At the September 15, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
COVID-19 – received a
report from Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health-Palm Beach County and Bill Johnson, director of Emergency Management on local COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Since September 1, there have been 114 new cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County (44,139 total); no new hospitalizations (3,492 total); and 3 fatalities (1,199 total). The county's positivity rate per 100,000 is 3% (+.1%); statewide 3.2 % (+.2%). Daily positivity rate in the county is 2.99%; statewide 3.91%. Of particular concern, said Dr. Alonso, is a recent increase in the number of young adults testing positive, perhaps due to partying and attending public gatherings without proper social distancing. Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Dr. Wendolyn Sneed explained to the board how suspected COVID-19 deaths are investigated, classified and reported by her office.
Phase 2 – directed the Executive Policy Group to review the county's 5-step Phase 2 reopening plan and possibly move up the timelines for certain types of businesses to safely reopen. Step 1 of the Phase 2 plan took effect September 8, 2020. Staff was directed to look into using some unallocated CARES Act funding to assist Phase 2 businesses and cultural interests in the county and bring back recommendations to the board.
Noncongregate sheltering – approved a modification to the plan for implementation of the infrastructure sales tax (IST) housing units for the Homeless, Extremely Low and Low Income Project, and the use of up to $1 million of IST funding allocated under this project toward the renovation of the Pahokee Facility as part of the noncongregate sheltering strategy for the Western Communities. This increases the total capital funding allocated for the Pahokee Facility renovation project to $6 million from CARES Act and IST sources. This work is funded in part from the IST fund.
CARES Act – received a comprehensive report on the progress of programs and services provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). Palm Beach County was awarded $261,174,832 in federal funding and has earned an additional $1 million in investment earnings. As of August 27, staff has expended $102,973,394 of the awarded funding. An additional $115,560,785 has been committed. All CARES Act funds must be expended by December 30, 2020.
Westgate CRA – approved the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency's (CRA) Fiscal Year 2021 budget for its Redevelopment Trust Fund in the amount of $3,803,786 and Capital Improvements Fund in the amount of $2.051 million. The Redevelopment Trust Fund represents the CRA's annual tax increment financing (TIF) and balance brought forward from previous years. The Capital Improvement Fund represents balances of reimbursable grants awarded to the CRA by county, state and federal governments for construction activities.
Conflict resolution – adopted a resolution declaring that significant legal rights will be impaired if Palm Beach County is required to complete intergovernmental conflict resolution procedures with the city of Palm Beach Gardens prior to court proceedings and directed staff to initiate litigation, as appropriate, to resolve the county's conflict with the city of Palm Beach Gardens over the city's amendment # CPTA-20-04-000036 to its comprehensive plan.
Conveyance – approved an interlocal agreement with the city of West Palm Beach conveying 45 county-owned lots within the city's golf course in exchange for the city conveying transferable development rights (TDRs) to the county for use on Block D, and amending the city's development regulations to provide for the reconstruction of the Governmental Center in the event of destruction.
Library – approved waiving all remaining accrued overdue fines on children's library card accounts. In 2019, the policy of charging new overdue fines was eliminated, but existing accrued fines on library card holder accounts remained in place. As of August 17, 2020, 13,436 juvenile accounts had accrued overdue fines totaling $77,616. An estimated 1,400 children's library card accounts are blocked as a result. Removal of these overdue fine charges will allow accounts to return to good standing and restore borrowing privileges.
Cooperative Extension – approved a budget transfer of $50,000 from the General Fund to the Friends of Mounts Botanical Garden to cover a portion of shared funding to maintain existing staff and operational responsibilities, and a budget transfer of $120,000 from the Capital Outlay Fund to partially match funding for the Mounts Welcome Center. The nonprofit group has raised approximately $330,000 toward the welcome center project; this transfer would provide a partial match of funds to help complete the project.
Airports – authorized an emergency three-month extension of the current contract for on-demand ground transportation services at Palm Beach International Airport to allow for the issuance of a new RFP.