By Dan Moffett
When Briny Breezes Town Council members started considering the idea of creating a manager’s position two years ago, they thought that the right person for the job might be able to increase the amount of state and federal grant money the town receives.
Some council members even suggested that a savvy town manager might be able to generate enough in grants and savings from improved efficiency to offset the part-time job’s $40,000 allotted salary.
The position could actually come close to paying for itself, they reasoned.
Council President Sue Thaler says Briny Breezes is beginning to see those kinds of returns from Dale Sugerman, who became the town’s first manager in January.
Sugerman, with a career in municipal government that spans four decades, has been working to bring tens of thousands in Federal Emergency Management Agency grant money to the town — enough to purchase two or perhaps three trailer-mounted generators to keep Briny functioning during the next bad storm.
“It’s definitely some of what we were hoping for,” Thaler said. “He’s gone after that grant in a very knowledgeable way. He’s got 40 years’ experience and he knows the importance of tying all the knots in a FEMA application and creating the right documentation.”
Sugerman told the council on March 22 that FEMA has committed $15 million to mitigation projects in Palm Beach County, so “there’s a very good chance we will be funded” for the generators.
The manager also reported progress in negotiations with the state over Briny’s population. After the 2010 census, the town’s official population was set at 601, but three years later, the government recalculated it using different methods and lowered the official number to 420.
Population is important because it affects revenue sharing. More people means more state money coming to the town.
Sugerman said he contacted officials at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, which calculates population estimates for the state, and persuaded them to use the counting methods that resulted in the higher number from 2010.
So, Briny’s population rose by 181 without gaining a resident.