At the Dec. 8, 1909 meeting, commissioners approved bills from the Road Fund that included payment for road work, convict supplies and renting a road roller.
In Palm Beach County’s first year, the commissioners delineated precise boundaries for the county, seven voting precincts and five commissioner districts; hired key personnel (clerk, tax collector, tax assessor, sheriff, judge, school superintendent and supervisor of registration); set up offices and a judiciary system; established the millage; created a tax roll and list of registered legal voters; paid bills and collected fines, fees and taxes; established district polling places from Stuart to Pompano (at stores, a packing house, a fire hall, and a ladies association hall); and held a bond election. The commissioners also had to work through the difficult process of separating from Dade County.
At many of the meetings in 1909, the board read several petitions signed by dozens of residents requesting county roads and bridges. This required discussion on exactly where to build the roads, obtaining the best price on rock and shell, purchasing and transporting rock, ordering materials, and advertising and evaluating bids on hauling and spreading shell or rock, grubbing (clearing), grading, performing construction work, and purchasing equipment such as steam rollers.
It is impressive that the commission accomplished so much while also handling numerous smaller tasks. In August 1909, an application was granted for G. B. Smell to catch a manatee, or sea cow, to be used for scientific purposes. There was no jail in the county, so the sheriff was authorized to make arrangements with the St. Lucie County sheriff for temporarily housing Palm Beach County prisoners. A motion was passed requiring that all orders for office supplies in excess of $25 be approved by the board, except for emergency orders that could be approved by the chairman of the board.
In September 1909, permits were granted to the Hotel Royal Poinciana and Hotel Breakers to sell liquor, wine and beer in Election Precinct No. 3, and a motion was carried to impose an annual license tax on every business, profession or occupation in the county equal to 50 percent of the annual state license tax.
In a joint session held on Sept. 21-23, commissioners from Palm Beach County and Dade County discussed a separation agreement for the division of assets and liabilities. After two days of meetings, a proposition was made to Dade County which was accepted. The settlement determined that “On the basis of the assessed value of the property in Dade County for the year 1908, Palm Beach County should bear 50.3445% of the net indebtedness, or $41,498.91.” This was to be paid to Dade County over 10 years with 4.5 percent interest per annum. It was also agreed “that Palm Beach County pay Dade County 50.3445% of the amount which Dade County shall pay in settlement of its warrants due and outstanding on the 30th day of June, 1909.” At a special meeting on Saturday, Sept. 25, the board agreed to enter into the settlement contract between the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners and the Dade County Board of County Commissioners based on the approved proposition.