Thursday, May 30, 2019

Vote Thrice - Execute Once

If you know me in real life, you probably know that I am obsessed with the madness of Brexit. Apart from the sheer wrongheadedness of the Brexit referendum, it fascinates me to watch the utter failure of an established government to do even their basic job of implementing the decision.   
Theresa May was much more interested in winning the top spot than she was in being Prime Minister and when your only allies are Northern Irish fanatics and you have to talk to Jeremy Corbyn, you know you been outclassed. 
I can hear you now wondering if I've suddenly decided to go international in scale with this blog.  Nah.   I only bring this up because we are facing the same issue here in North Bay Village.  
North Bay Village has voted twice on referendums to fund the burying of the power lines and to fund a new civic center.   First in 2008 and then again in 2016.   
There's been no concrete progress on either one of those issues, to no one's surprise.  
The problem is not that it is clear what the residents want but the votes to tax ourselves were just guesswork since there was never a clear plan in place for either of these issues.  
Burying the power limes is the best example.  Both votes show that the residents want this outcome but neither one laid out a true estimate of the costs involved, including the fixed costs to all buildings and the special costs to older buildings who would need to update their electricity.   
The only thing agreed is that whatever the cost. the current amount will not cover it. And that assumes that FPL will go along with the plan which they say they are not obligated to do and don't plan to.  
The civic center is also still a big question.  Although the more ridiculous and excessive desires have been pared out, it is not clear how much the new construction will cost and what its principal focus will be or even where to put it.  
Before either of these projects move forward, it is critically important for the North Bay Village government to create a detailed plan of how these projects will be executed, what the results will be, the impact on the village and in the case of the buried power lines, the impact on the homes and businesses including the additional costs of hooking up to the new power grid.  
Once the detail is in hand, the commission should vote to hold a special election this November for a final vote on the issues, a vote where we know the real costs and the real impact.   It matters to get it done and get it done right.   
There's some concern that the new election would cost about $35,000.  Actually it would cost more because we would expect our government to plan and accurately lay out the costs and implications so the voters are fully informed, and then to proceed with the realistic implementation.  But that's a small amount in order to ensure we spend the $35 million or so correctly.   

As part of the Looney Tunes parody that passed for government under the previous commission, there were a serious of truly terrible charter amendments passed in November.
These included a prohibition on allowing the Village Manager to delegate functions, so the Village Manager is technically responsible for doing all the Village work.  Code Enforcement was moved from the Police Department to directly report to the Village Manager.  "Nepotism" which was always prohibited now extends to a third degree of consanguinity or relationship.  This means nothing and should be restored to its previous second degree.  The election can be used to fix this.

I hope this is a topic at the June meeting and we get back on track.

Kevin Vericker
May 30, 2019

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