supplies, including pencils, glue sticks, composition books, index cards, wired earbuds, mesh or clear backpacks, pencil boxes and copy paper, can be dropped off at the Westlake Adventure Park, located at 16610 Town Center Parkway North.

City Manager Kenneth Cassel also noted that in cooperation with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Westlake has provided 600 American history textbooks to Seminole Ridge High School. Students working with the DAR materials will be eligible to participate in writing contests and possibly win a trip to Washington, D.C.

In other business:

• The council voted 4-0 to renew its law enforcement service agreement with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $699,500. That represents a three percent — $20,985 — increase after three years of no increases, Cassel said.

The agreement also provides for two more deputies serving Westlake, one starting Oct. 1 and another after Jan. 1, Cassel added.

“I’m incredibly pleased with what we get from the sheriff’s office,” O’Connor said. “For what we pay, the amount of resources we get as a city is pretty much limitless.”

• The council also heard that four license-plate reader cameras soon will be installed on Seminole Pratt Whitney Road at the north and south entrances to Westlake.

The city had demurred when the cost of the four cameras was $150,000, but when the PBSO discovered it had an excess of the cameras, they were offered to Westlake for a total of $27,000, Cassel said, making their implementation feasible.

“Every license plate coming in or out of Westlake will be picked up,” he said, adding that when more roads, such as 60th Street North, connect to the community, plans are to have cameras there as well.

• The council voiced support for a Thanksgiving Day 5K run proposed by Councilman Julian Martinez.

“I’ve always advocated for a healthy Westlake lifestyle,” Martinez explained. “I think this would be a good way to promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.”

Martinez said he envisions the event including timers, t-shirts, prizes and a shorter kids’ course.

“I love the idea,” O’Connor said, and Cassel pledged to support the effort with whatever city resources are available.

Plans were made to form an ad hoc committee led by Martinez to strategize about the event.

• The council approved a three-year extension to the city’s engineering contract with Chen Moore & Associates to Sept. 18, 2025. The original contract was approved Sept. 19, 2016, under a competitive selection process.