At the June 2, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
Non-congregate sheltering – approved a finding of emergency establishing that the design and renovation of two county-owned properties would be the most effective way to meet non-congregate sheltering needs in the Glades region. To implement the multisite non-congregate sheltering program, a capital appropriation of up to $5 million in CARES Act funding was approved for the facility in Pahokee and an additional $500,000 in funding for capital improvements at the Belle Glade facility. Annual operational costs for both sites are estimated at $2.2 million.
COVID-19 status – received an update from Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-PBC on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. To date, there have been 56,830 total cases statewide and 2,460 deaths. Palm Beach County had 6,135 confirmed cases and 337 fatalities; 92 percent of local patients who died were age 55 or older.
Mobile app – approved an emergency contract with Shield Group Technology in the approximate amount of $875,000 for an exclusive mobile app to help prevent the spread COVID-19. County residents can download the free app and be discreetly notified if they come within 6 to 13 feet of someone who has tested positive and who has voluntarily downloaded their test information. There is no tracking involved; the notification remains active on your phone for 21 days.
Reopening – authorized the mayor to execute letters to the state endorsing reopening plans for amusement attractions and entertainment venues without further board review or approval.
Black Elected Officials – heard from several local black elected leaders expressing outrage and demanding change in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. They called on county officials to hold public conversations encouraging reforms that can be enacted locally, such as prohibiting the use of excessive force by police including chokeholds or putting pressure on the neck or throat, independent investigations of police-involved deaths, and creation of a registry of complaints filed against officers. Staff was directed to organize an open dialogue town hall event with citizens, civic leaders, law enforcement officials, the State Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, the Judiciary, the Criminal Justice Commission, and the Bar Association.
External audit – approved a three-year contract with RSM US LLP in the amount of $2,588,488 ($862,816 per year) for external auditing services, through July 31, 2023. The contract includes two two-year renewal options at the county’s discretion. RSM was selected in part because it has a significant number of major clients similar in size to Palm Beach County and was the highest ranked proposer by an External Auditor Selection Committee comprised of representatives from each of the constitutional offices and the BCC. The board agreed to review the company’s performance approximately 18 months before the initial term expires, which would give staff enough time to conduct a new RFP process if the contract is not renewed.
Budget – received a report from Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks on property values in Palm Beach County and anticipated 2021 property tax revenue.
Water Utilities – adopted a resolution revising the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department's (PBCWUD) Uniform Policies and Procedures Manual (UPAP), which contains fees, standards, legal documents, policies and procedures that govern the provision of potable water, reclaimed water and wastewater services within the Water Utilities service area. Proposed changes to the UPAP include allowing the department director to have the authority to modify/waive rates, fees, and charges not to exceed $200,000 for new or existing customers where there are unusual or extenuating circumstances which support the application of said modification or waiver.
Utility right of ways – adopted a resolution authorizing the county administrator or designee to execute subordination of utility interest instruments associated with right of way conveyances from developers and property owners. Subordination instruments require the utility company to relocate any facilities in a right of way, when and if requested by the county.
CARES Act grants– Received an update from Administrator Baker that during the first week of the CARES Restart Business Grants Program, 80 local eligible companies have been issued a total of $1,365,612. Department of Housing and Economic Sustainability began accepting online entries on Friday, May 22 and has received 3,961 applications. CARES Restart Business Grants Program was approved on May 19, 2020 by the BCC to accelerate the reopening process for businesses directly impacted by Executive Orders for COVID-19.
Conveyance – approved conveyance of the county’s interest in an unbuildable 1,450-square-foot parcel of surplus property to the city of Boynton Beach at no charge. The parcel located at NW 1st Street was acquired by tax deed and serves no present or future county purpose. It is being conveyed to the city pursuant to Florida Statutes, which require conveyance of surplus property acquired by tax deed to the municipality in which it is located. The county will retain mineral and petroleum rights, but without rights of entry and exploration.