The Coastal Star

Mary Kate Leming's Blog (4,295)

Ocean Ridge: Town to use aggressive cuts, reserves to erase budget deficit

By Dan Moffett

Several Ocean Ridge commissioners have suggested that this could be the town’s most challenging budget year since the Great Recession.

That probably would have been the case even without the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the public health crisis, and the resulting depletion of state and county revenue contributions to the town, the fiscal picture gets more challenging still.

Ocean Ridge finds itself trying to close a $725,000 hole in the…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:21pm — 1 Comment

Along the Coast: Census response rates lag with a month remaining

By Charles Elmore

With a sped-up 2020 U.S. Census deadline fast approaching Sept. 30, 11 towns and cities along Palm Beach County’s southern coast risk what one mayor calls a “10-year hurt” as their response rates lag behind U.S. and Florida averages.

As of Aug. 23, response rates ranged as low as 42.4% for households in South Palm Beach, with Ocean Ridge and Highland Beach also under 50% and all 11 trailing Florida’s average of 60.9%, federal records showed. The…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:15pm — No Comments

Gulf Stream: Police take warnings of car thefts door to door

By Steve Plunkett



Prompted in part by a wave of car thefts, the town will soon hire an additional police officer to combat crime.

Police Chief Edward Allen reported two cases of grand theft auto at the Town Commission’s July meeting. At the August meeting he said one had been recovered but three more were stolen, making a total of eight this year. Two other vehicles were burglarized.

“We’ve gone door to door really, requesting people, reminding them to be…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:11pm — 1 Comment

Delray Beach: City foresees more cuts to cover $9 million budget shortfall

By Jane Smith



Delray Beach commissioners sent staff back to find more cost savings at an Aug. 11 budget workshop, even though the interim city manager advised that additional cuts could lead to layoffs. Commissioners were against using reserve money to cover the entire $9 million budget shortfall.

The commission was opposed to balancing the proposed $151.1 million budget by raiding the reserves by about $4 million to pay for ongoing operations. But they did…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:10pm — No Comments

Along the Coast: 2020 tentative tax rates

Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:09pm — No Comments

Gulf Stream: Consultants price new sewer system at $11 million-plus

By Steve Plunkett



Building a municipal sewer system will cost the town at least $11.2 million, Gulf Stream’s engineering consultants say.

But the price does not include roughly $5 million to take over about 250 privately owned low-pressure “grinder pump basins” that now service the town’s core district, said Jockey Prinyavivatkul, the project manager at Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers.

Those pumps send sewage to Boynton Beach for treatment via a…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Manalapan: Slight tax rate increase appears probable

By Dan Moffett



Manalapan’s high property values likely won’t be enough to insulate the town from a modest increase in the tax rate for the next fiscal year.

Like all Florida munici-palities, Manalapan faces a reduction in state and county revenue streams because of economic damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the biggest hit to the town’s budget comes from its neighbor to the north.

This year South Palm Beach’s property values shot up 22%…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:38am — No Comments

Briny Breezes: Briny adjusting budget to account for revenue losses from pandemic

By Dan Moffett

When it comes to preparing municipal budgets, Bill Thrasher has seen about every extreme South Florida has to offer.

Before taking over as Briny Breezes town manager in January, Thrasher spent 21 years as the manager next door in Gulf Stream, one of the state’s most affluent enclaves. Before that, he started his career in government as the financial director of Pahokee, a hardscrabble town next to Lake Okeechobee.

Now Thrasher has to deal with…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:37am — No Comments

Delray Beach: Commission reviews charges against Gretsas, sets hearing date

By Jane Smith

Delray Beach city commissioners unanimously levied nine misconduct charges against suspended City Manager George Gretsas at their Aug. 24 special meeting.

The charges, though, do not include the bullying and intimidation accusations that led to his suspension on June 24. Gretsas allegedly badgered Assistant City…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:35am — No Comments

Highland Beach: Consultant to examine cost of starting a fire department

By Rich Pollack

Faced with another year of rising costs for fire rescue service from Delray Beach, Highland Beach is once again exploring alternatives to the multimillion-dollar annual contract with the neighboring city, including starting its own fire department.

During an August meeting, town commissioners agreed to pay $40,000 to have California-based Matrix Consulting Group look into the feasibility of Highland Beach providing its own fire department or…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

Meet Your Neighbor: Mason Slaine

Mason Slaine of coastal Boca Raton serves on the board of Boca Raton Regional Hospital and recently donated $1.5 million to the hospital’s ‘Keeping the Promise’ expansion campaign. Photo provided

In these trying times, hospitals need more friends like Mason Slaine.

Slaine moved from Greenwich,…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:32am — No Comments

Lantana: Librarian making a name for herself by winning grants

Kristine Kreidler has received $98,000 in grants for the library in less than one year on the job. Coastal Star file photo

By Mary Thurwachter

Kristine Kreidler hasn’t even been at her job a year and already Lantana’s new library director has amassed six grants worth $98,000.…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:28am — No Comments

Along the Coast: Overdose deaths double in Delray during pandemic

Chef and restaurant owner Louie Bossi, who speaks openly about his recovery, is joined by staff members at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Boca Raton. Bossi often hires recovering addicts at his restaurants, and says at least three members of his staffs have relapsed since the arrival of the novel coronavirus.…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:10am — No Comments

Obituary: Gerald Allen ‘Jerry’ Goray

By Sallie James

OCEAN RIDGE — Longtime Ocean Ridge resident Gerald Allen “Jerry” Goray, the dedicated chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission and a devoted philanthropist, died on June 30 of heart disease. He was weeks shy of his 81st birthday.

“He will be sadly missed,” said Mark Marsh, a colleague on the Planning…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:02am — No Comments

Obituary: Johan Erik Hvide

GOLF — Johan Erik Hvide died at home July 15, surrounded by loved ones. He was 71.

Born Sept. 5, 1948, in Glen Cove, New York, son of Hans Johan and Elsa Mosse Hvide, Mr. Hvide spent his life defying odds. He possessed the stubborn determination of a true Viking. He was diagnosed at age 7 with polio and his doctors said that he would not survive — but he…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:01am — No Comments

Along the Coast: For hotels, pre-pandemic success may be 5-7 years away

The Wyndham Boca Raton and others ‘have been annihilated’ as never before, an industry executive says. Photo provided

By Mary Hladky

COVID-19 has slammed the Wyndham Boca Raton.

“It is grim,” said general manager Phillip DiPonio. His average occupancy rate has…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 11:00am — No Comments

Obituary: Jay H. Van Vechten II

By Mary Thurwachter

BOCA RATON — Jay H. Van Vechten II, a Boca Raton public relations pro who honed his skills in New York City and later used that experience to found the Boating and Beach Bash for People with Disabilities, died on July 11 at Hospice By the Sea. He was 75.

The annual Boating and Beach Bash, launched in Boca Raton…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 10:59am — No Comments

Obituary: William Thomas ‘Tom’ Gerrard

By Dan Moffett

MANALAPAN — Tom Gerrard became Manalapan’s mayor in 2008 and quickly earned a reputation as a progressive leader who was popular with town staff and residents.

People at Town Hall couldn’t wait to see him show up in the morning — yes, partly because of his good nature, but also because of how he might arrive.…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 10:57am — No Comments

Obituary: Ralph Goodrich Boalt II

DELRAY BEACH — Ralph Goodrich Boalt II of Delray Beach died on July 28. He was 83. He was born June 28, 1937, in Ramsey, Minnesota, the son of Eben L. & Virginia M. Boalt.

  Mr. Boalt was a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee and played pro football in Canada. He was a CEO for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mr. Boalt lived in Delray Beach most of…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 10:56am — No Comments

Obituary: Agnes Conroy

By Sallie James

LANTANA — Hypoluxo Island resident Agnes Conroy, a lifelong academic who was married to her beloved husband, Francis, for 62 years, died on July 31 at Hospice By the Sea in Boca Raton after a lengthy illness. She was 82.

Born April 29, 1938, in Lettermore, County Galway, Ireland, Mrs. Conroy grew up on a farm when…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 10:54am — No Comments

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